All posts by Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Area Website

The Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point area ranges from Trebudannon in Cornwall in the West to Bratton Down on Exmoor in the East, and has the longest season in the country with Bishops Court often hosting a meeting on the opening weekend and the area hosting the traditional season finale at Umberleigh in June, often with one or more national or area championships decided on the day. There is a Devon & Cornwall meeting on most weekends during the season, so there is always plenty of good racing to see nearby, with both small and large local training yards often competing against visitors from Wessex, Wales and the Midlands. Pointing is a great day out for a family with free entry for children under 16 and most courses welcome dogs on leads 'The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.' Ovid For more information see: pointingdc.co.uk

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – DULVERTON WEST

In recent years the Dulverton West fixture has been one of three late season meetings held at Bratton Down, with its moorland turf, unpredictable climate and panoramic views across high Exmoor.

I always think that when the first Bratton Down meeting takes place it signals that we are reaching the final chapter of the season. Unfortunately this season the last rites were administered as early as March 15th at Buckfastleigh.

My first visit to Bratton Down was on June 4th 1977 when the ground was officially hard and runners were scarce. There have been warm, sunnier days since then, although heavy rain once forced abandonment after four races and a few years ago wind and driving rain forced the bookmakers to conduct business in a tiny tent. It was like getting the SP’s in a rugby scrum.

From a historical point of view, the original Dulverton Hunt was formed in 1875 when Lord Portsmouth handed over the country to Mr J Froude Bellew, squire of Anstey. The first record I have of a Dulverton Hunt point-to-point meeting is on 17th April 1925 at Anstey Common. Subsequent Dulverton meetings took place mainly at Anstey Common until the 1939-45 world war.

After the war the hunt was divided into the Dulverton East and the Dulverton West. Their first joint point-to-point fixture was held on 16th April 1947 at Venford, West Anstey. This arrangement continued until their last joint meeting there on April 18th 1959.

The Dulverton East continued to race at Venford until 1983, but on April 23rd 1960 (60 years ago) the Dulverton West started their long association with Bratton Down.

I cannot resist a few lines about the course at Venford. I started to go there in the late 1970’s. It had a character all its own. My memory recalls it as like racing round the shape of a frying pan until the later years, when a slightly different layout was tried. A real jockeys course, tight bends, sharp, left-handed, undulating, adverse camber in places. Quite a few incidents took place on the bends at the bottom part of the track. The going tended to be on the quick side. I suppose it had a resemblance to the defunct Alexandra Park, except the London track was the opposite way round.

In 1984 the Dulverton East moved to Mounsey Hill Gate. This place was the forerunner of racing behind closed doors. It was hopeless for spectators as much of the action could not be seen – Mackenzie & Selby’s 1988 annual is rather dismissive: ”seemed to have been originally designed specifically to make racing invisible…” About the only personal positive memory I can relate is that it was a nice journey via Wheddon Cross which sometimes took in nearby Tarr Steps from my home in Somerset.

Racing ceased there in 2007 when the point-to-point moved to Treborough Hill, which was a little more user friendly for the paying public on the Brendon Hills with views of the Bristol Channel. In 2002 the hunt’s name was changed to the Dulverton Farmers, and they raced at Treborough until it closed in 2014. One of my memories of that course was when racing was snowed off after four races in 2013.

This year’s aborted Dulverton West fixture had been scheduled for 17th May at Bratton Down. My reminiscence covers the 1989 fixture:-

DULVERTON WEST AT BRATTON DOWN 20TH MAY 1989

Going: Firm

HUNT

1 Raid Hope (Ian Widdicombe)
2 Mr Bigwig (Linda Blackford)
3 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; SP 11-10

LADIES’ OPEN

1 For A Lark (Mandy Turner)
2 Gerry Doyle (Julie Barrow)
3 My Mellow Man (Jenny Litston)
9 ran; 12l; 8l; 5m 58s; SP 4-5 fav

OPEN

1 And Theres More (Justin Farthing)
2 Bishopric (George Turner)
3 Rashleigh Boy (Ian Widdicombe)
10 ran; 5l; 2l; 6m 3s SP 10-11 fav

PPOA MEMBERS

1 Otabari (Justin Farthing)
2 Oak Lodge (Robert Alner)
3 Rate of Exchange (Ron Treloggen)
10 ran; 1/2l; dist; 5m 59s SP 5-4 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS

1 Admiral Benbow (Gordon Edwards)
2 River Culm (Chris Down)
3 Eagle Tavern (Philip Rawle)
8 ran; short head; 1/2l; 6m 9s SP 10-11 fav

ADJACENT RESTRICTED

1 Flodabay (Paul Hosgood)
2 Master Tuesday (Chris Down)
3 Isle Ornay (Linda Blackford)
20 ran; 1l; 2l; 6m 5s SP 25-1

Hunt race winner Raid Hope was quite useful in his day for owner Jenny Hayes, but was now at the veteran stage. His jockey Ian Widdicombe was enjoying his best season with nine winners. The favourite Golden Cargo lost his rider Tony Hill at the first.

The Ladies’ open was a cracker. The winner For A Lark was a legend in the Devon & Cornwall area and was in the form of his life. His owner / trainer, the late John Weldhen, bought him off the flat for 1300 guineas and he was about to be crowned Grand Marnier champion with 10 wins in 1989. Mandy Turner picked up the ride when Janine Mills was injured in March and went on to secure her fourth area Ladies’ title that year. The runner up Gerry Doyle was also a top class pointer in the colours of his Dorset based trainer Richard Barber who sadly died last June. Richard saddled his final winner, Whataknight, at Bratton Down in 2015. Out of the hundreds of the pointing winners he handled, he rated Gerry Doyle as one of his best. The talented Julie Barrow was in the saddle on this occasion. Jenny Litston, who rode third placed My Mellow Man for her father was another top class lady jockey who had won the national title in 1988. Her career was tragically cut short in a Larkhill fall in 1993

Justin Farthing was one of the strongest riders of the day. He rode 124 winners during his career, and became national champion in 1991. His double at the Dulverton West was initiated when Open winner And Theres More won his fifth successive race of the season from Keith Cumings’ yard. Most of Justin’s winners came for Richard Barber though, and the PPOA members’ winner Otabari was one of these. This sturdy chestnut had won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in his career.

Admiral Benbow was a Bratton Down specialist and showed plenty of guts up the finishing hill to deny River Culm and Eagle Tavern after the latter pair had jumped the last in front together in the Adjacents’. Gordon Edwards, father of current Devon & Cornwall area champion Darren Edwards, was Admiral Benbow’s regular jockey.

The Adjacent Restricted winner Flodabay was a big, strong type, owned and trained by Gordon Chambers, and was one of jockey Paul Hosgood’s ten winners that season. After four successive jollys had gone in it was time for an outsider and the lightly raced Flodabay popped up at 25-1. To be fair, he was probably a lucky winner because runner up Master Tuesday had lost a lot of ground when nearly falling at the last ditch and was closing again at the finish.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers – MacKenzie & Selby – various years
  • Horse & Hound Year Book – various years
  • The Pointer
  • Baily’s Hunting Directory 1934
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website
  • Point-to-Point Calendar 1933 – 1938– Arthur W Coaten

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – EGGESFORD

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.….”

A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens 1812-1870

The first record I have of an Eggesford point-to-point shows a fixture at Loosenden Cross on 10th April 1923. After three years at that location the meeting moved to Bishopsleigh for five seasons. This was not the same as the Bishopsleigh course used from the 1960’s.

From 1931 until 1935 the fixture was held at Pudson near Okehampton, before moving to a more settled venue at Sticklepath, also near Okehampton, until that course was closed after the 1955 meeting. The next few years saw the point-to-point at Loosebeare near Crediton, but cancellations in 1961 due to foot and mouth disease, and again in 1963 when it was waterlogged spelt the end of that track.

It was on to Bishopsleigh, near Crediton in 1964 until the last fixture there in April 2000. A brief sojourn at Lifton followed until the move to today’s venue at Upcott Cross in 2006. Keen pointing followers Ken and John Heard ensure their course is maintained to the highest standards.

The star rider in Devon in the 1930’s was Mr E Hocking. His six winners in 1937 put him joint second in the country that year. He rode several winners at the Eggesford meetings in the 1930’s, including a treble on the five-race card in 1938. Two of those three wins came on the same mare, Gipsy Queen II. Not content with a five lengths win in the four runner opening Hunt race, two races later the pair won the Farmers’ race from five opponents. Mr Hocking’s hat trick was achieved in the Adjacents’ Maiden on Ever Ready. Gipsy Queen II also won a race at the 1939 meeting.

Various joint meetings were held between 1946 and 1951 at Sticklepath. These included joining up on occasions with the Tiverton Staghounds, Hatherleigh Harriers and Mid Devon.

From a personal point of view I enjoyed the rural atmosphere of Bishopsleigh, although it took a bit of finding in the countryside, a few miles from Crediton. It was never the easiest for viewing. I remember a field of plough at the top part of the left handed course which was furthest from the eye. In the late 1980’s the track was re-designed minus the plough, the layout was changed with trees in the way which virtually ruined any chance of proper race reading.

I hope that my friend Jimmy Frost will forgive me for revealing the following , but my over-riding memory of Bishopsleigh concerns a race he won there in 1982. The results will show that Tudor Era won the Restricted Open, but here is the true story behind that result. A horse called Boston Lights finished first with Jimmy’s mount Tudor Era, carrying my bet, chasing her home, but Boston Lights and her rider Mrs Cathy Hamilton had gone the wrong side of a marker on the top bend. In the winner’s enclosure I remember telling Jimmy that I had seen the “winner” miss a marker and he said he was aware of it. “Are you going to object,” I said to him with monetary greed obviously in mind. “Yes, but I need 15 quid to lodge it and I haven’t got any money on me,” was the gist of his reply. So I rustled together the requisite 15 pound notes and stuffed them in his hands. Objection duly lodged – one of the stewards then confirmed that Boston Lights had indeed dodged inside a marker and the result was changed. So in the end Jimmy and Tudor Era got the race, I collected from the bookies and our “deposit” was returned.

The spotlight this week is on the 1987 meeting at Bishopsleigh, run just before a lengthy dry spell saw firm and hard ground setting in.

EGGESFORD AT BISHOPSLEIGH EASTER MONDAY 20 APRIL 1987

Going: Good

HUNT

1 Cal Mal (Philip Scholfield)
2 Jackotino (Biddy Peck)
3 Tharus O’Riley (Hugh Trerise)
5 ran; 4l; 4l; 7m 10s SP 3-1

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Stoneyard (Linda Delve)
2 Les Dancer (Tracy Westcott)
3 Easy Steed (Melanie Ranger)
8 ran; 6l; 4l; 6m 44s

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Akarakil (Kelvin Heard)
2 Champagne Bar (Philip Scholfield)
3 Plain Henry (Chris Boumphrey)
7 ran; 5l; dist; 7m 2s; SP 6-1

RESTRICTED OPEN

1 River Culm (Chris Down)
2 Tudor Mark (Sara Luxton)
3 Dusky Heart (Gerald Penfold)
4 ran; 4l; dist; 7m 0s SP 1-3 fav

MEN’S OPEN

1 Golden Link (Philip Scholfield)
2 Lavernia (Chris Down)
3 Ankus (Oliver Harvey)
6 ran; 1l; 2l; 7m 0s; SP 4-6 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN

1 Barton Boy (Philip Scholfield)
2 Samantha Whiskers (P J Austin)
3 Meadow Lad (M R Williams)
14 ran; 20l; 2l; 6m, 59s; SP 3-1

The winner and runner up in the Hunt race were both owned by Ken Dunn who was then one of the leading owners in the area. He provided Philip with many of his 18 winners in 1987 enabling him to finish runner up behind Mike Felton for the National title that year, and to claim the title with 37 winners the following year. Cal Mal was very useful on good ground and went on to land the £4,500 Land Rover Champion hunter chase at Chepstow later that season.

The Ladies’ winner Stoneyard was by a very good sire in those days called The Parson. Her original owner, the late Gerald Probert, was an estate agent in Somerset and Devon, and used to source his pointers from Ireland. One of his purchases was Queen Beyan who had landed something of a coup at Garthorpe in Leicestershire 1986 after a below par run at the South Tetcott a few days before – but that is a story for another day. Stoneyard was not the most reliable mare but was following up her win in the Tiverton Stag Ladies’ Open at Bishopsleigh three weeks previously with Linda Delve in the saddle. She was left clear here when Reuben Dewy ran out at the third last.

Two refusers and a faller altered the shape of the seven-runner Adjacents’ at the sixth fence. Champagne Bar looked the winner at the third last, but was readily outstayed by Akarakil and Kelvin Heard in the closing stages. The favourite Plain Henry was a good stayer but failed to sparkle here.

The Restricted was a modest affair won by River Culm. This home bred mare gave Chris Down his 100th winner as she shook off the challenge of Tudor Mark in the closing stages. Third placed Dusky Heart lost touch after a bad mistake at the 13th fence. I noticed when researching the 1930’s that Chris’s father Norman rode a few winners, including at the Eggesford in 1934

There are two things in particular I recall about the Men’s Open winner Golden Link, who was owned by regular pointing follower John Symes. The first was when he opened his account in a good Adjacent on only his second start as a five-year-old at the old Taunton Vale course of Jordans, Ilminster, (drop fences, poor viewing) ridden by Bob Buckler at 20-1. (why bother with Maiden races….). The second was seeing him win a Leicester hunter chase a few years later – only 3-1 that day. To be honest, I don’t remember much about this Eggesford race. A bright chestnut, he was a really strong stayer and the form book shows he was all out to beat Chris Down’s mount Lavernia. Third placed Ankus was a veteran ex-chaser acting as a schoolmaster for Oliver Harvey, brother of Luke.

Philip Scholfield rode Golden Link to add to his win on Cal Mal, and his good run of form continued when he won the concluding 14-runner Maiden on Barton Boy for Ken Dunn. This time he was lucky because the favourite Tudor Mile had the race sewn up with a five lengths advantage when losing his rider at the last. That was Bishopsleigh for you.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  • MacKenzie & Phillips  / Mackenzie & Selby – various years
  • Point to point calendars 1933 -1939= Arthur W Coaten
  • Horse & Hound Year Book – various years
  • The Continuing Story of Point-to-Point racing- Michael Williams
  • The Pointer
  • Michael Kutapan – History & research Jumping for Fun website

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – STEVENSTONE

“I wasted time and now doth time waste me. For now hath time made me his numbering clock…”

William Shakespeare – Richard II

It would have been the 25th anniversary of point-to-point racing at Vauterhill, Devon, this season. The Stevenstone had chosen the VE day Bank Holiday Friday for this occasion, but unfortunately there will be no activity this season at this North Devon track.

The Stevenstone have raced at many locations over the years. The earliest meeting I can find was on 1st April 1908 at Melbury near Bideford. Most fixtures before 1939, with the odd exception, were held at Cranford St Giles near Torrington and this arrangement continued after the war. A joint meeting with the Torrington Farmers took place from 1947 until 1949 at Cranford until those hunts’ went their separate ways in 1950. The Stevenstone’s meeting in 1951 is recorded as being at Monkleigh, but it was at Cranford again from 1952 until the closure of that course in 1961 when foot and mouth disease saw that year’s meeting cancelled.

It was during the 1950’s that a remarkable pointing record was set up that may never be broken. Lonesome Boy won the same race, the Adjacent Hunts’ Ladies at the Stevenstone, for eight successive years from 1952 until 1959. When that superb East Cornwall horse retired he had won 65 races, 53 of them in succession over a variety of steeplechase fences and banks. Jumping technique on to and off the banks was an important attribute and I could not believe how steep the banks were until looking at the recently released vintage West Country Videos DVD which features some of the bank races at Cranford. Another prolific winner of that era was the mare Delilah who won 48 pony races, some of them at Stevenstone meetings. The 1962 meeting at Horwood included such riders as Grant Cann, Sue Aston (16 years old then), Bertie Hill and Frank Ryall. Horwood continued to host the fixture until a single meeting at Worlington in 1969. There was a meeting at Bishopsleigh in 1970 until a move to Bratton Down which lasted until 1976. It was on to Crimp Morwenstowe in 1977 until 1989 when they moved to Stibb Cross, and then to Vauterhill 25 years ago.

I have two recollections of Crimp. My first trip there was in 1984 on very firm ground when John Weldhen’s Moon Step won the Ladies’ under Janine Mills and his stable companion Moonbribe slipped up on a bend with Mike Biddick in the Open. Blue Beans and Grant Cann went on to win. The other was when racing was abandoned due to thick fog after waiting all afternoon for the fog to clear. I cannot remember which year that was.

One recollection of the quaint undulating little course at Stibb Cross is still quite clear and makes me smile when I think about it. I was asked by a top jockey if I would overlook when publishing the results the overweight she weighed out at (about 4 lbs I think). I suggested to her something like a visit to weight watchers, but I am afraid her response was unprintable.

The compact layout at Vauterhill is aptly illustrated in MacKenzie and Selby’s Annual covering the first meeting there in 1995, “so compact that a sweet stall stuck right in front of bookies enables purchases of sweets and a bet by just turning round”. The layout is better nowadays at this friendly venue.

STEVENSTONE AT VAUTERHILL – MONDAY 8TH MAY 1995

Going: Firm

HUNT

1 Tranquil Waters (Gerald Penfold
2 Romany Anne (Susan Young)
4 ran; only two finished; won by a distance: 7m 27s SP 2-9 fav

OPEN

1 Olveston (George Turner)
2 Pere Bazille (Ian Widdicombe)
2 ran; 12l; 6m 28s SP 2-5 fav

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Khattaf (Joanne Cumings)
2 Searcy (Linda Blackford)
3 Gan Awry (Mandy Hand)
7 ran; 2l; 20l; 6m 27s SP 10-11 fav

CONFINED

1 Horwood Ghost (Ron Treloggen)
2 Walkers Point (George Turner)
3 Oneovertheight (Neil Harris)
5 ran; 6l; dist; SP 5-2

RESTRICTED

1 Magnolia Man (Neil Harris)
2 Querrin Lodge (Tom Greed)
3 Rasta Man (George Turner)
9 ran; 20l; 20l; 6m 30s SP 6-4 fav

OPEN MAIDEN DIV 1

1 Northern Sensation (Leslie Jefford)
2 But Not Quite (Philip Scholfield)
3 Wadebridge Fair (Charles Crosthwaite)
10 ran; 1l; 3l; 6m 42s SP 4-1

OPEN MAIDEN DIV 2

1 Gypsy Luck (Joanne Cumings)
2 Good Appeal (Linda Blackford)
3 St Morwenna (Joe Creighton)
10 ran; 6l; 4l; 6m 43s SP 9-2

The Vauterhill course is adjacent to Graham Heal’s Vauterhill Stud, with scenic views across the North Devon countryside. It is worth the winding journey round country lanes. The course is right handed with a short run in, slightly undulating, and on the turn for much of the way. Viewing is best on the inside of the course.

It was a low key start to the first meeting there, with four runners in the opening Hunt race and a match in the Open. The Hunt race winner Tranquil Waters (Gerald Penfold) had been a decent horse in his younger days and enjoyed a brief revival for owner Carol Lawrence in 1995. This race was pretty dire, but earlier in the season he had landed a gamble in a 17-runner Confined at Kilworthy with Gerald Penfold in the saddle.

Olveston beat his sole opponent easily to win the Open ridden by veteran George Turner from his daughter Pauline Geering’s yard. Olveston had been in one of the regular batches sourced from New Zealand by David Barons and had started life in England with an unbeaten hat trick in bumpers before several successes over jumps. He won three Opens for Pauline Geering in 1995. George rode winners until he was nearly 60 and continued to be seen at the races until, sadly, he passed away last year

Khattaf was undoubtedly the star of the day. Trained by Keith Cumings, he was in the veteran stage now and had to be ridden out by Jo Cumings to beat the useful Searcy (Linda Blackford) . I vividly remember Khattaf as a five-year-old striding clear down the hill at Nedge to win his first point-to-point impressively when ridden by Rosemary Vickery. He was a top class Ladies’ pointer and won a total of 26 point-to-points, mostly under Jo Cumings, who also won a clutch of races in the early 1990’s with the mare Flame O’ Frensi from her father’s Bishops Nympton yard.

Khataaf
Khataaf

So that was three odds-on certainties in the bag and it seemed a very nice course…..Walkers Point and George Turner looked the ticket in the Confined, but my betting note book still shows a red mark for this race as Horwood Ghost zoomed round to score unchallenged. The almost white gelding was partnered by Ron Treloggen in the familiar colours of Andrew Congdon.

Magnolia Man was in his second season and won the Restricted well under that fine rider Neil Harris. Trained by Debbie Cole, he kept his form well and won the Land Rover Champion hunter chase two years later.

Despite the fast ground the Open Maiden was divided. My memory of the first division is jockey Claire Wright being injured in a fall at the fence in front of the enclosures. The race was won by Northern Sensation, well ridden by Leslie Jefford, destined to become National champion jockey five years later.

Jo Cumings completed a double when Grant Cann’s lightly raced mare Gypsy Luck won the other division, mastering Linda Blackford’s mount Good Appeal in the closing stages.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers, various years
  • Horse & Hound Year Book, various years
  • The Pointer
  • The Continuing Story of Point-to-Point Racing, Michael Williams
  • Mr Michael Kutapan, Point-to-Point History & Research, Jumping For Fun
  • West Country Videos – Jeff Guyett

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – AXE VALE HARRIERS

“The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.”

The Two Gentlemen of Verona – William Shakespeare

There is something special about the Axe Vale Harriers point-to-point at Stafford Cross. This pleasant compact course has a garden party atmosphere, and often attracts good class horses.

The first ever fixture organised by the Axe Vale Harriers was held on
Thursday 24th April 1947 on a course across the main road (A3052) from today’s venue. From 1950 until 1993 the fixture was held on Wednesday’s. The switch to the current Stafford Cross course, much flatter and sharper than its predecessor, took place in 1966.

I must admit that I preferred the Wednesday meetings which always seemed to attract big crowds and runners from outside the area. East Anglian raiders David and Josephine Turner were regular visitors as they gathered winners towards their numerous National riders’ titles in the 1970’s on pointers trained by their father Joe Turner.

Another long distance traveller was Graham Pidgeon who sent horses from his Northamptonshire yard and would back them fearlessly. His daughter Jenny collected four national lady jockeys’ titles in the 1980’s.

I remember Robert Alner riding three winners at the final mid week meeting. Also, leading trainer Richard Barber, who regularly saddled a clutch of winners at the Axe Vale over the years, including five in 1995 which were all ridden by Polly Curling. Sadly both Robert and Richard have passed away in the last few months.

There are too many horses to mention, but a regular was locally trained Culmleigh Padre who seemed to run every year and won the Members’ as a 17-year-old, ridden by Martin Sweetland, about the same age as his mount

My short trip to Stafford Cross each year always brings a few things to mind if you will forgive a few personal anecdotes. My memory insists that racing invariably took place on sunny and warm April afternoons. In practice it was not always so. I cannot recall the exact year, but it poured with rain and deep pools of water gathered outside the paddock. In those days I used a mini tape recorder for my race reading job. When I got home and tried to replay the tape it was so soggy it wouldn’t work. For me one of the worst things that can happen is to find all your vital information literally down the drain.

Another weather related incident came in 1985 when thick fog descended on the course, which is only a few miles from the coast. Once again it was a race reading nightmare, but on this occasion I “sprinted” across the course from one side to the other four times to get a view of the action and pick up what I could see. What a relief when the meeting was called off after Tabitha Cave had won the fourth race on Ballytartar. Nowadays I use a more reliable digital recorder, but my days of athleticism are a thing of the past.

The 1989 fixture will always be remembered for a major betting coup at this little country track which would not have been out of place in a Dick Francis novel. The Welsh trained Open winner Katesville, with no recent form to his name, “landed a punt of astronomical proportions from 25’s to sixes” relates the form book. Bookmakers were said to have been stung for over £25,000. Suffice to say an air of suspicion and gossip hung in the air for the rest of the afternoon as Katesville’s horse box plus connections whisked themselves away. The winner’s registered pedigree was later amended.

RESULTS

AXE VALE HARRIERS AT STAFFORD CROSS

WEDNESDAY APRIL 29TH 1981 Going Good

HUNT

1 Sinsinawa VI (Michael Williams)

2 Roman Lily (Chris Down)

3 Culmleigh Padre (B Stevenson) SP evens fav

4 ran; 6l;12l; 6m 32s; SP 1-3 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Piping Reed (Michael Williams)

2 Romany Heath (Eddie Whettam)

3 Smart Kid (Nigel Dunn)

8 ran; 5l; 10l; 6m 9s SP evens fav

OPEN

1 Spider Legs (Grant Cann)

2 Grey Granite (J Bishop)

3 Macturk (Tony Harris)

9 ran; 12l; 6l; 6m 10s SP 3-1

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Withen Wood (Rosemary White)

2 Kara Pops (Miss J Woodhouse)

3 Decoy (Janine Mills)

8 ran; 8l; 6l; 6m 6s; SP 11-10 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’ RESTRICTED

1 Hewish Rocket (Robert Alner)

2 Culm Port (Chris Down)

3 Polly Bird (Eddie Whettam)

11 ran; 4l; neck; 6m 14s; SP 6-4 fav

RESTRICTED OPEN

1 Fire Port (Peter Hobbs)

2 Ali’s Chandy (Jimmy Frost)

3 Sulimnos (Robert Alner)

11 ran; 2l; 4l; 6m 13s; SP 3-1

The Hunt race winner Sinsinawa VI was a genuine mare who won seven races in her career. She was owned and trained by Martin Salter who farmed the land at Stafford Cross. He quickly completed a double when Piping Reed won the Adjacents Hunts’ race, each ridden by Michael Williams. Sinsinawa was in top form in 1981 and had little difficulty here when coming clear of Roman Lilly in the home straight. Stewart Pike’s Roman Lilly subsequently foaled a very good horse called Proud Sun. Culmleigh Padre lost touch down the back straight. He fared better winning this race eight years later.

Piping Reed was a consistent gelding in his grade and won four times in 1981. He finished with his usual flourish to beat Romany Heath who was in touch until the final bend. Smart Kid was not an easy ride but gave useful experience to his rider Nigel Dunn.

Grant Cann was one of the most successful riders of his generation. He rode his first winner (Chancellor) at the Mid Devon when they raced at Moretonhampstead in 1961. When he eventually retired he had a total of 217 winners to his name. Ten of those winners came in 1981, including three on the easy Axe Vale Open winner Spider Legs. Runner up Grey Granite was a proficient jumper but lacked pace. Macturk was left a moderate third when Just Fay departed at the last. He ran in the colours of Roger Penny whose good jumpers in later years included dual Cheltenham Foxhunter winner Earthmover.

Withen Wood was one of a string of successful pointers bred by owner/trainer Raymond Winslade. This big gelding started the season as a maiden and ended it with four wins. On this occasion he was ridden by Rosemary White, who will be remembered for her association with the brilliant mare Horoscope. Kara Pops was a good horse for the Turner’s in his day, but he acted as a schoolmaster now. John Lister’s Decoy was outclassed here despite the assistance of Janine Mills.

Three of the top riders in the area filled the places in the Adjacent Restricted. Robert Alner’s mount Hewish Rocket might have been a lucky winner. Tula Lad was in front when he ran off the course into the spinney on the bend into the home straight (not the only horse I have seen taking this diversion). The eventual runner up Culm Port and Chris Down had won their Maiden at Bratton Down on the previous Saturday. She was a tail swisher, but utterly genuine and went on to win races under rules. Eddie Whettam was another fine rider and steered Polly Bird into third place. This mare was a thorough stayer, ill at ease on this sharp track.

I felt like running into the spinney myself after the last race. My nemesis was called Ali’s Chandy. Jimmy Frost was booked and I remember waiting patiently all afternoon for a decent bet in the Restricted. Although she was a bit wayward, she had run well in fair company at Ottery, and with blinkers now applied the joint editor of the Hunter Chasers and Point-to-Pointers annual and me needed little encouragement. I won’t bore readers any more, but you don’t get paid out on seconds…..the worthy winner was Fire Port ridden by Peter Hobbs.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers – MacKenzie & Phillips, MacKenzie & Selby – various years
  • The Pointer
  • Sporting Life

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – FLETE PARK

I was looking forward to reporting on the Dartmoor point-to-point at the idyllic setting of Flete Park last weekend. For one reason, it was to be the 40th anniversary year of the first meeting at that venue.

The majority of Dartmoor point-to-points for the first half of the 20th century had taken place at Wrangaton near Ugborough, and Stippadon, near South Brent, which closed in 1962. The old Buckfastleigh racecourse hosted the fixture from 1963 until 1977. It was held at Kilworthy in 1979. The inaugural fixture at Flete Park in 1980 was a joint meeting of the Dartmoor and Modbury Harriers. In current circumstances we will have to be content with a few reminiscences from that first meeting.

A dry spell meant that the ground at Flete in 1980 was officially “hard”, hence a scarcity of runners, plus the fact that 11 other point-to-point meetings took place on that Saturday, just three days after the Axe Vale at Stafford Cross.I had alternatives of Bratton Down or Larkhill on that Saturday, and it was probably curiosity which took me down to the new course of Flete Park. It must be said that watering at Flete these days ensures decent going for every fixture there. The hill side overlooking the splendid parkland course of Flete Park is generally packed, and the late spring dates for the two fixtures now held there are ideal for picnics.

One or two changes have taken place to the actual track over the years, including a wider downhill run after the third last, but the course still goes round the tiny cricket field just past the winning post where I always visualise myself smacking a few sixes. David Trundley’s limited edition entitled “Catching the sun, Flete Park” superbly illustrates the ambience of Flete Park races, including the cricket pavilion in the background, doubling nowadays as the weighing room, declarations area and lady riders’ changing room.

RESULTS

DARTMOOR & MODBURY HARRIERS 26 APRIL 1980

Going Hard

HUNT

1 Hot Fancy (George Welch)

2 Helset (Jimmy Frost)

3 Wistman (Elizabeth Pinsent)

6 ran; 2l; 5l; SP 2-1

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Langton Way (John Britton)

2 Frevolity (Nick Fell)

3 Double Lodge (Jimmy Frost)

6 ran; 1/2l; 8l; SP 4-1

OPEN

1 Devon Spirit (Keith Pook)

2 Quisloo (Nick Fell)

3 Grey Granite (John Symons)

4 ran; 7l; 1 1/2l; SP evens jt fav

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Hidden Treasure (Miss Pip Fisher)

2 Goodness Me (Miss C Warwick)

2 ran; 8l; SP 1-2 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN

1 Beelzebub (Jimmy Frost)

2 Mary Felicity (Reuben Chapman)

5 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; SP 4-6 fav

I cannot remember what the weather was like on 26th April 1980, but I distinctly remember the weather the previous year when the Dartmoor & Modbury Harriers raced at Kilworthy. It was absolutely atrocious with the tents almost taking off in high winds and lashing rain which was sometimes par for the course on Dartmoor in April. Such luminaries as reporting colleagues Iain MacKenzie and Terry Selby gave me a lift that day, as we saw Hargan at his best lifting Pip Fisher towards her ladies’ title; Village Mark and Grant Cann win their second Maiden in three days (yes it was possible then); Moonstep and Mike Biddick, and Joe’s Farewell all successful.

That grand campaigner Devon Spirit was pulled up with an injured foot that day, but Diana Pook’s 15-year-old took the Open at the opening Flete Park meeting in 1980 under his regular rider Keith Pook. They don’t make them like Devon Spirit any more. Home bred, by Spiritus out of the winning mare Seventh Stmphony, he had won a total of 33 point-to-points and five hunter chases and was in the places 89 times when he retired as a 16-year-old.

The other star on show in 1980 was the Frost mare Armagnac Princess, who had already achieved her hat trick that year but showed her disdain for fast ground at Flete and was pulled up. She went on to win the prestigious Jeep Christie Mens Championship Hunter Chase (£4,425) at Chepstow the following year under a masterful ride from Jimmy Frost.

Paul Tylor’s mare Hidden Treasure was on the downgrade in 1980 after being near top class in her heyday, and did not have to be at her best to beat Goodness Me in a match.

Although Langton Way was only small he was very tough and won over a dozen points for the Britton family. Now a veteran, he ran on like a train down the hill and got up to beat Frevolity close home. Double Lodge was a well bred promising youngster from the Paul Tylor yard who sadly lost his life at Crimp on his next appearance

The Hunt race winner Hot Fancy (George Welch in the saddle) won her share of points for the Welch family ( won this race again two years later) and it is good to see George and his family so well involved today in Westcountry pointing and National Hunt racing.

I cannot leave these notes without reference to Lord Mildmay of Flete. He was without question the best amateur National Hunt jockey of his generation. His first winner in the saddle came in the Dartmoor Members’ race at Wrangaton when he was an undergraduate at Cambridge University. He came close to winning the Grand National in 1936 when his mount Davy Jones ran out when leading at the penultimate fence with a broken rein. After war service with the Guards Division he finished third in the 1948 Grand National on Cromwell.

Anthony Mildmay had inherited the title of Lord Mildmay and the ownership of the Flete estate when his father died in 1947. Dividing his time between his Flete estate and his trainer Peter Cazalet’s stables in Kent, he rode many winners after the war. including at the local tracks such as Buckfastleigh, Newton Abbot and Devon & Exeter. Sadly, Lord Mildmay drowned when taking his regular swim off the local coast in May 1950. He had ridden his last winner on his hunter chaser Prince Brownie at Wye a few days before he died.

His nephew Anthony Mildmay-White is still involved today with Dartmoor point-to- points, and rode the winner of the Dartmoor Hunt race in 1970 on Gold Dust VI before a successful career as an amateur under rules. His brother Richard was narrowly beaten on Ross that day, but went on to win on the same horse at the Mid Devon on the day that Devon Spirit won his Maiden.

As an obituary to Lord Mildmay, brief extracts from a leading article in The Times stated:- ….”All over the country, thousands of people who have never even betted on a steeplechase, let alone seen one run, are vaguely aware that by his death the country has suffered a particular loss…There never was a harder rider, a better loser or a more popular winner….”

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

  • Hunter Chasers and Point to Pointers- various years, Iain MacKenzie, Terry Selby & David Phillips
  • Horse and Hound Year Books – various years
  • Buckfastleigh & South Brent Races- Peter Wakeham
  • The Pointer
  • The Times
  • Anthony Mildmay-White
  • Michael Kutapan (Jumping for Fun Forum)

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES NORTH CORNWALL & FOUR BURROW 1983

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES

EASTER 1983: NORTH CORNWALL & FOUR BURROW

“Oh to be in England now that April’s there”

Robert Browning 1812 – 1889, English poet, died in Venice.

I would normally agree with you about the month of April Mr Browning, but things have changed a bit in 2020. No point-to-points, no racing, no cricket, no soccer, no golf, no tennis, no sport at all. We are all locked up and I haven’t even got an Easter egg.

So I have delved into my scrapbook again to look back to the Easter holiday of 1983. I was lucky to attend two Cornish meetings on the Saturday and Monday – what marketing people would now promote as a “Cornish Easter Festival”. Each of the courses involved have long since been closed.

The Saturday North Cornwall fixture was held at Trewornan Farm, Wadebridge. I seem to remember that it was located on the opposite side of the A39 (and the Camel Estuary) from the Royal Cornwall Showground, where the Wadebridge fixtures take place nowadays. Racing at Trewornan Farm had been held on this right handed, undulating track since 1965. It closed twenty years later in 1985.

NORTH CORNWALL AT TREWORNAN FARM, WADEBRIDGE, APRIL 2ND 1983

Going; Soft

HUNT

1 Swedish Beau (Stephen Long)

2 Harmony Way (Pat Cole)

3 Freeway (Mike Biddick)

4 ran; 3l; distance; 8m 50s SP 4-5 fav

MENS OPEN

1 Frevolity (David Wonnacott)

2 Four Tens (Richard Long)

6 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; 7m 39s SP 1-2 fav

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Hargan (Miss Pip Fisher)

2 Moonbribe (Miss Katie Halswell)

3 Bubbling Spirit (Mrs Jane Wickett)

4 ran; 4l; distance; 7m 58s; SP 1-3 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Northern Star (David Wonnacott)

2 Hillie Billie (Grant Cann)

3 Monk’s Flyer (Pat Cole)

8 ran; 1/2l; 6l; 8m 6s SP evens fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN

1 Golden Singer (Miss Mandy Turner)

2 Phil Grey (J Wright)

3 Sorcerer (Chris Crosthwaite)

11 ran; 1l; 1/2l; 8m 6s; SP 11-10 fav

My journey to the racecourse that day was via the Cornish pasty shop in the centre of Wadebridge, a culinary habit that has continued to this day. A few winning jolly old favourites soon covered the cost of the pasty.

The Hunt race was a bit of a farce taking nearly nine minutes. The winner Swedish Beau had previously shown some form at the Lamerton, and won this event easily enough. His rider Stephen Long was sometimes associated with the excellent Dicky Blob in that era. Swedish Beau’s main rival Harmony Way had refused early on before continuing tailed off.

Frevolity was the only one to jump round this tough track in the six-runner Men’s Open, beating the remounted Four Tens very easily under David Wonnacott. He was probably the best of Rame Fell’s decent string of pointers at the time, winning over 20 races. It was a very dark day which still sticks sadly in my memory when he met his end at Kilworthy the following season.

The Ladies’ winner Hargan was another ultra consistent pointer who was a star of the Westcountry Ladies’ scene in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Well bred, by Harwell out of a Vulgan mare, this strong chestnut mare was owned and trained by Paul Tylor, who travelled his horses’ miles from his base on The Lizard, the most southerly point on the British mainland. Hargan, who loved heavy ground, was the Grand Marnier champion when winning seven times in 1979, contributing significantly to Pip Fisher’s National Ladies’ championship that year. Eventually the winner of 36 races, and with her regular rider up, she kept her form well and had little difficulty in beating John Weldhen’s Moonbribe on this occasion at Wadebridge. Bubbling Spirit was a headstrong mare who had no chance of staying this trip after leading early.

Northern Star was completing a double for trainer Rame Fell and jockey David Wonnacott when setting up his seasonal hat trick in the Adjacents Hunts’. Northern Star just got the better of Grant Cann’s mount Hillie Billie after jumping the last. The winner was evidently hard to train, though he did win twice in the same day (including a walk over) under Gordon Edwards at Kilworthy in 1985. It is good to see Millie Wonnacott upholding the family tradition in the saddle today (her mother Claire was also an accomplished rider). John Squire’s Hillie Billie never seemed to fulfil his potential. He did manage to win the Bolventor Members’ under Kelvin Heard two years later. Monk’s Flyer was hard to win with, but his gallant veteran rider Pat Cole eventually won a couple of modest races on this non stayer after years of trying.

Golden Singer led all the way to win the Maiden, well ridden by Mandy Turner (now Mandy Hand). He didn’t progress much afterwards, but the runner up Phil Grey certainly did. The five-year-old failed to complete on his first two runs but his promise here was soon fulfilled and he went on to win over 20 races, including four hunter chases. Sorcerer was quite a modest pointer and went on to win the Hunt race at this meeting the following year.

A profitable day if my memory serves me correctly, with enough left over for a couple of nights stay in Newquay.

FOUR BURROW AT OLD MERROSE FARM, TEHIDY, EASTER MONDAY APRIL 4TH 1983

Going Good

HUNT

1 Fyghame (Mike Biddick)

2 Silvers’s Pet (D Harris)

3 Tombstone (Miss T Congdon)

4 ran; 2l; 10l; 7m 37s

MENS OPEN

1 Happy Klondyke (S Williams)

2 Viewfinder (Pat Cole)

2 ran; distance; 7m 39s

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Moon Step (Miss Katie Halswell)

2 Hargan (Miss Pip Fisher)

3 House Breaker (Miss Tracy Turner)

5 ran; 1l; 2l; 7m 29s

ADJACENT HUNTS’ RESTRICTED
1 Presceena Wood (Miss Pip Fisher)

2 Monk’s Flyer (Pat Cole)

3 Sandy Leys (B Webber)

7 ran; short head; 1l; 7m 26s

ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN

1 Fisher Folk (S Williams)

2 What A Chance (David Wonnacott)

3 Moonbribe (Miss Katie Halswell )

8 ran; 15l; 1/2l; 7m 24s

After writing up Saturday’s notes in Newquay, it was only about 20 miles down the road to Tehidy, near Camborne, for the Easter Monday fixture. The course was a bit rustic from what I can remember. Right handed, undulating, with some plough over a distance of about three and a half miles which suited strong stayers.

It was only the jockeyship of Mike Biddick that got the favourite Fyghame home to win the Members’ after a sloppy display of jumping. The runner up Silver’s Pet, fresh from finishing fourth in the Maiden at Wadebridge, led until the last in what was a moderate race.

Happy Klondyke had the race won when he blundered two out in a disappointing match for the Men’s Open. This was his best season though and he notched up four wins, culminating in a commendable third behind Cheekio Ora at Cheltenham’s hunter chase evening meeting. Viewfinder was a veteran by now and was well behind from half way.

Hargan turned out again for the Ladies’ Open after her success two days previously. She looked the winner until giving best to Moonstep approaching the last. These were two of the best Ladies’ horses in the area and John Weldhen’s Moonstep was completing a five-timer at the Four Burrow.

Hargan’s rider Pip Fisher took the next race when the grey mare Presceena Wood just held on to beat Monk’s Flyer by a short head. Presceena Wood went on to win a couple of races under rules in Paul Tylor’s colours. Monk’s Flyer was also turning out quickly after Saturday’s effort and ran probably his best race of the season. He had led until two out and rallied well close home. Sandy Leys was a fine jumper who eventually won races under Frank Edwards from the yard of Keith Cumings.

Fisher Folk won the Maiden very easily but did not really progress afterwards. Moonbribe was made favourite on the strength of his fine effort at Wadebridge, but lay well off the pace and was never a threat. It was fully a year before he broke his duck at the 19th attempt. What A Chance went on to win his share of minor races and became something of a Flete Park specialist.

The Old Merrose Farm track at Tehidy closed after the 1985 meeting. The Four Burrow fixture moved to the new Wadebridge course on the showground until 2000 when the meeting became established at Trebudannon.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

MacKenzie & Selby’s Point-to-Pointers and Hunter Chasers

Horse and Hound Year Book

The Pointer

Sporting Life

Sporting Chronicle

Mr Michael Kutapan (Jumping for Fun forum)

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES: SPOONER’S & WEST DARTMOOR

For those of you looking for my normal on the spot report from the Cherrybrook meeting scheduled for this weekend, I am sorry but for reasons beyond my control there isn’t one……

However, all is not lost. Instead of the meeting scheduled for April 5th 2020, this week’s trip down memory lane takes us back to the Spooner’s & West Dartmoor fixture held at Kilworthy 41 years ago.

For Westcountry aficionados, I have added a few notes at the end about the past history of this particular point-to-point.

RESULTS

SPOONER’S & WEST DARTMOOR AT KILWORTHY APRIL 14TH 1979

Going; Good to soft

HUNT

1 Bararden (Nick Fell)

2 Snake Dance (Michael Williams)

3 Cornish Butterfly (P Lane)

6 ran; 12l; 4l; 7m 1s SP 4-1

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Wiener Chic (Mrs Sue Reynard)

2 Tam Rating (Miss Pip Fisher)

3 Lady Christine (Miss Doreen Hutchings)

8 ran; dist; neck; 6m 57s SP 2-7 fav

MEN’S OPEN

1 French Garcon (John Symons)

2 Hidden Treasure (Martin Keenor)

3 Uncle Arthur II (Jimmy Frost)

8 ran; head; dist 6m 59s SP 1-2 fav

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Trentishoe (Jimmy Frost)

2 Moon Step (Mike Biddick)

3 Moorland Lassie (Mark Reeves)

15 ran; 5l; 8l; 6m 57s SP 3-1

ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN

1 Raucous (RJ Reddaway)

2 Goodness Me (Jimmy Frost)

3 Used Notes (MF Hill)

14 ran; 1l; 5l; 7m 9s SP evens fav

Rame Fell’s bonny grey Bararden made all the running to win the Members’ ridden by the owner’s son Nick. This regular front runner was a Kilworthy specialist and improved further to win a Taunton hunter chase the following season. Snake Dance was a game and consistent staying mare who was one of the few pointers to win two Maiden races before the rules were changed. She won a total of 10 point-to-points in her career. Cornish Butterfly had not won since 1974, but finished well to take third just ahead of Kasim Baba and Amatol. Age had caught up with Kasim Baba, who was running his last race aged 14. He was unbeaten in six races and the third top rated pointer in the land in 1973, but very lightly raced afterwards.

Baraden winning at Wadebridge

The Ladies’ winner Wiener Chic was a high class German bred point-to-pointer and hunter chaser. He had won hurdle races for Fred Rimell in his younger days, but was not straight forward and was purchased for 750 gns. He soon notched up a string of pointing wins for Sue Reynard, and sailed home a distance clear of a decent field on this occasion. Tam Rating was a hard ride and the talented Pip Fisher drove him into second, ahead of such good pointers as Lady Christine (Doreen Hutchings) and Galloway Fabulous (Katie Halswell). Kilworthy specialist The Vee was in touch when unseating Belinda Fuller (now the Lamerton Point-to-Point secretary) after half way. It is worth noting that Wiener Chic, ridden by Sue Reynard, went on to finish third in the Cheltenham Foxhunters in 1980.

French Garcon was a highly rated pointer from the family of Arkle. He was winning for the fourth consecutive time, and had just beaten Panmure in a hunter chase at Devon and Exeter, albeit receiving weight and with Jimmy Frost up. His owner/rider on this occasion, John Symons, is no Jimmy Frost, and he made heavy weather of beating Paul Tylor’s mare Hidden Treasure (Martin Keenor). Michael Ogle’s Uncle Arthur II was fresh from beating Bararden at Wadebridge (the old course at Trewornan farm), but finished a tired third.

I remember the Adjacent Hunts’ winner Trentishoe as one of my favourite horses in those days – probably because she did me a few favours in the betting ring. A small mare by Romany Air, with the heart of a lion, she was owned and trained by Gail Harrison. She had the assistance of Jimmy Frost in the saddle, and ended a successful season by winning the John Corbet Cup at Stratford. John Weldhen’s Moonstep was a very useful pointer, bought cheaply off the flat. A consistent staying type, he had won this race the previous season with Mike Biddick up, but was no match for Trentishoe this time. He went on to win multiple points however and sprang a 25-1 surprise in the 1981 Jeep Christie Ladies’ hunter chase at Chepstow, ridden by the talented Katie Halswell. Third placed Moorland Lassie was fresh from winning the South Devon members’ and kept on well close home. The recent course winner Langton Way ran his usual sound race in fourth, just ahead of Joe’s Farewell, who went on to win the Tedworth Gold Cup at Larkhill over four miles later in the season.

I cannot remember much about the Maiden winner Raucous. He didn’t run much and was obviously out of his depth in his two previous races (trying to mix it with such as Spartan Missile, Wisbech Lad and Ten Up in military races at Sandown). A drop to this modest Maiden must have been just the ticket. The runner up Goodness Me was a half sister to the aforementioned Joe’s Farewell and won next time out at the Mid Devon. Used Notes improved four places on the run in, and duly obliged next time at Crimp Morwenstow. She subsequently won under rules at Haldon.

SOME HISTORY OF SPOONER’S POINT-TO-POINTS

The first details I have about the link between point-to-pointing and Mr Spooner’s Harriers is that they held a joint meeting with the Lamerton Hunt at Whitchurch Down on 9th March 1924. A joint meeting with Plymouth Garrison Hunt Club was held at Dunnabridge near Princetown the following year, and the Harriers continued at that venue until April 1929.

One of the leading lady point-to-point riders of that era, Miss Sylvia Spooner, had taken over the mastership of the pack from her father, Clarence Spooner, in 1926. A fixture at Kilworthy is recorded on 9th April 1930, but it was back to Dunnabridge the next year. I had to smile at a Western Morning News report of the 1938 meeting: “Conditions were not conducive to the comfort of spectators.” I wonder how many times I could have said that when struggling to make notes in a muddy field with soggy race cards over the years. The Harriers raced at Dunnabridge until 1951.

April 30th 1952 saw the start of a long run of fixtures at Kilworthy. Frank Ryall rode a treble on that occasion, including the Adjacent Hunts’ Pony race on Lonesome Boy. That famous East Cornwall pony was described as “invincible” in Geoffrey Sale’s 1960 annual. When he retired after the 1959 season he had won 65 times, including 53 consecutive races, all in the Westcountry and many over banks.

In the 1959 hunting season the pack became known as Spooner’s Foxhounds, and after acquiring some country on Dartmoor for 1961/62 the Spooner’s and West Dartmoor Hunt came into being. Their point-to-points were held at Kilworthy until the move to Cherrybrook, adjacent to the Kilworthy track, in 1986.

Other Photo galleries

spoonerswd.co.uk

facebook.com/Cherrybrook Racing

Acknowledgments:

  • Hunter Chasers and Point to Pointers (various years)– Sale & MacKenzie
  • The Point to Point Calendar (various years 1933 – 1938)
  • The Pointer
  • Horse & Hound Year Book
  • Baily’s Hunting Directory
  • Mr Michael Kutapan – Point to Point History & Research ( Jumping For Fun web site)
  • Western Morning News

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – EAST DEVON

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES

EAST DEVON

“How like a winter hath my absence been from thee….”

William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

The East Devon lost their fixture at Bishop’s Court, Ottery St Mary on 1st March this year due to the very wet spell – and any hopes of a re-arrangement went the same way. They did not even get to the coronavirus season.

Point-to-points organised by the East Devon Hunt have had various homes over the years. I have a record of the 1933 meeting being held at Ottery St Mary, I guess not at the current track? From 1934 the old form books show the meeting varying between Clyst St Mary and Clyst Honiton. Quite a few familiar names graced those cards. The meeting on 15th April 1936 saw horses running in the Members’ ridden by Norman Down and Jack Cann (fathers of Chris and Grant respectively).

On 19th May 1951 the point-to-point book for that year shows the venue as Dunnabridge near Princetown, which was where Mr Spooner’ Harriers raced. I suspect this was a one-off postponement due to the wet spring that year.

The fixtures between 1965 and 1968 were held at Stafford Cross where the Axe Vale now race. On 12th April 1969 the races moved to Hayes Barton, Clyst Honiton, with Chris Down winning the opening hunt race on Candid Secret.

A left handed track that suited stayers, Clyst Honiton remained the East Devon’s home until the final fixture there in 1978. Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary hosted the action on Oliver Carter’s farm for the first time on April 4th 1979

If you will forgive a few personal memories, my first experience of the Clyst Honiton course was on Wednesday 3rd April 1975, having travelled on from the previous day’s busy meeting of the Heythrop at their excellent old Fox Farm track, near Stow-on-the-Wold. I had seen the promising amateur jockey Nicky Henderson (turned out to be a better trainer than a jockey) ride a winner called Road Race trained by Jenny Pitman at Fox Farm on that day. The Tuesday fixtures at Fox Farm were classics at that time, with the Lord Ashton of Hyde Cup over four miles the feature.

I had worked for David Coulton’s Pointer Form Guide (as I still do today) for a few seasons by then, as well as covering some meetings for the old Sporting Chronicle and the Sporting Life (Michael Williams). I also covered a few meetings for Horse and Hound (Hugh Condry) and was a regular contributor to Ray Gould’s short lived form book Hunterguide. My long association with the Hunter Chasers and Point-to-Pointers form book was in its early days, taking me to most of the Midlands tracks. At that time the book was under the editorship of Geoffrey Sale and Iain MacKenzie. If I remember correctly Charles Lockyer and Maurice Maude provided press coverage for the local point-to-points in Devon & Cornwall

The race card for that 1975 meeting of the East Devon stated that the meeting took place at Clyst Honiton by kind permission of the Church Commisioners. I cannot remember seeing any clergy on that day 45 years ago.

RESULTS:

EAST DEVON at Clyst Honiton; 3rd April 1975; Going Good to soft

HUNT RACE

1 Fracto Nimbus (Chris Down)

2 Smart Lad (Peter Slade)

3 Phantom Boy (Ray Alford)

12 ran; 15l; 3l; 6m 50s SP 2-1 owner; KJ Reed

MEN’S OPEN

1 Rich Rose (Richard Miller)

2 Ben Dene (Charles Micklem)

3 Weather Permitting (Ron Hodges)

17 ran; neck; 10l; 6m 47s SP 2-1 owner; MR Churches

ADJACENT HUNTS MODERATE

1 Otter Way (Martyn Keenor)

2 Faberstown (Ray Alford)

3 Wentworth Treasure (Charles Micklem)

11 ran; 1l; 3l; 6m 42s SP 4-5 owner OJ Carter

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Galloway Fabulous (Miss Katie Halswell)

2 Beaumel (Mrs H Oliver)

3 Dialstone (Miss S Richards)

16 ran; 2l; 3l; 6m 44s SP3-1 owner JW Reddaway

MAIDEN

1 Clock Corner (Ron Treloggen)

2 Capelena (Chris Down)

3 In Again (Frank Ryall)

18 ran; head; 2l; 7m 00s SP 4-5 owner MC Pipe

Looking back now, this meeting attracted some of the best horses and jockeys of the era. We didn’t realise it then, but a future Whitbread Gold Cup winner was on show that day. Otter Way, in Oliver Carter’s familiar white with red hooped sleeves, was a top class point-to-pointer and hunter chaser who went on to win the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown in 1976 ridden by Jeff King. Otter Way also won the Horse and Hound Cup at Stratford twice. Grant Cann rode him in 1976 and he won that same race again in 1982 with A J Wilson in the saddle.

He must have been a certainty for the East Devon Moderate race in 1974! The runner up on that occasion was Faberstown (Ray Alford), who was a consistent pointer and unlucky not to beat Otter Way after making a bad mistake three out. Wentworth Treasure ran his usual game race to finish third, just ahead of the useful mare Lady Christine.

The Men’s Open winner Rich Rose was a top class pointer who won 18 times in all for his owner/ trainer Max Churches. He had expert assistance from the saddle in two-times champion point-to-point rider Richard Miller. He was all out to beat the ill fated Ben Dene. Weather Permitting was well held in third under Ron Hodges, but went on to give his owner/trainer Martin Pipe his sole success in the saddle at Bishopsleigh the following year.

Martin Pipe records his sole success aboard Weather Permitting in 1975
Martin Pipe records his sole success aboard Weather Permitting in 1975 source: http://www.davidpipe.com

Galloway Fabulous turned out to be one of the most reliable and consistent Ladies’ pointers of the decade. He was described in the annual as “ultra game, a fine jumper and almost invincible in Ladies’ class.” Mr Reddaway’s gelding eventually retired with a total of 30 wins and 24 places to his credit (including a hunter chase). He won six races at 13. Beaumel was in the twilight of his career having won 22 races from 1967 onwards. He was a fine jumper and stayer. Dialstone ran his best race of the season and had every chance until weakening at the last.

Fracto Nimbus won the Hunt race unchallenged given an enterprising ride by Chris Down, who went on to finish runner up on Capelena in the concluding Maiden. That Maiden race was won in a desperate finish by Martin Pipe’s Clock Corner ridden by a young Ron Treloggen. The winner was written up perhaps unfairly as, “Ungenuine and made heavy weather of winning at the 43rd attempt”. John Cork’s Capelena was however the future star. She was a small mare who relished soft ground and long trips. I remember seeing her win over four miles at the Cheltenham hunter chase evening meeting a couple of years later, and she subsequently bred good winners including Elver Season. Frank Ryall’s mount In Again, who was third, was owned by my dear friend, the late Peter Wakeham, who will be known to many for his commentaries in the area for many years.

I drive past Exeter Airport on the A30 on my way to Devon & Cornwall meetings nowadays. I often think back to that day nearly half a century ago, a memorable afternoon on a long since abandoned point-to-point course nestling in the fields just behind the airport.

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – LAMERTON

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES

“Memories are like antiques, the older they are the more valuable they became.”

Marinela Reka

.

During this difficult time with all point-to-pointing cancelled for the season, I am putting together a few articles about past Devon & Cornwall race meetings on to our website to keep us going. I hope to bring to life some past memories and perhaps provide a flavour of how things were in days gone by.

Since the first area fixture to be scuppered by the coronavirus was the Lamerton last Sunday, we start with a Lamerton meeting at Kilworthy 49 years ago (27th March 1971).

I hope that readers of a certain age (if indeed there are any readers) will remember some of the horses and jockeys involved. I was actually at the Pytchley meeting at Guilsborough, Northants that day watching such jockeys as Dick Saunders, John Docker, Peter Hobbs and Bill Tellwright in action.

Lamerton at Kilworthy 27 March 1971;

Hunt race:

1 Devon Rock (Frank Ryall)
2 Jocrow (D Moore)
3 Ireland’s Joy (R Edwards)
4 ran; 2l; dist; SP 2-5fav

Ladies’ Open:

1 Trewithett (Mrs Rame Fell)
2 Clyderound (Miss E Pinsent)
3 Warrior Prince (Miss J Blight)
11 ran; 1l 1/2l; SP 3-1 jt fav

Adjacent Hunts’

1 Golden Batman (Tony Hartnoll)
2 Delia’s Diadem (C Micklem)
3 Barn Dance (M Williams)
5l; 12l; SP 6-4 jt fav

Open

1 Sea Spirit (Hendrik Wiegersma)
2 Victory Spirit (Col CR Spencer)
3 Barter’s Peice (W Dennis)
11ran; SP 6-4 jt fav

Adjacent Hunts’ Maiden

1 Rummy Hand (Tim Le C Grice)
2 Merry Lord (TJ Harris)
3 Miss Cosmo (N Lethbridge)
9 ran; 2l; dist; SP 6-1

Only five races for us lucky race readers in those days! Just illustrates the good value of today’s point-to-points. When I first went to Kilworthy in the late 1970’s I remember immediately after jumping the last fence there was a very sharp right hand turn before a stiff run in below the car park along the bottom of the field of about 150 yards.

The 1971 Men’s Open winner Sea Spirit (by Spiritus) was a useful performer qualified with the Taunton Vale owned by Peter Blackburn. He also scored at the Tetcott at Crimp Morwenstow that season. Victory Spirit, qualified with Spooners & West Dartmoor, was also by Spiritus and enjoyed a remarkably consistent career from 1964 until retirement in 1973, winning 26 point-to-points and two hunter chases from 53 starts. Barbers Peice (funny spelling and his sire Cinecolor had changed hands for only 65 gns as a three-year-old) also won the Stevenstone Members’, the Torrington Farmers Members and the South Tetcott Moderate in 1971.

The Ladies’ Open winner Trewithett went on to win the Spooners Ladies’ easily and went well for Rame Fell. He was a strong stayer and a far better horse on long tracks like Kilworthy, where he won three times. The runner up Clyderound stayed on to get within one length of the winner. She was a soft ground specialist at tracks like Buckfastleigh and Tehidy. The Tetcott gelding Warrior Prince was useful on his best form and went well for his rider Jill Blight (now Jill Dennis).

Golden Batman won eight of his 13 races in 1971 , including an unbeaten hat trick at Buckfastleigh. His regular rider Anthony Hartnoll finished seventh in the 1971 National jockeys table. Delia’s Diadem was a genuine mare winning three of her four points in 1971, with Charles Micklem taking over from the late Joan Depree. She led at the last in this race at Kilworthy before being outpaced by the winner. Barn Dance had won a few times on the flat in his early days but was probably past his best by 1971.

Frank Ryall needs little introduction to local followers. He was in the twilight of his career by 1971. His career total of 218 point-to-point winners has only been surpassed today by a handful of riders. He owned his Hunt race winner Devon Rock who was a bit one paced, but followed up in his Members’ the following year.

The Maiden race looked fairly moderate but the winner Rummy Hand went on to win the Dartmoor & Modbury Harriers Members’ at Buckfastleigh later in 1971 where the going was published as firm to hard. He later developed into a useful point-to-pointer winning races under Janine Evans ( later Janine Mills) and subsequently took a hunter chase at Haldon ridden by Anthony Mildmay-White. He even ran in a Cheltenham Foxhunters but was past his best by then.

Acknowledgments;

“Hunter Chasers and Point-to-Pointers”

“Horse and Hound Year book”

PPA Discussion Paper – March 2020

PPA Discussion Paper March 2020

Please click the download link below to read through issues in point-to-pointing that are under discussion for possible simplification and reform next season.

We look forward to your feedback, via the channels listed in the paper and at the bottom of this email.

For further information please contact:

The Point-to-Point Authority
info@p2pa.co.uk 
01793 781990

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Point-to-Point – “A Sport for All”