IT was a memorable day at the picturesque Devon venue of Flete Park for Ottery St Mary trainer Ed Walker and his jockey Josh Newman
The pair teamed up to produce four winners at the Modbury Harriers meeting, a first four-timer for the 24-year-old jockey.
Cloudy Lady started the bonanza in the opening three miles Maiden, but her margin of victory was only a short head as Druid Spitfire (Merv Woodward) pushed her all the way to the line. Owned by John and Bridget Burbidge, Cloudy Lady was bought out of Caroline Keevil's yard last Christmas after a few inauspicious runs under rules. "She was a bit keen in her earlier races and has been running over two and a half miles. She settled better over the longer trip," remarked the trainer.
Blazing Whale had a relatively easy task against only one opponent in the Men's Open. This consistent geldings win provided a nice tonic for owner Francis Read who is recovering from an operation.
L'Ane Fou had been runner up in her last two outings, but went one better in the two and a half miles Maiden. Josh Newman always had matters in hand before sending the six-year-old clear approaching the last. The Robin des Pres mare is jointly owned by Polly Walker and John Dorse, and had been acquired for 7,500 euros at Fairyhouse as a three-year-old.
The fourth winner of the afternoon for the Walker/Newman combination came when Sucker Punch just held the storming late run of Gershwinner to win the Confined. Sucker Punch had won the Restricted at this venue two weeks ago and was providing his jockey with his 16th winner of the season. "My best day since I rode a Cheltenham festival winner ," he remarked.
Blazing Buck came from Wales to win the four miles Ladies' Open under the accomplished Hannah Lewis, who was having her first ride at the track. The race was between Blazing Buck and last year's winner Bellflower Boy coming down the hill for the last time. The Welsh gelding produced the quicker jump at the last however and stayed on dourly on the run in.
The winner's owner/trainer Justin Hoskins is based at Caerphilly and said, "I bought the horse three years ago out of Tony Carroll's yard and he has done me proud. This race was marred by an injury to Jo Buck when her mount Cecile de Volanges fell four fences from home. Already with stitches in her jaw from a Cheltenham fall three days before, the leading Devon & Cornwall rider was concussed and taken to Derriford hospital, Plymouth.
Polo The Mumm was driven out by Hannah Welch to hold the sustained challenge of Syracuse's Dream, ridden by her cousin Barnaby Treneer, in the Restricted. The French bred six-year-old is owned by her parents George and Rebecca. Her father explained, "This is his ideal trip and he runs well fresh. 18-year-old Hannah Welch, who has a good lead for the area lady novice riders' award, is to join trainer Clive Cox as a pupil assistant this summer after she completes her studies at King's College, Taunton.
It was another case of horses for courses, as eight-year-old The Dapper Fox followed up his recent course win at the Dartmoor meeting to take the novice riders' contest. Owner/trainer Jack Veysey, a Cullompton farrier, sent his mount to the front at the top of the hill and was always holding Mic's Delight in the closing stages.