Bibury based Nick Phillips and trainer Elizabeth Brown were in unbeatable form at the Duke of Beaufort’s fixture at Didmarton on Saturday afternoon.
The finish of the Conditions provided an exciting climax with the Welsh challenger Moral Hazard always well to the fore. Nick Phillips sent Sarazan Bridge up to challenge as they raced into the dip before the 10th and was refollowed by Richmond and these two set the agenda for the next couple of fences.
Moral Hazard resumed pace making duties at the 15th and looked the most likely winner as they straightened up for the judge but Phillips’s mount was snapping at the leaders heels as they approached the final obstacle.
Moral Hazard and Byron Moorcroft lead approaching the last but they could not resist Sarazen Bridges (blue) challenge on the flat
The run in at Didmarton is longer than most and that proved in Sarazen Bridge’s favour as he managed to get his head in front just before the line.
Bouyed by this success Phillips and Brown went on to complete a double when Mankala took the Restricted latter in the afternoon.
Several horses had their time in the spotlight but none of them could live with Mankala who swept into the lead at the 16th and soon opened up an unassailable lead.
Mankala and Nick Phillips spreadeagle the field in the Restricted
The favourite drew well clear over the last few fences, while the rest of the field battled it out for minor honours. Kalinite claimed second spot while Miss Seagreen who had been behind for most of the journey made up a significant ground to claim third place in the final strides.
Last year’s winner Carrig Dubh was unable to repeat that feat in the Members and had to settle for third spot behind The Flying Doc and Brandy and Red, although the latter made a bold bid for victory after taking over from I’llhavealook at the 10th.
Ryan Withy’s mount was jumping superbly but they were sitting ducks when Will Biddick brought the favourite The Flying Doc into a challenging position at the second from home. Sweeping into the lead approaching the last, the mare had to be kept up to her work to hold Brandy and Red’s renewed effort on the flat before claiming the prize for owner Wendy Jarrett and trainer Ed Walker.
The Flying Doc and Will Biddick get the better of Brandy and Red in the Members
The meeting attracted runners from a wide area and the prizes were shared out equally with some going back over the Severn Bridge and others to East Anglia.
National Hunt trainer Tim Vaughn took the Intermediate with the consistent Mister Robbo. Fair Exchange set off in front but was caught by Mister Robbo on the downhill run to the 15th and that was the end of his bid for glory.
The Welsh raider had the race in his pocket approaching the 17th and despite Byron Moorcroft easing his mount down dramatically in the closing stages they still had a healthy advantage passing the winning post.
Mister Robbo is well clear at the last
19 runners lined up for the Novice Riders and many of them were still in with a chance as they raced towards the penultimate. Vivaldi Collonges who had travelled over from Suffolk was holding his rival at bay but the favourite William Money looked a big danger approaching the second from home.
However, Vivaldi Collonges sprinted clear around the final bend and the opposition were unable to match that finishing burst in the home straight.
A packed field in the Novice Riders approaching 2 out, the eventual winner Vivaldi Collonges is third from the left
The winner is trained by James Owen and owned by Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock Limited who will have sourced many of the equine stars on show at the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival. This win provided Bromley’s 16-year-old son Ben with his first success.
Vivaldi Collonges is well clear at the final obstacle
King steered Oscar Bravo to an easy win in the concluding Maiden. James Ridley’s Chase Me was a disappointing favourite after he lost touch with the leaders at halfway. Clondaw Sam then took over the box seat but King then produced his mount to challenge approaching the 17th.
They quickened clear around the final bend which left their rivals little time to respond and the ex-inmate of Tom George’s stable at Slad ran on strongly to score for trainer Clare Lloyd Davies and her co-owner Caroline Pugh.
Oscar Bravo and James King storm clear in the concluding Maiden – Ben Bromley receives his Hanley Mills Novice Riders prize from Area Chairman Jim Squires
Although blustery at Didmarton, Sundays East Devon meeting at Bishops Court had to contend with Storm Freya so conditions proved testing.
This did not stop Sophie Lacey’s Ramillies making an impressive debut in the Maiden. Like most of the Cottage Field stables inmates he had been well schooled and came home 5-lengths clear of his rivals to get off to a winning start and begin to justify his large purchase price at the Sales last June.
James Ridley’s Big George showed his liking for softer conditions when he finished second in a hot Mixed Open behind the Rose Loxton trained Caid du Berlaise, albeit being beaten 25-lengths.
This took place out of sight from the main viewing area – Kinlochspelve makes a horlicks of the 7th in the Intermediate
Photo’s – Graham Fisher and Pete Mansell
1st The Flying Doc W Biddick 1-2 fav
2nd Brandy and Red
3rd Carrig Dubh
1st Mister Robbo B Moorcroft 3-1
2nd Midnight Monkey
3rd Fair Exchange
1st Sarazen Bridge N Phillips 5-1
2nd Moral Hazard
1st Vivaldi Collonges B W Bromley 9-1
2nd William Money
3rd Teeton Kato
1st Mankala N Phillips 2-1
3rd Miss Seagreen
4-5-6-7 year old Maiden
1st Hot to Trot Miss T Worsley 4-5 fav
2nd Arctic Milly
3rd Ronalds Toffyapple
1st Oscar Bravo J King 7-1
3rd Doug the Welder