After almost two years since the last fixture at Buckfastleigh, it was good to be back there, with a strong line of 11 bookies and a keen crowd of point-to-point enthusiasts. Some familiar big hitting punters have sadly departed in the interim, but there was still a vibrant atmosphere about the ring.
One of the faces still about was up and down the line backing Will Biddick’s mount Next One Please (forced from 6-4 into 4-5) in the opener. This rangy debutant made a bold bid, but was done with after the penultimate. He will atone on better ground. The winner His Own Star (5’s into 7-2) relished the heavy ground. This five -year-old had good placed form on soft ground in France, including cross country races, and improved for his British pointing debut last month at Barbury Castle. He looks a good prospect for the Stuart Sampson yard and gave Darren Andrews his 50th pointing winner. Others to note out of this Maiden are the Soldier of Fortune mare Summerleaze (8-1) who was prominent all the way, and Get on Ron (7’s to 6’s), who fluffed the second last when poised to challenge.
The Restricted favourite Fountains Chief (4-5 to evens) had taken a very early fall at Wadebridge last week, but got as far as the last fence here before exiting to a tired looking fall. His form behind Truckers Pass at the Cornwall Club was gilt edged though, and I would not give up on the six-year-old yet despite the fact that he is fast becoming the bookies best friend. The winner Stevan Steel (5-2 to 2’s) is game and gallops all day. The mount of Darren Edwards, he was left solo at the last.
Chameron (4-6 to 6-4 ) and Hazzaar (2’s to 6-4) started joint favourites for the four runner Mixed Open . Chameron has taken a while to get his act together this season (beat Cousin Pascal in a Leicester hunter chase last year) and was none too fluent here. Ben Sutton survived losing an iron at the last before drawing away in the home straight. Runner up Hazzaar (Tommie O’Brien) , a former Ascot bumper winner, was trying three miles for the first time. He ran well until his stamina gave out and can be noted for a short hunter chase. Danseur du Large (5’s into 7-4) stays well and kept on late under Chloe Emsley.
Molineaux (6-4 to 5-4 fav) jumped really well to give 16-year-old Freddie Gingell his first pointing winner in the Veteran Horses Conditions race. He looks a grand schoolmaster and can set up a sequence in this type of race. Although well beaten behind Molineaux here, Blakerigg (100-7) stayed on well. He was winning races for Nicky Richards three years ago and has joined a shrewd yard.
The punters were in full swing by now and got stuck in again as Jeremy Central (2’s to 6-4), under a confident Biddick waiting ride, strode clear to win the older horses maiden. Bought only recently by Tom Malone at an online auction, the winner had been unlucky when ridden by a claimer in Irish points. Honest Opinion (9-2) ran her usual solid race to finish second (placed on eight occasions), and Pyleigh Court (33’s to 20’s) recovered from a serious blunder at half way to finish a staying on third.
The pay out queues were even longer after the last race as Famous Clermont (4-5 from 4-6) won hard held to defy a 5lbs penalty. Trained by the in-form Christopher Barber, the seven-year-old completed a double for Will Biddick and capped a difficult afternoon for the layers. Hotel du Nord (10-1) stuck to his task well to finish runner up under Charlie Sprake.
I am pleased to say that I joined the pay out queues four times during the afternoon. Last week’s Wadebridge Point-To-Point losses recovered with interest.
Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN