STEADY rain during the morning meant soft ground and testing conditions at Great Trethew for the East Cornwall fixture postponed from a fortnight ago.
The sun eventually came out and it proved a busy afternoon for jockey Darren Edwards who continues to lead the table in his quest for the Devon & Cornwall riders' title.
The Wheddon Cross jockey took the Mixed Open on Bradley Brook after the useful chestnut had seized the initiative on the tight bend at the top of the hill. The race looked in safe keeping as this evens favourite strode clear down the hill, but his backers must have held their breath as he ran down the last fence. Explaining the slight blip his successful jockey reported that, "he had it well in hand and show jumped the last." Trainer Nicky Martin. looking tanned on return from holiday said "Bradley Brook had stem cell treatment three years ago and we have to be careful about his ground. He went hunting yesterday like my other runners today. He will probably go to Chepstow next for a hunter chase."
Wadebridge winner Sonoftheking represented the same connections (Nicky Martin is also an integral part of the owning Bradley Partnership) in the Restricted. This seven-year-old had to give best however to Way Before Dawn in a slow motion finish. The pair were locked in battle all the way down the hill and it was only in the last few strides that Leanda Tickle forced Way Before Dawn ahead.
Darren Edwards again had to settle for the runner-up spot when newcomer Turnstone just failed to peg back Only Gorgeous (Jo Buck) in the Open Maiden which had to be divided on the day. The winner is owned and trained by Lucy Gardner who explained, "We got him from Ireland last summer He is really straightforward but had lost his confidence after a fall in Ireland. He will go to Doncaster sales."
Jo Buck just missed out on a double as Bold Perk was just outstayed by Lucius Fabeo ( who had beaten Only Gorgeous at Wadebridge) in the Hunt race. Olivia Hutchings was achieving her third career winner in the space of three weeks in this race.
Jake Bament was also enjoying the third winner of his career on five-year-old Great Camanoe, whose form showing unseated, pulled up and fell was reflected in his starting odds of 20-1. Great Camanoe had mastered Arcs Abound when the latter blundered at the last. "He stayed really well and kept picking up for me," said the 18 year old jockey who works in the Harry Fry yard at Seaborough, Dorset. Great Camanoe is sure to progress. "He is a delightful horse and an absolute pleasure," commented owner Rebecca Welch who also bred the gelding.
Hannah Welch had been concussed when Great Camanoe fell at Buckfastleigh three weeks ago and had decided to pass up the ride this time. The King's College, Taunton scholar however did not leave empty handed. She returned from her injury when profiting from an exhilarating performance aboard five-year-old Polo The Mumm, who ran and jumped his eight rivals into submission in the four and five-year-old maiden. The winner was making his English debut and was bought on behalf of George and Rebecca Welch by agent Toby Jones out of a French claiming chase. Modbury trainer Sam Holdsworth has done well with ex-French horses this season (eg Beuvron). "Polo The Mumm has been really progressive with his jumping and work," said the trainer.
The ground was really testing when the Confined took place as the last on the card, but this four-runner contest provided 19 year old jockey Sean Houlihan with the first winner of his career. This was Minella Ranger who stayed on gamely to hold the attentions of the Bryony Frost ridden Knight Pass. "I had six point-to-point rides in Ireland and joined Philip Hobbs eighteen months ago," said the young rider who hails from Dungarvan in County Waterford. The winner is trained locally by Gordon Chambers for owners Mr and Mrs Tim Winzer.