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Axe Vale
Stafford Cross
Sunday 1st May 2011
by Granville Taylor

A total of 28 turned out for the Stafford Cross fixture despite intensive watering. Cornish rider Will Biddick took advantage of the day however to ride three of the four winners saddled by Dorset trainer Richard Barber.

Cappoquin started the ball rolling for the Seaborough yard to give Barber's 19-year-old grandson Jack Barber his fourth winner of the season and his 20th career success. With no declarations for the Mixed Open, seven-year-old Cappoquin was quickly re-saddled to walk over, this time with Will Biddick in the plate. The trainer gave the prize money earned for this race back to the Hunt.

Fredwal was left solo in the Intermediate when his sole rival Ball Hopper departed at the 15th, and Biddick's treble was completed when Flanshan held the strong challenge of Not A Doctor to win the eight-runner Restricted.

Barney's Mate (Harry Derham) looked like making it five for Seaborough until being squeezed for room and running out five jumps from home. The well backed Welsh challenger Pelennor (Bradley Gibbs) looked sure to take advantage, but was caught by the fast finishing Preacher Boy in the final strides.19-year-old Philip Prince was partnering his fourth winner of the season on grand old campaigner Preacher Boy, who was once placed in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

Jo Buck got the Leslie Jefford trained Doof home in the hunt race ahead of the Ed Walker trained Obamarama, and the lightly raced Madam Zola also kept Walker's Ottery yard in the runner-up spot in the Open Maiden. The winner, bought by owner Steve Williams as a three-year-old, is only small but showed plenty of determination for her trainer/jockey Suzy Berry after making all the running.

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