As the wind and rain took a fierce hold at Great Trethew, the Janet Ackner trained De Boitron ploughed through the mud to win the Mixed Open, giving a memorable first winner to 18-year-old rider Kiana James-Thomas.
The 13-year-old ex-chaser was pushed clear of Masterleaderman and Coombe Hill from the second last to win going away in the end. "I ride out for Janet and this is only my second ride," said the delighted jockey. "He is a cracking horse and the easiest in the world to handle," reported the trainer.
Chosen Lucky made it four out of four for the season when overcoming the favourite Blazing Whale in the PPORA Novice Riders' event. The six-year-old provided a timely success for jockey Rex Dingle. Paying tribute to his jockey, owner/trainer Dean Summersby said, "Rex has done a lot of homework about this horse and came and schooled him on Thursday. I couldn't be more pleased with him. This is a double for the yard as my 13-year-old daughter Charlotte won a pony race earlier today on her first ride,". Chosen Lucky has become one of the leading horses in the country and it was surprising that this smart young stayer was led out unsold from a recent visit to the sales.
Inch Rock took the Restricted for the Ed Walker yard with a workmanlike performance to shake off the sustained challenge of Prince of Poets up the finishing hill. Now nine-years-old, the gelding has been lightly raced and has evidently had his problems since winning his Maiden in Ireland as a four-year-old. "He got a bit lonely out in front but jumped and travelled so well," remarked jockey Josh Newman, who had earlier filled the runner-up spot in two Maiden races.
The Open Maiden for four to six-year-olds was divided on the day. Little Billy Boy (Matt Hampton) was driven out to beat Newman's mount Ticket to Ride to win the first section. Six-year-old Little Billy Boy, pulled up in his two pointing runs in Ireland, was giving a first training success to Annie Bacon. The 22-year-old trainer is based at Milborne Port, Dorset. "I have three horses in training and spent six years riding out for Colin Tizzard," said Annie, who trains this winner for owners John Collis and Lyn Hunt. It was something of a coincidence that his half brother Wizards Bridge won a handicap chase for the Tizzard yard at Fontwell on the same afternoon
The Midnight Legend gelding Culverwell got home in a tight finish to division two under a positive ride from Martin McIntyre. Teresa Clark trains this winner for the six strong Culverwells Racing Club and said. "I bought him from my former boss Richard Barber. He has lots of ability and could be a bit of a monkey but he is more settled now."
The Open Maiden for seven-year-olds and over was also divided on the day. Only two finished in the first section, won by Spencer Moon . Byron Moorcroft sent the Welsh gelding clear from the top of the hill to hold off Amber River. The winner had endured a lean spell under rules since a promising run in Ireland in his younger days, and was bought last year by Pontypridd based Kevin Salter.
Carumba finally got his head in front in the second division of the older horses Maiden. The seven-year-old stayed on doggedly up the hill in a blanket slow motion finish with four of his nine rivals getting within four lengths of him. The winner was partnered by Hannah Welch for her parents George and Rebecca. Hannah, who now works for Sophie Leech after leaving school last summer, reported that, "He had a good look at the ditch and felt a bit empty down the hill but kept plugging on." Hannah's mother Rebecca is responsible for the training and said, "Hadden Frost bought him in Ireland. He has been knocking at the door and would be better on faster ground. We changed his blinkers to cheek pieces this time."
The Hunt race proved disappointing with only two runners. Katkolys was sent on by Leanda Tickle at the third fence and was always holding sole rival Fiddlesticks. Local trainer David Stephens is no stranger to winning this event and said of his French bred gelding, who won three times in the Midlands for previous connections since coming from France, "He may go for a hunter chase at Chepstow or Towcester."
The leading rider in the area, and until this weekend heading the National table, Darren Edwards, missed his rides at Great Trethew. He had suffered chest injuries when River Dun was brought down in a hurdle race at Taunton during the week