OFF East Devon Point-To-Point at Bishops Court

Sadly East Devon’s point to point races, due to be held at Ottery St Mary on Saturday, has had to be postponed due to flooding.

Heavy overnight rain has led to water lying on large parts of the course.

It is hoped the races can be rearranged for a later date – watch this feed for news.

POSTPONED Preview: East Devon Point-To-Point at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary – Saturday 30th October 2021

UPDATE: 20th October 2021 at 09:21

Sadly East Devon’s point to point races, due to be held at Ottery St Mary on Saturday, has had to be postponed due to flooding.

Heavy overnight rain has led to water lying on large parts of the course.

It is hoped the races can be rearranged for a later date – watch this feed for news.

With Pointing getting underway on it’s annual Autumnal start this Saturday, the East Devon host their Point-To-Point meeting at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary. This track offers a stunning parkland view, offering a fabulous way for the whole family to enjoy the seven races on offer, which commence at 12 noon. Although the entries are reduced, the quality should provide some competitive racing.

The opening Harris Timber Products members race could see trainer Les Jefford saddle the winner with Broadclyst,  with jockey Conor Houlihan to ride and follow up on the five-lengths second in a Handicap Chase at Warwick last season for Chris Down. Inch Rock could be his main rival here, now trained by Robin Gundry, looks to have the booking of jockey Pippa Glanville to ride and they would be looking to improve on their second place at this track previously.

Mount Vets sponsor the Open Maiden race for four and five year-olds. Captain Westie looks to be a likely favourite having run second in an Irish NH race and is in ownership for Bloodstock Owner/trainer Tom Malone with the booking of Will Biddick to ride. Hey Soul Sister looks a promising young horse for trainer Chris Barber running off a low weight, and So They Say is an entry for local trainer Ed Walker, another who could be one to follow for the future.

In the Micheal Pidsley & Son limited-sponsored Men’s Open race could be a dual finish between Where’s Wilma under jockey Matt Hampton for trainer Michael Watson having run well in second at this meeting last season, and The Mulcair for trainer Camilla Scott who could follow up on their win at Bratton Down last season.

The Paul Whitfield-sponsored Ladies Open entry Cousin Pascal won the Foxhunter Chase in April at Aintree for the Joseph O’Shea team and should be likely favourite here, Hawkhurst is another showing consistency last season and would be expected to run well for the Alan Hill team and notch an early season win for jockey Izzy Marshall.  Copain Des Classe is an entry for owner/ trainer Sam Loxton and this gelding could be one to follow in the pointing field for the future and give his lady jockey’s and connections some successful pointing days out in the future.

Trainwreck holds the highest rating in the Woolfeden-sponsored PPORA Club Conditions race for the Francesca Poste team having previously scored in Ireland under NH rules as a dual hurdle winner, however this could be a race for entry Copain Des Classe’s connections to challenge in this rather than the previous  race.

Envious Editor stands out in the Valley Constructions Restricted race for the Joe O’Shea team having had some decent Irish hurdle place form, Sergeant Brody ran a creditable second at Hexham in May and Schiap Hill is another who will be high in the betting arena having run well in runner-up places at this venue and Wadebridge previously. 

Finally up is the R Greenslade-sponsored Maiden race for six year olds and over, in which Truckers Pass for team Malone with jockey Will Biddick looking to set the standard and Dock Of The Bay for team Jefford  and the Otis partnership, being another who could run well on debut this season.

Entrance to the course is by cash only at £15 per head including a racecard, children under 16 free and Dogs on leads welcome. Live streaming will be available through www.eventbrite.co.uk at £12 per viewing plus a small admin fee. Check out the pointingdc website and pointingdc.eventbrite are offering a seasons package at £75. Betting is available via Dave Phillips 07810775119. The course is located at Bishops Court Postcode EX11 1RJ.

Live Streaming of the Point to Point fixtures will continue to be developed in the Devon and Cornwall this season with the first 3 meetings until the end of this year now fixed and followed by most if not all of the remaining fixtures through until next June. Cornelius Lysaght and Robert Cooper, both nationally known horse racing broadcasters will lead the presentations and interviews, betting information from Simon Nott and race form and tips from racing correspondent Donna Harris.

The team includes Videographers plus technical students from the Falmouth University’s in-house creative agency Mayn Creative who supported the initial programme last year plus Pearce’s Public Address specialists who are supplying robotic wireless cameras around the course, along with a dedicated broadcast van, tailored graphics and video editing software for sale of race recordings on the day, director’s comms and audio requirements this season.

Live Streaming costs are £12 per view (plus a small Eventbrite admin fee) for the full action packed day of horse racing in Devon and Cornwall and can be seen on your Iphone or computer with the link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/east-devon-point-to-point-livestream-tickets-161608831365

A special offer for 40 tickets to view all the broadcasts throughout the season at a discounted total cost of £75 is being promoted at the beginning of the season from https://pointingdc.eventbrite.com and this offer is expected to be taken up quickly.

Donna Harris
Donna Harris

Best selling Children’s Author Interested in journalism, novel writing. Currently PRO Devon & Cornwall Point to Point.

Cover Photo Credit: Megan Cobley Photography

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GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – SILVERTON POINT-TO-POINT

With the new point-to-point season fast approaching, here is another personal reminiscence, this time from Silverton Hunt fixtures past to whet the appetite for exciting days soon to come.

Baily’s Hunting Directory records Silverton Huntinformation from 1863. The Master then was Mr T Webber who held that esteemed office until 1895. According to my records, the first point-to-pointheld by the Silverton was on 23 March 1923 at Newton St Cyres. They raced there from 1923 until 1929 when the fixture was transferred to Shobrookenear Crediton.

Shobrooke was a stiff Devon track, right-handed with some plough and a long, hard pull up to the finish. The Silverton meeting was held at that coursefrom 23 March 1929 until their last fixture there on 3 April 1971, with a break in the war years. It becamea joint meeting with the Tiverton in 1964.Their final combined meeting at Shobrooke in 1971 saw wins in the saddle for Fred Rawle and Grant Cann, but Martin Pipe could only finish runner up ridingFaberstown in the Members’. Mr Pipe went on to carve out a successful career as a trainer!

There was no Silverton fixture in 1972, but on 28 March 1973 the point-to-point went it alone and moved to the East Devon course at Hayes Barton, Clyst Honiton.

The next move was to Thorverton in 1978. I remember going there in 1985 for the final meeting at that course. Chris Down rode a double on Holcombe Lass and Macnab’s Quest, as did Philip Scholfield on Sandsprite and Harvest Hymn. Sara Luxton won the Ladies’ on Isotip, and Philip Rawlerode Dull Light to win the Men’s Open. These were the good old days for us race readers with never more than five or six races.

In 1986 yet another move took the Silverton to Haldon. I must confess that personally I never enjoyed point-to-point racing on the inside of Haldonracecourse, although I had a good view for race reading from the pigeon loft which was the judge’s box in the centre of the course.  I had been used to National Hunt racing at “Devon and Exeter” (who changed it to “Exeter”?). Admittedly some good point-to-point racing ensued at Haldon with generally decent fields, but there were some funny results including in 1992 when a long odds-onfavourite was beaten after a questionable ride. I remember the brilliant Proud Son winning on his debut the following year. He later went on to win the Horse and Hound Cup. In addition such good Ladies’ horses such as Khattaf and For A Lark did their stuff at Haldon over the years.

And so the fixture was taken on to Black Forest Lodge in 1997. There are plenty of good memories of the fixtures at Black Forest Lodge on the Earl of Devon’s land which was a proper point-to-point course with the benefit of quick draining soil. At the early season fixture horses came from Wales and the Midlands which led to competitive racing. My racereporting always saw me on the hill side overlooking the last fence where the whole action could be seenwith a good pair of binoculars. There was only a single occasion when fog descended which forced me to go down between the last fence and the penultimate to see anything of the action. 

As 18-year-old Rachael Blackmore trudged back after her fall from Cheekyrun   in the Silverton Open Maiden on 27 March 2010,  nobody would have dreamt that the young Irish novice jockey would eventually become the first female to ride the winner of the Grand National. This is a true story however and Devon owner/trainer Gordon Chambers readily recalled the occasion, “Yes, Rachael was just getting started. I bought two horses from Ireland from a pal of mine which were ready to run and part of the deal was he would bring them over and stay with me and see them run, and could he also bring over a young girl who had been riding out for him and if I thought she was good enough could she ride them over here. She was very keen and had not had many opportunities. Having watched her, I thought she was good enough !”

It was a shame that this popular viewing course,superbly prepared under  Clerk of the Course Norman Chanin, should be lost for good after the 2018 season. The intention for the Hunt to race at the new Dunsmore, Silverton course was thwarted by the pandemic, although the closely associated DunsmoreClub managed an initial meeting there in November 2019.

Let’s hope that Dunsmore proves a successful new home. The Club meeting this season is on Sunday 14 November. The new season opens on Saturday 30 October at Ottery St Mary with the East Devon fixture.

GRANVILLE TAYLOR

Acknowledgments:

Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers, Sale & MacKenzie ,various years

.Baily’s Hunting Directory

The Continuing Story of Point-to-Point Racing, Michael Williams

Mr Michael Kutapan – Point to Point History & Research( Jumping For Fun web site)

The Pointer (David Coulton

Footnote:

A big gelding called Native Trail won a division of the Silverton Adjacent Hunts’ Maiden in 1983 with Jimmy Frost in the saddle. 

The unbeaten top rated two-year-old of 2021, Native Trail, won the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last week to become favourite for next year’s Derby. It looks as though Godolphin has stolen the name.