Preview: East Devon Point-to-Point at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary on Saturday Oct 24th

Written by: Donna Harris

With a herculean effort from Devon & Cornwall Point-to-Point Chairman Frank Yeo, along with Secretary Gordon Chambers, in combination with the Point-to-Point Authority, and the fantastic efforts of the East Devon team, the first fixture of the season is to be held at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary, to take place this coming Saturday 24th October. Racing will be behind closed doors for this meeting with no public access.

Following the disappointment of the early abandonment of racing in March due to Covid-19 pandemic, a huge thanks must go to the Totnes & Bridgetown Racing Co Ltd for their generous sponsorship to help fund the three fixtures scheduled to take place in the area up until Christmas. Tattersalls are also on board for sponsorship of the maiden races.

Eight races are on offer with a start time of 12 noon. It will be the first fixture to offer live television streaming, headed by Cornelius Lysaght and a team of presenters offering the action as it happens. The card looks really exciting with 142 entries received. The Men’s Open looks to be the feature race of the day which include multiple winning pointer Navanman, last seen when winning by 70 lengths at Buckfastleigh in March under jockey Darren Edwards for trainer John Heard. There are plenty entered who will try to reel him in, these include the Bethan Childs-trained  ex National Hunt entry Jatiluwih, who could be a ride for Will Biddick. The horse has to be respected on his previous National Hunt form, which includes a hurdle win at Cheltenham last November when in training with Phillip Hobbs. Other’s among the entries are the highly rated Wick Green for trainer Peter Mason, Vivaldi Collonges, and Ucello Conti a half brother to Silviniaco Conti. Ucello Conti had good form in Ireland when in training with Gordon Elliot and is now with Melanie Rowley for Ben Bromley to ride. Art Mauresque for bloodstock agent/trainer Tom Malone, is also entered in the Men’s Open race, but the trainer could run him in the opening Hunt members race. Here he could be the likely favourite and follow up on his win at Cottenham last season under jockey Will Biddick.  Raddon Top holds an entry for trainer Les Jefford, with the booking of talented young jockey Conor Houlihan to ride, they could be the ones to take Art Mauresque on at the finish.

Tattersalls have sponsored the Maiden series, and in the race for four and five year olds there have been plenty of entries. Those catching the eye are the Getaway-sired gelding Gone Surfing for trainer Jill Dennis, who has a good strike rate with her maiden horses. Mac’s Frontier (Ben Clarke) is the highest rated, and Getaway Cory is an entry for the Neil McClean team who think highly off him and Jockey Josh Newman who is in form with a win at Exeter this week.

In the Ladies Open race The Last But One is another out of Tom Malone’s yard with decent form, latest clocking up a second at Didmarten in March. Entry Master Baker (Les Jefford) for Jo Supple to ride holds strong claims having won at Buckfastleigh by 2.5 lengths in March bringing his tally of wins to twelve to date. Millanisi Boy won the Novice Riders race at the Buckfastleigh meeting under Fergus Gillard who has progressed well, and now has the booking of Emma Jones to ride. Mendip Express could give young Molly White a competitive ride around, the now veteran had some good National Hunt form when in training for Phillip Hobbs, and the young jockey will be keen to progress her future here.

The PPORA Club Members race entry Ueueteotl could follow up on his form when third at Barbury under Heidi Stevens, Rolling Dylan looks an exciting prospect for trainer Laura Parker, and Every Breaking Wave for Somerset based trainer Claire Hitch, could run well having been placed on eight of his ten starts to date, having won three, and jockey Martin McIntyre will been keen to get a good start to the season.

In the Print Concerns Restricted race, this could be between Buckfastleigh maiden winner Steven Steel for Janet Ackner andjockey Darren Edwards, Thechaseison after his second at Badbury Rings trained by Christopher Barber, and Schiap Hill having scored second at Charing in February for jockey Charlie Marshall.

Finally up there are two divisions of the Maiden race for horses six years and over, which looks to hold plenty of talent of the future. Suggestions in the first could be A Tipple Or Two (Caroline Keevil), Businessman for trainer Les Jefford, Grey Getaway owned and trained by Matt Hampton, and Some Boy McCoy for the formidable Alan Hill team. Whilst in the second division, I’m Wiser Now (Sally Randell) and Starsky (Tom Malone) should go well judged on previous place form.

Organisers at the course would like to thank all who have helped and supported getting the event together, along with support staff on the day which include the essential Doctor team of Suzannah Hoult and Lee Humphreys, also the vet team led by James Bosley, Graham Potts, Nigel Woodford and Philip Brown. Sponsorship has come in the way of Banner funds, and the team would like to thank all those involved who have contributed, these include WBW Solicitors, Stephens & Scown Solicitors, Symonds & Sampson Estate/Land Agent, Cornish Mutual, Independent Agri-parts Co, Malcolm Pring and Sidmouth Scaffolding. Also huge thanks go to landowners Andrew and Della Carter.

Live streaming will be available via the Devon & Cornwall Point-to-Point Facebook page at facebook.com/PointingDC/Live and website.

Some bookmakers will be offering a betting service by phoning them and opening up an account. Full details will be on the Devon & Cornwall Point-to-Point website or visiting https://pointingdc.co.uk/2020/east-devon-point-to-point-telephone-betting/

Participants (Green Zone) and Owners (Amber Zone) will need to apply for tickets and complete a health declaration to be allowed to enter the course. The tickets can be obtained from http://www.pointtopoint.co.uk