WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR
“When winter winds are piercing chill and through the hawthorn blows the gale
With solemn feet I tread the hill that overbrows the lonely vale”
From the poem Words of Winter – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882
A fairly accurate description of Sunday at Wadebridge. At least the sky was crystal clear for the Western meeting which saw leading Devon & Cornwall area jockey Darren Edwards really hit his stride for the season. A sparkling treble took Darren’s seasonal tally to five.
The going was heavy at the Royal Cornwall showground track which seemed to the liking of Robin De Souza in the Men’s Open. Edwards soon had the useful pointer out in front, and kept enough in reserve to hold the sustained challenge of Kernel Victor (Josh Newman). “Robin De Souza has done well since his soft palate operation. He hadn’t been finishing his races but this was more like him,” said Dean Summersby, who trains the eight-year-old for owners Eileen and Tony Worth.
The Summersby yard’s other winner came in the Open Maiden when Raloo Rocket, in the care of Dean’s wife Emma, successfully conceded 28lbs to the ex-French filly Missyladie (Thomasina Eyston). This time Darren Edwards had to use all his strength on the climb to the judge to get his mount home by half a length as the filly snapped at his heels. The winner, who became the first training success for Emma Summersby, “does nothing at home and is very quiet out hunting with the South Tetcott.”. Bought privately in Ireland after a few modest pointing runs, Raloo Rocket now runs in the colours of the Little Acres Racing Club.
The Two Amigos, owned by the Bradley Partnership, had set the ball rolling for Darren Edwards with a very easy victory over the only other finisher Ambitious Pursuit in the four-runner Exeter Racecourse Intermediate. The Midnight Legend gelding was scoring for the third time this season at Wadebridge, and was left well clear when nearest pursuer High Priority departed at the 15th fence. “He is a decent little horse who will handle better ground,” said the jockey. The Bradley partnership consists of Nicky Martin and John Simpson. Nicky trains her Amigos and I conducted an unusual post-race interview with her. When I asked her mother where Nicky was, it transpired that she was on holiday in Barbados, where presumably the temperature was about 30 degrees higher than at Wadebridge. I was immediately put on the phone to the West Indies and Nicky confirmed that the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate final was indeed on the agenda.
Lady riders mopped up the other three races. Double Captain had come up against The Two Amigos and Broadclyst in his two previous efforts, and comfortably upset the odds laid on Ruby Fool in winning the Restricted here. 22-year-old Naomi Sims, who works for the Nigel Hawke yard, partnered Double Captain for her mother Ruth. The sturdy looking eight-year-old was bought at Doncaster sales, and was giving his rider the second winner of her career. “He seemed to handle the ground well,” remarked Naomi, who sent her mount to the front on the final bend.
Only two faced the starter in the Ladies’ Open which went to the Wadebridge specialist Sobre Tresor. Owned by Ros Newman and trained by her daughter Chloe at Woolminstone, Somerset, this remarkable pointer was winning his ninth race at this undulating track. Sobre Tresor and his sole rival De Boitron played musical chairs when alternating for the lead until the top of the hill. When the music stopped it was Sobre Tresor who was well in command under jockey Chloe Emsley. “It was harder with only two in the race. He goes the same speed and it didn’t bother him at all when the other horse led,” said the rider, who is based with Anthony Honeyball, and has been in the saddle for this horses three course wins this season.
Millie Wonnacott landed the third winner of her career when the formerly useful ex-Irish chaser Heaney stayed on dourly in the Confined. The 20-year-old rider, based with Neil Mulholland, had her mount well placed throughout and drove the 11-year-old out in good style up the hill to hold Molland Gayle and the favourite Diligent. “His class helped him win. He was a bit headstrong at first but jumped his way to the front,” reported the young rider. The gelding is owned jointly by the rider’s mother Claire and Jennifer Davenport.
Incidentally well done to all connected with this fixture. It is not easy putting on point-to-points in the depth of winter, but this meeting epitomised the efforts of all those concerned. Two fences were omitted on each circuit due to the ground, but no problems were reported about the way the track rode.
Sunday 18th February, South Pool Point-To-Point, Buckfastleigh Racecourse TQ11 0LT. First Race 12 noon
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