Reports: Dartmoor Point-to-Point, Flete Park, Saturday April 22nd 2017

Written by: Donna Harris

A huge crowd of several thousand turned out on Saturday to enjoy the delightful picturesque setting of Flete Park, near Ermington, where the Dartmoor hosted their Point-to-Point meeting last Saturday. Race goers were treated to seven competitive races, where the lady jockeys took on the men to win four on the day.

Leading lady jockey Bryony Frost took the opening A Salon Called Fish-sponsored Members race on Bogoss Du Perret, trained by mother Nikki at Buckfastleigh. Bryony rode a patient race, when Alf Wight ridden by Bee Smith, took off early and at one point held a 40 length lead. Bryony was leading the chasing pack of four which were all ridden by lady jockeys, eventually reeling in the runaway Alf Wight who quickly faded on the final circuit, with Bogoss Du Perret staying on well to win by four lengths with Lady Vie back in second. Delighted owner Joan Bury quoted “I am so lucky to have such a lovely horse, a lovely trainer and jockey.” Trainer Nikki Frost stated “Haddon sourced Bogoss in France, it has been an educational day for him, and the plan will be for him to return to National Hunt which he previously struggled in. Bryony knows him so well; he is just a big gorky baby.”

The Frost family scored a double on the day, when Bryony won the Kitson-sponsored Open Maiden race on The Hill of the Rock which was again trained by Nikki Frost. The race started off at a steady pace, but by two fence from home became a thrilling battle between Eddies Pearl who narrowly took up the lead from Wind Tor who bravely fought on to be denied a win by eventual winner The Hall Of The Rock under Bryony having taken the lead over the final fence to win by a length. “I found him at Jim Best’s, he is a lovely horse, I have always had faith in him, but he is very tricky to travel. I have to collect him from the yard late and arrive at the last minute with him as he doesn’t settle.” explained owner Chris Unwin who added “Bryony gave him a peach of a ride”.

Hannah Welch was the other lady jockey to score a double on the day in the Totnes & Bridgetown-sponsored four mile Mixed Open race. This attracted only three runners, with Welstonedruid being sent off odds on favourite. Hannah rode a patient race tucked in behind Welstonedruid and other entry Sea Bear who set the pace. Welstonedruid was unable to make his challenge on the final circuit, with Hannah Welch kicking on down the final hill going on to win by an impressive 20 lengths. Trainer Deborah Treener explained “My son Barnaby who normally rides Uncle Keef is studying for his A Level so Hannah took the ride. We are lucky that Uncle Keef is still here, he has had several life threatening injuries including a fractured bone in his knee and a pedal bone infection in his hoof.” She added my husband Mark bought him for £700 from Ascot sales a few years ago and intends to hunt him next season.”

Hannah’s double came in the way of Beuvron winning the Elizabeth May Memorial Confined race. Riding another patient race, Hannah took up the running before the final ditch, with Beuvron enjoying his jumping and flying over the final two fences to win by four lengths with previous course winner The Dapper Fox in second. Beuvron is another horse to have been severely injured in the past and spent several months at Western Counties Equine Hospital with a cut to his pastern, sustained when running at this course a year ago. Owner Charles Stanley loves his pointing and stated “Beuvron has done well to come back and win here, he ran third the other day. We may run him under rules in the summer.” Trainer Sam Holdsworth added we sourced him from Toby Jones Bloodstock agents in France, he has found us six different horses that have won over 35 races for the yard.”

Hannah would have had a treble on the day, as she steered Carumba home in front in the Subaru Plymouth-sponsored Restricted race. However there was a weight discrepancy when she weighed in and was disqualified, the race was then awarded to the Les Jefford-trained Ballinaclasha Lad ridden by Sean Houlihan. “We leased the horse from Gordon Chambers for a syndicate called The Cash Club, as they had lost a horse earlier in the season and were looking for another to replace it. We hope to go to the Exeter Intermediate final which he has qualified for already. He is for sale at the end of the season.” Explained the trainer.

There was another drama on the day this time in the Rogers Of Plymouth-sponsored Club Members race, when two of the horses suffered falls on the flat when obstructed by another. Both Coombe Hill under jockey Millie Wonnacott and Hurricane Ridge under Ben Roberts, who were travelling well on the final circuit, were brought down up the hill before the ditch. Hopefully only minor injuries sustained, but this depleted the field with Cornish Beau ridden by Abbie Hughes having avoided the accident, was stalking the leaders to go on and win the race by half a length. Delighted with his run, trainer Pam Roffe-Silvester who owns and trains Cornish Beau stated “I ride him myself every day, I am lucky to be able to use Chris Down’s gallops and Ed & Polly (Walker’s) schooling area, I can’t thank them enough, also Les Jefford who helps me out too. I bought him out of Ascot sales in October 15, he was previously with Dr Richard Newland.”

The Francis Clark-sponsored Open Maiden race for four-five and six year olds often produces some quality stars to follow for the future, and this race didn’t disappoint here. Jack Barber trained the winner, a five year old debutant Earth Storm ridden by national champion jockey Will Biddick. Demonstrating a super round of jumping, Earth Storm came home half a length ahead of Burning Desire under Bryony Frost who almost scored a treble on the day. Owner Roger Penny who was chuffed with his purchase said “He came out of the Landrover sale in Ireland.” Will Biddick added “He ran well and he kept out jumping the one next to me which won him the race.”


Another very big crowd at Flete Park

A first and last race success for the Nikki Frost yard thanks to Bogoss Du Perret in the Hunt race and Thehill Ofthec Rock in the concluding Open Maiden.

Bryony Frost is riding in top form and had little difficulty in getting Bogoss Du Perret (4-7 into 1-2) home in the Hunt race. The Open Maiden provided a sterner test with Thehill Of the Rock (4’s to 2’s) just getting the better of Wind Tor (7-4 fav)

Hannah Welch also recorded a double thanks to outsider of three Uncle Keef (5-1) in the four mile Mixed Open and Beuvron (4-1) in the Confined,

Hannah’s other “winner” Carumba landed some nice bets at 6-1 in the Restricted, but a saddle mix up meant that the rider weighed in light with disqualification inevitable. The race was awarded to ballinaclasha lad (14’s to 12’s) – a nice present for Sean Houlihan and connections.

Jack Barber introduced a promising youngster with Earth Storm (6-4fav) just beating market rival Burning Desire (5-2) in the two and a half miles Maiden.

A driving finish to the Conditions race saw Cornish Beau (12’s to 6’s) staying on well to hold Swansbrook (7’s to 6’s) and Tolatetobeearly (solid 8’s)

For regular readers, I will be sidelined for a while but hope to be back later in the season