When the carpet of bluebells around Flete Park are in full bloom, it is a sure sign that we are entering the closing month or so of the point-to-point season. The bluebells are thriving this year, and so is point-to-pointing in the Devon & Cornwall region. Car Parks packed again- okay it’s Bank Holiday Saturday but Plymouth Argyle are at home.
Punters packed the narrow space between the running rails and the bookmakers’ pitches, and the layers could hardly keep pace with business.
I couldn’t choose between Cloudy Lady and Druid Spitfire in the opening Maiden and you can guess what happened……I backed Druid Spitfire (2’s out to 7-2) and he was beaten a short head by the pretty grey lady (6’s into 7-2). The veteran maiden Crackon Pop (2-1 fav) was closing when crashing out at the second last and could atone before the end of the season.
The 2-1 joint favourites Polo The Mumm and Syracuse’s Dream, each originally sourced from France, fought out the finish of the Restricted. It has been a long time between drinks for Polo who had made a sparkling English debut at Great Trethew last March, but has been below par since. Running tongue tied, Hannah Welch on Polo The Mumm just beat her cousin Barnaby Treneer.
By now a scrum of punters were queuing to get on and queuing to get paid. The Four miles Ladies’ Open favourite, Blazing Buck, proved the next headache for the layers. Superbly ridden by Hannah Lewis, the Caerphilly gelding jumped past Bellflower Boy (2’s to 3’s) at the last to win going away. Pay out queues again. Spare a thought for Jo Buck who suffered a nasty fall four out when moving forward on Cecile De Volanges (3’s to 7-2). Quite a delay whilst Jo is taken off to Derriford hospital, Plymouth.
It was a pity that only two went to post for the Men’s Open. Next Oasis (5-2 touched 11-4) looks a lovely sort, but failed to trouble Blazing Whale ( 1-5 / 1-6).
The Novice Riders’ event looked more competitive. Mic’s Delight drifted from opening offers of 6-4 to 2-1 but held favouritism. Jennifer Davenport made a bold bid on Mic’s Delight, who had run well on this track in a better race two weeks ago, but The Dapper Fox (3’s to 5-2) once again found an extra gear and was in command from two out under Cullompton farrier Jack Veysey.
L’Ane Fou was backed from 6-4 to evens in the two and a half miles Maiden and duly obliged under Josh Newman. She had looked a winner in waiting in her previous two outings, and her in-form jockey exuded confidence throughout the race. She can win again.
The concluding Confined race saw a neck and neck finish. Gershwinner (4’s out to 10’s) had looked in trouble a long way out, but Merv Woodward never gives up and galvanised his partner to throw down a challenge on the short run-in. It proved too short though and Sucker Punch (9-4 to 7-4) held on by a whisker to give Josh Newman his first four-timer, all from the Ottery St Mary yard of Ed Walker.
A lovely venue for pointing – with memories of years gone by. The late Lord Mildmay of Flete was a champion amateur after the second world war and was responsible for persuading the present Queen and the Queen Mother to take an interest in steeplechasing.
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: Baths Photographic (Marcus Bath) and Megan Cobley
- Sunday 8th May 2016, Four Burrow, Trebudannon, St.Columb Major, Newquay
- Sunday 15th May 2016, Dulverton West, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor
- Wednesday 18th May 2016, Eggesford, Upcott X, Halwill Junction, Holsworthy
- Sunday 22nd May 2016, Exmoor, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor
- Bank Holiday Monday 30th May 2016, South Tetcott, Upcott Cross, Halwill Junction, Holsworthy
- Sunday 5th June 2016, Tiverton Staghounds, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor
- Saturday 11th June 2016, Torrington Farmers, Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh, Barnstaple
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