Although Buckfastleigh closed its doors as a licenced racecourse in August 1960, this historic old course still provides a marvellous setting for point-to-points.
Oldies will know that they used to go right handed in the past, but they race left handed now. The original grandstand is sadly just a relic. Nevertheless, the course still basks in a glorious setting with fine viewing for the two point-to-point meetings held at this venue each season.
The February South Pool meeting had to be postponed for a week this year due to the never ending wet winter, and as so often happens with rescheduled fixtures, the quantity of runners and the crowd numbers appeared to suffer. The going was very testing but the track was in exceptional condition and the fences looked superb. There was a strong betting market.
The first three short priced favourites were all beaten, but punters struck back with three successive winning favourites to earn a score draw.
Jepeck (9-4 from 5-2) turned the tables on his Chipley conqueror Blinding Lights (6-4 to 5-4 fav) in the opening Confined (3lbs and 7 lbs penalties respectively) Blinding Lights eventually finished third behind runner up Delphi Mountain (3lbs extra), who drifted slightly from 2-1 to 9-4. This trio should certainly figure again before the ground dries up.
Kernel Victor (6-4 to 7-4) is a promising stayer, and followed up his Milborne St Andrew win at the expense of the Welsh trained Oscar mare Frelia, who was backed from 7-4 into 5-4 fav at the off. Kernel Victor was always travelling well and won comfortably although Frelia was doing her best work on the run-in.
The £1,000 Mixed Open is the Devon & Cornwall Area classic race for winners only. The race featured an ultra game staying performance from Kirkleigh who attracted support from 5’s to 3’s and deserves a gold medal for guts. Tom Chanin had him out in front from flag fall and he bravely fought off the challenges of Dicky Bob (6-4 to 4-6) and Indiana Bay (9-2/5’s). Last year’s winner Blazing Whale (9-4 – 11-4) finished fourth without threatening the principals.
The tide turned for punters in the Confined Maiden (yes, strictly a race for the home team). Tom Chanin employed hold up tactics this time on Whatastormnorm (7-4 to 5-4 fav) and a well timed run did the business. Arcs Abound (solid 8-1) kept on well to deprive newcomer County Road of the runner up spot. Arcs Abound’s dam won eight points so he has a bit to live up to. County Road was seen as 5’s in a place before contracting to 2-1 and looks a winner in waiting when he learns a bit more about the game. His half brother has been successful over hurdles for Tim Vaughan this season. The eight minutes recorded for this race can be ignored because the eight runners stood frozen on the spot for 20 seconds before trundling off.
Sophie Lacey’s youngster Bells On Sunday had been well backed on her racecourse debut at Milborne over a shorter distance, and relished the stamina test in the 11 runner Mares race when a well supported 2-1 favourite. Midnight Queen (8-1) showed promise on her debut to chase home the winner. Her dam was a point-to-point winner.
The dice again rolled the punters way in the getting out stakes with in-form Jo Buck steering Master Baker (4-5 fav after 6-4 in a place) to a resounding victory. He will win again. Annwyl was backed from 16’s to 8’s and this mare was well in touch until fluffing the third last.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
- Sunday 28th February 2016, Mid Devon Point-To-Point, Black Forest Lodge, Kenton, nr Exeter
- Saturday 5th March 2016, East Devon Point-To-Point, Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary
- Sunday 13th March 2016, Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers Point-To-Point, Buckfastleigh
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