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Saturday 11th February 2006

by Liam Hale

Harris and Scott again have multiple wins at Black Forest Lodge

Jockey Neil Harris and trainer Jeremy Scott were again in tremendous form at Black Forest lodge with a double in the restricted (Southwestern) and in division one of the maiden (Gone to Lunch).

Racing was put back one hour due to the frosty conditions, Warwick and Newbury were abandoned under rules, and many were on tender hooks as to whether racing would take place. Once the sun came out the ground thawed and an exciting days racing could take place, one hour before the scheduled start time.

Southwestern, recent course maiden winner, ran on well to quicken well away from another horse with course form in Tyre Hill Lilly (Lucy Gardener) who had won the Hunt members race at the Silverton Foxhounds two weeks earlier. The race was ran at a fast pace but Southwestern asserted on the final circuit and not even a bad blunder two out could halt the winner who looks capable of stepping up again.

Gone to Lunch landed to first division of the maiden under a very educational Neil Harris ride. The winner was always travelling well and when he took it up five out there was never any doubt of the result. The six year old chestnut, same ownership as stable star County Derry, had shown promise on his first start this season when unseating and looks a typical improver alongside Jeremy Scott’s two maiden winners at the Silverton Foxhounds meeting. The six-year-old Mercurey (Michael Miller) ran on well at the one pace and looks capable of picking up a small maiden. The Jeremy Scott and Neil Harris team is definitely worth following in maidens, and their previous maiden winners look capable of stepping up on their efforts.

The Men’s Open again saw Harris with a good chance on Ready to Rumble, part of his treble at the Silverton Foxhounds meeting, but he had to settle for second after never reaching front runner Highway Oak. Michael Miller gave the winner an enterprising ride, precise jumping enabled him to lead the field without being headed. Even though the winner is ten he could be seen to be an improver as this was his first attempt in Open company after winning three races in 2005.

The second Ready to Rumble and the ever reliable Polar Champ (Guy Weatherly), sporting Quick’s star blinkers, kept on well but could never reach the winner as he went on four out but should be able to find further opportunities.

The Ladies race saw Richard Kelvin-Hughes owned Sailors Folly ( Polly Gundry) win the race sponsored by himself and presented by his Father Gordon in memory of his late wife.

The grey only had two rivals to beat and easily had the matter settled when being driven to go on five out to the open up well. Welsh Veteran Longstone Boy (Charlotte Tizzard) ran well to ran well for a long stage but could not handle the pace of the eleven-year-old winner, who had looked promising a few seasons ago.

Joanne England had a nice first ride on her and her mothers ex-Irish Alpha Eight and heads to Howick in two weeks for more experience.

The winner ridden by Polly Gundry was originally due to ride another West Country point-to-point favourite Mrs Be in an amateur riders race at Warwick but re-rooted after Warwick was abandoned due to frost.

Southwestern was a winner at the first Black Forest Lodge meeting two weeks previously and Tsars Twist and Fiesty Frosty followed suit in their respected races.

Lucy Gardener won the confined race on her own Tsars Twist after winning an Intermediate two weeks earlier. The odds on favourite went on four out and by two out she was well clear and was eased after jumping the last. Polligana (Robert Woollacott), an improver in 2005, showed more than in his only previous 2006 outing and can build on this better showing. The winner again looks progressive and can win again if kept to the right grade. The Gardeners are having a good start to the season and there horses are running well at present.

Michael Scudamore and Fiesty Frosty stepped up from his Silverton Novice riders win to take the intermediate in an easy fashion. The progressive five-year-old mare Classi Maureen (Robert Woollacott), twice winner in 2005, took up an early lead and still held a sizeable lead four out where Fiesty Frosty was his closest pursuer. Scudamore did not panic at the leaders lead and bided his time until he joined the leader two out and sprinted clear to leave Classi Maureen toiling in second. The winner looks an improving mare and can give Scudamore further career successes, this was his second win. Classi Maureen is still relatively exposed and this gutsy young mare that jumped from fence to fence will be winning again shortly.

The second division of the maiden was won by Darren Edwards on Listen Kid, who had been pulled up at the Black forest lodge meeting two weeks ago. The gelding who had shown little on the flat for Amanda Bowlby took up the running three from home and left the favourite Kingston Blue (Tigger Barnes) and hat trick seeking Neil Harris and Jeremy Scott’s No Turning Back.

The winner pulled away readily and will be interesting when stepped up. Kingston Blue again as sent of favourite, fourth race in a row, and it is hard to see him break his maiden tag in the near future. The first time over fences No Turning Back looks capable of picking up a maiden before the end of 2006.

To start of the proceedings at Black Forest Lodge, one hour behind scheduled time, there were two pony races which act as qualifiers for the Devon and Cornwall area Grand Final on the final day of the last point to point of 2006 at Torrington Farmers.

The Flint family, from Wales, had a memorable day with Connar Flint winning the young riders race on Stambrook Marquesa and his older brother Rhys out sprinting his rivals on Tipsy Flint after getting a flying start.

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