Gardner surprised by ease of win for Look For Love at rainswept Exeter
The heavens opened at Exeter yesterday for its opening meeting of the season, but that did not deter an above average crowd from turning out to enjoy the racing.
Susan Gardner had three in the opening Bhest Racing Novices' Hurdle and it was the outsider of the trio, Look For Love, who came home the easy winner on the heavy ground.
Bought for a song in June from Ascot Sales, the 40-1 win proved a shock for his trainer who said: "I've always liked the horse, but I never expected that."
His winning owner Martin Hooper, from Exeter, said: "We didn't expect that either, especially in this ground and we're delighted. He may come back again here at the end of the month."
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A desperate mistake from the Peter Evans-trained Annaluna down the back straight nearly scuppered his chances in the Ilfracombe Food Service Novices' Handicap but he recovered well to win the race by seven lengths in the hands of Aidan Coleman.
The jockey doubled up on Bennys Mist who was favourite to land the Mary King Beginners' Chase. Three fences from home he took up the running on the Venetia Williams-trained six-year-old to win by half a length from Qualviro.
Pericoloso was at the back of the leading pack turning into the home straight in the two miles three furlongs Congratulations Handicap Hurdle, but Nick Scholfield kept pushing away on the six-year-old and came home the winner.
Winning trainer Jeremy Scott said: "If the ground hadn't been this soft, the distance would have been too sharp for him."
The gelding was bought as a replacement for the decent mare Golden Gael who is out of action for the season, and will run in the colours of The Wild Bunch, a syndicate of racing fanatics from Exmoor and Cornwall, for the winter.
The Thanks To The Games Makers Handicap Chase over three miles proved a thriller with the four runners jumping the fourth fence from home together. But Richard Johnson kicked on with Chasers Chance to win by nine lengths.
Paul Henderson, who trains the horse for former amateur jockey Dan Dennis, took over the training of the nine-year-old three weeks ago having bought him for £4,000.
"We're really pleased with that and the race panned out perfectly for him. He didn't run badly in Ireland and was quite competitive there but he hadn't won for a very long time," said Henderson, who was farrier for David Elsworth for 25 years.
Ivor's King was favourite to win the Concluding Conditional Jockeys' Handicap and the five-year-old did so in good style making all the running under Brendan Powell to win easily.
Exeter's next meeting is on Tuesday, October 23 and features the Best Mate Novice Chase.