REPORT ON THE EAST DEVON POINT-TO-POINT AT BISHOPS COURT, OTTERY ST MARY 11TH MARCH 2017

WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR

“A green and silent spot, amid the hills. a small and silent dell….”

Fears in Solitude by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 1772 – 1834.
Renowned English poet and philosopher, born in Ottery St Mary.

12-year-old Iron Chancellor had not tasted success for fourteen months, but gave his three rivals a jumping lesson to win the Mixed Open on a pleasant spring afternoon at Ottery St Mary.

“Brave he was and brave I was, I just kept sending him” quipped jockey Lee Drowne, whose mount jumped into the lead at the final ditch and kept on remorselessly in the soft ground to see off Athreeothree. “We nearly sold him as a schoolmaster last summer. He has taken a bit more getting fit this year,” said trainer Sue Popham, who is likely to target a hunter chase with the veteran ex-chaser.

Will Biddick had filled the runner-up spot on Athreeothree, and filled the same position on promising debutant Journey Juice in the Open Maiden for four to six-year-olds. The Apple Tree gelding Micky Stark (same sire as Journey Juice), took this prize under a determined ride by Zoe Hawkins. “My horse is really genuine and such a trier. He loves to chase normally but he was out in front this time. I gave him a smack and he just took off,” reported the 21-year-old rider who also trains the gelding at Old Buckerell near Honiton.

Eastern Calm won the Maiden for seven-year-olds and over after drawing clear of the favourite Clenagh Castle on the run-in. A good looking daughter of Kayf Tara, the winner was bought by her trainer Sarah Pidsley at Ascot 18 months ago after showing modest form under rules for Oliver Sherwood . “She had a few problems so we missed last year, but she ran well at Buckfastleigh on her first run for us last month. She stays all day,” said the trainer, who saddled the mare for her parents Michael and Judith. This was jockey Will Gordon’s fourth point-to-point winner, but the 21-year-old rider, who works for the Anthony Honeyball yard, has the unusual distinction for a rider based in England of being the leading jump jockey in New Zealand so far this season. “I have ridden seven winners there. It is a split season that ends in July and I plan to go back later.” he remarked.

Delphi Mountain had been a bit disappointing this season, but returned to form to win the Members’ race ridden by his trainer Emma Watson.
Owned by Chris Pike, 12-year-old Delphi Mountain got the better of Kirkleigh in the closing stages to score by 15 lengths. “I am shocked after his last two runs and can’t get over how good he was today. We tried him in a loose ring snaffle,” said the 28-year-old jockey, who was partnering her fourth career winner.

The Exeter Racecourse Intermediate qualifier went to Welsh trained Colorado Doc who confirmed last month’s Chaddesley Corbett Restricted form with runner-up Inch Rock. The pair had finished first and second in that event and produced an action replay here over an extra half mile. “He was never out of second gear,” enthused winning rider Bradley Gibbs. Owner/trainer David Brace said of his six-year-old. “He is home bred by our stallion Dr Massini and is a nice prospect who will go over hurdles in the future. I also have his half brother and a half sister at home.”

Doc Cody just failed to complete a double for the Brace yard when going under to Awesome Tunes in the Restricted. The winner is a good bodied Milan gelding from the family of Champion Hurdle winner Gaye Brief, who runs in the colours of Becky Chanin (nee Barnett) and is trained by her husband Ian at Rackenford. “We got married last July and have five pointers in training. This horse was bought privately out of David Pipe’s yard last autumn and he has had lots of TLC from my wife. She massages the horse every day.” said Ian. Lorcan Williams was again seen to advantage on the winner. The 17-year-old Carmarthenshire born jockey, based with Paul Nicholls, is currently running away with the National novice riders’ title and was partnering his 10th winner of the season.

That grand campaigner Dicky Bob gained a well deserved victory in the PPORA Novice Riders’ contest. Owner/trainer Verity Nicholls looked relieved as her popular grey fought off the spirited challenge of Mic’s Delight (Millie Wonnacott) after jumping then last fence. Verity said, “He was unlucky at Buckfastleigh and I wasn’t 100% happy with him this week but he seems fine now.” Rex Dingle was the rider who failed to weigh in after his sparkling Buckfastleigh win and it is to the connections credit that the 19-year-old retained the ride here. “They went a bit too slow for him and he missed a fence on the far side but he is very game and gave plenty,” reported the young rider.