Written by: Donna Harris
A fantastic family day of Point-to-Pointing is on offer next weekend with the first of two meetings to take place at the popular track based at Buckfastleigh, South Devon on Sunday February 18. Three pony races head up the action at 11am, with the 148 cm race already divided, followed by the six race card commencing at 12 noon. 111 entries have been received.
This course always has a great atmosphere, with the feature race being The West Country Champion Chase Mixed Open, which holds a total prize fund of £1000. The race is for winners only and has attracted top quality horses such as recent Wadebridge specialist Sobre Tresor and Barbury winner Saddlers Encore both for the Chloe Newman team. Winner of nine Points including a treble at this track Dicky Bob for trainer Verity Nicholls, Dual Wadebridge winner Mic’s Delight for team Wonnacott, Chipley Park winner Whenharrymetsally for the Keith Cumings team, and Larkhill runner-up with two Hurdle wins under Rules to his C.V Bistouri D’Honore for the Michael Felton yard. This race is also a qualifier for the Timico Mixed-Open final to be held at Cheltenham in May, and the Skinners Ladies Open final to be held at Stratford-upon-Avon in June.
The stunning grey Dicky Bob is also entered in the opening Confined race for Dartmoor trainer Verity Nicholls, but could come up against entry and recent Chipley Park winner Cotillion. The Sadler’s Wells-sired Cotillion also holds an entry at Larkhill, but should be respected on his previous National Hunt form when in training with Ian Williams. Local trainer Sam Holdsworth has two entered with Beuvron and winner of six Points including one at this track last season for local jockey Hannah Welch, and a new French import for the yard Diligent, who was well fancied at Wadebridge and could come on for his third there.
Exeter Racecourse sponsor the Intermediate race in which the Ed Walker-trained Inch Rock stands out after his two length second at Chipley Park, having made most with a bold front running tactical run under jockey Will Biddick finishing two lengths behind the winner that day. Palmaria is also entered, she put up a good performance when winning her Restricted race at Chipley Park for trainer Caroline Keevil and has the booking of promising young jockey Bryan Carver.
Moonaro would be a popular local winner for owners Edward Darke and Susan Eveleigh, if taking the Confined Maiden race for horses and geldings. Moonaro is lightly raced and ran third here last season then followed up with a second at Upcott Cross in April. Gorcombe’s Rascal could be another popular winner on the day for the Nikki Frost team, having been placed third at Wadebridge and then not disgraced having finished his race although out of the frame, when many had pulled up at Milborne St Andrew earlier this month. The Frost team also have Wookey Hole entered here, another promising young recruit who has had the benefit of a run when sixth at Milborne St Andrew two weeks ago. They could come up against entry Sixteen Letters for trainer Claire Harris. The lightly raced gelding ran second at this meeting last season and could be worth following in the betting arena.
Several debutants are entered in the Jockey Club Mares Maiden race, with You’re A Lady catching the eye for the Camilla Scott team, especially with husband Jeremy Scott saddling many winners under Rules recently. One Big Love is another looking promising if following up on her recent Chipley Park head second under jockey Lorcan Williams for trainer Sally Alner.
Finally up is the Restricted race in which Wind Tor, trained by Ed Walker, standing out having been another to win at Chipley Park last month. Eastern Calm for the Stu Sampson team is the highest rated and won at Bishops Court last year.
With spring just around the corner this venue offers a fun day of racing together with many trade stands giving a warm country feel. There is a large catering tent and bar, with on course bookies.
Entrance to the course is £10 per person with children under 16 free. Dogs on leads welcome.
The course is located at Lower Dean, Buckfastleigh, adjacent to the A38. Postcode TQ11 0LT.
Met Office 5 day forecast: Buckfastleigh, 1 mile from TQ11 OLT
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