The icy blast known as the chill factor turned into the snow factor at Treborough Hill when the Dulverton Farmers meeting had to be abandoned after the fourth race. Light snow started to fall during the second race, but a blizzard driven in by the wind off the Bristol Channel soon saw the snow settling and the decision to call off racing became inevitable.
The day had started well for punters when course winner Deb’s Dasher (Robbie Henderson) just held off Takamaru to win the Hunt race. “The ground was not ideal for him today because he likes the sunshine. He will probably go to Kilworthy next but will return to summer jumping later,” reported trainer Kayley Jones.
Darren Edwards had gone close on Takamaru in the opener and went one better when Piroulet landed the two and a half miles Maiden for the Notre Cheval Partnership. Cavite Gama tried to make all the running but was collared by the winner at the second last. Piroulet was placed on the flat in the French provinces but failed to reach a place over jumps for Philip Hobbs. The seven-year-old is now the only pointer in the care of former champion lady rider Polly Curling.
John Daniell is only small but ran on gamely in the hands of Amanda Bush to win the Confined from the fast finishing Dashing John. Trained and home bred from a long family of point-to-point winners by Amanda’s mother Ollie, John Daniell is named after the legendary jockey who rode 175 pointing winners, was champion rider in 1961, and is now in his nineties.
Driving snow virtually obliterated viewing for the four-miles Mixed Open, but it did not stop River Indus who just held off the proven stayer King’s Wood. The winner was giving jockey Lee Drowne his second success in the past seven days for Pat Bryant’s Motcombe yard. River Indus, now 13-years-old, won five times for Bob Buckler in his prime and now races in the colours of Larks Racing Club. The grueling conditions for this event were well illustrated since the winner’s time was about 30 seconds slower than last year’s Grand National. The stewards’ decision to abandon racing came as a relief to frozen spectators and jockeys alike. “The snow was balling up in the horses feet and it was getting slippery”, said Jo Buck