It was point-to-point racing at its best in the glorious setting of Flete Park on Saturday (20 April) . A total of 41 runners contested the seven races on going described as perfect. The car parks were packed to capacity with picnickers revelling in the warm sunshine.
Will Biddick took centre stage. Not only did the Truro born rider complete a double (which included a dead-heater), he proved himself a successful tutor as teenager Ella Orttewell, who works in his yard, followed his instructions, when riding There's No Panic to a comfortable victory in the featured four miles Mixed Open for the Lord Mildmay Challenge Cup.
The winner, formerly a useful chaser with Paul Nicholls, runs in the colours of Will's father Mike Biddick, and made virtually all the running under his 19-year-old rider. "He was pulling my arms out," exclaimed the rider, who was partnering her first winner on only her third race ride. A business studies pupil at Strode College, Street, the jockey has gained valuable race riding experience working under the tutorship of the six-times champion jockey at his Ditcheat base.
Sylvies Dance toyed with her rivals to score by a distance in the young horses Open Maiden to initiate Will Biddick's double in the saddle. He also trains this promising mare for owners Rose and Len Vickery, and reported, "It took her some time to get over her first run (at Ottery) but she was impressive here."
By contrast it was harder work on Stuart Jarrett's six-year-old Dancing Dave, trained by Ed Walker, who got up on the line to force a dead heat in the three miles Open Maiden.. Jake Bament looked to have settled the issue as Deise Gold, in the colours of Caroline Furse, jumped clear at the last, but Dancing Dave answered Biddick's urgings in game style to share the spoils in a terrific finish.
Jake Bament might have been enjoying a double if the odds-on favourite Neetside had not been carried out by a loose horse in the Restricted. Predestined went on to take the race under Darren Andrews, resisting the late challenge of Cornflower Blue. Gordon Chambers trains the winner at Buckfastleigh for owner Jenny Luscombe, who said of her 8-1 winner, "His last two runs before this were disappointing as he reacted to his flu jabs."
Beat The Tide, owned by Georgina Robarts and trained by Stuart Sampson, ran on gamely to win the Confined, defying a 5lbs penalty in good style under Ben Robarts. "He jumped well today and can come back here in two weeks time," reported the jockey.
In another close finish Uncle Jimmy , owned and trained by Beth Childs and ridden by her partner Nick Lawton, recovered from a sluggish jump at the last to hold the late flourish of Danvinnie. Formerly a four times winning hurdler for Philip Hobbs and looked after in that yard by Beth, the successful rider smiled, "She wouldn't leave that yard without Uncle Jimmy. He is too spoilt really."
The well supported Hunt race went to former chaser It's A Steal who had too much finishing pace for game veteran Mic's Delight. The winner is owned by Lee and Les Glanville and was the eighth career success for Pippa Glanville, who works for Ali and Sam Stronge. "We spotted him on facebook out of Katie Stephens yard and I ride him every day," said Pippa's proud trainer mum Lee. Runner up Mic's Delight has now earned honourable retirement at the age of 15.