“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough”

Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955

You are very perceptive Mr Einstein. It doesn’t seem long since last season. Dancing (shuffling in my case) at the area awards dinner dance in July, the hot summer, harvest time, and here we are under starters orders again. Back to the future.

THE Devon & Cornwall area hosted the earliest ever start to the British point-to-point season at Buckfastleigh on Sunday (18 November) with the joint fixture of the Silverton & Mid Devon Hunts.

Six competitive races featured a double for jockey Tom Chanin, each trained by his father Robert at Thorverton.

Tom Chanin wins the restricted on Druid Spitfire

The Chanin double was initiated by Druid Spitfire who stayed on well to take the Restricted. This sturdy nine-year-old had joined the Chanin yard in March and promptly won a Maiden at Kilworthy. He was bred by his Ashburton based owner and former trainer Elisabeth Kessler. “I wasn’t sure how fit he was today and was a bit worried when he was left in the lead a long way out. We had not been able to work on grass until last weekend,” remarked the trainer.

The Sue Trump owned six-year-old Broadclyst had to pull out all the stops to complete the stable double, holding off Pointview Gale by a head in the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate. Tom Chanin’s mount had to survive a stewards’ enquiry after edging closely towards his rival up the run-in after the pair had drawn well clear. Broadclyst had created a favourable impression when winning the first two races of his career at Wadebridge last season, but was sidelined with a foot infection after his next outing.

Byran Carver returns to the winners enclosure on Navanman

Navanman produced an accomplished display of jumping to win the Mixed Open. The John Heard trained nine-year-old shook off a gallant challenge from the runner up Prince Mahler in the closing stages to score by six lengths under 20-year-old Bryan Carver. “He picked up well when I asked him down the hill,” remarked the rider, who is the reigning Devon & Cornwall Area champion novice jockey and now works for Paul Nicholls.

The Open Maiden for four to six-year-olds attracted a field of 14 with the finish dominated by the eventual winner Tide Times and neck runner up Skinflint (Jo Supple). Four-year-old Tide Times was making his racecourse debut for Jill Dennis and reaped the benefit of a patient ride from Jake Bament, coming from behind with a strong run to challenge at the last. The 22-year-old Barnstaple based rider has now left full time racing to join the bricklaying trade, but gained plaudits from winning connections as he schools and rides their horses. “They went quick enough and he got into a nice rhythm,” reported Bament. An attractive grey by Vinnie Roe, Tide Times was bought as an unbroken three-year-old at the Tattersalls Ireland sales in August 2017. “He could have run towards the end of last season but it was a bit too firm. He is a bit stronger and goes nicely now at home. He may be turned away now,” said the owner.

Road to Rome landed some hefty bets in the three miles Open Maiden. Backed down to odds-on favourite, the winner was always travelling strongly under Tommie O’Brien and drew clear of Banco De Logos (Darren Edwards) round the final bend to score by seven lengths. Joe O’Shea trains the former chaser at Nantwich, Cheshire for owner Graham Briscoe, and was on the road in the middle of the night for the 230 miles journey to Devon. Road To Rome is by the top class sprinter Choisir and has been placed in a bumper and over hurdles and fences. He seems to stay well and could be worth bearing in mind for hunter chases in the spring.

Blackwater Bramble (John Smith-Maxwell) and Heaney (Millie Wonnacott) flashed past the winning post together in the Conditions race, with the verdict going to the fit looking seven-year-old Blackwater Bramble by a diminishing neck. “We bought him at Ascot sales in June as a family pointer. We all have great fun point-to-pointing,” explained licensed trainer Alex Dunn, based at West Buckland near Taunton. Jockey John Smith-Maxwell is the trainer’s brother, and is currently studying rural land management at Cirencester.

A good sized crowd enjoying the watery November sunshine welcomed the new season with almost seven months of point-to-pointing to look forward to.


Going: Good, good to soft in places

Open Maiden 4 to 6 year olds 2m 4f (Sponsor The Tiverton Hotel)

1 Tide Times (Jake Bament) 7-1 held up in rear, good prog three out, challenged on outer apprg last, just prevailed
2 Skinflint (Jo Supple) 6-1 handy, disputed lead briefly11th, effort two out, every chance til hard rdn & just held near finish
3 Shometheway (Sam Jukes) 8-1 chased clear leader til led 9th, joined 11th, soon led agn, every chance til wknd apprg last
14 ran; neck; 10l; 5mins 18secs
Owner; Jill Dennis; Trainer; Owner;;

Conditions Race (Heltor)

1 Blackwater Bramble (John Smith-Maxwell) 3-1 with ldrs, went 2nd 9th, led three out, joined next, kept on well on flat
2 Heaney (Millie Wonnacott) 11-2 tracked ldrs, good hdwy to dispute lead two out, sustained challenge flat
3 Horwood Lad (Kieren Buckley) 5-2 fav held up in touch, outpaced 15th, gradually wknd
8 ran; neck – 10l ; 6m 22s
Owner; KR & RJ Smith- Maxwell; Trainer; Alex Dunn

Restricted (Royal Seven Stars Hotel, Totnes)

1 Druid Spitfire (Tom Chanin) 5-1 handy, left 2nd at 8th, left 2 lengths clear 15th, stayed on well
2 Missyladie (Thomasina Eyston) 6-4 fav held up, left 3rd 15th, prog & every chance apprg last, no extra flat
3 Predestined (Ben Jones) 5-2 held up, left 2nd 15th, no extra apprg last
5 ran; 2l; 4l; 6m 37s
Owner; Elisabeth Kessler; Trainer; Robert Chanin

Mixed Open (Mr J Lightfoot MFH, Allington Stud, Spreyton)

1 Navanman (Bryan Carver) 7-4 fav in touch, chased ldrs from 14th, led apprg last, soon clear
2 Prince Mahler (Chloe Emsley) 12-1 jumped well, led 8th, headed apprg last, kept on well
3 TB Broke Her (Hannah Lewis) 5-2 good hdwy four out, stayed on steadily from two out
9 ran; 6l; 1 1/2l; 6m 24s
Owner; Mr & Mrs J Heard, M Heard; Mr & Mrs P Cars; Mrs J Trevarthen; Mr & Mrs D Hooper; Trainer; John Heard

Open Maiden (Stringer Equine Veterinary Practice & Richard Mizen)

1 Road To Rome (Tommie O’ Brian) 4-6 fav raced keenly, close 2nd til left in lead 8th, clear three out, ran on strongly
2 Banco De Logos (Darren Edwards) 3-1 chased ldr from 10th, every chance til no extra under pressure from two out
3 Moonaro (Paul John) 10-1 rear, took distant 3rd flat, nearest at finish
11 ran; 7l; distance; 6m 28s
Owner; Graham Briscoe; Trainer; Joe O’Shea

Intermediate (Exeter Racecourse)

1 Broadclyst (Tom Chanin) 6-4 fav tracked ldrs, led after two out, strongly pressed & edged left flat. just held on
2 Pointview Gale (Josh Newman) 7-2 made most, headed after two out, rallied flat, just held
3 Ballycahane (Milo Herbert) 9-4 alwys with ldrs, effort three out, wknd after next
6 ran; head; 15l; 6m 31s
Owner; Sue Trump; Trainer; Robert Chanin


Tim Holt, Marcus Bath, Athwenna Irons (Western Morning News), Roger Peaple, David Strange and Megan Cobley


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

Upcoming Event

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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