For The Staff takes champion chase

11:37 21 February 2012

In the paddock

In the paddock


THE Devon & Cornwall Area classic race, with a total purse of £1,000, went to the progressive eight-year-old For The Staff, writes Granville Taylor.

The favourite Special Account came down at the first, and it was left to For The Staff and last year’s winner Vintage Class to fight out the finish. Jo Buck sent For The Staff clear as her rival tired up the final climb to win in impressive style. “We may give him an entry for the Cheltenham Foxhunters,” said trainer Nigel Edmonds of the ex-Irish gelding who has won both his Open races this season.

The 17-runner Exeter racecourse Intermediate developed into a sustained battle between long time leader Penmore Mill and Keppols Hill, with the judge unable to separate the pair on the line. “I was in front a stride before the line and the other horse was in front a stride after,” said Penmore Mill’s Warwickshire based rider Tom Ellis.

Keppol Hill’s jockey Will Biddick went on to complete his second weekend double when Glass N’ Half took the concluding Restricted Paul Barber bought this winner as an unbroken three-year-old in Ireland and now shares ownership with Maureen O’Donnell.

Buck’s Bond was well fancied to win the other Restricted division, but this Richard Barber trained grey tired rapidly in the closing stages, as Hameldown Tor forged clear under Ian Chanin for the Ed Walker yard. Ed was saddling horses at Milborne St Andrew and his partner Polly Gundry said, “ He had a niggling suspensory last year and was unable to run, but his owner Ken Edwards has been very patient with him.”

The maximum field of 18 in the Mares Maiden left little room for manoeuvre and scrimmaging around a marker after the second last resulted in Dancingtilmidnight colliding with a marker and Harpur’s Girl being forced out. The eventual winner Tara Tavey is owned and trained by Kevin Bishop and was a first winning ride for Jon Park who works in the yard.

Last year’s champion novice rider Micheal Nolan partnered his fifth winner of this campaign when Fairhaven made most of the running in the Confined Maiden. David Gadian was enjoying his first pointing winner with a horse in which he shares ownership with Christine Gray. “We bought him out of Charlie Longsdon’s yard at Ascot sales last year,” said Christine who trains the gelding at Bridgwater.

Kieron Edgar has made a good start in a possible quest for this year’s novice rider honours, and Quil Est Beau gave him his fourth winner of the season in beating 16 rivals in the Confined. A flat winner in France and successful over fences for David Pipe, Quil Est Beau is now the only horse stabled with his Launceston based owner Jo Sleep. “My daughter Victoria has done a lot of the work with him at home,” reported Jo, whose individual care has obviously paid off.


Confined Maiden – colts and geldings: 1 Fairhaven (M Nolan); 2 Lightening Jack (G Humfrey); 3 Lord Samson (K Edgar) 11 ran; 8l; 12l; 6m 37s

Intermediate: 1 dead heat Keppols Hill (W Biddick); 1 dead heat Penmore Mill (T Ellis); 3 Lucette Annie (D Edwards) 17 ran; dead heat; 1l; 6m 25s

Mixed Open West Country Champion Chase: 1, For The Staff, Jo Buck; 2 Vintage Class (M Miller) 3 Bishy Barnaby (M Nolan) 7 ran; 18l; 6l; 6m 30s

Mares and Fillies Open Maiden: 1 Tara Tavey (J Park); 2 Shanann Star (D Edwards); 3 No Excuses (Miss S Gould) 18 ran; 8l; 12l; 6m 52s

Confined: 1 Quil Est Beau (K Edgar); 2 Konigsbote (T Chanin); 3 Apollo Blaze (Miss L Tickle) 17 ran; 3l; 1l; 6m 47s

Restricted Div 1: 1 Hameldown Tor (I Chanin); 2 Alysia’s Flame (P Prince); 3 The Accordionist (D Edwards) 11 ran; distance; 20l; 6m 38s

Div 2: 1 Glass N’ half (W Biddick); 2 Tamatown (Miss J Buck); 3 Blinding Lights (K Edgar)

12 ran; 6l; 10l; 6m 41s

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