Riders in the 148 race at Stafford Cross had their fitness tested over 11 furlongs and it was a close contest throughout with plenty lining up to take on Hannah Welch and her top pony Total Eclipse. The pace was set by Donald Comer Calder, on board Tarka for the first time this season, hoping to emulate last year’s win at the course. He was pushed all the way by firm ground lover Miss Mopsy ( Heidi Lewis) and the improving Jessie’s Girl (Lucy Mager) who looks like being a shrewd purchase by Richard Prince, a great supporter of the sport both at point to point and national level, and Dandy Heights (Jake Bament)

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But by two furlongs out Welch held all the aces and won by two lengths with Jessie’s Girl second and Dandy Heights staying on well just a length back in third. There was a big cheer for local pony Reigndance (Carly Ridout) having her first run at her local course. The 148s are looking forward to trying out two miles for the first time, at the South Tetcott point to point on June 4.

There was drama at the start of the 138s when one of the favourites, Angelic, was determined to unship rider Tyler Heard and the pair were withdrawn after she managed it three times. Wee Antony, again owned by the Prince family, has cracking form in the racecourse series and this time, partnered by Lucy Mager, was able to score by three lengths from top Devon and Cornwall pony Bejowans Bouquet (Tina Smith). There was a close run for third place from two other Wessex visitors with Ninfield Millionaires Delight (Harry Cobden) getting a half length verdict over Diptford Moonwalker (William Cox).

Axe Vale: 148: 1, Hannah Welch, Total Eclipse; 2, Jessie’s Girl, Lucy Mager; 3, Dandy Heights, Jake Bament; 4, Miss Mopsy, Heidi Lewis. Nine ran, 2l, 1l, 3.04

138: 1, Wee Antony, Lucy Mager; 2, Bejowans Bouquet, Tina Smith; 3, Ninfield Millionaires Delight, Harry Cobden; 4, Diptford Moonwalker, William Cox. 10 ran, 3l, 1/2l, 1.24.

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