The advent of three Bratton Down meetings generally signals the beginning of the end of the point-to-point season – just four weeks to go in the Devon & Cornwall area after five and a half months.
The 16 layers just about came out on top with a couple of odds-on shots going down the pan on a sunny afternoon which attracted a decent sized crowd to what seems the summit of Exmoor (over 1,000 feet with stunning views)
Fast ground specialists ruled with sub six minutes times suggesting a very sharp “ three miles”.
The disappointing Dark Gesture (7-2 to 5-2 fav), Askers Lad (7’s to 11-2), and Don’t Wait For me (12’s to 8’s) saw punters money go astray in the first, won by Templestatefloresco (8’s touched 9’s) – given a good ride by the under rated Leanda Tickle.
The Bob Pittard Memorial Maiden became a race reader’s nightmare with many of the 12 finishers sweeping past the post in a group. This course is not the best for us poor mortals who do that job – thank goodness for a glimpse of Jeff Guyett’s video afterwards to get things right. There was no doubt about the winner though because Martin McIntyre sent Fountains Cider (11-4 to 9-4) clear on the climb to the post to win easily.
The third race winner What About Will (6’s to 5-2) was the best backed winner of the day. A positive ride from Vicky Wade did the trick as the blinkered Pierre gelding just held on as Ballybough Gorta (5’s to 6’s) finished strongly and got to within half a length on reaching the judge.
Cinevator (firm 1-2 fav) looked a certainty in the PPORA Riders Conditions race (an excellent innovation for riders with less than 10 winners). The only dead certs are in the cemetery however and the idling Cinevator only just held on as Kostaquarta (5-2 out to 100-30) thrust near the post.
The classy Bucks Bond was a drifting favourite (out to 5-4) in the four miler, and failed to see out the trip. Reliable Richie (4s to 6’s) went for home some way out, but the eventual winner, Cecile De Volanges (4’s to 9-2) and runner up Fourstar River (3’s to 6-4) had the race between them on the climb for home. They rolled into each other like prize fighters inside the last 100 yards with the mare Cecile just squeezing through between her opponent and the rails to gain the verdict near the line.
The final two races sent the bookies home smiling: Back In June (1-2 fav) was beaten on the line by Uber Alles (4’s to 5’s) in the Intermediate, and Whenharrymetsally (4-7 fav touched evens) came out second best behind the New Forest challenger Marlpit Oak (6-4 out to 2’s) in the concluding Mares Race.
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: Mark Johnston (Sportography), Athwenna Irons (Western Morning News), Tim Holt, Marcus Bath, and Roger Peaple
- Today, Eggesford, Upcott X, Halwill Junction, Holsworthy
- Sunday 22nd May 2016, Exmoor, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor [etickets available]
- Bank Holiday Monday 30th May 2016, South Tetcott, Upcott Cross, Halwill Junction, Holsworthy
- Sunday 5th June 2016, Tiverton Staghounds, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor [etickets available]
- Saturday 11th June 2016, Torrington Farmers, Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh, Barnstaple
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