WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR
“Dull November brings the blast, when the leaves are whirling fast” – from the poem The Garden Year by Sara Coleridge 1802 – 1852: She was the only daughter of one of the most famous English poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was born at Ottery St Mary in 1772. He died in 1834 so didn’t get to watch any point-to-points at Bishops Court just outside the town, which opened in 1979.
Actually, very pleasant mild Autumn weather prevailed as the Devon & Cornwall area opened the new British point-to-point season at Ottery on softish ground before a sizeable crowd. The afternoon featured riding doubles for Josh Newman and Bradley Gibbs, plus training doubles for Kayley Woollacott and David Brace.
Newman took the opening two and a half miles Open Maiden for four to six-year-olds with a comfortable win on board ex-hurdler The Kings Writ. This rangy six-year-old is owned by David and Steph Stevens and is now in the yard of trainer Kayley Woollacott. “This is one of the couple I nicked off Richard (Woollacott). He was a bit bouncy but outjumped his rivals,” commented the trainer, who confirmed that 25-year-old Josh Newman, a Cheltenham festival winning rider on Midnight Prayer in the 2014 National Hunt Chase, will have the stable rides this season.
It didn’t take long for the successful trainer/rider combination to follow up, thanks to a sound display of jumping from Pointview Gale in winning the three miles Open Maiden. This sturdy ex-Irish gelding drew right away from his opponents after his nearest pursuer Druid Spitfire fell at the second last fence. The eight-year-old runs in the colours of Kayley’s father Martyn and stepmother Nicky Jones. “He jumped his way there and all he does is jump and gallop,” remarked the Rose Ash trainer.
Welsh pointers invariably do well at the early season Devon & Cornwall meetings, and the enforced late switch of this traditional opening fixture from Black Forest Lodge to Ottery St Mary, proved no exception. Colorado Doc (Conditions Race) and Doc Cody (Restricted) each rewarded supporters from over the Severn Bridge in the hands of 25-year-old jockey Bradley Gibbs. These promising six-year- olds are owned and trained by their Pyle, Bridgend based breeder David Brace. Colorado Doc was given a positive front running ride to hold off fellow Welsh traveller War Path (Hannah Lewis) in the quickest time of the day. “He ran a bit freely early on but is a nice young horse who could have the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow as his target.” said David Brace, who stood the sire of the winning pair, the now deceased Dr Massini. The Dunraven Bowl hunter chase is sponsored by the winning owner who went on to take the Restricted with his equally talented six-year-old Doc Cody.
The well backed favourite Champione proved a disappointing come back ride for Nick Williams in this event, in which four of the seven-strong field held Welsh certificates. Doc Cody was sent on by Bradley Gibbs two out, and readily drew clear of the only other finisher Minella Mojo round the final bend. “Doc Cody’s dam Brydferth Ddu, which means Black Beauty, won a Maiden for us and has also bred our winning pointer Bob The Butcher,” explained the owner.
Will Biddick has been playing down his chances of adding to his six Men’s National titles, but quickly got on the scoreboard for the new season as Moreece strode clear to take the Exeter racecourse Intermediate qualifier.
This was yet another Welsh success, since the winner hails from the Pyle yard of Jonathan Lean. “He is only 15.2 but is a little dynamite we had out of Tim Vaughan’s yard,” said owner Sherree Lean, who has her eye on one of the Intermediate finals later in the season.
Top Wood was formerly a useful performer having won over hurdles and fences for David Pipe, and justified strong market support for new connections to win a decent 12–runner Mixed Open. The winner shook off the attentions of runner up William Money, a second ever race ride for 16-year-old Connor Brace, to score convincingly in the end. The Wealerdealer and The Dapper Fox caught the eye here, staying on well from impossible positions in the closing stages.
Ten-year-old Top Wood is now owned by Johny Weatherby, having been purchased for £15,000 at Ascot sales earlier this year. He is now one of four pointers in the care of Kelly Morgan near Oakham, Rutland. “The change of scenery has probably helped. He can be very keen but a bit quirky and he settled and jumped exceptionally today,” reported the East Midlands based trainer. Talented rider 25-year-old Sam Davies-Thomas, pupil assistant to Dan Skelton, had the mount on the winner.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
The Official photographer at the meeting was: Cat Down Photography
Sunday 10th December 2017, the Cornwall Club Point-To-Point, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge.
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