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SUNDAY 19th MARCH 2006

by Lucy Johnson

Buckfastleigh has always proved a lucky course for Somerset-based dairy farmer Richard Hawker and Sunday was no exception when he scored his first ever double aboard two horses he trains himself and owns with his wife Sarah.

Sweetshooter delivered in the first of three maiden races, taking up the running at the second last and winning by a length.

The six-year-old mare was bought by the Hawkers last summer from her breeder William Baird who lives on the Isle of Wight. “She won’t jump a stick at home,” said Mrs Hawker, who admitted her 43-year-old husband had to loose a stone to take the ride and achieved the feat by giving up beer and chocolate.

After Charliebob won the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate, Mrs Hawker declared Buckfastleigh her favourite course, despite her husband parting company with the mare when his saddle slipped after the winning post.

The winning seven-year-old was bred by the Hawkers out of their mare Furry Bear who also produced Sootsir and is named after their two children Charlotte and Robert.

Darren Edwards, 21, was another jockey on double form, scoring on Frontenac in the penultimate race, the confined, and then taking the last race of the day on Zesta Fiesta.

Frontenac was former leading lady rider Mandy Hand’s first winner as a trainer since she hung up her boots before Christmas and she admitted it was with mixed feelings she greeted her winner. “Although he is really hard work and I probably wouldn’t have been fit enough,” she added.

The ten-year-old has had a string of problems this season but came good in front of the bumper crowd who enjoyed the first day of warm spring weather at a point-to-point this season.

Andrew Finch was the winning owner trainer of the day’s final winner, Zesta Fiesta, who scored a one length victory in the restricted. Finch, who lives in Cullompton, keeps the horse with Tiverton-based Mary Sanderson and bought him as his dam is Little Lemon from a well known racing family.

The Westcountry Champion Chase, worth £1,000, proved a real winner with racegoers and the colour of the silks printed in the racecard were an added bonus.

Richard Woollacott was the winning jockey, guiding Finewood, trained by his partner Emely Thompson near South Molton, to a fine five length win from favourite Ask The Natives.

On the final hill before the turn for home the pair were stride for stride, with Woollacott on the rail, until Finewood drew clear approaching the final fence and won convincingly. Woollacott part owns the 12-year-old with Les Chilcott and Clive Elliott.

Division two of the maiden, some six seconds faster than division one, proved a real tussle between eventual winner Swift Wood, ridden by Mike Miller who had scored on Highway Oak in the men’s open at Cothelstone the day before, and Claymills who just failed by a neck.

Owner Peter Clarke has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Bishops Nympton-based trainer Keith Cumings. He also trains Clarke’s multiple winner Touch of Flame whose dam Flame O Frensi was his first ever pointer.

Colin Blank’s popular gelding Bengal Bullet, ridden by Tabitha Cave, was back to his winning ways on seasonal debut, landing the members’ race from Karinga Coin by four lengths.

Next Saturday, the Lamerton stages its point-to-point at Kilworthy near Tavistock.


Members’: Bengal Bullet ( Miss T Cave) 1; Karinga Coin (Mr R Darke) 2; Hannah Bay (Miss A Mills) 3. Trainer: Mr C Blank; distances 4 lengths, 8 lengths; time 6 minutes 40 seconds.

Open Maiden div I: Sweetshooter (Mr R Hawker) 1; Wreford Lake (Mr B Moorcroft) 2; Miramar (Mr W White) 3. Mr R Hawker; 1l, 5l, 6.20.

Open maiden div II part I: Swift Wood (Mr M Miller); Claymills (Mr R Darke) 2; Loose Lips (Mr G Weatherly) 3. Mr K Cumings; nk, distance; 6.14.

Open maiden div II part I: Herswell Castle (Mr B Dixon) 1; Oh So Naughty (Miss J Congdon) 2; Serve To Lead (Mr T Dennis) 3. Mrs M J Dixon; 2l, 2l, 6.44.

Intermediate: Charliebob (Mr R Hawker) 1; A Romp Too Far (Mr W Biddick) 2; Carefree Love (Miss S Gaisford) 3. Mr R Hawker, ½ l, distance, 6.18.

Westcountry Champion Chase: Finewood (Mr R Woollacott) 1; Ask The Native (Miss C Roddick) 2; Mister Swallow (Mr M Miller) 3. Miss E Thompson. 5l, 2 ½ l, 6.11.

Confined: Frotenac (Mr D Edwards) 1; Pertemps Profile (Mr W Biddick) 2; Jalons Star (Mr B Robarts). Mrs M Hand; 1l, 1 ½ l, 6.12.

Restricted: Zesta Fiesta (Mr D Edwards) 1; Sanderstead (Mr A Charles-Jones) 2; General O’Keefe (Mr J Barnes) 3. Mr A Finch; 1l, 15l; 6.18

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