Cornelius Lysaght TO LEAD DEVON & CORNWALL LIVE STREAM PRESENTATION TEAM

Cornelius Lysaght
Cornelius Lysaght

Internationally known horse racing broadcaster Cornelius Lysaght will head up the Devon & Cornwall live streaming presenting team when the 2020/2021 point-to-point season gets under way with the East Devon races at Ottery St Mary on Saturday 24th October, writes Granville Taylor.

With the meeting set to take place behind closed doors (BCD), the Devon & Cornwall area organisers work during the extended close season looks to have paid off. Anticipating the likelihood of racing BCD, the committee have used part of a £10.000 grant from Totnes and Bridgetown Racing Company Ltd to purchase live streaming equipment, and the area, with the approval of the British Horseracing Authority and the Point-to-Point Authority, is set to be the first in the UK to broadcast all their 25 meetings in the area for the coming season.

Announcing the initiative, Frank Yeo, Area Chairman said, “It is hoped this new venture will be able to bring the atmosphere and excitement of point-to-point racing to everyone at home. We are delighted that Cornelius Lysaght, with nearly 30 years experience as BBC Racing Correspondent, will be the lead presenter.”

The live streaming programme will include coverage of all the races, plus pre-race and post-race information, interviews and analysis. The long established West Country Videos team will be operating two cameras at each meeting.

Frank Yeo added, “We are very grateful to all those who have helped us get this off the ground, especially Totnes and Bridgetown Races Company Ltd, whose generous £10.000 will also boost race sponsorship in these difficult times.”

corneliusracing.com

Point-To-Point Authority SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER UPDATE

The Point-To-Point Authority have issued an updated newsletter details the latest processes and procedures that everyone will need to undertaken to access a Point-To-Point course whilst we are at level 4 status.

The Newsletter also unfortunately announces that our opening fixture, the East Devon Races fixture at Bishops Court on the 24th October will be run behind closed doors.

Included are updates on:

  • – Preregistration
  • – Zoning
  • – Amenities
  • – Bookies
  • – Paddock
  • – Behind Closed Doors fixtures

Downloads linked from the Point-To-Point Authority Newsletter

  • RQC Application Form
  • Riders Sponsorship Scheme Application Form
  • Hunter Certificate Application Form
  • PPA General Instruction (PPAGI1)
  • Regulatory Changes for 2020/21
POINT-TO-POINT AUTHORITY SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER UPDATE
Click here to download the update to the September PPA E-Newsletter
Cornelius Lysaght TO LEAD DEVON & CORNWALL LIVE STREAM PRESENTATION TEAM
Cornelius Lysaght Internationally known horse racing broadcaster Cornelius Lysaght will head up …
Financial Support packaged Launched for Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Points
Totnes and Bridgetown Races Co. Ltd. is delighted to announce the launch …
Early season and 2020-21 fixture list confirmed
Download here Following a meeting on 16 July, the PPA Board has …
Point-To-Point Authority July 2020 E-Newsletter
PPA July E-Newsletter is out now! In this latest edition, we update …

Financial Support packaged Launched for Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Points

Totnes and Bridgetown Races Co. Ltd. is delighted to announce the launch of a special £10,000 financial support package to kick-start the 2020/2021 Point to Point season in the Devon and Cornwall area. 

The Company has long been associated with support for Westcountry Point to Pointing, and for next season the funding will be provided in addition to their existing sponsorship of four Hunter Chases and four Open races; including the prestigious Area Classic at Buckfastleigh, ‘The Westcountry Champion Chase’, with a purse of £1000.

The aim of the new support is to underpin Devon and Cornwall Point to Pointing at this difficult time, following the disappointment of the early abandonment of racing in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A real consequence of this loss was the individual financial hardship with so many rural jobs reliant upon a successful horseracing industry. In addition the Hunts’ and Point to Point Committees faced unprecedented losses of their income derived from Point to Point meetings.

The Devon and Cornwall Point to Point Secretaries Association has worked extremely hard in conjunction with Totnes and Bridgetown Races Co Ltd director George Welch to produce a plan utilising the extra £10,000 to best effect. Race sponsorship has always been the Company’s core area of support, and again this will form the bulk of the new assistance with additional sponsorship of 12 x £500 races, spread right across the Devon and Cornwall area. Furthermore every Point to Point fixture will receive a grant to help offset the cost of providing contactless card readers for entrance gates, an additional requirement for racing in the ‘post covid’ environment.

 Finally, the support will extend to purchasing technical equipment to enable the provision of live streaming of racing through social media. This is an initiative which the area organisation is keen to explore with great potential to broaden the sports accessibility, marketing and even revenue earning for the future.

 The Devon & Cornwall Point-to-Point Secretaries Association Chairman Frank Yeo said, “On behalf of our 25 horse racing fixtures in Devon & Cornwall, we are fortunate to have this invaluable sponsorship from the Totnes and Bridgetown Races Company at this very challenging time during and post Covid 19. Our own Association and the Races Company has helped to create the opportunity to maintain the sponsorship of Open races for 12 fixtures and provide the option of using contactless card readers instead of cash. The Races Company foresight and financial support has also allowed the Area to develop live streaming of all the race meetings to be accessed by older and Covid-vulnerable racegoers direct to their mobile phone or TV, plus our sport access to many potentially new racing enthusiasts through social media and present our exciting sport to a much wider audience.”

Looking ahead to next season, plans are in place to run the inaugural Totnes and Bridgetown Point to Point at popular Flete Park, after last season’s plans were thwarted by the health crisis; this will be made possible by the generous support of the Flete Estate and the hard work of the Dartmoor Hunt Point to Point Committee. The Company’s share of the profits from the meeting will be donated in their entirety to the Devon and Cornwall Point to Point Area providing sustainable ongoing financial support year upon year.

Totnes and Bridgetown races can trace its history back to the 1780’s. The original Race Committee was superseded by the formation of a Limited Company in 1928, and although the last Totnes and Bridgetown race meeting took place at Totnes in 1938, the company continues to offer its generous support to this day.

Early season and 2020-21 fixture list confirmed


Following a meeting on 16 July, the PPA Board has agreed that the proposed early season programme of point-to-points should go ahead.  

The decision was not taken lightly, particularly as there are several factors which cannot as yet be fully quantified.  However, on the balance of probability, given present progress at both national and sporting levels, and more specifically racing under Rules, it is believed that point to pointing will be able to start in October, hopefully on Saturday 24 at Bishops Court in East Devon.

The full provisional fixture list for 2020-21 (subject to BHA approval) can be downloaded here, but the following fixtures are planned for the early season:

24 Oct – East Devon at Bishops Court
25 Oct – Ledbury at Maisemore Park
1 Nov – Kimblewick at Kimble
8 Nov – The Wheatland at Chaddesley Corbett
15 Nov – South East Hunts Club at Charing
15 Nov – Dunsmore Racing Club at Dunsmore


The favourable response to the owner/trainer survey that was circulated earlier this month combined with the general progress made on Covid-19, and the possible losses to pointing if we did not make an early start, helped to make the PPA Board’s decision.

Of course, there may localised Covid-19 spikes between now and October, and indeed at any stage.  To that end protocols have been written for the fixtures at varying levels at which they can be run, including racing behind closed doors. The sport emphatically does not wish to race without spectators, and we certainly hope we do not have to. However, it is important to plan for all eventualities and to provide opportunities for the sport’s participants, whilst ensuring it is financially viable for the fixture. 

Click here to download the full 2020/21 provisional fixture list.

BRITISH POINT-TO-POINTING SHUT DOWN FOR 2019/20 SEASON

Posted: Tuesday, 17th March 2020 Author: The PPA

This is a formal announcement to confirm that the British point-to-point season is closed for this season.

This was a very difficult decision to make recognising that many people’s livelihoods are involved. However, the Prime Minister’s words last night made clear that everyone should minimise social contact and non-essential travel. Furthermore, our sport creates some medical burden, both on the course and potentially at the hospitals, where it would be unwelcome under the current circumstances.

The PPA would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard to keep this season going so successfully until now, often under very trying circumstances. We will now be working on preparations to ensure that we start next autumn in the same successful manner as last, and will soon be in touch with many of you for your thoughts and ideas.

For more information, contact the PPA office:

info@p2pa.co.uk

01793 781990

Point-To-Point Authority July 2020 E-Newsletter

PPA July E-Newsletter is out now!

In this latest edition, we update you on plans for an earlier start to the 2020/21 point-to-point season, including:

– Update from Peter Wright
– Proposed regulatory changes
– Fixture List 2020/21 download
– Plus more…

Download Here
Point to Point – A Sport for All
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GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – TORRINGTON FARMERS

“The roar of the race-course died behind them, in front were their fates, they rode to find them….”

John Masefield, 1878 – 1967, poet laureate from 1930 – 1967

So that’s it then. A point-to-point season of two halves. It all started well in Devon & Cornwall with the opening of the new Dunsmore course on November 17th 2019. However after some exciting racing the final whistle was blown at Buckfastleigh in mid March, culminating in the loss of 15 area fixtures and of course the remainder of the British season.

This is the last of my personal reminiscences of days gone by, albeit presented as a rather tepid substitute for some of the lost meetings in the Devon & Cornwall area. The Torrington Farmers Hunt has traditionally brought down the curtain at their course at Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh for many years. My first visit to the course was in 1977 when the country was celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Here are my comments on one of the early Umberleigh meetings:-

10th June 1978 – Going Hard

HUNT

1 Black Ace (Andrew Congdon)
2 Courageous Kate (Penny Ogden)
3 High Brooks (A Milton)
3 ran; 2l; dist; 5m 18s SP 7-4

OPEN

1 Zingarella (Eddie Whettam)
2 Cefn Solomon (Paul Hamer)
3 Last Gesture (Richard Mann)
10 ran; 1/2l; 4l; 5m 4s SP 14-1

LADIES OPEN

1 Oakey Coakey (Jenny Hembrow)
2 Torrid (Miss A Allard)
3 Money Penny (Katie Halswell)
9 ran; neck; 2l; 5m 2s SP 5-4 fav

RESTRICTED OPEN

1 Lady Maxine (Ron Treloggen)
2 Petit Homme (Robert Alner)
3 Running Rose (R Hicks)
10 ran; 10l; dist; 5m 2s SP 6-4

ADJACENT HUNTS

1 Moorland Venture (Sue Reynard)
2 Mistic Code (Penny Ogden)
3 Zauditu (Martin Keenor)
3 ran; 8l; 1l; 5m 11s SP 4-5 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS MAIDEN

1 Kensal (Mike Williams)
2 Royal Bella (Stuart Kittow)
3 Golden Flyer (Jimmy Frost)
4 ran; 4l; 7l; 5m 14s SP 4-1

The Hunt race winner Black Ace improved steadily throughout the season. He ran on well here and survived a mistake at the last A tiny gelding by the Schweppes Gold Trophy winner Rosyth, Black Ace gave his owner / rider Andrew Congdon a lot of fun over the years. His daughter Jenny was to follow in his footsteps in this race in later years

Cefn Soloman, in the colours of popular Welsh owner Dilwyn Thomas, was all the rage for the Open after his recent solid effort in a Stratford hunter chase. He was out jumped at the last by the winner Zingarella and had to settle for the runner up spot despite rallying near the post. Eddie Whettam was a very good rider and his family owned mount Zingarella was a useful pointer who found the ground and short trip ideal.

Oakey Cokey owed his solitary win of the season in the Ladies’ to Jenny Hembrow’s jockeyship. Taunton based Jenny was one of the most stylish riders in those days and won this with a sharp race winning move on the blinkered gelding on the final circuit.

The grey mare Lady Maxine enjoyed a profitable season and was scoring for the third time in the Restricted under Ron Treloggen. As a brood mare in due course Lady Maxine produced another pointing winner called Maxine’s Lass. Runner up Petit Homme was a fair pointer in the same Newman colours which can still be seen today, but he was ill at ease on the hard ground.

The consistent mare Moorland Venture was odds on and made all for Sue Reynard in the Adjacents’ before Kensal (Mike Williams) upset the favourite Royal Bella in the Maiden after Misty Express had fallen three out. Kensal was owned by Maurice Maude, one of my press colleagues in those days, and of course the father of Chris Maude. I seem to recall that Maurice told me that Kensal was from the family of 1950 Grand National winner Freebooter, but the memory is less sharp than it was and Maurice passed on many years ago.

From a historical point of view, the Torrington Farmers raced at Cranford St Giles from 1950 until the final meeting there on 27th April 1960. Their 1961 fixture was lost due to foot and mouth disease, and the fixture moved to Horwood, near Bideford the next year, where a succession of late April evening meetings took place throughout the 1960’s. I would think that Horwood was the shortest point-to-point track in the country with times regularly under five minutes.

The 1970 meeting was held at Crimp, Morwenstone, but on 28th April 1971 the long association with Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh began with an evening meeting. Mike Trickey rode the first winner on Barber’s Piece and other successful riders on that night were Chris Popham, Carol Handel, Tony Hartnoll and Charles Micklem.

A significant event happened in 1975 when after a postponement from April 15th the meeting was re-arranged to become the final meeting of the season (on 7th June). At that meeting four times lady champion jockey Sue Aston rode a double on Perfidia and Golden Scot, beating seven pounds overweight Robert Waley-Cohen into second place in the Adjacent Restricted. Sue Aston was an exceptional talent, light years ahead of her time.

From that time in 1975 the Torrington Farmers has retained the June date, with end of season festivities becoming the norm. If I remember correctly, when I first went to Umberleigh the start was near the top of the steep hill on the far side and there was usually some arable ground. The race times in those days suggest that the course length was about two and a half miles. The midsummer date naturally brings variations in ground conditions, mainly very dry, but occasionally very soft. In later years the course has been aggravated when necessary to ease the going. To be honest, it is not the best viewing course and to get a fair view you have to move around the top of the hill, rather like at the old Tweseldown course. The atmosphere is however second to none and it makes you wish the season could go on.

It would take a book to describe the happenings in the past 49 years. Some of the random highlights include a ten-race card in 1983, the year when the course was lengthened to three miles, featuring wins for Cheekio Ora (ridden by four times champion Peter Greenall) and Frevolity (Janine Mills); a Gordon Edwards treble in 1984; a Polly Curling treble in 1993. The little gelding Tijuca gained five Hunt race wins up to 1993. You might be sure that I backed him on another occasion when he unseated with the race at his mercy.

A lot of horses came from far afield over the years to run at the finale and quite a few Umberleigh fixtures decided the National and Area jockeys’ awards. In 2002 Evan Williams took champion jockey status when his Open win on Bonny Boy was enough to take the title from Julian Pritchard by 38 to 37. I remember that year well because when we arrived at the local pub that night, the Rising Sun, the Welsh boys were still singing and had eaten all the food. We ended up with bags of crisps to accompany champagne. It rained all the way home.

I remember chatting in the changing tent with Peter Greenall on the day he retired, not knowing that his sons Oliver and Tom would pick up champion jockey titles in future years. They were all quite regular visitors to Umberleigh, followed in due course by Jake. Quite a family dynasty.
Polly Gundry, who won the Ladies’ title eight times, and the late Richard Woollacott, who won the Men’s title in 2010 were also successful at the course, but young Michael Heard stole the headlines with a treble in the first three races in 2011.

Recent champions Will Biddick and Gina Andrews farmed the titles in very recent years and it was good to see them in action at Umberleigh. Local riders Darren Edwards, Jo Supple and Millie Wonnacott all won area titles in the past few years and celebrated in style at the track.

We look forward to a fantastic double celebration at Umberleigh in June 2021 – 50 years since the beginning of racing there and hopefully the end of the dreadful virus. It should be quite a party.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers, various years
  • The Pointer
  • Sporting Life
  • Sporting Chronicle
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – TIVERTON STAGHOUNDS

“Over 1000 feet above sea level with grand view of Exmoor,but grazed by sheep with resulting hazards for unsuspecting racegoers and falling riders”

MacKenzie and Harris – Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers

Despite the sheep droppings this is a grand point-to-point course, well suited on moorland turf for late season fixtures. The Tiverton Staghounds point-to-point would have been the penultimate fixture this season in the Devon & Cornwall area. For well known reasons this has not happened, so I am delving into the history books again to unearth some action from the past.

My first personal recollection of this hunt’s point-to-points was in 1980 when they raced at Bishopsleigh (40 years ago – seems like yesterday). The move to Bratton Down took place in 1988, but the point-to-point had taken place at many different locations going back well over a century
So in place of my usual race report for this week we go back to April 1991:-

TIVERTON STAGHOUNDS AT BRATTON DOWN 27th April 1991

Going; Good to firm

HUNT

1 Sell Up (Richard White)
2 Cricklewood Chris (Stuart Kittow)
6 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; 7m 1s; SP 5-1

OPEN

1 Ballyeden (Philip Scolfield)
2 Connate (Justin Farthing)
3 Another Lucas (Ian Widdicombe)
12 ran; 2l; 6l; 6m 9s; SP 5-1

LADIES OPEN

1 Thrales (Polly Curling)
2 Fandango Boy (Linda Blackford)
3 Tijuca (Mandy Turner)
6 ran; short head; 2l; 6m 9s; SP 4-7 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS

1 The Doormaker (Polly Curling)
2 Life Peerage (Steven Slade)
3 Archie’s Nephew (Justin Farthing)
12 ran; 2l; 1l; 6m 9s; SP 11-4

RESTRICED OPEN

1 Just Joshua (Alison Handel)
2 Master Tuesday (Chris Down)
3 Seal Prince (Justin Farthing)
18 ran; 1l; 1/2l; 6m 10s; SP 25-1

ADJACENT HUNTS MAIDEN

1 Happy Padre (Vivienne Nicholas)
2 Sailor’s Shanty (Rupert Nuttall)
3 Lady Ling C Burnett-Wells)
14 ran; 5l; 6l; 6m 10s; SP 11-4

The opening hunt race proved eventful as the two leaders missed a marker on the final circuit and gifted the race to Richard White on Sell Up, trained by his mother Tessa. Cricklewood Chris would probably have won but for running out and having to re-trace..

Justin Farthing (total of 26 winners) and Philip Scholfield (23 winners) fought out the jockeys title in 1991, but it was Philip who came out the best in the Open on the useful East Cornwall mare Ballyeden, from the yard of Ben Messer-Bennetts. It is great to see Philip’s son Nick Scholfield doing so well in the professional sphere. Connate was attempting a four-timer and was caught on the run in. This grey was saddled by Richard Barber for Commander Peter Longhurst, who trained as a British astronaut back in the day.

Polly Curling needs little introduction to pointing followers and was in the early stages of her career in 1991. Her double here was initiated by course specialist Thrales, who caught Fandango Boy in the last stride. The latter’s rider Linda Blackford went on to claim the lady jockey’s area award with 13 winners. The Doormaker also came with a typical late flourish up the stiff finishing climb to beat Life Peerage and Archie’s Nephew. Life Peerage was owned by Arnie Sendell who later owned Kingscliff. Archie’ s Nephew had given David Pipe his first race ride at Great Trethew. Polly’s two winners came from the local yard of the late Mike Trickey (himself a successful amateur jockey in his day). The Doormaker ran in the colours of Captain Tim Forster who loved his pointing in the Westcountry.

Subsequently three times champion jockey, Polly Curling rode 220 point-to-point winners in her career, plus prestigious hunter chases such as the Cheltenham Foxhunters ( Fantus).

I have plenty of personal anecdotes of Polly and venture to share just one or two here. I first encountered her when she was leading up a horse for Oliver Carter at Ottery St Mary as a youngster long before she had ridden in a race. I was taking paddock notes when Oliver Carter came up to me and said, “That girl leading that horse up will be champion jockey one day.” I thought what a stupid statement, have you been on the whiskey Oliver? However he had obviously spotted Polly’s early talent. How right he was.

A few years later I remember trying to interview one of the lady jockeys at the old Holnicote course. I was sneaking into the lady riders’ changing tent not noting their state of undress when Polly announced to her fellow jockeys, “Don’t worry girls it’s only Granville”.

Also, I won’t dwell on the time that Polly got a group of us thrown out of a pub near Exeter on the way back from the races. I think she was practising some rustic Anglo-Saxon language which upset the locals. Needless to say our group did not dare to use that pub again.

Back to reality, Polly’s double at Bratton was followed by lady jockeys cleaning up the other two races. Alison Handel on 25-1 chance Just Joshua held off the challenges of Chris Down and Justin Farthing to take the 18-runner Restricted Open. The Adjacent Maiden provided a first winner for Vivienne Nicholas on the family bred gelding Happy Padre, a half brother to that brilliant mare Mantinolas.

The history of the Tiverton Staghounds point-to-points goes back for well over a century. Under the title of Sir John Amory’s Staghounds, their early fixtures were shared with the Tiverton Hunt and Sir John Amory’s Harriers. In 1899 the joint meeting was held at Chevithorne Barton, and the following year at Gornhay, which included a water jump of the River Loman. A former Liberal MP, Sir John Amory was master of the Staghounds from 1896 to 1914. He changed his surname to Heathcote-Amory and, together with his family, will be well known in politics.

Joint fixtures continued up to the first world war at such locations listed in the books as Peadhill , Tiverton and Holmead. The 1912 to 1914 meetings saw a slight change of title to Captain H H Amory’s Staghounds with Sir John Amory’s Harriers and the Tiverton Hunt. No further fixtures were held until 1921.
The meeting on 9th April 1921 was the first time the name of The Tiverton Staghounds appeared on the card, combined with the Tiverton Hunt at Peadhill. This combination transferred their point-to-point to Pileywell, near Tiverton in 1924 and continued at that venue until 1939.
It was under the Tiverton Staghounds title only when the first fixture after the war took place at Thelbridge on 3rd May 1947. They raced at this venue until the course closed in 1958. It was on to Loosebeare Manor near Crediton until 1963, when they moved to Venford.

A further move took place in 1965, to Three Hammers, Worlington. The 1968 meeting there saw some top pointers competing in the Open. The winner Hope Again went on to win the Cheltenham Foxhunter in 1971; runner up Lizzy The Lizard (Tony Hartnoll) won the National Hunt Chase at the festival in 1969 ridden by Grant Cann, and third placed Far East II won a stack of races for Ivy Frank. Sadly Tony Hartnoll, the owner of Lizzy The Lizard passed away a few days ago.

The move to Bishopsleigh came on 16th May 1970, featuring a double for Grant Cann, with leading event rider Mary Gordon-Watson winning the Ladies’ on Barty. I remember my first visit to this rural course in 1980. Firstly I couldn’t find the place (only paper maps in those days), It was the middle of a dry spell and the ground was officially hard with very few runners. The favourite got beat a short head in the first. I backed the “winner” of the Restricted but it was disqualified and the two runners in the last both fell. On the bright side the Britton family had a double. The final Tiverton Staghounds fixture at Bishopsleigh was in 1987. They have been at Bratton Down from 1988 up to this day.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers – various years
  • Horse & Hound Year Book – various years
  • The Pointer
  • Sporting Life
    Sporting Chronicle
    History of the National Hunt Chase – Peter Stevens
  • Point-to-Point Calendar 1935 – 1938– Arthur W Coaten
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – EXMOOR

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882

The Exmoor Hunt was started by Mr Nicholas Snow of Oare in 1869, but I have no trace of any Exmoor point-to-point races until 5th May 1934. Kildare, ridden by Mr T Tozer of the Silverton won the Nomination race that year (basically the Open) from 15 opponents. He also won at the South Devon and Mr Spooner’s that season. The 1934 Exmoor fixture, and those of 1938 and 1939, took place at Bratton Down according to the form books. I am not sure whether it was the same course as today.

No further Exmoor hunt fixtures were held until 1953 when they raced at Thelbridge, which is between Crediton and South Molton. Another meeting was held at Thelbridge in 1954, but it was held at Bratton Down again from 1955 onwards, I think on the same track still used today. That makes Bratton Down one of the longest serving point-to-point courses in the country.
An exposed hill top course with lovely scenic views of the moor, this popular track with the public is triangular shaped with a stiff uphill climb to the judge. Three late season meetings are held there nowadays, and the times on quick ground are often under six minutes, but should not be compared with each other because the racing line varies for each meeting.
This week’s reminiscence about past Exmoor point-to-points took place on Saturday June 1st 1974:

Going Firm

HUNT

1 Credit That (Fred Rawle)
2 Heather Loch (Mrs P Johnson)
3 White Man (Gordon Edwards)
5 ran; 10l; 3l; 6m 8s

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Jim Hardy (Jenny Hembrow)
2 Epaulonia (Capt Brian Fanshawe)
3 Culmleigh Heath (Martin Sweetland)
6 ran; 4l; 1/2l; 6m 13s

OPEN

1 Cass (Kevin Bishop)
2 Moorland Venture (N Lethbridge)
3 Doctor Fred (Aubrey Fuller)
14 ran; 15l; 1l; 5m 53s

LADIES OPEN

1 Marshalsland (Fay Geddes)
2 Knockabitoff (Pip Fisher)
3 Orient War (Terri Pattemore)
12ran; 12l; 3l; 5m 48s

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Evens Bar (Capt Brian Fanshawe)
2 Liffey Breeze (Mark Reeves)
3 Perfidia (Michael Trickey)
7 ran; 10l; 10l; 6m 1s

Credit That was a good thing for the Hunt race, coming off his recent Holnicote win. Fred Rawle rode plenty of winners at Bratton and sailed clear on this promising youngster round the final bend.

Taunton based Jenny Hembrow was one of the top lady jockeys of the day, and evidently one of the most patient owners since she persuaded her Jim Hardy to get his head in front in the Adjacents’ after 49 consecutive defeats.

The Open winner Cass was a remarkable little gelding. The form books relate that he was bought for only 200 gns at Bridgwater Fair. I once asked his owner/rider Kevin Bishop to confirm that fact and he said it was absolutely true. The combination won eight of their 14 races in 1974. I remember Cass as a gritty type and superb jumper. I think he also appeared in the film The Belstone Fox. The grey mare Moorland Venture ran a promising race and became a decent pointer but was no match for Cass. Aubrey Fuller’s Doctor Fred will be remembered for giving 13-year-old Jimmy Frost his first ever winner at Lemalla in 1972.

Marshalsland was a prolific winning pointer, well handled by Fay Geddes. When he retired he had won 43 races including 16 at Larkhill. I think I am correct in saying that Marshalsland held the course record at Larkhill for many years. Knockabitoff was a decent pointer in Paul Tyler’s familiar maroon and grey colours, and went on to win plenty of races. Orient War was passed by Knockabitoff for second place on the uphill run in. This useful ex-chaser had won his first four races in 1974.

I cannot recall the exact qualifications for the Adjacent Hunts’ Moderate races in those days, but I had seen the winner here Evens Bar, owned by Ivy Frank, beat Capelena and Sparkling Lad in a Maiden earlier in the month on my first visit to the old Holnicote course (much of the home straight at Holnicote on light plough in those days). This second win when rules were different from today was achieved carrying a small penalty for winning her first Maiden just three days before at Bratton Down ( Stevenstone meeting). Her jockey Capt Brian Fanshawe was of course associated with The Dikler in his early races.

I must mention that the Horse and Hound Cup on the same day at Stratford was of equal interest to West Country fans. In one of the best fields ever assembled for that prestigious race, the star Cattistock hunter chaser Stanhope Street, ridden by Barry Venn and starting favourite, beat other top performers in Weathervane and Shraden Sparkle. Horses of the quality of Lucky Rock, Indamelia, Mighty Red and Credit Call were unplaced. I remember seeing Stanhope Street, ridden by Gillian Fortescue-Thomas, beat Zanetta in the Heythrop Ladies’ when it was run at the much missed Fox Farm.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers – Geoffrey Sale & Iain MacKenzie – various years
  • Horse & Hound Year Book – various years
  • The Pointer
  • Sporting Life (Michael Williams)
  • Baily’s Hunting Directory
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website
  • Point-to-Point Calendar 1933 – 1938– Arthur W Coaten

PPA June 2020 E-Newsletter

PPA June E-Newsletter is out now!In this latest edition, we update you on some of the key news and happenings in the point-to-point world, as plans progress for the 2020/21 season. This month we have for you:

– Update from Peter Wright
– BHA Integrity Education
– Update from PPRC
– P2P Quiz
– Website news features

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Moments of the Season
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GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – SOUTH TETCOTT

“Life moves forward. The old leaves wither, die and fall away, and the new growth extends forward into the light.

Bryant McGill, American author, “Voice of Reason

I was looking forward to the South Tetcott Spring Bank Holiday Monday fixture at Upcott Cross, but it was not to be this year. The point-to-point has settled there alongside the Eggesford since 2006, but it had been a moveable feast since the war. Here is a short description of its history.

The early South Tetcott meetings were held jointly with the Tetcott. From March 1924 the venue was Affaland Moor near Holsworthy, and this arrangement continued until the 1939 season. The star West Country horse in the early 1930’s was Mr Snip, an outstanding banking horse, bred by his owner Mr C T Nixon in North Devon. He won 0ver 20 races, including at this fixture each year from 1933 to 1936. Main Doctor was another good horse in the area and won at this fixture in 1937, 1938 and 1939 and remarkably went on to win three open nomination races in 1946.The leading West Country rider at that time was Mr F W B Smyth.

Joint meetings continued after the war, but from the fixture on 28th March 1946 until 1954 the fixture was held at Marhamchurch near Bude. The two point-to-points went their separate ways in 1955 when the Tetcott raced at Bradworthy on 17th March, and the South Tetcott went to Ashbury two weeks later.

This arrangement continued until foot and mouth led to cancelled fixtures in 1961, but the South Tetcott reverted to Ashbury, near Hatherleigh, in 1962 when that popular gelding Grand Morn II (R Bloomfield) won the Open. He went on to win the Cheltenham Foxhunter the following year. In those days it was run over the proper distance of four miles.

The 1963 meeting was lost due to the heavy snowfall that winter, and from then on several disruptions affected the fixture. In 1964 the venue was Kilworthy, but no fixtures were held after that until a new course at Beara Court, Highampton, hosted their first evening meeting on May 22nd 1968. The hunt race was a walk over, but jockeys such as Walter Dennis, Sue Aston, Colonel C R Spencer and Fred Rawle were amongst the winners.

The official times at the evening fixture at Highampton on May 21st 1969 reflected the shortness of the course. The Ladies’ Open went to Honey Ruff and Mrs K Huntley-Jones in 4mins 30 secs. The going was heavy ! Either the horses were Gold Cup standard or the track was very much shorter than the traditional three miles. I think it was the latter.

One of the leading point-to-pointers in the country won the Open Novice race there in 1970 which was sponsored by the Sale and Mackenzie annual. This was the Ledbury six-year-old Priceless Clown who won six times that year. Mrs Gaze’s gelding was ridden by Henry Oliver, and beat title seeking David Turner on Master Vesuvius that night in 4 mins 58 secs.

No fixtures were held between 1972 and 1984, but on Spring Bank Holiday Monday 1985 a new course was unveiled at Ashwater. This re-instituted fixture was originally scheduled for Grand National day but was washed out. The re-arrangement almost suffered the same fate but just survived the heavy rain. Ashwater was a narrow, rectangular course. I was there that day and remember backing Chris Down’s mount Pembridge in the last to give him a treble. The mare was pipped on the post and I got wet through. It was a funny little track and not the easiest for spectators. It was often beset with late season hard going, and only lasted until 1992.

More bad luck awaited in 1993 when a move to Jay’s Farm, Lifton was thwarted by waterlogging. This was quite a nice location on land owned by the Cornish comedian Jethro (who is still going strong because I went to his show at the Electric Palace, Bridport, six months ago, but that is not really relevant here). Jethro owned one or two pointers in those days. The hunt raced at Lifton until the move to the Upcott Cross course in 2006. This venue, shared with the Eggesford, is more of a stayers track and has permanent facilities. It is superbly maintained by the owners Ken and John Heard, who are great supporters of point-to-pointing.

The South Tetcott meeting for this week’s reminiscence is their first to take place at Lifton in 1994.

SOUTH TETCOTT AT LIFTON 30TH MAY 1994

Going: Good

HUNT

1 Royal Effigy (Richard Cole)

2 Catundra (David Jones)

3 Handsome Deb (Mrs C Isaac)

4 ran; dist; dist; 6m 25s SP 4-6 fav

OPEN

1 The Blue Boy (Damien Duggan)

2 Bluechipenterprise (Richard Darke)

3 Olveston (George Turner)

4 ran; dist; dist; 6m 4s SP evens fav

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Curraheen Lad (Tracey Brown)

2 Timber Tool (Alison Dare)

3 Sweet on Willie (Mandy Turner)

11 ran; 2l; 2l; 6m 6s SP 4-1

CONFINED

1 Buckingham Band (George Turner)

2 Bayford Energy (Ian Widdicombe)

3 Pharoah Blue (Claire Wonnacott)

15 ran; 5l; 6l; 6m 10s SP 2-1

INTERMEDIATE

1 Columcille (Richard White)

2 Beinn Mohr (Mandy Turner)

3 Anjubi (Stephen Slade)

9 ran; 3l; 4l; 6m 10s SP 4-1

OPEN MAIDEN

1 Sunwind (David Heath)

2 Aristocratic Gold (Mandy Turner)

3 Double Light (S Trotman)

14 ran; 3l; dist; 6m 23s SP 8-1

The Hunt race winner Royal Effigy was basically a non-stayer and found a weak opportunity here.

Damien Duggan was chasing the title that year. He formed a consistent partnership with the Peter Bowen trained The Blue Boy who had been a speedy hurdler for Martin Pipe and was now making hay as a pointer. Duggan failed by one to overtake Nick Bloom for the title. Bluechipenterprise had won his last three races for Richard Darke, but was readily outpaced here.

The Pembrokeshire gelding Timber Tool was a prolific pointing winner and was all the rage for a good Ladies’ Open with five times champion jockey Alison Dare in the saddle. This time however the favourite had to give best to the Edward Retter trained Curraheen Lad. The winner had shown good form with recent wins at both Flete Park meetings with Tracey Brown in the saddle. This time Tracey pounced entering the home straight to win going away.

George Turner, then 58 years old, was on his way to lifting the area title with 14 successes. Six-year-old Buckingham Band, stabled with his daughter Pauline Geering provided four of his winners although he was not the most fluent of jumpers. On this occasion Buckingham Band stayed on strongly to hold the sustained challenge of Bayford Energy and Ian Widdicombe.

Columcille was completing her seasonal hat trick in the Intermediate. I am old enough to remember her dam winning for Robert Alner (called Damside). By this time Harry Wellstead held the pointing licence for the yard and Columcille was the mount of Richard (Johnson) White, now a long standing part of the Philip Hobbs yard.

Owner-rider David Heath enjoyed his first winner on the well backed Sunwind (14’s to 8’s) in the Maiden where only four of the 14 runners finished.

ACKNOWLEGMENTS

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers, Mackenzie & Selby, various years
  • The Continuing Story of Point-to-Point Racing, Michael Williams
  • Point-to-point Calendar, Arthur W Coaten, various years
  • The Pointer
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Secretaries Association – the official area website

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