Visibility was poor, as drizzle, mist and fog descended on the Royal Cornwall Showground for the North Cornwall meeting on Sunday (8 January), writes Granville Taylor.

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Spectators were treated to high class performances in the Men’s and Ladies’ Opens before the fog blotted out much of the action later in the afternoon.

Having just turned 13, Southwestern looked as good as ever in winning the Men’s Open, running on gamely under regular jockey Neil Harris to hold the spirited effort of Ask The Thatcher (Tom David). “Southwestern is more relaxed in his old age. He settles a lot better now,” said trainer Camilla Scott, intimating that the gelding will continue to contest point-to-points for the time being.

Monkerty Tunkerty improves with each race and the eight-year-old continued on an upward curve with a convincing defeat of the useful mare Sericina in the AGA Ladies’ event. Jess Westwood looks above average for a novice rider and rode a confident race on the horse she also trains and owns in conjunction with her parents Andrew and Sharon. From what could be seen in the fog, the winner shook off the challenge of course specialist Sericina rounding the bottom bend and ran on strongly to score by eight lengths. “He is answering all our questions”, said Andrew. A hunter chase career beckons for the powerful Silver Patriarch gelding, possibly including a tilt at the AGA final at Cheltenham.

Leanda Tickle is another competent novice rider and looked stylish in steering Total Containment to his seven lengths victory in the Hunt race. Chris Dalley has charge of the winner at his St Columb base for joint owners Stephen Heard and Dannika Kent. “He is a nightmare in his stable but lovely to ride,” quipped Stephen.

The nine runner Restricted developed into a battle between recent Barbury Castle winner Kahlua Cove (Sam Painting) and Tamatown (Jo Buck), with the mare Kahlua Cove just prevailing. Former jump jockey Marcus Foley trains the winner and had travelled over four hours from Marlborough. “She really needs better ground and I would like to qualify her for the Red Mills race at Cheltenham,” said the trainer, adding that the mare was available for a free lease with the proviso that she is returned for an eventual job as a brood mare.

Cornish rider Will Biddick is setting the early pace for the National title and followed up his Larkhill double on the previous day with a short head victory on Waldo Pepper in the Open Maiden, which was divided on the day. Biddick’s mount just got the better of Welsh challenger Son of Swallow (Tom David). Chloe Roddick trains the winner for David Luff, the popular jockeys’ valet in the area.

Two more jockeys also followed up Larkhill successes. Reigning national novice champion Micheal Nolan scored in the other maiden division on Carlos Gardel. Sue Popham trains this seven-year-old for Peter Bugler, who was celebrating his birthday. “We got him at Doncaster sales last May and he has always looked to be a nice horse,” said Sue.

Darren Edwards had won on Coombe Hill at Larkhill, and scored a very easy victory in the five runner Confined race which took place in thick fog. From what could be seen, Darren went down the hill with a ten lengths lead over Alpha Native (Will Biddick), and extended his advantage to 25 lengths reaching the judge. “This mare will stay four miles and that was the plan to stretch the field,” reported trainer Simon Partridge who handles the Alflora eight-year-old for owners Jane and Chris Humphrey.

Mioche D’Estruval is something of a Wadebridge specialist and just outstayed Lidjo De Rouge to take the PPORA Novice Riders’ event in the hands of Kieran Edgar. Trainer Ashley Farrant described the 12-year-old as, “a bit of a monkey at home,” but there was nothing wrong with his determination here.

RESULTS:

Hunt Race: 1 Total Containment (Miss L Tickle); 2 Wanna Do A Deal (J Tickle); 3 Livingontheshore (Miss G Stephens); 3 ran; 7l; dist no time taken

Men’s Open: 1 Southwestern (N Harris); 2 Ask The Thatcher (T David); 3 Pimbury (G Shaw); 4 ran; 7l; 5l; 6m 18s

Ladies’ Open: 1 Monkerty Tunkerty (Miss J Westwood); 2 Sericina (Miss C Roddick); 3 Wee Fly (Miss J Buck); 8l; 25l; 6m 6s

Restricted: 1 Kahlua Cove (S Painting); 2 Tamatown (Miss J Buck); 3 Brackenwood (J Thomas); 9 ran; 1 3/4l; 12l; 6m 23s

PPORA Novice Riders’: 1 Mioche D’Estruval (K Edgar); 2 Lidjo De Rouge (Miss C Hawker); 3 Perouse (G Shaw); 4 ran; 1 1/2l; 4l; 6m 30s

Open Maiden

Div 1: 1 Carlos Gardel (M Nolan); 2 Tallanstown Boy (S Allwood); 3 Knight Blaze (T David); 1 1/2l; 3l; 6m 36s

Div 2: 1 Waldo Pepper (W Biddick); 2 Son Of Swallow (T David); 3 Horatio Caine (Miss E Kelly); short head; 10l; Confined

1 Lucette Annie (D Edwards); 2 Alpha Native (W Biddick); 3 Furmagiatt (J Cole); 5 ran; 25l; 12l; 6m 31s

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