The 88 runners at Bratton Down vastly overshadowed the number of runners at the other seven British point-to-point fixtures at the weekend (Clifton-On Teme could only muster a turn out of 24)
So the scene was set for plenty of betting activity and punters soon got down to action. It was surprising to see The Persuader backed from 8’s into 3-1 fav for the opener, presumably on the strength of his Stevenstone maiden win. He was soon struggling in the rear and the grey seemed ill at ease before Bryony Frost pulled him up at the 15th fence. Nothing could stop record seeking Will Biddick, who would not be denied on course winner Bernshaw (9-2 touched 5’s), locally trained by Claire Hitch. Golden Squirrel (10-1) has been knocking at the door in this class recently and ran on really well to finish second.
There was a very tight finish to the first section of the Bob Pittard Memorial Maiden. Bob would have relished the result as Highland Thistle in first time blinkers became the longest price winner of the season in the area. His previous form figures of ppppp did not exactly inspire confidence and resulted in a 66-1 SP return. Nevertheless the sturdy chestnut won on merit and battled on gamely up the hill to hold the promising Looking For Mick (20s to 16’s) and the well fancied Barber debutant Drift Wood (6-4 to 5-4).
Bugsie Malone (5-4 to evens) retrieved £170 of his 80,000 euros purchase price in the second Maiden division after a spirited battle with The Mystro (9-2 touched 5’s). Biddick needed all of his guile to get Bugsie Malone home in front, but the Mahler youngster was very green and we can expect significant improvement.
Bellflower Boy was solid at 13-2 / 7-1 in the four miles Mixed Open. Bryony Frost timed her challenge to perfection, coming from fourth to first in a sweeping run up the hill to gain a head verdict over Cecile De Volanges (5-2 from 3’s). Both had good recent winning form over four miles. Connections have left the headgear off the winner in his recent races and this tough old campaigner can never be dismissed. Third placed Right Enough (16-1) seems to be running into form and might pick up a race before the end of the season.
Otis Tarda was given a vintage Biddick ride to win the Intermediate. Despite drifting out to 10-1 the winner cruised to the front on a tight rein approaching the final fence. He eventually held on by a neck in a driving finish with Fourstar River (4-1), after carrying his rival to the right inside the last 150 yards.
I thought that Queens Bay (Will Biddick) would be my bet of the day in the last race. Despite being absent from the track for nearly a year this classy mare opened at only 5-4 before closing in to evens. I cannot run fast enough these days so missed the cream of the odds. She won of course so well done Will Biddick – what a day.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
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