BONHAMS MEN’S OPEN:
This race was the first qualifier in a series of 20 races culminating in the final at Cheltenham in April. It featured two of the best point-to-pointers in the country in the shape of the prolific nine-year-old Penmore Mill and the Cheshire based What A Laugh, who had finished runner up in last year’s prestigious Lady Dudley Cup before a hunter chase success at Aintree.
The Warwickshire gelding Penmore Mill stripped fit with the benefit of his course victory last month. He was always odds-on in the ring with What A Laugh trading at around 7-4. This classy duo dominated the final stages of the race. Tom Ellis had Penmore Mill in front at an early stage and was chased by What A Laugh coming down the hill for the final time. I had the impression that What A Laugh was travelling better crossing the third last, but Penmore Mill would not be denied and held the inside position as his rival had to be switched to challenge round the final bend. Both horses jumped the last well but it was Penmore Mill who just proved the stronger on the run to the line. “He had to prove he was a good horse to go to the (Cheltenham) Foxhunter and did so today,” said owner Ken Hutsby, who added that a Musselburgh hunter chase would be his next race providing the ground is good. The runner up ran a gallant race in defeat with jockey Josh Guerriero reporting that, “he will improve for the race.”
LADIES’ OPEN (Charles Stanley)
Byerley Bear justified favouritism to capture his third Ladies’ Open in four weeks, this time with Leanda Tickle in the saddle. This tough and consistent nine-year-old jumped well to hold the late challenge of last year’s winner Mobaasher and King of Alcatraz.. Byerley Bear’s trainer Robert Chanin enjoyed a treble on this card last season and went on to repeat the feat this time. “The original plan for Byerley Bear was a Newbury hunter chase but he was bucking and kicking after being turned out on Monday and Tuesday after his Wadebridge win and the owner (Roger Knowles) was keen to come here”, said the trainer.
HUNT RACE (Philip Saunders Building Contractors Ltd)
Welstonedruid had set the Chanin ball rolling in a match for the hunt race, ridden by Robert’s son Ian who is now assistant trainer to Nick Williams in North Devon. Owners Andrew and Sue Knox have a nice staying prospect in Welstonedruid, who had won his maiden on this track last year. “He is a progressive horse who doesn’t show much at home but is different in a horse race,” explained the trainer.
INTERMEDIATE (J Edward Sellars)
The rain which had set in during the afternoon was quite intensive during this event. It did not stop Thorverton trainer Robert Chanin from saddling his third winner of the afternoon and his sixth of the season from just seven runners. The tongue tied Ned White took up the running at the second fence and strode clear of his five rivals on the final circuit. This time it was Tom Chanin in the saddle, pushing his mount well clear to score by 20 lengths from Ladfromhighworth.
OPEN MAIDEN DIVISION 1 (Jewson)
A field of 15 faced the starter in the first Open Maiden which saw Jo Buck ride her third winner of the season on Best Bide Quiet. Jo is edging towards her half century of pointing winners, and gave a confident ride to this improving six-year-old who appreciated every yard of this trip. “He was a bit weak last year but we always thought he was a nice horse,” said Lisa Jefford, who shares ownership with her trainer husband Leslie alongside Leslie’s father David and Stewart Bradley. Best Bide Quiet is by the Epsom Derby runner-up City Honours out of a winning Irish hurdler. He cost 4,500 euros at Goffs sales as a three-year-old.
OPEN MAIDEN DIVISION 2(Tincknell Devon Fuels)
The second division of the Maiden had to be split on the day with the times becoming progressively slower as the rain set in. Honours Insight gave 22-year-old Steve Croft his first winner. Steve gave a fine ride to this Milan gelding, trained by Camilla Scott for the aptly named Cash for Honours syndicate. The Liverpool born jockey said, “He blew up and galloped on. I have had 11 rides and worked for the Scott’s for four years. I look after Honours Insight as well as Melodic Rendezvous in the same ownership.
Cashwell put up an astonishing performance to win this division ridden by Stratford Upon Avon based Will Telfer. This Steve Flook trained gelding had been off the track for 22 months after showing only modest form over hurdles for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The seven-year-old was a fence in front at half way and never looked like being caught despite a few sloppy jumps. Connections have a Leicester hunter chase in mind.
RESTRICTED (Simpkins Edwards)
It would not be Black Forest Lodge without a winner from Wales and the Llangeinor qualified Patricktom Boru came from over the bridge to win the 14-runner Restricted. Evan David sent his mount to the front after the final ditch and held on well as Soul Native and The Crazy Crab gradually closed on him. “I bought him over the phone last July when he was withdrawn from the sales. “He was a naughty boy when he came but that has all changed and he loves his work now,” commented his Bridgend owner/trainer Roger Willcox., who was enjoying his first success at Black Forest Lodge.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
The following photographers were at the meeting: Brian Armstrong, David Strange, Equus Prints, and Tim Holt.
Sunday 19th January, Tiverton Point-To-Point, Chipley Park, between Milverton and Wellington. Now starting half an hour earlier than listed in the planner due to the volume of entries. The first race is now at 11:30