SIZING Cusimano was just one of a few shock winners at Upcott Cross, where the well watered ground produced a total of 42 runners for the six-race South Tetcott event enjoyed by a large crowd in the Bank Holiday sunshine, writes Granville Taylor.
The organisers deserve enormous credit for preparing the ground, even to the extent of watering on the morning of the races.
The Midnight Legend 10-year-old Sizing Cusimano had lost his way after winning five times under rules for the Colin Tizzard yard, and is now owned, trained and ridden by Purdy Peaster, whose debut winner had come at Cothelstone last season.
After a disappointing run behind Monsieur Gibraltar the previous week, Sizing Cusimano was sent off the 8-1 outsider of three in the Simpkins Edwards Mixed Open. This time he jumped well and hung on to a narrow lead throughout, fending off the efforts of 2-5 favourite Lakota Warrior (Darren Edwards).
“I work for the Tizzards and got this horse out of the yard. I broke my leg at Colin’s last October so didn’t start off this season until after Christmas. This good ground is exactly what he wants,” said the 22-year-old rider.
The Heard family always ensure decent going on their home track and reaped the reward as their six-year-old mare Kimarelli bounced back to form at 12-1 to win the Gifford’s Chartered Accountants Restricted under Darren Andrews.
The headstrong favourite Ideal Vert ran off the course when leading on the bottom bend after the fifth fence, and Kimarelli was able to boss her rivals throughout the final circuit.
The Schiaparelli mare had been looking for a win since breaking her duck at Wadebridge in January.
Jockey Darren Andrews, reaching the 20-winner mark in his best season, reported: “She came up for me at the last three. It has taken a few runs and she will improve for a summer break.”
John Heard was saddling his 10th point-to-point winner of the season and is on course to add one of the National trainers awards to his Devon & Cornwall Area leading small yards title.
Fourteen-year-old Dawson City has been a grand servant to Polly and Ed Walker over the years but had not visited the winner’s enclosure since taking a Cartmel Veterans chase two years ago.
This was his day as he gave his regular novice rider Annabel Duman her first winner at 6-1 in the Dunbia (West Devon) sponsored Mixed Open for novice riders. As is his norm, the old boy switched himself off until the business end of the race.
This time his late thrust paid off as he overhauled Tea Time On Mars at the last after the leaders Ed The Red and Mucklemore had fallen independently at the penultimate.
The 22-year-old Exeter-born rider said: “I have worked at Polly and Ed’s for five years. This horse is a legend. He finished like a rocket.”
The form book worked out in the Totnes & Bridgetown Races Co Grass Roots Series Conditions race.
Hot favourite Southfield Harvest, owned by Angela Yeoman, was given a quiet stalking ride by Lawrence Jordan.
After leading at the last he was almost caught in the shadow of the post by fast-finishing Grove Ash (Shannon Holmes).
The winning rider, who was enjoying his fourth career success, works in Will Biddick’s Alhampton, Somerset yard and reported: “The plan was to hold him up. He was okay on this ground.”
Biddick not only saddled this winner, but went on to ride his 52nd winner of the season later in the day on the Christopher Barber-trained Potters Magic in the FC Cleaning Systems Maiden, further cementing the unassailable march towards his eighth national jockeys title.
Biddick has now partnered 17 of Barber’s 20 pointing winners this season, plus of course, the memorable Liverpool Foxhunters’ victory of the duo with Famous Clermont.
Four-year-old Potters Magic did not disappoint, leading at the last after being switched off until halfway.
”He is a nice, big raw horse by Diamond Boy, bought as a store by Cormac Doyle. He is now on the market”, said the young trainer.
Anna Johnston had finished runner-up to Potters Magic on Summerleaze, but went one better as she secured her third victory of the season when steering little Conor’s Gift to victory in the PRJ Engineering Maiden Conditions.
“She settled in nicely, kept trying and finds so much,” said the rider. This was one for the Leslie Jefford stable, but the trainer was busy saddling Walkin Out to win a hunter chase at Cartmel.
The winner is owned by Robin Sharp, who farms near Devizes, and said: “I milk 500 cows and have two brood mares. Leslie phoned me and said I have a little mare by Yeats who would suit you so I said yes and here she is.”