Two odds-on favourites were beaten at a mercifully dry Chipley Park. I always take my wellys and leggings there and expect a mud bath but not this time.
It was about a score draw between bookies and punters in the end as one or two nicely backed horses took some cash out of the ring,
- There was a bit of a shock in the opener. I thought Robin Will was a knocker at 10-11 but he came up a bit short when push came to shove. We should have known that Mary Sanderson’s familiar orange colours should not be opposed in the Members’ and her Blinding Lights duly obliged backed from 4’s to 3’s. The sporting venture of 52-year-old Alex Muirhead in getting his mount round to finish 5th on his first ride on Weston Lodge (8-1) in this event was a brilliant advert for ground roots pointing. He is sponsored by the City of Exeter Pipes and Drums, wears tartan colours, and I could swear I could hear loud cheers from the band on each circuit
- Despite an advance of three years, Bien Connu was all the rage for the Restricted, being cut from 4-1 to 5-2 joint favourite. He was on his toes in the preliminaries and battled on gamely in a tight finish between the first five which had your race reader tearing his grey hair out. The other joint fav, Shanks A Bunch (3’s to 5-2) was in contention until fading in the home straight and blundering over the last two jumps. Cecile De Volanges was also involved in the driving finish (10’s to 6’s) and looks sure to take a Restricted.
- Certain Flight was heavily supported to follow up last year’s win in the Mixed Open (4-6 to 1-2) with “G and T” holding out at 4-7 for the longest. Will Biddick’s mount would have been 1-20 on Betfair when swinging along after the third last, but Parkam Jack (easy to back at 10’s and 12’s) was having none of it and just outstayed his rival. I’m The Article (from Jack Barber’s Bien Connu yard) attracted late support from 14’s to 10’s but ran as if he needed the race (absent since 2013).
- Jepeck may have been fibbing about his age in the race card, but this son of Westerner looked outstanding in the paddock and duly stepped up to Intermediate class with little fuss. Backed from 11-4 to 5-2 fav, he already looks hunter chase material.
- Lucette Annie could not be opposed in the Mares race and 2-5 and 4-9 just about summed up her superiority over four rivals. Lady Annabel was backed into 12’s and this well bred mare may give her owner/trainer Mark Shears a come back winner before the season is out.
- Only two horses were seriously backed in the first Maiden and they fought out the finish. Just Imagine It was having only the second run of his career and was the subject of substantial support from 7-4 to evens. This Kayf Tara six-year-old is still green and had to give best to the street wise General Girling ( 2’s to 5-2) as they locked horns on the run in. The form looks decent as they drew away from their rivals.
* Follow The Paint (2’s to 7-4) had started favourite on both her runs at Wadebridge and again had to settle for a placing in the concluding Maiden. Porlock Bay traded at odds-on on the strength of his good Larkhill run, but could not cope with a very game effort from 8-1 chance Midnights’mischief (yes funny spelling ).
Sunday 1st February 2015, Mid Devon Point-To-Point, Black Forest Lodge.
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- Sponsors recognise appeal of point-to-pointing