Written by: Donna Harris
Point-to-Point enthusiasts head to East Devon next weekend, where racing action takes place at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary on Saturday March 5th. With the weather having been kind and the ground drying up nicely, the organisers have been able to access the course and prepare the track for another exciting day’s racing. This meeting usually heralds the first spring flush of bumper picnic crowds to enjoy a pretty course setting along with the quality seven race card which kicks off at 12 noon. Over 90 entries have been received.
The East Devon Associates-sponsored Members race heads up the action with the Robert Chanin-trained entry Kirkleigh looking hard to appose. Having won three Hunter Chases and eleven of his Point-to-Point starts including a win at this course last season, Kirkleigh has come back into form again winning the Devon National winners only race at Buckfastleigh two weeks ago. Delta Borget from the Les Jefford team is another horse coming into form having won a Hunter Chase at Taunton in February and could be the one to challenge Kirkleigh. Delphi Mountain for trainer/jockey Emma Watson won this race last season and will want to fend off the challenges and put up a bold bid.
Last seasons National male champion jockey Will Biddick enjoyed riding a treble here last season, and has been booked to ride here again with Athreeothree for the Jack Barber team in the County Leisure-sponsored Open Maiden for four, five and six year olds. The combination have run second in all four of their starts to date and look sure to progress from Maiden company soon. Vila Cova is another suggestion who could run well for local trainer Ed Walker, owned by the Otter Club, the horse has had the benefit of an outing at Wadebridge when running well until fading on final circuit under jockey Matt Hampton.
Ed Walker will be looking to score with a win in the M Pidsley (Devon Straw Man) sponsored Mixed Open race with entry Blazing Whale to add to their Men’s Open win at Wadebridge last month, coming home ahead of Double Bank and Doctor Braveheart that day. Batu Ferringhi is a previous course winner here for the Claire Hitch team and could go well fresh. Rebel du Maquis is a previous Hunter Chase winner at Cheltenham and could go well for owner/trainer Chloe Roddick if finding his old form.
Follow The Paint after her win at Wadebridge, is a suggestion in the Exeter Racecourse-sponsored Intermediate race which has attracted 14 entries. The mare goes well for jockey Jo Buck who also looks to have the option of riding the Lisa Jefford-trained Master Baker, who looks dangerous having clocked up two wins this season, one when 25 lengths ahead of their nearest rival at Milborne St Andrew and also at Buckfastleigh when sent off odds on favorite. The outside raider Coeur Brule could figure, having run a good second in a Hunter Chase at Fontwell last season behind Full Throttle on soft going. With the progressive North George not to be left out of the equation if coming out well from his neck Restricted win at Lydstep for jockey Byron Moorcroft.
The PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders, sponsored by Ford Simey, could go the way of Devon based owner/trainer and jockey Bronwyn Buttery on the Dr Massini-sired Doctor Henry. The combination will be looking to make amends for their unseat at Black Forest Lodge in January, they had previously run five lengths second behind Premier Portrait in November. Maller Tree for jockey Christopher Ward is another to consider, having run well when one and a half lengths second at Barbury last month in a race won by Argentato, they could go close.
Earthpower for the formidable Jack Barber/Will Biddick combination won his Maiden here last season and looks to be the likely favorite in the Harris Timber-sponsored Restricted race after their head second at Barbury last month. Captain Camelot is another outside raider who looks progressive have run well in third at Black Forest Lodge. Downtown Manhatten is a course winner at this track on his only outing to date for trainer Claire Hitch.
The final race of the day is an Otter Brewery-sponsored Open Maiden race for seven year olds and over, and of the 19 entries Grey Dream after his third at Black Forest Lodge, and Miss Weld who ran second behind Earthpower here last season, are just two suggestions for the short list.
On course facilities include hot food, refreshments, bar, bookies and plenty of trade stands. Superb track side viewing.
Entrance is £10 per car one occupant. £20 car and two occupants. £30 per car with three plus occupants. £5 Pedestrians. Children under 15 free. Dogs on leads welcome.
Course is located at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary. Postcode EX11 1RJ
Met Office 5 day forecast: Ottery St Mary, 1.2 miles from EX11 1RJ
BBC Travel News: Devon
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