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Sunday 9th February 2015
by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Will Biddick rode his 200th winner between the flags when winning the Larkhill Restricted aboard Peter and Sandra Maltby's Willow Bird. Will rode his first winner aboard Ross Oliver's Let's Fly at the 2004 Axe Vale and enjoyed his most successful season with 42 wins in 2011/12. He's already well clear of his rivals in his quest for a fourth consecutive national title.

Trainer Jack Barber and Will completed a double with Benedictus, the easy winner of the Coronation Gold Cup Men's Open, one of the season's four National Classic races. The 10-year-old never came off the bridle before overtaking King Fontaine halfway up the run-in. Benedictus is now unbeaten in two outings for owners Messrs Barrow, Cotton, Irish, Moate, Trevarthen and Twyford after being purchased at Jack's owners' day last summer. "The pace of today's race and fast ground has set it up for him but you must be patient and ride him like that; he's lost past races by leading too early," said Will.

My Flora, winner of the 2011 John Corbet Cup and fourth in the 2012 Cheltenham Foxhunter, returned to her best when upsetting odds-on favourite Posh Totty in the Ladies Open. "It's all down to [trainer] Tor [Collins]," beamed Sarah Dawson, who bought My Flora, with Felicity Ashfield, for £15,000 at Doncaster in September. "Tor changes the routines of horses to freshen them up. The key with My Flora is to keep her away from the gallops and to get her fit in the hills and with lots of hunting."

There were two first time riding successes at the meeting. Gunner Richie Rowe, 20, opened his account – at the first attempt – aboard Moet in the traditional King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery Members' race. Richie, who has always hunted and show jumped, got his first taste of race riding when riding out at Eve Johnson-Houghton's historic Blewbury stables. Olivia Lamphee got off the mark on her own Kayf Collateral, who already looked the winner when Daisy Picker fell at the last when still upsides. Olivia trains Kayf Collateral – alongside nine polo ponies – at her Ascot base.

Wak A Turtle and Daves Venture took the two divisions of the Horses & Geldings Maiden, which was split at declaration. The former stormed clear from three out under Jamie Thomas to provide another success for in-form owner Jon Pike. "Jon bought him after our open day as we guaranteed he would win a Maiden," smiled trainer Kayley Woollacott. "He used to compete over two miles so it's been tough to get him to settle over three but he jumps like a bunny and loves quicker ground." Daves Venture just got the better of a driving finish with Crackacan. "Jockey David Noonan's father, Gerard, bred him and brought him over in the summer to assess his ability as his Irish form isn't good," summed up trainer Teresa Clark.

Hincheslea Moor showed the benefit of an autumn soft palate operation by running on strongly to take the Club Members' race. "He wasn't getting home, now he's staying on strongly," pointed out owner-trainer James Young. "Jody [Sole] is a very experienced pilot who has won races like the Grand Military and Royal Artillery Gold Cups and is invaluable in this type of military contest."

Toby Hunt's Done A Runner (Lucy Wheeler) justified 4-7 favouritism in the closing Intermediate (for novice riders). Guy Disney looked to have a useful advantage aboard Ballycassel but had no answer when Lucy urged Alan Hill's charge into the lead approaching the last.

Going: Good to Firm
Entries: 121; runners: 73 (60%)

Combined Services Club Members (9 ran)
1. Hincheslea Moor (J Sole, 5-4F); 2. Trueflyingcolours (IRE) (Miss K Lyons, 8-1); 3. Swing Bill (FR) (G Disney, 3-1). 6min 01sec. 6l, ½l. (James Young)

Restricted (8 ran)
1. Willow Bird (W Biddick, 5-2); 2. The Holy Monster (F Henderson, 25-1); 3. Themanfromcork (D Noonan, 5-1). 6min 00s. 12l, 2l. (Jack Barber)

Ladies Open (8 ran)
1. My Flora (Miss H Watson, 5-2); 2. Posh Totty (Miss P Fuller, 4-5F); 3. Orang Outan (FR) (Miss R Talbot, 33-1). 6min 02s. 15l, 8l. (Victoria Collins)

Mens Open (Coronation Gold Cup) (6 ran)
1. Benedictus (IRE) (W Biddick, evensF); 2. King Fontaine (IRE) (T David, 20-1); 3. Executive Benefit (IRE) (G Crow, 11-10). 6min 02s. 2l, 1l. (Jack Barber)

Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden (7 ran)
1. Kayf Collateral (Miss O Lamphee, 12-1); 2. My Rosie B (IRE) (D Noonan, 7-2); only two finished. 6min 18s. 7l. (Olivia Lamphee)

Open Maiden (Horses And Geldings) (Div 1) (10 ran)
1. Wak A Turtle (IRE) (Jamie Thomas, 3-1); 2. Casino Boy (D Skelly, 8-1); 3. Chinatown Boy (IRE) (Miss A Mills, 15-8F). 6min 10s. 6l, 1l. (Kayley Woollacott)

Open Maiden (Horses and Geldings) (Div 2) (10 ran)
1. Daves Venture (IRE) (D Noonan, 6-1); 2. Crackacan (D Edwards, 7-4F); 3. Trumpet Master (M Green, 25-1). 6min 09s. Nk, 8l. (Teresa Clark)

Intermediate (Nov Rdrs) (7 ran)
1. Done A Runner (IRE) (Miss L Wheeler, 4-7F); 2. Ballycassel (IRE) (G Disney, 14-1); 3. Tucumcari (IRE) (Miss L Thomas, 9-1). 6min 02s. 8l, 4l. (Alan Hill)

King's Troop RHA Club Members, 2m4f (8 ran)
1. Moet (Gunner R Rowe); 2. Rentboy (Gunner H Brasher); 3. Bruce (Capt J Stamp). 6min 14s. 5l, 2l. (Sgt Luke Allen)

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