“Bare branches of each tree on this chilly January morn look so cold so forlorn. Grey skies dip ever so low”

From the poem January morn by Nelda L Hartmann 1920 – 1999

In truth we were lucky on Sunday weather wise, dodging the prevalent January storms. We have all known some typical Cornish winter days at Wadebridge races when the refuge of the famous huge Wadebridge barn was such a blessing between races. This time it was a pleasure to be outside watching the clouds roll past.

THE North Cornwall fixture featured riding doubles for both Darren Andrews and Darren Edwards on testing going at the Royal Cornwall Showground.

The classy Navanman has been one of the most consistent point-to-pointers in the Devon & Cornwall Area in recent years and his liking for Wadebridge resulted in his fifth course victory in the Mixed Open. The 11-year-old was partnered for the first time by Darren Andrews, who had to work hard to see off the challenge of Hello George (Nathan Vergne). “I was confident I would pick up Nathan’s horse and his made a mistake at the last,” said the winning rider, whose mount stayed on in his usual game fashion on the uphill run to the judge and was going away from his rival near the finish.

Navanman is trained by John Heard near Okehampton for a small syndicate of family and friends. “He will probably be entered for Chipley Park but I might give him a short break. He had a hard race today.” said the trainer.

Successful jockey Darren Andrews went on to complete his double in the Restricted on progressive seven-year-old The Galloping Bear. The 26-year-old rider had to work hard to see off the sustained challenge of fellow joint favourite Voie Dans Voie (Martin McIntyre) on the climb to the finish. Owned by Adrian Paterson, The Galloping Bear is one of nine pointers trained by Ben Clarke at Littlewindsor, adjacent to the now defunct point-to-point course of the same name. “He is a tough and genuine lovely young horse,” remarked the trainer.

Champion Devon & Cornwall Area rider Darren Edwards rode the first and last race winners. Chosen Lucky was not hard pressed to beat sole rival Acadian in the Little Acres Racing Club colours in the opening Hunt race. “This was Chosen Lucky’s fifth win here and 13th in all”, said trainer Dean Summersby, adding, “We really wanted my daughter Charlotte to ride him in Novice Riders races since Bryan Carver, Liam Harrison and Rex Dingle all got going on him, but he gets a 10lbs penalty in Novice Riders now and that makes it difficult.”

Mustmeetforapint had run well when second at the pre-Christmas fixture at the showground and started a shade of odds-on when completing the double for Darren Edwards and trainer Dean Summersby in the Open Maiden for older horses. The winner took over from front running Stevan Steel on the bottom bend and drew right away in the home straight. “I bought him privately in Ireland last October and he is now owned by Mr and Mrs Worth. He is a lovely balanced horse and might prefer more galloping tracks,” reported the trainer.

Welsh challenger Ardview Boy led his four rivals a merry gallop in the PPORA Novice Riders race, making all the running to give his 18-year-old jockey Dylan Kitts his first winner. “His jumping was awesome,” said the young rider who started by riding show horses. “Dylan has been with me for three years and deserves his chance,” said the winner’s trainer Wyn Morris who has three pointers in training at Narberth, Pembrokeshire, and faced a six hours journey home. “We came overnight and lodged the horse with Ryan Chapman a few miles from here,” said the trainer, who might run Ardview Boy next in a Hereford hunter chase.

The largest field of the day saw 12 line up for the Open Maiden for four to six-year-olds. Nickelsonthedime proved a convincing winner under Josh Newman, storming up the finishing hill to beat the improving mare Cottage Rose (Fergus Gillard) by eight lengths. Neil Mclean trains the winner for owners Terry Hamlin and John Gardener adjacent to recently occupied Kayley Woollacott’s yard at Woolminstone near Crewkerne. “He has taken some settling and bolted to the start last time,” explained the jockey, who had his charge anchored in rear for the first circuit. “He jumped four out too well and got to the front but I really wanted a lead until two out,” added the rider, whose CV includes a Cheltenham festival winner.

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