The judge was kept very busy at Ideford Arch, where four of the seven races resulted in tight finishes. The closest came in the Mixed Open when Polly Gundry forced Duxy Hill Lady up on the line for a short head success over 20-1 chance Own Line. The pair had raced stride for stride from the second last, and 16-year-old Robert Hawker lost nothing in defeat against the lady champion. “I thought mine had just held on”, said the young rider who is based with Philip Hobbs. Polly thought that her mount was, “In front a couple of strides before the post and it was on the nod, but I would have settled for a dead heat.” This win edged Polly closer to the all-time ladies’ career record of 287 winners set by Alison Dare, and the Ottery St Mary based rider now needs one further success to equal that record.
Richard Hawkins is another local rider going places this term. He partnered his fifth winner of the season when getting Terminalexcitment up by a neck to defeat Trenley Lawn in the Mares’ Maiden. The 20-year-old, based with Chris Down at Cullompton, is currently heading the National Male Novice Riders’ championship. He was narrowly denied a double when Southway Queen was beaten a head by the favourite Henri Prends Garde (Richard Woollacott) in the Restricted.
Nikki Frost introduced an imposing five-year-old in the shape of Chase Gate in the two and a half mile Maiden. Despite starting at 20-1 and making his racecourse debut, the tall gelding certainly knew how to gallop and swept past three rivals from the second last to earn a neck verdict in a blanket finish. “I think he is the best horse I have sat on”, remarked jockey Ben Robarts.
The easiest winner of the day was Fully Loaded who was scoring for the fifth time this season in the Novice Riders’ contest. Lucy Pugsley and her sister Emma have shared the rides, and this time it was the turn of Lucy who was winning her third race on the consistent ten-year-old. “He has only had two canters since his last run”, said trainer Gerald Greenway, proudly directing the achievements of his two granddaughters.
Jafaro des Bois gained a deserved success in the Confined. Mervyn Woodward was content to bide his time until sending his mount to the front at the second last to beat Mistified and Front Page. The winner is owned and trained by Patrick and Penny Picton-Warlow at Wheddon Cross. “We have four nice horses to run and hunt them ourselves”, said Patrick, who also fulfils a day job at the holiday camp at Minehead.
The three miles Open Maiden attracted the biggest field of the day when 15 went to post. Josh Guerriero sent Weather Permitting clear entering the home straight, and the seven-year-old was soon in command. The winner is owned jointly by Brian Kilpatrick and Martin Pipe. Formerly with David Pipe under rules, he is now in the care of Ollie Jackson who reported that, “He had lost his form under rules and has been sweetened up by hunting”.
PPORA Novice Riders’
Open Maiden 4 to 7-year-olds, two and a half
Mares’ Open Maiden