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Lamerton at Kilworthy
Sunday 20th March 2016
by Granville Taylor

ROBIN DE SOUZA scored his fifth success of the season in the Hunt race at Kilworthy on a cold and cloudy afternoon on Dartmoor.

The progressive six-year-old maintained his unbeaten status for the season with a comfortable win under Darren Edwards. "We have tried to improve his jumping since Black Forest Lodge and he was perfect today. He has been loose schooling at Jackie Du Plessis's yard," reported trainer Dean Summersby, who handles the gelding for owners Tony and Eileen Worth.

Darren Edwards was partnering his ninth winner of the season and is setting a strong pace towards defending his Devon & Cornwall jockeys' title. Apart from his Hunt race win he endured a largely frustrating afternoon which saw him fill the runner-up spot three times.

The Conjurer (Rob Hawker) gained a deserved success in the 15-runner Open Maiden. The hitherto luckless nine-year-old headed long time leader Goulane Ruby (Jamie Thomas) just after the last and stayed on well up the final climb to resist the late flourish of The Grey Celt (Darren Edwards). "He needed the better ground," commented 22-year-old Hawker who was partnering his second winner of the season. The winner, who could make a quick reappearance in the East Cornwall Hunt race on Easter Saturday, is trained by Christine Gray for Somerton based farrier Kevin Legg.

Upto Ollie had beaten The Conjurer in a tight finish at the East Devon recently and went on to frank that form with a convincing five lengths win over Vilja and Printing Blue in the Restricted. Jamie Thomas was gaining his sixth winner of the season on the winner, who is owned and trained by Sarah Pidsley. "He stays all day and Jamie suggested blinkers after he rode him at Bratton Down at the end of last season," said the winning trainer, whose eight-year-old also runs in her colours.

Mausefalle won on this track last year but had to give best to Winter Soldier this time in the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate. John Mathias rode a patient race on his only ride of the day, sending his mount clear up the final hill. Winter Soldier had also won at this fixture last year and continues on the upgrade. "We may look for a hunter chase at Exeter but the Intermediate final at Cheltenham is the aim for him," remarked Ces Mitford-Slade, who trains the home bred gelding for himself and joint owner Lucy Fielding-Johnson at their Pontispool Equine Sports Centre at Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton.

Darren Edwards had ridden Mausefalle and also finished in the runner-up spot when the short priced favourite Reliable Richie could not peg back front running Cinevator in the Confined. This was a first winner for 19-year-old Ella Pickard who also trains the nine-year-old at her yard near Umberleigh. "We bought Cinevator for my grandad Michael Tucker last December," said Ella, who started her career with Richard Barber. The youngster gave Cinevator a positive ride to defy a 7lbs penalty which was only applied after a hasty last minute saddle change.

There was a disappointing turn out of two for the Mixed Open which saw Master Baker successfully upgrade to Open class when scoring for the fourth successive time. There was little between the winner and Ace High when the latter came down at the 14th fence. Jo Buck was partnering her seventh winner of the season on the lightly raced son of Kayf Tara, who had begun his career at this corresponding fixture last year. "He has only had an exercise canter and could run again at Easter. Perhaps a novice hunter chase at Exeter is a possibility," said trainer Leslie Jefford.

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