WHAT A MESS! – controversy reigned in the Chipley Park mud. Bookmakers had already paid out by the time a stewards’ enquiry had been announced for the Novice Riders’contest. Subsequently the odds-on favourite PREMIER PORTRAIT, who had been announced as the winner after passing the post three quarters of a length ahead of KIRKLEIGH, was disqualified.
The disqualification had become inevitable when the clerk of the scales reported that the favourite’s young rider had not passed the scales.
We have seen this saga on a few rare occasions in point-to-points up and down the country in the past. A horse is disqualified – bookmakers may have paid out on the original winner – oops, backers of the original runner-up, now the winner, claim their winnings – if they haven’t thrown away their tickets. The integrity of punters who collected on the original result – now the loser- is tested- will they return their ill gotten gains?.
Here are a few comments I heard after the Chipley Park episode:-
“Thanks to the people who gave their money back,” was one of the bookies comments.
However several layers were not so enthused: three bookmakers related similar stories; “A few regular punters paid us back and thanks to those who did. Some were not so honest.”
It became apparent that at least a four figure sum had been pocketed on the original result, as bookies then started to pay out on the promoted horse.
The original “winner” PREMIER PORTRAIT (1-2 to
4-6), disqualified for not weighing in, therefore gave way to runner-up KIRKLEIGH (6-4 to 7-4). LUNDY SKY was a lively outsider from 20’s to 10’s but failed to finish. BOOKS REVIEW (9’S TO 8’s) showed something of his old ability, making steady progress from the rear to reach a place.
The two best backed horses of the quartet fought out the finish of the opening Hunt race: BLINDING LIGHTS (6-4 to 5-4) was winning this particular race for the third time for Mary Sanderson. (shades of her good old horse Jabiru who won it five times). It was not all plain sailing though for Blinding Lights and he was fully tested all the way up the home straight by the runner up JEPECK (drifted from 4-6 TO 4-5).
The favourite STONY ROAD (2’s to 7-4) came right away from his rivals approaching the last in the 13-runner Restricted. POLO THE MUMM (easy to back at 16-1) has been in the doldrums since a sparkling debut in this country at Great Trethew last March. He ran very well here under Hannah Welch to finish second in his first time tongue tie. Third placed TEMPLESTATEFLORESCO (2’s to 5-2) is sure to win a Restricted, but an eye catcher here was WOTZIZNAME (5-2 to 2’s) who travelled like a dream trying to repeat his Larkhill victory when crashing out at the 13th fence.
The £1000 Mixed Open attracted some classy pointers. ASK THE WEATHERMAN (1-2 – 4-7 fav, touched 8-13) and DICKY BOB (4’s to 3’s) raced stride for stride from the bottom bend before Ask The Weatherman produced the better jump at the penultimate and asserted as his rival tired. It will be interesting to see whether the winner’s connection try to gain a Cheltenham Foxhunter qualification. Dicky Bob’s next outing is likely to be at Buckfastleigh in February. There was money for I’M ALL SET (16’s to 5’s) who was pulled up after showing prominently for a long way. ONE MORE TUNE was also backed (20’s
to 14’s), but was also pulled up in the closing stages. Hunter chase winner DOUBLE BANK (6’s out to 8’s) was presented with a stiff task with his 10lbs penalty and will strip fitter for the race.
The Welsh mare MY CORANNA varied between 1-2 and 4-7 before just fending off SEA BEAR (4’s to 2’s) in the five-runner Intermediate. This pair looked at home on the soft ground.
Only four turned out for the Mares’ race in which POSH TOTTY was a hot number for Will Biddick at 2-5 (touched 1-2 and 1-3). Jack Barber’s consistent chestnut looked certain to win jumping the last, but emptied out quickly on the incline to the post allowing WHENHARRYMETSALLY (steady at 2’s) to mug her near the finish.
Punters could not choose between ARMCHAIR HERO (touched 5-2) and ATHREEOTHREE (opened 5-4), who shared favouritism at 7-4 at the off in the Open Maiden. In the event the drifter PAULS CONN (2’s to 4’s) proved the strongest. There is never a dull moment in the Chipley mud and ATHREEOTHREE and PAULS CONN fought out the finish – literally. With the pair rolling about into each other, this little bit of argy bargey on the run in brought the stewards’ into action but no sanctions were applied. BEACON BAY, a nice type by Karinga Bay, was backed from 16’s to 8’s and showed fair promise.
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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