WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR
“Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way” – King Lear – William Shakespeare.
Yes, don’t be misled because of one nice early point-to-point day in February.
THE testing conditions at the Royal Cornwall Showground brought out the best in Sobre Tresor, who was clocking up his sixth course win at Wadebridge when taking the Men’s Open in remarkable fashion.
The 11-year-old looked a forlorn hope as Welsh travellers Desertmore View and Doctor Braveheart raced neck and neck for the lead over the third last. This pair still held a healthy ten lengths advantage over Sobre Tresor entering the home straight, but Sobre Tresor ran on like a lion up the hill to collar his tired rivals inside the last 75 yards to win going away.
The winner was providing Ben Godfrey, who works in the Harry Fry yard, with his second career success. A 16-year-old pony racing graduate, the young rider had enjoyed his first success on the same horse on his first point-to-point ride last season “The leaders went too quick. I could see they were stopping and my horse stays all day.” explained the rider after a particularly cool performance.
The ultra game Sobre Tresor has now won 11 times in the colours of his owner Ros Newman, and is trained at Woolminstone, Somerset, by her daughter Chloe.
The Cornish air evidently suits Somerset trained horses because Village Whispers, also stabled at Woolminsone near Crewkerne, took the 13-runner Open Maiden. This provided a first career success in the saddle for 20-year-old Chloe Emsley, who sent her mount Village Whispers well clear round the final bend to score comfortably after a good display of jumping. The young jockey has worked for trainer Anthony Honeyball near Mosterton for four years and rents a box to train Village Whispers in the Woolminstone yard across the valley. She said, “I go over there at lunch time and in the evenings. I pulled him up going to the last at Chipley last week and he has come on for that run. It is so hilly there which has helped me get him a lot fitter.” A long standing maiden, Village Whispers is obviously no rock star but he has snippets of form. Nigel Anderton heads up the four-strong Whisky Friday Partnership, who acquired their winner privately last year. He said, “We had a four hour drive from Hayling Island to Cornwall to watch him win today.”
The six runners in the Ladies’ Open kept close company for much of the trip until There’s No Panic – formerly with Paul Nicholls and now stabled with Mike Biddick- was sent for home round the final bend by Pippa Glanville. A determined effort up the final hill however saw Ohio Gold get home by a short head to deny There’s No Panic, with Mic’s Delight staying on late into third. Marie McGuinness trains 11-year-old Ohio Gold for owner David Churches. His jockey, 24-year-old Natalie Parker, who works for the Philip Hobbs yard said, “I never really felt happy but he is gritty and tough. He likes the soft and responded and tries”.
The judge was also well tested in the Confined event, awarding a dead heat as Before The War (Josh Newman) and Robin De Souza (Darren Edwards) reached the line in unison. This was an action replay of their clash on this track last month when Before The War had just prevailed. Josh Newman said “I thought I had just got up,” but the closeness of the encounter was illustrated when Robin De Souza’s rider related, “I am not sure. I might have just held on but it was very tight.”
Yet another short head verdict saw Darren Edwards in the winner’s enclosure again as the Dean Summersby trained Rockinrolldixie pounced on Great Camanoe late home in the Intermediate. One of the winner’s four joint owners, Nick Banks, nominated the South Pool Harriers Confined at Buckfastleigh as the next likely objective for the ever improving gelding. “He is also qualified for both Exeter and Cheltenham” (hunter chases), he added.
The winning jockey was taking his tally into double figures for the season with this success to lead the National jockeys’ title, but had to settle for the runner-up berth when Air Glider just failed to secure a Summersby training treble in the Restricted.
This time Welsh challenger Pink Eyed Pedro kept on gamely to deny Air Glider Winning rider Byron Moorcroft was opening his account for the season on the David Brace owned and trained six-year-old. The 28-year-old winning jockey is combining ridden with training this year with a ten strong string at Cowbridge.