18-YEAR-OLD Philip Prince gave Distant Thunder the perfect ride to take the Mixed Open at the re-arranged South Devon fixture, bringing the veteran chaser with a well timed challenge in the home straight to beat Openditch and Ibberton.
A former pony racing champion, Prince has also ridden winners on the flat, and had his initial pointing success last March."I would like to take Distant Thunder to the Foxhunter but doubt whether we will get in," said the jockey's father Richard, who owns and trains the gelding at Yeovil.
13 year-old Quizzling also rolled back the years, staying on well to hold Henri Prends Garde and King's Wood in the PPORA Novice Riders' event. He was ridden by 21-year-old Irishman Micheal Nolan (note the Gaelic spelling), who had partnered three winners in his native country before joining the Philip Hobbs yard two months ago. "He impressed us when coming over to school the horses," said Carroll Gray, whose wife Christine trains the winner at Bridgwater for joint owners Kevin Legg and Kevin Billing.
Deloughtane kept on gamely to give his rider Alice Pearn her 10th career winner in the Confined. Alice is based with Victor Dartnall, and has now won five times on Deloughtane, who is owned by her father John. "He was placed in a hunter chase at Exeter last year and we might run him in another hunter chase," said the owner.
Will Biddick finished runner-up on the favourite Quaddick Lake in the Confined, but went one better in the Restricted on Killoran. The ten-year-old is owned in partnership by Will's father Mike and Sally Alford, and was also giving his jockey his first success as a trainer since he added training point-to-pointers to his jockey's role last autumn.
Rilly Goschen had chased home Killoran on Lutteur Bleu, and went on to take the Open Maiden on Comanche Chief, home bred by his owner/trainer Jane Wilkinson. "He travelled and jumped really well," said Rilly, who has over 100 career winners to her credit and is riding as well as ever.
The two and a half miles Open Maiden had to be divided on the day. Richard Woollacott had little difficulty in steering Isitanywonder home in the first section. The reigning champion jockey also trains the six-year-old for Ditcheat based owners Dave and Caroline Staddon. "He has been very keen in his races but settled better today," said Dave Staddon.
Richard Woollacott looked like completing a double in the other division when Mt Kintyre headed Lethal Dream at the second last, but Alice Mills got a determined run out of seven-year-old mare Lethal Dream after jumping the last, going on to score by a length. The mare, bought privately last year, was a first winner for Michael Bult and his wife Jenny, who trains their only pointer at West Newton near Bridgwater.