GRANVILLE TAYLOR REPORTS ON THE OPENING POINT-TO-POINT OF THE SEASON AT BLACK FOREST LODGE
The Black Forest Club meeting got the new season under way in reasonably pleasant December weather before a good sized crowd at Black Forest Lodge
A small but select field headed by the useful hunter chaser Penmore Mill. who had made the journey from Fred Hutsby’s Warwickshire base. The main opposition included last season’s Cheltenham hunter chase winner Charles Bruce and the former Willie Mullins trained The Midnight Club. It is not very often that a horse who has contested the Cheltenham Gold Cup and two Grand Nationals turns up at Black Forest Lodge. The Midnight Club started favourite in Ballabrigg’s National in 2011.
In the event this former Irish star struggled and was eventually pulled up by Will Biddick who reported that, “He needs a lot further than this and couldn’t handle the course.” Penmore Mill however could handle the course and turned in an impressive performance, skating home by 15 lengths after an excellent display of jumping under Tom Ellis. Despite looking burly, Charles Bruce ran well to finish runner up and will be seen to better effect over longer distances.
Penmore Mill is likely to be aimed at a Taunton hunter chase next month. Owner Ken Hutsby said, “He is not fully fit yet and has not done a lot of work. He is better on faster ground and his longer term aim this season is probably at Cheltenham in May rather than the Foxhunter.”
OPEN MAIDEN 3 MILES
The Hutsby yard have had their share of winners at this early meeting over the years and struck again when six-year-old Burtolli Boy was not hard pressed to take the first maiden section. Tom Ellis eased the winner past General Ross at the penultimate fence to score by seven lengths. This Kayf Tara gelding is owned by Leicestershire based John Burton who confided that he rides him out at home together with his daughter Anna before he goes back into training. “We bought him three years ago from the Dunraven Arms. We have had 10 winners but he has always been our favourite. He had a wind op in the summer,” added the owner.
The other division provided a memorable first winner for Cork born jockey Mikey Walton on his first ever race ride Just one day after celebrating his 19th birthday, the youngster, who works for Jonjo O’Neill, made all the running on six-year-old Testoftime, yet another Irish import. This Westerner gelding carried the famous McManus colours unsuccessfully in a few outings in his native country before being bought privately last May. His new home is at Butcombe near Bristol airport and he was also giving his owner/trainer Seamus Mackey his first winner. “Testoftime is the only pointer in at the moment. We built the yard ourselves and my wife events. We also specialise in re-training racehorses,” commented the successful owner/trainer.
OPEN MAIDEN 4 & 5 YEAR OLDS 2M 4F
Plenty of drama here. Six of the seven runners were making their debuts and the field crawled to the first fence where the two leaders promptly stopped and blocked the carriage way. Hannah Lewis was shunted out of the saddle from four-year-old Days Like These and the ensuing traffic jam saw the field shuffling round in strictly come dancing style. Dillydoo and Driftwood Haze scrambled over, only for Dillydoo to refuse and unseat Joe Ponting at the next. The favourite Mr Bingley had started slowly and worked his way through from his stalking position to take control of the race in the closing stages. Phew! Who would want to be a race reader in a point-to-point field. At least it wasn’t raining. Mr Bingley is stabled with Kayley Woollacott in the ownership of John Symes. Obviously John is a lucky man. “Mr Bingley was a wedding anniversary gift from my wife. I had intended to buy him but she gave me a card and it said Mr Bingley is yours.”
- 13 of the 14 runners in the Restricted finished the course with 25-year-old Sam Painting steering Credit Crunched to a very easy success. “It is lovely ground out there,” commented the jockey who rides out for Marcus Foley near Swindon. Credit Crunched is trained by Laura Thomas on behalf of her father Norman. Welstonedruid caught the eye in finishing fourth and this course winner can be noted for an early success.
- It would not be Black Forest without a strong Welsh contingent and two trophies found their way across the Severn Bridge. The Llangeinor qualified Cock of the Rock held on well under 19-year-old Bradley Gibbs to take the club race in the colours of David Brace. “We take him to the beach and he is very fit,” said assistant trainer Robbie Llewellyn on behalf of the owner who is on holiday in Barbados.
- The Llangeinor supplied first and second in the Intermediate with Tachbury making all the running to beat the favourite Waddingtown Hero by six lengths. Tachbury was the mount of Ed Barrett who is now based with David Pipe. Julie Williams owns and trains Tachbury near Bridgend. “He is the first one I bought four years ago. He can be quite naughty and I have to keep him sweet. I turn him out in the field two or three times a week.” Said Julie.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
REMEMBER the entries deadline for the next Point-To-Point in the Devon & Cornwall area, the Cornwall Club fixture, is 12 noon on Monday 9th December 2013.