“And here were forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenness…”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge  1772-1834

THE glorious green backcloth of Exmoor was seen at its best in the warm spring sunshine on Sunday before a packed crowd for the Dulverton West meeting. Sometimes it is difficult to concentrate on the horses at Bratton Down as the eye is continually drawn to the distant slopes and hill tops.

The drying conditions and a shorter racing line round the bends led to particularly quick times at this meeting.

Will Biddick is not surrendering his national title without a fight, and landed a double thanks to Imogens Thunder and La Madonnina.

The progressive Imogens Thunder followed up his Axe Vale win in good style, answering all of Biddick’s urgings to see off the sustained challenges of River Wye and Tree Sparrow in the Restricted.

Mary Tory trains the Stowaway gelding Imogens Thunder near Blandford for owner Wendy Jarrett and said, “We bought him from Aidan Kennedy in Ireland and he was unlucky earlier in the year. He will be roughed off now and is something to look forward to next season.”

Biddick’s other winner La Madonnina just held off Angles Hill by a neck in the 12-runner Conditions race. “She is so tough,” commented the rider of this mare who seemed to relish the faster ground. She is trained by Ed Walker for his ten strong racing club syndicate. Angles Hill (Heidi Lewis) came from a long way back but was staying on strongly towards the finish. Its All Or Nothing ran his usual sound race to finish third, whilst 13-year-old Delta Borget, although unplaced, earned himself honourable retirement.

The reigning champion jockey had to settle for the runner up spot in the young horses maiden when odds-on favourite Robin Why Not chased home The Jitterbug.

Josh Newman pushed the rangy five-year-old The Jitterbug clear on the uphill climb to the judge Owner/trainer Keith Cumings bought the winner on the advice of bloodstock agent Tom Malone as a three-year-old. ”He is still very green and still learning. A big baby who will be a lot stronger next year, but he might be on the market before then,” reported the Bishops Nympton based handler. The Cumings family gave a special mention to Haley Northcott who looks after the rangy gelding and rides work on him.

The veteran chestnut Consigliere travelled from Oxfordshire and put up a memorable staying performance to win the four miles plus Mixed Open. Izzie Marshall sent the game 15-year-old to the front at half way to deny the Biddick ridden mare Miss Gotaway by four lengths. “Awesome” said the breathless 18-year-old rider, who was enjoying her ninth winner of the season, and has a place at Reading University in September.

The well related Moonlight Flyer cut little ice under rules for Jeremy Scott, but first time cheek pieces seemed to do the trick in the Open Maiden run in memory of much missed local bookmaker Bob Pittard. Christopher Barber had the six-year-old in front virtually throughout, and the positive ride proved successful as he fought off Dragon De La Tour before holding the late thrust of Ballyjim. “He was bought at the Land Rover sales as a three-year-old and runs for a syndicate of ten. His year point-to-pointing has done him good and he will probably go back under rules,” explained Camilla Scott who has the yard’s pointers.

Top Chief loves quick ground and put up the fastest time of the day (5 mins 33 secs) to win the Novice Riders’ race under Bryan Carver. The 10-year-old was always fencing better than his main rival Tom Barton, and drew right away in the closing stages. Stuart Sampson has his string in great form at present and was saddling Top Chief for joint owners Terry Hamlin and John Gardener.

The same owners and trainer combination re-appeared in the winner’s enclosure again in the concluding Intermediate, but this time had to share the spoils with the Chapman family from Cornwall as their Winter Garden battled tenaciously to gain a dead heat with River Myth. Darren Andrews sent the mare River Myth ahead entering the final circuit, but was joined in a neck and neck battle in the final 100 yards by Nick Lawton on Winter Garden before the duo passed the judge locked together.

Going: Good to Firm

 Open Maiden four to six-year-olds only (Sponsor Nancekivell & Co, South Molton)

1 The Jitterbug (Josh Newman) 5-1 hdwy 13th, led after last, stayed on well

2 Robin Why Not (Will Biddick) 4-6 fav alwys prom, kept on flat

3 Crimson Gold (Bryan Carver) 16-1 led til joined two out, no extra flat

7 ran; 6l; 8l;  5 mins 50 secs

Owner; Keith Cumings; Trainer; Owner


Restricted (Brewer Harding & Rowe, Solicitors)

1 Imogens Thunder (Will Biddick) 3-1 led two out, stayed on well

2 River Wye (Stefan Kirwan) 3-1 effort two out, kept on well nr finish

3 Tree Sparrow (Vicky Wade) 11-8 fav outpaced three out, kept on flat

7 ran; 1 1/2l; 3/4l;;5m 44s

Owner; Wendy Jarrett; Trainer; Mary Tory

Open Maiden (Bob Pittard Bookmakers – Bob Pittard Memorial)

1 Moonlight Flyer (Christopher Barber) 7-2 made all pushed out

2 Ballyjim (Josh Newman) 3-1 went 3rd four out, strong run flat

3 Dragon de la Toutr (Will Biddick) 7-2 prom, close 2nd last, no extra nr finish

8 ran; 3l; 1l;  5m 47s

Owner; Philip Cartwright & syndicate; Trainer; Camilla Scott


Conditions Race (PJ Hobbs, Sandhill Racing Stables)

1 La Madonnina (Will Biddick) 7-2 led two out, stayed on under press flat

2 Angles Hill (Heidi Lewis) 3-1 behind til hdwy four out, strong run flat, just failed

3 Its all or Nothing(Matt Hampton) 5-2 fav led three out, every chance last, no extra

12 ran; neck; 10l;  5m 37s

Owner; Edward Walker Racing Club; Trainer; Ed Walker


Mixed Open 4 miles 1 furlong (Brends Hotel)

1 Consigniere (Izzie Marshall) 2-1 led 12th, stayed on gamely

2 Miss Gotaway (Will Biddick) 11-8 fav chased wnr from 18th, kept on

3 Wolftrap (Lee Drowne) 3-1 lost touch three out

7 ran; 4l; distance; 7m 59s


PPORA Club Novice Riders’ (Langdon Transport)

1 Top Chief (Bryan Carver) 5-2 led 13th, comf

2 Tom Barton (Ed Doggrell) 4-6 fav disputed lead til 13th no extra two out

3 Kapricorne (Stefan Kirwan) 3-1 chased ldrs til 15th

5 ran; 12l; 6l;  5m 33s

Owner; Terry Hamlin & John Gardener; Trainer; Stuart Sampson


Intermediate (James Pryce Tractors)

1 dead heat River Myth (Darren Andrews) 4-1 led 14th til joined last 150 yds

1 dead heat Winter Garden (Nick Lawton) 12-1 effort two out, joined ldr last 150 yds

3 Every Breakin Wave (Will Biddick) 1-2 fav 2nd from three out til last, no extra

8 ran; dead heat; 1 1/2l;  5m 40s

Owner River Myth Terry Hamlin & John Gardener; Trainer Stuart Sampson

Owner Winter Garden Chapman family; Trainer; Ryan Chapman


Tim Holt, Megan Cobley, Marcus Bath, Athwenna Irons, JW Photography, Barnstaple Equestrian Supplies


Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at

Upcoming Event

  • Monday 28th May 2018 South Tetcott, Upcott Cross, Halwill Junction EX21 5AE. 1st Race 1.00pm
  • Sunday 3rd June 2018 Exmoor, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG. 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Wednesday 6th June 2018 Rescheduled Eggesford Upcott Cross, Halwill Junction, Okehampton EX21 5AE. 1st Race 17:00
  • Sunday 10th June 2018 Tiverton Staghounds, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG. 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Saturday 16th June 2018 Torrington Farmers, Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh EX37 9EB. 1st Race 2.00pm

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