I got through three soggy racecards by the fourth race as rain, hail and strong winds lashed the Cornish track. Plenty of deep mud, portable toilets blown away, and no Easter bonnets in sight.
Ironically a watery sun appeared over the horizon for the last race, but by then only ten spectators and a dog were left. Three bookies remained for the penultimate event of the nine-race card, but the intrepid trio had departed before the final race, so for the first time in my long point-to-point memory I was unable to return any SPs
The day had started with a divided Maiden for young horses with both sections run in atrocious conditions. Parlour Maid (1-2 fav) stepped up on her Quantock form to beat L’Ami Fou (solid 5’s) in the opener.
The favourite Limoncello (drifted 1-2 to 5-4) got stuck in the mud in the other division behind Syracuse’s Dream (7’s to 8’s). The winner, a first for Barnaby Treneer, had form over fences in France and appreciated the shorter trip. He started this race as a grey and finished brown. Eddie’s Pearl (6’s to 4’s) was a bit disappointing in fourth, but River Wye (6’s to 4’s) made a promising debut and was not knocked about.
A maximum field of 15 went to post for the older horses Maiden, also run over two and a half miles. The Teresa Clark trained Our Chief had been well backed on his previous outing, but eased from 4’s to 6’s here. This Old Vic seven-year-old had failed to last home at Cothelstone (3 miles) but was given a fine ride by Martin McIntyre to beat the favourite Rockinrolldixie (3’s to 7-4). The latter has joined Dean Summersby after a few placed efforts in Ireland.
The Mixed Open looked competitive with punters voting for the highly promising Master Baker (4-5 / 11-10). There was money for Absolutely Bygones (8’s to 5’s), but the Ed Walker yard is in great form and the useful Blazing Whale (2’s to 5-2) won as he liked. Biddick had gone for home at the top of the hill and had the race in safe keeping when Master Baker somersaulted at the last.
Ladyvie (10-1) provided an upset in the Novice Riders’ to give 16-year-old Thomasina Eyston her first winner on her first ride. Coombe Hill (7-4 to 2’s) ran his usual game race to finish second and he looks sure to give Millie Wonnacott a winning ride before long. The hot favourite Kirkleigh (4-6) normally relishes very soft ground but was done with at the top of the hill.
Follow The Paint (evens) was another beaten favourite in the Intermediate. Darren Edwards made an acrobatic recovery as Sonoftheking (7-4) blundered at the last, allowing Devon General (4-1) and Matt Hampton to take advantage on the stiff climb to the judge.
There was another close finish to the Restricted with Whatastormnorm (4-5 fav) just outstaying Mountain Cliché (6’s to 7’s) after the pair slogged it out from the second last.
The Hunt race produced an early shock as The Conjurer (1-2 fav) downed tools as early as the third fence. Lundy Sky (6-4 / 7-4) went on his merry way to give a first point-to-point winning ride to
21-year-old Joe Morris.
Shannan Star had her moment in the sun with a comfortable nine lengths success in the last. The mare stayed on gamely to hold King’s Bench against the eerie no betting background. It was like a silent movie. Luckily the judge stayed to watch.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
The following photographers were at the meeting: Marcus Bath and Athwenna Irons (Western Morning News).
- Spooners & West Dartmoor Point-To-Point, Cherrybrook, Sunday 3rd April 2016
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