A total of 87 runners contested the eight races on ground officially described as good to soft at Chipley Park, writes Granville Taylor.

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The current Devon & Cornwall Area lady jockey title holder Jo Buck took the 11-runner Mixed Open on For The Staff. Despite conceding 7lbs to his main rivals, the eight-year-old made most of the running and ran on gamely to beat Ned The Post and Massimo. The gelding is jointly owned by Eileen Worth and Annie Argyrides, and was the first training success for Nigel Edmonds, based at Saltash, whose partner Jackie du Plessis has made such a good start to her professional training career.

Ottery St Mary trainer Ed Walker had saddled Ned The Post, and went one better when Blazing Whale just got the better of Bills Bank in the Restricted. The winner is owned by his trainer together with Francis Read, and provided a welcome change of luck for jockey Ed Barrett. “He is still a bit babyish and could be a nice horse for the future,” reported the rider

Owner/trainer Mary Sanderson is very familiar with the winner’s enclosure at Chipley Park. The Tiverton handler has now won the Hunt race on seven occasions. “Jabiru had won it for me five times and Hollandia once,” reflected Mary, who came good this time with her seven-year-old Ascot sales purchase Blinding Light. Jockey Kieran Edgar had the well backed Blinding Light in the firing line throughout.

Richard Barber saddled two winners to add to his Larkhill success on the previous day with According To John. Barney’s Mate repeated last year’s Novice Riders’ win at this meeting for the Axe Valley Racing Club, this time giving 20-year-old Conor Smith his first winner. Conor, from Downpatrick, has worked at the Seaborough yard since September. “I had about 20 rides in Ireland and was runner-up on Barney’s Mate at Barbury in December on my first ride for Mr Barber,” said the winning rider.

The chestnut mare Zakharyina completed the stable double with a hard fought success in the final Maiden. This time Richard’s tall grandson Jack Barber was in the saddle in the colours of his father Jeremy. Jack’s mount hung badly after jumping the last with a slight lead, and a quick change of whip hand kept the mare running straight to the line.

Gallant Lad lived up to his name when fending off promising newcomer True Gem in the first Maiden. Worcester owner David Denny had seen his Overbury gelding placed five times last season, but the seven-year-old came good this time. He is trained by Claudia Wilesmith and was ridden by her husband Mark.

The Exeter Racecourse Intermediate went to Welsh trained Books Review who came with a steady run in the straight to pip Certain Flight and Gort Na Lea in the closest finish of the day. Home bred by Gwynne Phillips in the Rhondda Valley, the eight-year-old is trained by David Gibbs and was the eighth pointing success for the trainer’s promising jockey son Bradley.

Citizens Arrest was the subject of a substantial gamble in the Intermediate but could only finish fourth. Connections got their money back in one of the Open Maidens thanks to Dinnie O, whose previous form in Ireland looked decidedly modest. Richard Spencer sent the eight-year-old to the front after the final ditch and the gelding stayed on well to hold True Tara. Nolan Byrne is the owner of the winner who is trained by Tim Billington near Newbury.

Hunt Race: 1 Blinding Light (K Edgar); 2 Lord Samson (S Allwood); 3 Simply Game (Miss J Buck); 7 ran; 6l; 5l; 6m 33s

Mixed Open: 1 For The Staff (Miss J Buck); 2 Ned The Post (I Chanin); 3 Massimo (M Miller); 11 ran; 4l; 2l; 6m 31s

Intermediate: 1 Books Review (B Gibbs); 2 Certain Flight (M Miller); 3 Gort Na Lea (R Hawker); 13 ran; neck; neck; 6m 35s

PPORA Novice Riders:1 Barney’s Mate (C Smith); 2 Special Occasion (Miss L Gould); 3 Sarah’s Gift (J Hill); 9 ran; 4l; 15l; 6m 32s

Restricted: 1 Blazing Whale (E Barrett); 2 Bills Bank (R Jarrett); 3 Tamatown (Miss J Buck); 16 ran; 1l; 4l; 6m 41s

Open Maiden

Div 1: 1 Gallant Lad (M Wilesmith); 2 True Gem (I Chanin); 3 No More Whispers (Miss J Hughes); 14 ran; 2l; 7l; 6m 43s

Div 2 part 1: 1 Dinnie O (R Spencer); 2 True Tara (D Edwards); 3 Spot The Grey (N Harris); 8 ran; 7l; 10l; 6m 48s

Div 2 part 2: 1 Zakharyina (J Barber); 2 Lightening Jack (G Humfrey); 3 Tropical Secret (Miss A Mills); 9 ran; 1l; 12l; 6m 46s

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