BISHY Barnaby returned to form with a convincing victory in the Mixed Open at Great Trethew, where stamina was an essential ingredient in very gruelling conditions.

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Ridden for the first time by Richard Hawkins, the ten-year-old was recording his third win on this track, “His saddle slipped when he ran at Taunton the other day, but he will return to hunter chases now,” reported trainer Gordon Chambers.

20-year-old jockey James Best had suffered a long wait on the sidelines since breaking both legs in a horrendous fall at the Taunton Vale last Easter. Complications in his recovery delayed his comeback, so it was good to see him return to action with a winner on his first day back. He was successful on Living The Dream, owned by Pauline Yardley and trained by Dai Williams, who was one of only two to complete the course in the 13 runner Open Maiden for older horses. “That was great, I couldn’t wait to get back and I was booked for the ride through my boss Philip Hobbs a couple of days ago,” said the locally born rider.

James had been second on his first ride back when Percy de Burrell was runner up to Quizzling in the opening Hunt race. “He had to dig deeper on the soft ground,” reported winning rider Micheal Nolan, who also works for the Hobbs yard but was partnering this winner for Bridgwater trainer Christine Gray.

Ian Chanin also sat out the whole of last season with a broken leg, but took his tally for this campaign to five thanks to a double with Weldesigned and Dare Too Dream. Four-year-old Weldesigned stayed on gamely to win his Maiden for owners James and Debbie Siggs. “He was bought as a two-year-old and was broken last June. He has impressed us all the way,” said the rider’s father Robert Chanin, who trains the sturdy Weld gelding.

Ottery trainer Ed Walker saddled Ian Chanin’s other winner Dare Too Dream who revelled in the gluepot conditions to win the Confined. “He loves this ground and just keeps going,” said the trainer.

Lizzie Kelly, from north Devon, lifted herself to the top of the National Novice Riders’ title thanks to two horses owned and trained by her mother Jane Williams. The young rider’s first ever double was initiated with hot favourite Sarika in the second leg of the Maiden, and completed when Wayward Frolic was the only one to get round in his Maiden division to secure Lizzie’s fifth winner of the season.

Geneva Lake just outstayed Blazing Bouncer to take the other two and a half miles Maiden. Stewart and Monique Pike’s chestnut mare, trained at Sidbury by the Pikes, was another winner for Will Biddick, and is destined to keep her dams line going in due course. “She is the last one out of Lady Geneva and is related to several winners,” said Monique Pike, adding that, “She is so laid back and has a lovely temperament.”

Jimmy Cole’s trademark victory salute was in evidence as his gallant six-year-old mare Mayfair Lastchance defied odds of 33-1 to beat Knight in the City in the Restricted. “She only goes on wet ground and I knew she was ready when she worked well with Holly Walk the other day,” said the Tavistock rider.

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