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Upcott Cross
Easter Saturday 11th April 2009
by Lucy Johnson

DARREN Edwards scored his second treble of the season at the Eggesford’s point to point at Upcott Cross on Sunday initiated by Bannow Strand in the hunt race.

The once highly rated nine-year-old has had his zest for racing rekindled by his owners Sarah and Henry Prouse whose daughter Caroline has freshened him up with plenty of hunting. Daily spells in the paddock have also helped the gelding who looked a picture in the paddock and won by 12 lengths.

Mr Prouse said: “I’m extremely grateful to David Johnson and David Pipe for giving me the opportunity to buy the horse. He only cost me £1,000 and he has a home for life with us which is what Mr Johnson wanted. He’s a super horse in every way.”

Edwards was on the mark again in the following Exeter Racecourse intermediate race when Mike Tozer’s Tres Bien hacked up, surprising his connections in the process. “He travelled so well today and I can’t believe it. He normally gives up on the run in but today he kept going. Darren had never laid eyes on him before today,” said his trainer Chloe Newman who added that the final at Exeter Racecourse on May 5 is the target.

Primitive Lass, who concluded Edwards’ treble, justified favouritism when taking the second part of the first division of the maiden for her syndicate of four owners who include trainer Leslie Jefford’s father David. Last year the mare suffered the ill effects of a virus “We just couldn’t get her right but thankfully everyone has been very patient,” said Jefford.

Tom Chanin, 22, scored his second success of the season when Stone Valley came home the four length winner of the novice riders’ race thus keeping up his father Robert’s magnificent run of form.

The Thorverton-based farmer has now had five winners from six runners. Tom is the kennel huntsman and whip for the Dartmoor Foxhounds and he said he has benefitted under the tutelage of master Mike Weir. “I absolutely love working for the Dartmoor and for Mr Weir who trains a couple of pointers himself. I’m coming to the end of my second season with the Dartmoor now,” he added.

Tom’s younger brother Ian, 21, was also in the top spot when Kingscliff came home the easy winner of the four mile Devon Marathon. Looking as good as keen as in his hay day when he won the Christie Foxhunter at the Cheltenham Festival in 2003 , the 12-year-old made all the running to win very easily, delighting his owner Arnie Sendell and trainer Marie McGuiness in the process.

“We just wanted to see how he went today and we are thrilled with that. There’s still plenty more fun to be had with him,” said Marie who had a nightmare journey to the course after suffering a blow out in her lorry.

The restricted race was split on the day with the Roma Cook-trained Montenda winning the first division with her niece Lucy Gardner on board. The eight-year-old made amends for trampling Roma in the paddock before hand. “I’m quite sore now,” said Roma as she hobbled around with a bag of ice on her ankle. The mare’s two length success was the fourth win for Roma this season.

The second division went to Kitley Hassle who led approaching the last and was ridden out to score under Giles Hawkins.

The first division of the maiden was also split with the Richard Barber-trained Pezreuil, ridden by Matt Griffiths, scoring in the first part. “I didn’t think he would want this ground,” said the trainer of his nine year old winner.

Fourteen went to post in the concluding maiden and it was a thrilling three way finish to the card with a head and a head splitting Cupidus, Gunna Be A Devil and Choice Connection.

Polly Gundry was on the winning Cupidus who is trained by Andy Jackson and is a half brother to Mr Bennett, both bred by Brian Kilpatrick. “He’s a bit of a lad like Mr Bennett and Jo Davies (ne Cumings), who has done all the work with him, has survived several bucks. He is a very backward and slow horse and is a proper old fashioned staying chaser but he has really improved over the last two months.”

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