GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES: SPOONER’S & WEST DARTMOOR

For those of you looking for my normal on the spot report from the Cherrybrook meeting scheduled for this weekend, I am sorry but for reasons beyond my control there isn’t one……

However, all is not lost. Instead of the meeting scheduled for April 5th 2020, this week’s trip down memory lane takes us back to the Spooner’s & West Dartmoor fixture held at Kilworthy 41 years ago.

For Westcountry aficionados, I have added a few notes at the end about the past history of this particular point-to-point.

RESULTS

SPOONER’S & WEST DARTMOOR AT KILWORTHY APRIL 14TH 1979

Going; Good to soft

HUNT

1 Bararden (Nick Fell)

2 Snake Dance (Michael Williams)

3 Cornish Butterfly (P Lane)

6 ran; 12l; 4l; 7m 1s SP 4-1

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Wiener Chic (Mrs Sue Reynard)

2 Tam Rating (Miss Pip Fisher)

3 Lady Christine (Miss Doreen Hutchings)

8 ran; dist; neck; 6m 57s SP 2-7 fav

MEN’S OPEN

1 French Garcon (John Symons)

2 Hidden Treasure (Martin Keenor)

3 Uncle Arthur II (Jimmy Frost)

8 ran; head; dist 6m 59s SP 1-2 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Trentishoe (Jimmy Frost)

2 Moon Step (Mike Biddick)

3 Moorland Lassie (Mark Reeves)

15 ran; 5l; 8l; 6m 57s SP 3-1

ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN

1 Raucous (RJ Reddaway)

2 Goodness Me (Jimmy Frost)

3 Used Notes (MF Hill)

14 ran; 1l; 5l; 7m 9s SP evens fav

Rame Fell’s bonny grey Bararden made all the running to win the Members’ ridden by the owner’s son Nick. This regular front runner was a Kilworthy specialist and improved further to win a Taunton hunter chase the following season. Snake Dance was a game and consistent staying mare who was one of the few pointers to win two Maiden races before the rules were changed. She won a total of 10 point-to-points in her career. Cornish Butterfly had not won since 1974, but finished well to take third just ahead of Kasim Baba and Amatol. Age had caught up with Kasim Baba, who was running his last race aged 14. He was unbeaten in six races and the third top rated pointer in the land in 1973, but very lightly raced afterwards.

Baraden winning at Wadebridge

The Ladies’ winner Wiener Chic was a high class German bred point-to-pointer and hunter chaser. He had won hurdle races for Fred Rimell in his younger days, but was not straight forward and was purchased for 750 gns. He soon notched up a string of pointing wins for Sue Reynard, and sailed home a distance clear of a decent field on this occasion. Tam Rating was a hard ride and the talented Pip Fisher drove him into second, ahead of such good pointers as Lady Christine (Doreen Hutchings) and Galloway Fabulous (Katie Halswell). Kilworthy specialist The Vee was in touch when unseating Belinda Fuller (now the Lamerton Point-to-Point secretary) after half way. It is worth noting that Wiener Chic, ridden by Sue Reynard, went on to finish third in the Cheltenham Foxhunters in 1980.

French Garcon was a highly rated pointer from the family of Arkle. He was winning for the fourth consecutive time, and had just beaten Panmure in a hunter chase at Devon and Exeter, albeit receiving weight and with Jimmy Frost up. His owner/rider on this occasion, John Symons, is no Jimmy Frost, and he made heavy weather of beating Paul Tylor’s mare Hidden Treasure (Martin Keenor). Michael Ogle’s Uncle Arthur II was fresh from beating Bararden at Wadebridge (the old course at Trewornan farm), but finished a tired third.

I remember the Adjacent Hunts’ winner Trentishoe as one of my favourite horses in those days – probably because she did me a few favours in the betting ring. A small mare by Romany Air, with the heart of a lion, she was owned and trained by Gail Harrison. She had the assistance of Jimmy Frost in the saddle, and ended a successful season by winning the John Corbet Cup at Stratford. John Weldhen’s Moonstep was a very useful pointer, bought cheaply off the flat. A consistent staying type, he had won this race the previous season with Mike Biddick up, but was no match for Trentishoe this time. He went on to win multiple points however and sprang a 25-1 surprise in the 1981 Jeep Christie Ladies’ hunter chase at Chepstow, ridden by the talented Katie Halswell. Third placed Moorland Lassie was fresh from winning the South Devon members’ and kept on well close home. The recent course winner Langton Way ran his usual sound race in fourth, just ahead of Joe’s Farewell, who went on to win the Tedworth Gold Cup at Larkhill over four miles later in the season.

I cannot remember much about the Maiden winner Raucous. He didn’t run much and was obviously out of his depth in his two previous races (trying to mix it with such as Spartan Missile, Wisbech Lad and Ten Up in military races at Sandown). A drop to this modest Maiden must have been just the ticket. The runner up Goodness Me was a half sister to the aforementioned Joe’s Farewell and won next time out at the Mid Devon. Used Notes improved four places on the run in, and duly obliged next time at Crimp Morwenstow. She subsequently won under rules at Haldon.

SOME HISTORY OF SPOONER’S POINT-TO-POINTS

The first details I have about the link between point-to-pointing and Mr Spooner’s Harriers is that they held a joint meeting with the Lamerton Hunt at Whitchurch Down on 9th March 1924. A joint meeting with Plymouth Garrison Hunt Club was held at Dunnabridge near Princetown the following year, and the Harriers continued at that venue until April 1929.

One of the leading lady point-to-point riders of that era, Miss Sylvia Spooner, had taken over the mastership of the pack from her father, Clarence Spooner, in 1926. A fixture at Kilworthy is recorded on 9th April 1930, but it was back to Dunnabridge the next year. I had to smile at a Western Morning News report of the 1938 meeting: “Conditions were not conducive to the comfort of spectators.” I wonder how many times I could have said that when struggling to make notes in a muddy field with soggy race cards over the years. The Harriers raced at Dunnabridge until 1951.

April 30th 1952 saw the start of a long run of fixtures at Kilworthy. Frank Ryall rode a treble on that occasion, including the Adjacent Hunts’ Pony race on Lonesome Boy. That famous East Cornwall pony was described as “invincible” in Geoffrey Sale’s 1960 annual. When he retired after the 1959 season he had won 65 times, including 53 consecutive races, all in the Westcountry and many over banks.

In the 1959 hunting season the pack became known as Spooner’s Foxhounds, and after acquiring some country on Dartmoor for 1961/62 the Spooner’s and West Dartmoor Hunt came into being. Their point-to-points were held at Kilworthy until the move to Cherrybrook, adjacent to the Kilworthy track, in 1986.

Other Photo galleries

spoonerswd.co.uk

facebook.com/Cherrybrook Racing

Acknowledgments:

  • Hunter Chasers and Point to Pointers (various years)– Sale & MacKenzie
  • The Point to Point Calendar (various years 1933 – 1938)
  • The Pointer
  • Horse & Hound Year Book
  • Baily’s Hunting Directory
  • Mr Michael Kutapan – Point to Point History & Research ( Jumping For Fun web site)
  • Western Morning News