The opening point-to-point of the season attracted a good crowd from far and wide down to Devon with plenty of “faces” ready to splash the cash against the 12 bookies. The betting ring can be described as “lively” for all six races.
Cheshire raiders landed a tidy coup with Road To Rome in the Open Maiden. It seemed quiet when the betting opened and I noted Road To Rome at 5-2 and 2’s generally. The last few minutes before the off however saw a frenzy of activity with foot soldiers up and down the line snatching the best odds. Just before the off. 7-4 became 6-4, then quickly odds-on (I noted 4-5 and 4-6, the latter price sufficing as the SP. One leading layer told me he laid a decent bet at 1-2 as the flag fell when the jolly had been wiped off nearly every board. The race is easily described, Road To Rome justifying his BHB rating of 109 to comfortably land the odds. The runner up Banco De Logos (easy to back at 3-1) chased the winner hard and is a winner in waiting.
In the four to six-year-old Maiden, Bridge Of Cally (Darren Edwards) settled as 2-1 fav, but there was money for quite a few of the 14 runners. I saw £600 to £50 each way for eventual runner up Skinflint who looked well. Robin Why Not (Will Biddick) was cut from 5’s to 3’s, Shometheway drifted from 3’s to 8’s but will certainly have his day, as will Welsh challenger Guiding Stars (10’s to 6’s) who ran better than his finishing position suggests. The eventual winner Tide Times (10’s to 7’s) is a nice Vinnie Roe four-year-old from a good yard. He was given a fine waiting ride by Jake Bament and will improve further.
Navanman was a solid 7-4 fav for the Mixed Open. He has developed into a useful pointer and won easily in the end for his new rider Bryan Carver. I thought that the runner up Prince Mahler (33’s to 12’s) ran a brave race for rider Chloe Emsley, since he was on the premises throughout the race and came back for more. There were little nibbles for Northgeorge (8’s to 13-2), O’Maonlai (4’s to 3’s) and TB Broke Her ((3’s to 5-2). Bankhall (8’s) is one for another day.
They went 5-2 the field in the eight runner Conditions Race with Horwood Lad (touched 3’s) the marginal market choice. Heaney (6’s to 11-2) and a fit looking Blackwater Bramble (solid 3’s) fought out the finish with the verdict going to the latter under John Smith-Maxwell. Heaney finished well and is sure to atone.
My first stupidity bout of the season came in the Restricted. Paddock inspection suggested that Druid Spitfire ( 9-2 / 5’s) looked ready and was a value bet. I was too timid thinking that a further 25 meetings awaited. so no bet hence a 5-1 winner squandered. There was money for the placed horses Missyladie (6-4 fav from 2’s) and Predestined (5-2 from 4’s).
The Chanin stable, successful with Druid Spitfire, followed up in the concluding Imtermediate. Broadclyst (2’s to 6-4 fav) is a promising youngster and just got home by a head from Pointview Gale (4’s to 7-2) after a ding dong battle up the home straight. Ballycahane (2’s to 9-4) had an impossible task at the weights and finished a commendable third.
Tim Holt, Marcus Bath, Athwenna Irons (Western Morning News), Roger Peaple, David Strange, William Devlin and Megan Cobley
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
A handy fixture list leaflet covering the Devon & Cornwall and Wessex area point-to-points for this season is available by sending a SAE to: Claire Hitch, Barn Lane Farm, Stoke Rivers, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 7LD
- Sunday 18th November 2018 Silverton & Mid Devon Joint Buckfastleigh Racecourse TQ11 0LT 1st Race 12 noon.
- Sunday 2nd December 2018 Hursley Hambledon Larkhill, Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 8QT 1st Race 11.30am
- Sunday 9th December 2018 Cornwall Club Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge PL27 7JE 1st Race 12 noon
- Sunday 6th January 2019 Larkhill Racing Club Larkhill, Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 8QT 1st Race 12 noon
- Sunday 13th January 2019 North Cornwall Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge PL27 7JE 1st Race 11.30am
- Saturday 26th January 2019 Royal Artillery Larkhill, Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 8QT 1st Race 12 noon
- Sunday 27th January 2019 Tiverton Chipley Park, Milverton, Wellington TA21 0QY 1st Race 12 noon
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