After a nine months gap from betting gossip due to you know what, I am pleased to offer readers (if they are still there) some snippets from the point-to-point betting ring at Wadebridge.
I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the Cornwall Club meeting on press duties, but It was a bit like working in a ghost town “behind closed doors”.
At least we got some very good point-to-point action. It was also pleasing to battle with the layers again, although I could have done with socially distancing my wallet from them.
Full marks anyway to Dave Philips, Rich Pittard and G & T Williams for standing at the showground. Dave and Rich operated in the green zone and Tony Williams was the lone ranger in the amber zone. The zones were strictly enforced with no transit between them. The bookies on -course business was boosted by a telephone betting service for punters watching the live streaming in their armchairs at home. I am told that the live streaming was excellent.
Some of the contests on Sunday resembled a three card trick for punters. Sir Mangan was the form pick in the opener and was backed from evens to 4-6. Like most good things he finished second. The winner Raddon Top (4-1) is no mug and got a good ride from Conor Houlihan. Guerrilla Tactics was supported from 5-1 into 4’s but lost rider Finn Muirhead at the third fence.
The other division for Veteran and Novice riders attracted 14 runners. There was money for Tom Malone’s Thelastbutone(4’ to 5-2) and Chosen Lucky (5-4 fav), but they could only fill the places behind Carmarthenshire raider Coquin Mans (6-1) who dominated this field. On reflection he could have given all his opponents at least two stones on his Irish form for Willie Mullins as a young horse. He had a BHA rating of 158 at his best.
The three Open Maiden divisions took some sorting out. In the first section I ruled out Eros (5-4 fav) because he had pulled too hard at Ottery. He ran well to finish third here however and should atone. Another for the note book is four-year-old debutant Imperial Joe (6’s to 4’s) who stayed on nicely up the hill. The winner Old Town Garde (5-1) is another four-year-old from a good yard and looks to have a future.
There was a remarkable plunge on the mare The Kitchenmechanic from 10’s in one place to as low as 5-2 at flag fall in the second division. She finished seventh. The winner Rossderrin (6-1) is nicely bred but arrived with a modest CV. He turned in a workmanlike performance and should win again. Feu Des Malberaux (7’s to 5’s) chased the winner home and is improving steadily.
Five-year-old Tip Top Mountain (4’s to 3’s) made all the running to win the other division easily under a positive ride from Rob Hawker. He looks the part and fetched £30,000 a few days later when offered at the Cheltenham sales (confusingly held at Newmarket). Word had obviously got out about Ed Walker’s four-year-old Charles Ritz because this Milan gelding was always tight at evens. He wasn’t unduly knocked about by the champion to finish ten lengths second best, but is no Santini. There is a race to be won by Reflex Action (6-s to 5-2) but he will need to jump better.
There was little or no value for punters in the Ladies’ race. I thought that Different Gravey (6-4 to 5-4) would win despite a long absence but he never looked like getting to grips with Back Bar who traded from 6-4 to evens. Back Bar is a lot more consistent in points than he was under rules.
Navanman was virtually unbackable at level weights in thefive-runner Men’s Open with 1-3 called early. He was sent off at 1-2. There was good money for Welshman Dr Des (5-2 to 7-4) but he jumped sloppily and managed to knock the rider off Beneficial Joe (25-1) at the sixth with a violent leap to his right. The Dapper Fox (16’s to 14’s) ran very well when ridden closer to the pace than normal to finish second, but there was no stopping the consistent Honest Deed (5-1) who sailed clear under Darren Edwards down the hill.
Getting Closer (6-4 fav) just snatched the Intermediate in a six horse blanket finish to give Izzie Marshall a double., denying Waterloo Warrior(3-1) by a short head. The latter was only sixth jumping the last. Missyladie (100-6) was in front 50 yards out before being edged out to finish third. ClondawBunny (12-1) caught the eye under his novice rider and is worth bearing in mind.
Only two of the eight favourites had obliged so far and it was the same story in the getting out stakes. This time Starsky (5’s to 7-4) was the culprit. Like most each way certainties he finished fourth. The winner Hotel du Nord (3’s to 2’s) gave Charlie Sprake his first jumps winner. Runner up Schiap Hill (7-2) looks nailed on for a Restricted.
Photo credit: Athwenna Irons / WMN