“Bare branches of each treeFrom the poem January Morn by Nelda Hartmann
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday’s dusting of snow.
Top honours at the North Cornwall meeting on softish ground at Wadebridge on Sunday (9th January) were shared between Darren Edwards, who rode a treble, Dean Summersby, who saddled three winners, and John and Sonia Gardener who were involved in various shapes and forms in the ownership of the successful trio.
Port O’Clock, in the joint ownership of John Gardener and Torben Hughes started the ball rolling by making all the running to defeat his two opponents in the opening Moores St Wenn Ltd Hunt race. “He has been a handful all his life but likes this ground and can go for an Intermediate next,” reported trainer Dean Summersby, who was saddling his first winner of the season but has only had a few runners so far.
It was the turn of six-year-old Transition Period to provide the second leg of the treble, carrying the well known colours of John and Sonia Gardener in the Heltor sponsored Maiden for young horses. Starting favourite, the gelding jumped better than at the pre-Christmas fixture on the showground to beat the promising Lighthouse Mill. Bought as a store in Ireland, Dean Summersby described his charge as, “a grand horse who has ability and some engine and has schooled perfectly at home.”
Reigning Devon & Cornwall area title holder Darren Edwards (has won that award four times) had to work hard on Transition Period to repel Lighthouse Mill, but in contrast was always travelling comfortably in notching his afternoon treble on Thewinnertakeitall in the Ferguson Nash Restricted. This time he sported Mike Bickell’s colours, and shook off young Chad Bament’s challenge on Mustmeetforapint in the home straight after odds-on favourite Fountains Cloud had crashed out at the second fence. “We needed a bit of luck there. I was worried about the ground but he went through it well and keeps trying,” said the trainer who is based near Lifton, Devon.
It is particularly pleasing for Westcountry pointing followers that 37-year-old Darren Edwards has recently taken up a directorship on the board of the Point to Point authority (PPA) . Hopefully he will not be lost to his busy race riding schedule and described his new appointment as, “very challenging in the current climate.”
It was the turn of another Darren in a quality field of eight in the Kivells sponsored Mixed Open. This was Darren Andrews, on the verge of a half century of point-to-point winners, who enjoyed a smooth success on the mare Singapore Saga. Sykes was well backed to repeat his December course win, but Darren Edwards was hard at work on Sykes at the cross fence three out and couldn’t peg back the game winner. The winning rider remarked , “She is a typical Midnight Legend, hangs left and right and not easy to steer round the bends. She is quick over her jumps though and is a possibility for hunter chases.” Okehampton based John Heard, who trains the mare for a syndicate of six that includes John and Sonia Gardener, was reaching a training landmark of half a century of point-to-point winners with Singapore Saga. He bought the ex-Philip Hobbs mare at Goffs Doncaster sales last August and said, “She is a nice little horse but can be a bit quirky.”
Sue Trump’s 10-year-old Broadclyst has been round the block a few times since winning his Maiden at Wadebridge just over four years ago. He just lasted home ahead of Field Exhibition to win the PPORA Conditions race under Ray Davies Foods sponsorship after idling badly with the race in the bag inside the last 100 yards. Now with Payhembury trainer Leslie Jefford, Broadclyst was a first winning ride for 25-year-old Anna Johnston who said, “ He got a bit lonely out in front up the hill. I work full time now for Jane Williams and this was my third point-to-point ride.” Anna went on to finish fourth in a handicap hurdle for Jane Williams at Doncaster two days later.
Bradley Gibbs has made a good start to the season since moving from Wales to his new training venture near Hatfield with fiancée Claire Sherriff. He partnered his ninth winner of the season when landing the concluding Tregawne Holiday Cottages Maiden on his father’s seven-year-old Ask Dai. The winner took over from the favourite Ask The Lady four out and stayed on to hold a promising effort from Arv Way There and Heidi Stevens. Welsh owners have a good record at this Cornish track and Ynysybwl based owner David Gibbs said of his Carmarthenshire qualified seven-year-old , “Ask Dai jumps like a buck. He has recovered from a fractured cannon bone and was off the course for a while.”
Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN