Written by: Donna Harris
Bank Holiday Monday’s Point-to-Point meeting held at Vauterhill near High Bickington was blessed with warm sunshine and clear blue skies, treating a good crowd of race followers to some excellent racing along with stunning distant views of North Devon.
Six horses lined up for the feature race of the day which was the Wades of Bradworthy Mixed Open race. Whenharrymetsally was backed into favourite and didn’t disappoint her followers. It was a tactical race with jockey David Pritchard keeping the mare up with the pace which was set by Dream Chope who pulled up on the final circuit, the race ended up with a three way battle two fences from home when Our Chief and Parkham Jack mounted a challenge. Whenharrymetsally’s jockey was able to kick on clear over the last and win the race by ten lengths. Trainer Keith Cumings was delighted with her win “She is so genuine, I did wonder if she would run today, but the course had a nice drop of rain last night,” he said
The Lomas Helicopter-sponsored Member’s race was the first of the day and a popular win for local trainer and jockey Ella Pickard on Cinevator, having made most of the running, and fending off a challenge by two of her three opponents close home. Ella who trains four horses out of her yard near Umberleigh explained “His last two runs were on ground which didn’t suit, I will aim him now at the Bratton Down meetings.”
Honest Deed lived up to his name when winning the Hembury 4 x 4-sponsored Restricted race for team Summersby. With Darren Edwards in the saddle again, Honest Deed was kept out of trouble in a race where there were loose horses to contend with and Darren was able to push out him out over the line three lengths ahead of Tackler. Trainer Dean Summersby was full of praise for the horse and jockey but commented “I was cross this morning when Honest Deed got loose before loading and trashed the lawn, I can forgive him now though. We will keep him going as we have only had him two months, he jumped better on the better ground and ideally wants top of the ground.”
Drama in the E.C Haste & Sons-sponsored Confined race came when favourite Devon General slipped up on the bend unseating jockey Jo Buck, this race then went the way of trainer Kayley Woollacott’s other runner Churchfield Champ under jockey Lee Drowne. The striking 11 year old gelding had previous National Hunt form and had won at Larkhill, but then pulled up at Trebudannon. He won this race by a distance with Go Odee Go and Reliable Richie having to settle for runner up and third respectively. “Kayley bought him from Limerick for my son Bob to have his first ride on, which he did and won at Larkhill,” explained owner Marie Cronin who set up the Lady Greys Partnership. Jockey Lee Drowne added “Ben phoned me a couple of days ago and offered me the ride, the horse is class, I left him to it enjoying the first circuit then put him in the race.”
The Exeter Racecourse-sponsored Intermediate race saw another favourite exit the race early, when Fishy Story unseated jockey Tom Chanin at the first fence. Air Glider was then able to dictate the race from the front but was unable to sustain a challenge from Stay Tuned up the home straight who under jockey Zoe Hawkins snatched the race by a neck. Owner Nick Harvey explained “I bought the horse as a maiden from Alex Dunn for Zoe to ride; he has now progressed to open company and is improving all the time.”
Meldon Express took the Jockey Club Mares Maiden race for trainer John Heard. The mare stayed on well under jockey Rex Dingle having taken up the running over the last leaving Gold Relief a length back in second. “She is one paced, but has been knocking on the door,” stated John who added “She has previously had a wind op and we have been running her in a tongue tie which she hates, so we left it off this time. It seemed to work and having Rex to ride is a key factor too.”
The final race of the day held the biggest field with 13 entries which was the Brewer, Harding & Rowe-sponsored Open Maiden race. Bricks and Beams under jockey Jo Buck was ridden positively throughout sharing the lead with Predestined who gave way in the final circuit. Burke’s Hill under leading jockey Darren Edwards and Tamarstone under Jamie Thomas joined in the battle over the last, but Jo Buck kicked on and rode out Bricks and Beams to a length victory pleasing favourite backers again. “He is a nice straightforward type, he took a nice hold and went a sensible gallop, he should improve on his jumping,” said the jockey.