It was just like the old days at Buckfastleigh racecourse, but nowadays the background is the old rundown stand looking like a deserted ghost ship gazing on us forlornly on the hill.

I doubt whether any of the massive modern day crowd on Sunday noticed this. They certainly couldn’t have missed the long row of bookmakers on a day blessed with perfect February weather. The going was very testing.

14 runners in the first race sent us straight into battle. Leading fancies KIRKLEIGH (11-4 from 3’) and INDIANA BAY (5-2 fav from 3’s) fought out the finish with Kirkleigh coming out on top. Both will win more races. COCKNEY TRUCKER was rated 142 at his best for the McManus / Hobbs team but is in the veteran stage now and came off a long break to run at Larkhill last month. He had his backers here (16’s to 12’s) and was not disgraced in finishing fourth

The Intermediate featured the biggest field (19) in a British point-to-point this season. I was very taken with the winner IMPACT AREA (a solid 3-1 fav). The sturdy grey was always going well and ran on well to hold the strong finishing ROSEYROO ( 5-1 from 7-2).

STEELTOWN‘S narrow defeat by subsequent hunter chase winner Coombe Hill at the Silverton made him a popular choice in the featured West Country Champion Chase. Kayley Woollacott’s charge was backed from 5-2 to 13-8 fav, but he was back pedalling from three out behind BLAZING WHALE (2-1 out to 7-2)

DICKY BOB’S Maiden success owed much to his rider Tom Chanin’s acrobatic recovery at the penultimate fence. Backed from 4-1 to 5-2, the combination finished with reins and stirrups dangling after that blunder and just had enough in reserve to hold the favourite PETERBROWN (5-2 to 9-4).

Favourites obliged in each division of the Mares and Fillies Maiden (divided on the day). MISS GOTAWAY (evens – 4-5) looked a promising stayer in winning  her section in 7 minutes 32 seconds. ZIGGERSON HILL (3’s into 2’s) was following in the hoof prints of her half sister Miss Ziggerson, who had won this same event in 2005.

IT’S ALL OR NOTHING had the layers wiping off his 10’s. 8’s and 6’s in quick succession in the concluding Restricted. Having settled at 5-1, the grey ran well for a long way until getting tired, leaving INFAMOUS GROUSE (6’s to 5’s) to fight off CARHENEY RIVER (7-4 to 2-1 fav) and survive an objection in a spirited battle to the line.