There is always a strong set of bookies at Chipley Park, and the 15 layers in attendance on Sunday ensured a lively betting market. A total of 106 runners in the eight races provided plenty of choice (and headaches) for the legion of punters.

Although the official going was posted as “good, good to soft in places”, the ground proved testing. The steady climb to the judge from the bottom bend called for plenty of stamina.

Jack Snipe (3’s to 5-2) had proven stamina under rules (Jeremy Scott) and would not be denied after making all in the opening Hunt race, where all nine entries turned out. The favourite Whenharrymetsally (11-10 to 5-4) chased the winner home in her usual game fashion, but the well backed Jabbea (8’s to 4’s) was only fourth when departing at the last. I remember the winner’s dam Sea Snipe as a prolific winning pointer.

They went 3-1 the field in the 16 runner Restricted where the favourite Pancrace (seen at 5’s early) was just pegged back by the Darren Edwards ridden In Arrears (7-1). I backed Pancrace (get the money back next time), but could easily have sided with the winner, who was down in class after she had caught the eye at Wadebridge before Christmas. Manhattan Mead (6’s to 4’s) ran better than his finishing position suggests and should pick up a similar race on his best behaviour.

Virak won the valuable Walrus hunter chase at Haydock last year, and limbered up for a repeat of that (6-4 to 4-5) when beating Navanman (7-2) in the Timico Mixed Open. Virak won at Haydock off a BHA rating of 139, so Navanman was facing a virtually impossible task of conceding 4lbs to the winner. Third placed Don Bersy (7-1) also had a high mark under rules, but had been on the naughty stool when refusing to race twice last year. Now with Ryan Potter, he is worth noting over a shorter tack. Horwood Lad (8-1 from 20’s) stayed on steadily and can find a winning opportunity in less exalted company.

I couldn’t resist backing Heaney (5-1) under the talented Millie Wonnacott in the PPORA Novice Riders’ race. Despite an absence of over two months, Heaney looked fit and his short head second to Blackwater Bramble at Buckfastleigh (won three times since) seemed solid form. The consistent Heaney led from the final ditch and ran on strongly to win nicely. Double Captain was an uneasy favourite (6-4 out to 2’s), and stayed on without getting in a blow at the winner.

Georges Legacy (20-1) showed improved form to win the Mares Open Maiden, given a positive ride by Kieran Buckley. Runner up Where’s Wilma looked dangerous three out but her challenge faded out going to the last. Cloudy Music (6-4 fav) finished third but never got in a blow. Although she a bit one paced her connections should find a maiden. The eye catcher here was Arctic Milly, who had run quite well on her debut in a bumper at Barbury and was backed from 14’s to 6’s here. She was not far behind when stumbling and unseating Bryan Carver on the bottom bend.

Both divisions of the concluding Open Maiden attracted big fields. Raging Fire (3-1 fav) stayed on strongly under Will Biddick in the first section. This six-year-old is a promising, well made half brother to Welsh National winner Elegant Escape out of an Orchestra mare so is bred to stay well. Minimalistic (5-1) was doing good work in the closing stages to finish second, and third placed Thestopperdunne (10’s to 7’s) was prominent throughout. Banco De logos (5-1) has failed to reproduce his good second behind subsequent dual hunter chase winner Road To Rome at Buckfastleigh, but should not be written off.

The getting out stakes went to another jolly as Biddick completed his hat trick (despite a shuddering fall the day before at Larkhill). This time his mount Crown of Thorns (solid 3-1 fav), was left clear when the unlucky Twist on Ginge (5’s to 4’s) stumbled and lost his rider on the home bend. Having said that, the winner, another six-year-old, is from a good chasing family and has further potential.

Ah well, one winner out of eight and a load of seconds for me. It was a long walk to Wellington.

News from the PPA on this weekend’s fixtures:

The Point-To-Point Authority have advised the South Dorset fixture at Milborne St Andrew is unable to run this weekend and is looking to postpone.

Due to adverse weather, both the Percy at Alnwick and The Thurlow at Horseheath have also had to call off racing for this weekend with the intention of postponing.

Upcoming Event

  • Sunday 10th February 2019 Western Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge. PL27 7JE 1st Race 12.00pm Sec Tel No: 07726 499430
  • Sunday 17th February 2019 Combined Services Larkhill, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 8QT 1st Race 12 noon Sec Tel No: 07437 437522
  • Sunday 17th February 2019 South Pool Harriers Buckfastleigh Racecourse TQ11 0LT 1st Race 12 noon Sec Tel No: 01548 531490
  • Sunday 24th February 2019 Countryside Alliance Club (Wessex) Badbury Rings, Nr Wimborne, Dorset DT11 9JL  1st Race 12 noon Sec Tel No: 01258 455412
  • Sunday 24th February 2019 East Cornwall Great Trethew, Menheniot, Liskeard PL14 3PZ 1st Race 12 noon Sec Tel No: 01579 384889
  • Sunday 3rd March 2019 East Devon Bishops Court, Ottery St. Mary EX11 1RJ 1st Race 12 noon Sec Tel No: 07870 737209
  • Sunday 10th March 2019 Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Charlton Horethorne, Sherborne, DT9 4LJ 1st Race 12.30pm Sec Tel No: 01963 370260
  • Saturday 16th March 2019 Quantock Staghounds Cothelstone, Taunton, TA4 3DT 1st Race 12.30pm Sec Tel No: 01278 732944
  • Sunday 17th March 2019 Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers Buckfastleigh Racecourse. TQ11 0LT 1st Race 1.00pm Sec Tel No: 01548 531490

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