GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – EAST CORNWALL POINT-TO-POINT AT GREAT TRETHEW, SUNDAY 26TH FEBRUARY 2017

A low key start to the afternoon saw only two runners contest the Hunt race, with Katkolys landing restrictive odds of 1-4 with little fuss. His sole opponent Fiddlesticks (6-4 to 7-4) was easily brushed aside in the final mile.

Despite a strong wind, it stayed dry for the early part of the afternoon when each of the Maidens – for four to six-year-olds, and seven-year-olds and over had to be divided on the day.

The young horse event provided a real puzzle for both bookies and punters, with a sprinkling of un-raced horses lining up against horses with a modicum of form.

The layers seemed extra cautious chalking up both divisions. Nine of the eleven contesting the first section drifted out from one of the tightest opening shows I have ever seen. The Pooler eventually settled as 2-1 favourite, with four-year-old Ticket to Ride second best at 9-4 after early 3’s in a place. Neither of these had seen a racecourse before, but both looked the part in the preliminaries and ran well to fill the places. The winner, Little Billy Boy (7’s to 12’s), had shown nothing in his two Irish points, but won this on merit under Matt Hampton, giving his young trainer Annie Bacon her first success.

The early show for the second section of the young horse Maiden was just as bad. The Martin McIntyre ridden Culverwell (6-4 to 2’s jt fav) showed the benefit of his Silverton run to hold the late flourish of promising four-year-old newcomer The Black Squirrel (3’s to 5’s).

A bit more form was on offer for the two divisions of the older horses Maiden. Welsh challenger Spencer Moon started one of three 3-1 co-favourites to take the first section. In the other division Carumba (4-1) finally got his head in front under a good front running ride from Hannah Welch. Astral Star (14’s/16’s) headed the closing pack. Prince of Thieves (5-2 to 7-4 jt fav) got a bit tired up the finishing hill but looks a nice type, as does the other joint favourite, Ruby Fool, who showed up for a long way.

The weather made for unpleasant conditions for the rest of the card, with wind and rain testing the most ardent enthusiasts. De Boitron (5’s to 7’s) last visited the winner’s enclosure at Wetherby over three years ago, but had run quite well in three Wadebridge outings recently. 18-year-old Kiana James-Thomas steered the veteran ex-chaser home here in the Mixed Open, making her 5lbs jockey’s allowance pay to gain her first success. The odds-on favourite Before The War attracted market support from the faces (evens to 4-6), but this normally consistent Ed Walker trained gelding was beaten a long way out.

The Ed Walker yard also supplied the beaten favourite for the Novice Riders’ race. This time Blazing Whale (4-6 to 11-10) could never get in a blow behind the ever improving Chosen Lucky (6-4 after 5-2 in a place). The Dean Summersby trained six-year-old Chosen Lucky, with Rex Dingle deputising for the injured Darren Edwards,  was scoring for the fourth time this season to maintain his position as one of the leading point-to-pointers in the country.

Only the needy and the greedy (including me of course) were left to witness the concluding Restricted as the Cornish weather refused to relent. This time Ed Walker’s runner Inch Rock (2’s to 9-4) did the business under Josh Newman. He jumped really well and relished the very soft underfoot conditions.