Category Archives: Granville’s betting Column


A full array of 11 bookies lined up on the crest of the Umberleigh hill ready for the final showdown of the 22 area fixtures held this season.

Mahler Style was backed into 4-5 in the six race opener but came to grief before half way leaving the door open for the game Eric The Third who had been well supported from 9-2 into 3-1.   Eric was not for stopping and readily held off Keiran Burke’s 6-1 chance Golden Poet (Alice Procter) in receipt of 4 lbs. John Heard announced afterwards that Eric The Third has now earned honourable retirement.

I went to back Benny’s Miracle in Captain Tim Forster’s memorial Restricted race but missed the odds and wouldn’t take the shade of odds-on (5-6). I could have bought her for the cash I have spent backing her all season. You can guess she won so I will say no more  about it.

The next three races attracted small or non-existent fields. The “outsider” I’m Wiser Now (2-1) beat Highway One O One (2-5 to 1-3) in the Mixed Open before Monsieur Gibraltar was gifted a walk over in the Ladies’.

The Welsh challenger Hitdroadjack (6-5) is a model of consistency and stayed on to head the favourite Ninth Wave (8-13) at the second last in the hands of James King.

And so to the last race of the season. Once again I was slow out of the stalls and missed the cream of the odds about the winner Businessman (11-10 fav at the off) He had run well in a decent Maiden at Bratton last week and a positive Darren Edwards ride did the rest. The placed horses Local Drama (13-2) and Kesa Great (4-1) will have to wait for a few months before trying again.

I was a bit surprised that a few layers I spoke with said they had lost on the day. I wouldn’t have too much sympathy though. I didn’t see any of them thumbing a lift on the way home.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Press Officer and PtPRC Race Reader

Cover Photo credit: Jill Hurst



The bookies took a bit of a pounding at UpcottCross where five of the six favourites went in – all of the odds-on variety. Minimalistic ( 4-7 to 2-5) has had a good season and was the form horse in the opening Conditions race. He could be excused for a recent below par run at Cheltenham and was not hard pressed to win this. Runner up Five Gold Bars (5’s out to 8’s) had been off the course for some time and ran well in the circumstances

Liberty Rock (4-6 to 4-7) has signified that he is one of the smartest novices in the area and duly landed the Restricted. He looks a future Open horse . Whotheman (2’s to 7-4) was prominent until pulling up sharply on the top bend so it was left to King’s Quay (6’s to 8’s) to chase home the winner.

Famous Clermont (4-6 to 1-2) rounded off his successful season beating Sixteen Letters (2’s touched 9-4) and Sykes (drifted to 4’s) in the Mixed Open. A bet of £1.200 to win £800 was struck on the winner (not me) .

Rhythm is a Dancer (4-5 to 4-7) was expected to continue the punters bonanza in the novice riders’ event but was a bit out of tune on this occasion and young Olive Nicholls  just failed to get him to last home. It was Beau du Brizais (friendless at 100-8) who hit the front where it mattered to win by a neck under Molly Landau. 

The Maiden Conditions looked a tricky affair with 11 runners lining up. The favourite prevailed however as the mare Lucky Lara (5 -2 to 9-4), given a patient ride by Josh Newman, held a spirited effort from Full Spes (8-1) and Heidi Lewis.

There was no respite for the layers in the last as trainer Christopher Barber and jockey Will Biddick completed their double with the promising four-year-old Talkingtothemoon (10-11 to 4-6). Jimmy Cole did his best to get No Escape (3’sto 5-2) home on his retirement ride but the mare couldn’t quite see out the trip.


It was all plain sailing for favourite backers in the first four races at Bratton Down, but nothing is forever and results went the way of the bookies in the last two.

I was tempted to back the favourite in the first. The recent Holnicote winner Rowley Park (4-7 to 2-5) looked a stand out against his three opponents. He won alright, but he was always a two miler under rules and I thought that the Bratton hill might be his undoing. I was wrong and Vinny Webster got him home after a patient ride. The runner up Peloric (11-2) ran a career best for his novice rider, but Home Maid (12’s to 17-2) was reluctant to go down and was never at the races.

It was time to jump in and last week’s course winner Luckello (1-2 fav from 4-6 )duly obliged under James King in the Restricted. She was fairly hopeless under rules, but had jumped really well at the Dulverton West and stepped up again on that form. Runner up Bennys Miracle stayed on well. She had won a Maiden on the track last year and acts well on fast ground. Catch The Monarch (4’s to 7-2) was a bit one paced, but is only young and is in a good yard.

The bet of the day came in the Ladies’. This was the classy Monsieur Gibraltar against three opponents. I don’t normally like 4-9 shots, but this was a gift with promising youngster Olive Nicholls in the saddle. Even the bookie paid out with a knowing smile. I can’t recall a faster time at Bratton than his 5 mins 36 secs. In the circumstances runner up Mahler Style (10’s to 8’s) ran well. She acts on firm and can pick up a late season race if avoiding the stars.

I considered re-investing on ImogensThunder (8-15 fav) in the Men’s Open, but his sole opponent Ramble On (11-10 / evens) was saddled by the all conquering Luke Price who could win with a donkey at the moment. As it happened Ramble On was collared by young Charlie Sprake’smount up the hill.

It was time to give the layers a chance and the next jolly, Dr Rhythm (6-4 to evens) crashed to earth at half way bringing down Halloween Harry (11-2). Guess who sent out the winner – yes that Pontypridd star man Luke Price. This was Rose Island (4’s to 7-2) who just held off Ninth Wave (9-2 to 3’s). Steel Express (9’s out to 14’s) could not find a friend in the ring, but caught the eye and seems to like fast ground.

I was pleased to swerve the lucky last. I looked at Kesa Great who was backed from 8’s to 9-2 but there were other contenders. Alkademon (9-2) is improving; Will Biddick’s mount Skilful Lord was gambled on from 2’s to 5-4 fav; and Polly Sans was strong at 2’s and 15-8. It was KayleyWoollacott’s recent sales purchase Donny’s Fortune (100-8 to 100-7) who came from last to first to scoop the prize with a sound staying performance, sending the bookies home with a profit.


Only 25 runners contested the six races at Bratton Down. The lack of watering meant predominantly fast ground which kept away the majority of the original entries.

The opener was the most competitive race on the card with nine runners. Coming up the finishing hill it became a dual between the eventual winner Ninth Wave (9-4 to 2’s) and Golly Its Molly (4’s to 3’s) with Charlie Sprake driving Ninth Wave ahead near the line. They finished clear of recent Vauterhill winner Roc The Boat (4’s to 11-4). The others were well strung out.

The first of three Luke Price trained winners to make the trip from Pontypridd was Luckello (9-4 to 7-4 fav) who dominated the Maiden despite arriving at this race with a CV of eight duck eggs under rules. James King will rarely have an easier ride (apart from a two horse race later in the day). Not surprisingly all the other six runners drifted.

Runner up Alkademon (100-7) showed a modicum of promise for his young rider. Second fav Flash Gorcombe (2-1) was doing his best work at the finish. He comes from a shrewd yard and is young enough to improve.
The first of three disappointing matches saw the outside of the pair Lapford Lad (never better than 6-4) come home alone to give James Shaw his first winner.

Not many punters would have been tempted by 1-8 about Spencer Moon in a match for the four miles plus Mixed Open but this sprightly veteran pointer won untroubled.

The next match saw a slight upset as Bistouri D’Honote (evens out to 6-4) upset the jolly Mister Dick (1-2) but normal service was resumed in the closing Intermediate as Captain MC (evens fav) completed the Welsh hat trick against two opponents.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Press Officer and PtPRC Race Reader


There wasn’t a lot of big money around the ring at Upcott Cross according to the dozen bookmakers. It proved to be a bit of an up and down day for the serious punters.

At least The Big Sting (4-6 into 1-2) put us on the right track by winning the opener. Port O’Clock (6-4) had won the Intermediate hunter chase final at Exeter, but his front running tactics were foiled this time as Biddick pinched the inside and the decisive lead at the 12th fence as his rival jumped out to the left.

The form book will show that Jabbea (6-1) was the only one of the four runners to finish in the Intermediate, but this will not reveal the full story. Will Biddick’s mount Knockmoylan (6-4) set the pace jumping well until a bad blunder at the 13th jump had his rider hanging out of the saddle. As I saw it, Biddick’s attempt to defy gravity, as he came unstuck from his stumbling mount, led him to grab for a life raft and he found one alongside in fellow jockey’s Josh Newman’s arm. Both eventually capsized to the turf, much to the rider of Dr Rhythm’s (11-8 fav) understandable displeasure.

Punters could not separate Liberty Rock (7-2 to 5-2) and Mount Oscar (5-2) at the head of the market in the 14-runner Maiden. They had the race to themselves from the top bend with Liberty Rock getting on top at the last. Liberty Rock will progress to better class and Mount Oscar is also one for the note book. The obvious eye catcher in this race was third placed Firefly Lane who had no friends at 25-1, but stepped up markedly from some modest efforts under rules. Mykonos Ammos (8-1) had disgraced himself at Trebudannon but ran well here whilst four-year-old previously unraced Onward Soldier (8’s to 9-2) showed a bit of promise.
I thought that novice rider Ella Herbison gave Pyleigh Court (5-2) a fine waiting ride to win the Restricted to nail 5-4 fav Jetmeoutofhere. Don’t write off non finisher Quintin’s Man (3’s to 5-2) who still has plenty of potential, but Highland Legend (5’s to 4’s) disappointed after showing such promise at Kilworthy.

Controversy arose again in the lucky last (lucky for some). Chad Bament and Eric The Third (5-2) set a cracking pace and held on well to beat Imogen’s Thunder (evens to 4-6 fav), but Chad’s weight cloth came off at half way leading to disqualification at weighing in. After the amended result was announced backers of the winner who had discarded their tickets caused amusement by forming a loose scrum before frantically diving into the waste paper bins to find them.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Press Officer and PtPRC Race Reader



The opening Maiden with 8 runners was the best betting race as another large crowd gathered at Flete Park.

Hold Me Tight was backed from 9-2 to 9-4 fav but never looked like getting to grips with Call Simon (3-1). Gunner Vic (4’s from 9-2) was knocking at the door again in third, but my bet Miltown Bridge (7-2) could only finish fourth.

The 11-10 favourite Champions Hill failed to follow up his course win in the Restricted, running out of steam at the bottom of the hill as Say About It (6-4) showed the benefit of his Axe Vale outing.

Finances were restored in the Ladies’ thanks to Virak (1-2 to 4-9), but the next jolly, Dry Ol’ Party (6-4) was out with the washing behind the free running front runner Field Exhibition (3-1)

Alternatif (4-6 fav) strolled home in the Novice Riders’ under the promising Otis Morgan before Board of Trade (4-6) added to the bookies woes in the lucky last.


Talking of the bookies woes, there was more grief to come on Bank Holiday Monday when all six favourites obliged.

The opener looked tricky, but Little Billy Boy (4-5 to 4-6) did his job well under Josh Cameron.

I fancied Highland Legend (3’s to 5-2) in the Restricted, but she struggled behind easy winner Clever Des Assence (2’s to 13-8), amazingly led up by the rider’s sister with a broken collar bone.

It was time to get stuck in, so the first of three successive winning bets came as The Big Sting (1-2 to 1-3) saw off sole rival Eric The Third (13-8) in the Open. The only concern came just after the winning post when the gelding spooked and dislodged Will Biddick.

There was money for Reflex Action (7-4 to 13-8) in the next, but he kept jumping left, leaving Don’t Ask Us (4-7 touched 4-6) with an open goal.

Will Biddick’s treble came with Wise Garden (4-5 to 4-7) who trotted up in the Mares race.

Roc The Boat (2-1 fav from 3’s) fulfilled his promise in the last, just holding 8-1 chance Henry’s Regime as only four of the nine starters finished. A good punting day, but there’s never a last race and we will all be back for more at Upcott Cross.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Press Officer and PtPRC Race Reader


The dry spell continues to play havoc with field sizes (same under rules) and again demanded considerable efforts from the Axe Vale point-to-point organisers to provide safe, watered going.

From a betting point of view there was little or no value in the opening two races at Stafford Cross. In the first, Jetmeoutofhere touched 1-6 and as “low” as 2-7 before settling at 1-4  was left solo as the other runner Aldreth (7-2 to 5-2) fell five out. Aldreth’s last winning form was five years ago and he had been hiding somewhere for a little while.

Party Tunes was backable at 1-3 in the next before contracting to 1-5 at the off. He trotted up as the veteran Druid Spitfire (3-1) couldn’t go the pace.

The Mixed Open was a bit more competitive. That splendid mare Country Legend (7-4) ran her usual game race, but was outpaced by the winner Sixteen Letters (1-2) in the home straight. He has now won five points this season.

That gave us a bit of spending money to invest in the upcoming best bet of the day, Westhill (a generous 5-4 into 1-2) in the Intermediate. Fly McIntyre set a sensible pace and had enough in hand to see off Will Biddick’s best efforts on Jabbea (put in at 4-6 and drifted to 6-4). Make a note of Westhill because he will win plenty more races.

The outsider of three won the next as Nikki Steel (4’s to 7-2) was given a good front running ride by Anna Hylands to beat Rocheston (evens to 4-6) and Sandford Castle (6-4). I sat this one out.

Dean Summersby saddled his third winner of the day, all ridden by Darren Edwards, when Transition Period (13-8) survived a mistake at the 13th fence in the Restricted. His jumping has generally improved with time, and according to his trainer he has been, “quite green and immature.” The runner up Say About It (4-1) hadn’t run for six weeks and looked to just need this race. He is sure to win a Restricted. Third placed Twist About (12’s to 7’s) won a point to point bumper in Yorkshire two years ago. He kept on steadily, but the favourite Golly Its Molly (3’s to 6-4)  proved disappointing.

Grove Ash had let his supporters down three times already this season (favourite each time), but came good on this better ground under young Charlie Sprake at 100-8 in the 10 runner Maiden. He just held on as Christopher Barber’s four-year-old Talkingtothemoon (7-2 to 5-2 jt fav) thrusted late under Will Biddick. The other joint fav Lucky Lara was dropped in class after two abortive hunter chase efforts, and finished a creditable third for his new connections.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Press Officer and PtPRC Race Reader


The crowds were massive at both Flete Park and Trebudannon. There were queues to drive into the races, queues to get out, queues for ice creams, queues to get a bet on and queues to collect.

The sun shone and the Easter fixtures were a “joy to behold”, as the vicar said on Easter Sunday. He also said that the sun shines on the righteous so I must have done something right as luckily the form worked out well.

 I joined the pay out queue as early as the opener at Flete Park. I was going to swerve this five runner hunt race, but 4-5 Skylander was too good to miss. Runner up One Tree Hill (4’s to 2’s) ran well and deserves to win a small race.

I had been impressed by Quintin’s Man at Kilworthy, but he was a bit short (2’s to 5-4 fav) in a good Restricted. He will definitely win more races with experience but couldn’t cope here with Honest Opinion (11-4). King’s Quay (5-2) will be better for the race.

I was afraid of Steel Express (11-8) in the Intermediate, but couldn’t pass over Minimalistic, backed from 5-4 to 4-7 whose Open form at Great Trethew was rock solid.

You can’t win them all and Jeremy Central (4-5) was surprisingly beaten by Alternatif (3-1) in the Conditions. Well done to young Otis Morgan who completed his first riding double.

The nine runner getting out stakes looked a punters minefield, but the ex-Irish Champions Hill (13-2 to 5’s) made all and just held on under Conor Houlihan. Hopefully he will be a nice replacement for the Beilby’s Bridge of Spies. Two others well backed in this race were For Luck (10’s to 6’s) and Hold Me Tight (6’s to 5’s). There were three 7-2 co favourites: Jimmy Tew, who seems to be off the naughty stool nowadays (finished 5th), Oyster Perch (keeps knocking at the door) and Young William (messed about at the start and got a red card). I backed the latter and luckily got a refund.

I really like Easter Mondays at Trebudannon. The atmosphere is second to none and the racing is always worth the trip. Well done to the watering efforts at both Flete and Trebudannon for producing safe ground.

There were 10 bookies to joust with at the Cornish track, and plenty of value to be had thanks to a holiday crowd with fun bets in mind. Anybody who had seen Walkin Out (4-7 to 1-2) demolish her rivals (including two subsequent winners) here last month would have fallen over themselves to get on. She scorched round in the fastest time of the day to beat her two opponents.  

No Escape was a surprising 6-4 fav in the two and a half miles Maiden. He had finished fourth in a slowly run Mares Maiden at Kilworthy and occupied the same position here. The winner was Between You and Me (11-4) who gave Josh Newman his 100th pointing winner. He had to be forgiven for a below par run last time, but his second to Spanish Jump at Milborne was the best form on view.

Eric The Third (7-4 to 11-8) in the Conditions event and Footloose (10-11)  each justified favouritism in their respective contests, but the plunge on Party Tunes (2’s to 6-5) in the Ladies’ Open was denied by Oistrakh Le Noir who drifted so much (evens out to 11-4) that he merited the best value bet of the day.  He won on the bit.

Looking For Larry (6-4 to 11-10 fav) had run with promise in a good Great Trethew Maiden and collared Ask The Lady (2-1) close home in the Restricted to give Jake Bament a treble

 Summerleaze (5-4 fav) had also shown considerable promise and was the obvious choice in the concluding 11 runner Maiden. However she finished runner up behind 100-7 outsider Little Peachey after the equally long priced Mykonos Ammos had thrown the race away when making for the exit gate and losing his rider after leading at the last.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point Press Officer and PtPRC Race Reader

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN


It was good to see all five entries stand their ground for the opening Hunt race which looked a tricky little affair. Nicely bred Golly Its Molly (5-1) is a maiden no more,having overhauled front running Nikki Steel (2’s to 7-4 fav) at the last. Third placed Clayway looked well and was backed from 5’s to 7-2 but seems a bit immature and has trouble getting the tripat the moment.

Golden Poet (5-2 to 2-1 fav) was the best backed horse in the seven runner novice riders’ Conditions race, but he is flattered by recent winning form figures which include a walk over and a two horse race at Larkhill. He struggled from half way as the eventual winner Imogens Thunder (5-2 to 9-4) under Charlie Sprake and Holly Greene on Bistouri D’Honore (out from 2’s to 9-4) slugged it out for much of the way.Blue N Yellow was friendless out from 5’s to 8’s but kept on for second and can win a small race for his novice rider.

The first winning favourite came in the Exeter Intermediate qualifier when The Big Sting landed odds of 1-3 to gain his fourth success of the season. I must admit I took 2-5 about the jolly which turned out to be my best bet of the afternoon.  The only scare was when this very tall Scorpion gelding slipped on the bottom bend. Don’t Ask Us(2’s out to 9-4) ran well and should win an Intermediate.

Country Legend (2’s to 13-8 fav) seems to improve with every race and stepped up to Open class in good style. After racing keenly in front from the fifth, the Midnight Legend mare found an extra gear in the home straight to win going away. Tuff Nano(3’s touched 7-2) and Celtic Joy (8-1) all held some sort of chance approaching the last but were chasing shadows up the run in.  

Charlie Sprake completed a double when Westhill (3’s to 5-2) followed up his Cotleywin in the Restricted. This improving seven-year-old shook off Clever Des Assence after the final ditch to win easily. Odds on favourite Ninth Wave (4-5 touched 4-6) nearly fell at the second and fluffed the next before he was wisely pulled up.

I had made a favourable comment in this column about Jetmeoutofhere on his English debut at Kilworthy- “showed promise”- but missed the odds here in the Maiden. Typically he won (2-1 jt fav) just to annoy me. The other joint favourite Grove Ash continues to disappoint. Runner up Kates Lane (7-1) has a few letters to her name, but is capable of winning a Maiden. 

Well done to the organisers for providing safe watered ground at Dunsmore.


Only 15 runners for seven races tells its own story as fast going wreaked havoc with the field sizes at Cherrybrook. The only consolation was nice weather and a large picnicking crowd ready to throw their shillings at the layers. 

The result was very few real betting opportunities and four odds-on favourites out of five obliged. 

The one that eluded the serious punters was Florrie Webb (1-2 to 4-9) who ejected Will Biddick at the first open ditch in the first of the three two-runner races.  This left Mahler Style (6-4) to canter round alone for jockey Ella Orttewell to collect the Intermediate prize

That dodgy start put big hitting punters on the back foot. Luckily the next jolly soon came to the rescue as the ultra consistent Footloose won easily at a remarkably generous 1-2. I made it a 1-4 shot so got the running shoes on. 13-year-old Dan’s Wee Man (7-2 to 3’s) was a brave runner up, and is still capable of winning a small race. Mad For Action (13-2) and Syracuse’s Dream (13-2) finished third and fourth in this four runner Conditions race. 

Molineaux has given his young rider Freddie Gingell an excellent introduction to race riding this season and this classy pointer had only two opponents in the Mixed Open. I am not a great believer in very short odds, but the opening show of 2-5 looked generous, particularly as one of his opponents, Eardisland (7-1 – should have been 70-1) had not run for over five years. Molineaux hardened to 2-7 at the off and had too much pace for the other candidate Dry Ol’ Party (9-4). The latter faced a stiff task but looked at home on quicker ground and is worth bearing in mind in the right class.

After another tea break for the second walk over of the day it was time to face two more match races. Reflex Action (4-9 to 2-5) and Bingo D’Olivate (1-4 to 2-9) mopped up these races to conclude a good day for backers.  

I have often seen bookies pack up and leave before the last race in bad weather, but Sunday was a first as one of the leading layers left before the first as he sensed a distinct lack of business. I am glad that I stayed.