THE Devon & Cornwall Area classic race, a mixed open with a total purse of £1,000, went to the locally trained mare Lucette Annie ridden by Darren Edwards, writes Granville Taylor.

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Faasel was all the rage in the ring, but Mike Heard’s mount, starting even money favourite, had no answer as Lucette Annie galloped well clear after the third last before easily holding off Dear Villez (Josh Guerriero) and Turthen (Eleri Apps). A consistent and game performer owned jointly by Chris and Janet Humphrey, Lucette Annie was winning her fifth point-to-point and has been in the Poundsgate pointing yard of Simon Partridge for the whole of her pointing career.

“She needed the race at Wadebridge in December (when she finished third behind Faasel and subsequent hunter chase winner Kirkleigh). She was bought at Ascot as a three-year-old and we hunt her regularly on the moor. She will probably have a little break now.” commented Chris Humphrey.

Josh Guerriero was the jockey in form at Buckfastleigh. Two winners, two seconds and a third took him into the lead for the Devon & Cornwall Area jockeys championship. Josh started well when the promising six-year-old Indiana Bay, owned by Charlie Rush, strode clear to win the Exeter Racecourse intermediate qualifier in impressive style. “It has been a nightmare at home with waterlogged gallops. We have taken him to Bude beach but I thought he needed the run today. I ride him at home and he is lovely to know,” enthused trainer Jill Dennis.

Guerriero was back in the winner’s enclosure when the previously unraced Fairytale Theatre sprinted clear on the run in to take the PPORA mares and fillys’ maiden. “I bought her at the Derby sale (Fairyhouse) as a three-year-old and put her away for a bit. She was a bit buzzy last year but has matured and could be a nice bumper prospect,” said owner/trainer Chloe Roddick.

A short head denied the Devon rider a treble when the Jill Dennis owned and trained newcomer It’s A Long Road just went under to Gontdevon in the confined maiden for Horses and Geldings. Tom Chanin had the mount on the winner, trained by his father Robert, who was saddling his sixth winner from 14 runners this term.

Connections seem to have found the key to Robin Will who had little difficulty in following up his Chipley victory in the restricted. This late developer, owned by John and Floss Symes and trained by Kayley Jones, once again sported a hood and was given a peach of a hold up ride by John Mathias.

Double Bank turned in another game performance to beat 14 opponents in the confined. Merv Woodward was always lying handy on the progressive gelding who stayed on most gamely to beat Numide. “He loves soft ground and it would be an ambition to get him to a Cheltenham hunter chase”, said trainer Emma Oliver.

Double Bank in fact had the honour of being the first winner to race left handed at the Devon circuit. This picturesque course had always taken a right handed line since it opened as a National Hunt course at the same location in 1883. The final meeting under rules took place in 1960 and it has been used for point-to-pointing on and off for the past 50 years. Jockeys riding on Sunday gave their general support for the change, in particular the line of fences alongside the A38 which tended to cause the majority of falls in the past.

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