Category Archives: Bratton Down


The Tiverton staghounds members race has been opened up to members farmers subscribers who hold a this Years Hunters certificate with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds as well as the Tiverton staghounds 

The Tiverton Staghounds Point-To-Point takes place on Sunday 6th June Bratton Down and the first race at 2 pm.


“Over 1000 feet above sea level with grand view of Exmoor,but grazed by sheep with resulting hazards for unsuspecting racegoers and falling riders”

MacKenzie and Harris – Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers

Despite the sheep droppings this is a grand point-to-point course, well suited on moorland turf for late season fixtures. The Tiverton Staghounds point-to-point would have been the penultimate fixture this season in the Devon & Cornwall area. For well known reasons this has not happened, so I am delving into the history books again to unearth some action from the past.

My first personal recollection of this hunt’s point-to-points was in 1980 when they raced at Bishopsleigh (40 years ago – seems like yesterday). The move to Bratton Down took place in 1988, but the point-to-point had taken place at many different locations going back well over a century
So in place of my usual race report for this week we go back to April 1991:-


Going; Good to firm


1 Sell Up (Richard White)
2 Cricklewood Chris (Stuart Kittow)
6 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; 7m 1s; SP 5-1


1 Ballyeden (Philip Scolfield)
2 Connate (Justin Farthing)
3 Another Lucas (Ian Widdicombe)
12 ran; 2l; 6l; 6m 9s; SP 5-1


1 Thrales (Polly Curling)
2 Fandango Boy (Linda Blackford)
3 Tijuca (Mandy Turner)
6 ran; short head; 2l; 6m 9s; SP 4-7 fav


1 The Doormaker (Polly Curling)
2 Life Peerage (Steven Slade)
3 Archie’s Nephew (Justin Farthing)
12 ran; 2l; 1l; 6m 9s; SP 11-4


1 Just Joshua (Alison Handel)
2 Master Tuesday (Chris Down)
3 Seal Prince (Justin Farthing)
18 ran; 1l; 1/2l; 6m 10s; SP 25-1


1 Happy Padre (Vivienne Nicholas)
2 Sailor’s Shanty (Rupert Nuttall)
3 Lady Ling C Burnett-Wells)
14 ran; 5l; 6l; 6m 10s; SP 11-4

The opening hunt race proved eventful as the two leaders missed a marker on the final circuit and gifted the race to Richard White on Sell Up, trained by his mother Tessa. Cricklewood Chris would probably have won but for running out and having to re-trace..

Justin Farthing (total of 26 winners) and Philip Scholfield (23 winners) fought out the jockeys title in 1991, but it was Philip who came out the best in the Open on the useful East Cornwall mare Ballyeden, from the yard of Ben Messer-Bennetts. It is great to see Philip’s son Nick Scholfield doing so well in the professional sphere. Connate was attempting a four-timer and was caught on the run in. This grey was saddled by Richard Barber for Commander Peter Longhurst, who trained as a British astronaut back in the day.

Polly Curling needs little introduction to pointing followers and was in the early stages of her career in 1991. Her double here was initiated by course specialist Thrales, who caught Fandango Boy in the last stride. The latter’s rider Linda Blackford went on to claim the lady jockey’s area award with 13 winners. The Doormaker also came with a typical late flourish up the stiff finishing climb to beat Life Peerage and Archie’s Nephew. Life Peerage was owned by Arnie Sendell who later owned Kingscliff. Archie’ s Nephew had given David Pipe his first race ride at Great Trethew. Polly’s two winners came from the local yard of the late Mike Trickey (himself a successful amateur jockey in his day). The Doormaker ran in the colours of Captain Tim Forster who loved his pointing in the Westcountry.

Subsequently three times champion jockey, Polly Curling rode 220 point-to-point winners in her career, plus prestigious hunter chases such as the Cheltenham Foxhunters ( Fantus).

I have plenty of personal anecdotes of Polly and venture to share just one or two here. I first encountered her when she was leading up a horse for Oliver Carter at Ottery St Mary as a youngster long before she had ridden in a race. I was taking paddock notes when Oliver Carter came up to me and said, “That girl leading that horse up will be champion jockey one day.” I thought what a stupid statement, have you been on the whiskey Oliver? However he had obviously spotted Polly’s early talent. How right he was.

A few years later I remember trying to interview one of the lady jockeys at the old Holnicote course. I was sneaking into the lady riders’ changing tent not noting their state of undress when Polly announced to her fellow jockeys, “Don’t worry girls it’s only Granville”.

Also, I won’t dwell on the time that Polly got a group of us thrown out of a pub near Exeter on the way back from the races. I think she was practising some rustic Anglo-Saxon language which upset the locals. Needless to say our group did not dare to use that pub again.

Back to reality, Polly’s double at Bratton was followed by lady jockeys cleaning up the other two races. Alison Handel on 25-1 chance Just Joshua held off the challenges of Chris Down and Justin Farthing to take the 18-runner Restricted Open. The Adjacent Maiden provided a first winner for Vivienne Nicholas on the family bred gelding Happy Padre, a half brother to that brilliant mare Mantinolas.

The history of the Tiverton Staghounds point-to-points goes back for well over a century. Under the title of Sir John Amory’s Staghounds, their early fixtures were shared with the Tiverton Hunt and Sir John Amory’s Harriers. In 1899 the joint meeting was held at Chevithorne Barton, and the following year at Gornhay, which included a water jump of the River Loman. A former Liberal MP, Sir John Amory was master of the Staghounds from 1896 to 1914. He changed his surname to Heathcote-Amory and, together with his family, will be well known in politics.

Joint fixtures continued up to the first world war at such locations listed in the books as Peadhill , Tiverton and Holmead. The 1912 to 1914 meetings saw a slight change of title to Captain H H Amory’s Staghounds with Sir John Amory’s Harriers and the Tiverton Hunt. No further fixtures were held until 1921.
The meeting on 9th April 1921 was the first time the name of The Tiverton Staghounds appeared on the card, combined with the Tiverton Hunt at Peadhill. This combination transferred their point-to-point to Pileywell, near Tiverton in 1924 and continued at that venue until 1939.
It was under the Tiverton Staghounds title only when the first fixture after the war took place at Thelbridge on 3rd May 1947. They raced at this venue until the course closed in 1958. It was on to Loosebeare Manor near Crediton until 1963, when they moved to Venford.

A further move took place in 1965, to Three Hammers, Worlington. The 1968 meeting there saw some top pointers competing in the Open. The winner Hope Again went on to win the Cheltenham Foxhunter in 1971; runner up Lizzy The Lizard (Tony Hartnoll) won the National Hunt Chase at the festival in 1969 ridden by Grant Cann, and third placed Far East II won a stack of races for Ivy Frank. Sadly Tony Hartnoll, the owner of Lizzy The Lizard passed away a few days ago.

The move to Bishopsleigh came on 16th May 1970, featuring a double for Grant Cann, with leading event rider Mary Gordon-Watson winning the Ladies’ on Barty. I remember my first visit to this rural course in 1980. Firstly I couldn’t find the place (only paper maps in those days), It was the middle of a dry spell and the ground was officially hard with very few runners. The favourite got beat a short head in the first. I backed the “winner” of the Restricted but it was disqualified and the two runners in the last both fell. On the bright side the Britton family had a double. The final Tiverton Staghounds fixture at Bishopsleigh was in 1987. They have been at Bratton Down from 1988 up to this day.


  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers – various years
  • Horse & Hound Year Book – various years
  • The Pointer
  • Sporting Life
    Sporting Chronicle
    History of the National Hunt Chase – Peter Stevens
  • Point-to-Point Calendar 1935 – 1938– Arthur W Coaten
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website


For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882

The Exmoor Hunt was started by Mr Nicholas Snow of Oare in 1869, but I have no trace of any Exmoor point-to-point races until 5th May 1934. Kildare, ridden by Mr T Tozer of the Silverton won the Nomination race that year (basically the Open) from 15 opponents. He also won at the South Devon and Mr Spooner’s that season. The 1934 Exmoor fixture, and those of 1938 and 1939, took place at Bratton Down according to the form books. I am not sure whether it was the same course as today.

No further Exmoor hunt fixtures were held until 1953 when they raced at Thelbridge, which is between Crediton and South Molton. Another meeting was held at Thelbridge in 1954, but it was held at Bratton Down again from 1955 onwards, I think on the same track still used today. That makes Bratton Down one of the longest serving point-to-point courses in the country.
An exposed hill top course with lovely scenic views of the moor, this popular track with the public is triangular shaped with a stiff uphill climb to the judge. Three late season meetings are held there nowadays, and the times on quick ground are often under six minutes, but should not be compared with each other because the racing line varies for each meeting.
This week’s reminiscence about past Exmoor point-to-points took place on Saturday June 1st 1974:

Going Firm


1 Credit That (Fred Rawle)
2 Heather Loch (Mrs P Johnson)
3 White Man (Gordon Edwards)
5 ran; 10l; 3l; 6m 8s


1 Jim Hardy (Jenny Hembrow)
2 Epaulonia (Capt Brian Fanshawe)
3 Culmleigh Heath (Martin Sweetland)
6 ran; 4l; 1/2l; 6m 13s


1 Cass (Kevin Bishop)
2 Moorland Venture (N Lethbridge)
3 Doctor Fred (Aubrey Fuller)
14 ran; 15l; 1l; 5m 53s


1 Marshalsland (Fay Geddes)
2 Knockabitoff (Pip Fisher)
3 Orient War (Terri Pattemore)
12ran; 12l; 3l; 5m 48s


1 Evens Bar (Capt Brian Fanshawe)
2 Liffey Breeze (Mark Reeves)
3 Perfidia (Michael Trickey)
7 ran; 10l; 10l; 6m 1s

Credit That was a good thing for the Hunt race, coming off his recent Holnicote win. Fred Rawle rode plenty of winners at Bratton and sailed clear on this promising youngster round the final bend.

Taunton based Jenny Hembrow was one of the top lady jockeys of the day, and evidently one of the most patient owners since she persuaded her Jim Hardy to get his head in front in the Adjacents’ after 49 consecutive defeats.

The Open winner Cass was a remarkable little gelding. The form books relate that he was bought for only 200 gns at Bridgwater Fair. I once asked his owner/rider Kevin Bishop to confirm that fact and he said it was absolutely true. The combination won eight of their 14 races in 1974. I remember Cass as a gritty type and superb jumper. I think he also appeared in the film The Belstone Fox. The grey mare Moorland Venture ran a promising race and became a decent pointer but was no match for Cass. Aubrey Fuller’s Doctor Fred will be remembered for giving 13-year-old Jimmy Frost his first ever winner at Lemalla in 1972.

Marshalsland was a prolific winning pointer, well handled by Fay Geddes. When he retired he had won 43 races including 16 at Larkhill. I think I am correct in saying that Marshalsland held the course record at Larkhill for many years. Knockabitoff was a decent pointer in Paul Tyler’s familiar maroon and grey colours, and went on to win plenty of races. Orient War was passed by Knockabitoff for second place on the uphill run in. This useful ex-chaser had won his first four races in 1974.

I cannot recall the exact qualifications for the Adjacent Hunts’ Moderate races in those days, but I had seen the winner here Evens Bar, owned by Ivy Frank, beat Capelena and Sparkling Lad in a Maiden earlier in the month on my first visit to the old Holnicote course (much of the home straight at Holnicote on light plough in those days). This second win when rules were different from today was achieved carrying a small penalty for winning her first Maiden just three days before at Bratton Down ( Stevenstone meeting). Her jockey Capt Brian Fanshawe was of course associated with The Dikler in his early races.

I must mention that the Horse and Hound Cup on the same day at Stratford was of equal interest to West Country fans. In one of the best fields ever assembled for that prestigious race, the star Cattistock hunter chaser Stanhope Street, ridden by Barry Venn and starting favourite, beat other top performers in Weathervane and Shraden Sparkle. Horses of the quality of Lucky Rock, Indamelia, Mighty Red and Credit Call were unplaced. I remember seeing Stanhope Street, ridden by Gillian Fortescue-Thomas, beat Zanetta in the Heythrop Ladies’ when it was run at the much missed Fox Farm.


  • Hunter Chasers & Point-to-Pointers – Geoffrey Sale & Iain MacKenzie – various years
  • Horse & Hound Year Book – various years
  • The Pointer
  • Sporting Life (Michael Williams)
  • Baily’s Hunting Directory
  • Michael Kutapan – Point-to-point History & Research, Jumping For Fun website
  • Point-to-Point Calendar 1933 – 1938– Arthur W Coaten


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:-


Going: Firm


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


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


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


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


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


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.


  • 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


Posted: Tuesday, 17th March 2020 Author: The PPA

This is a formal announcement to confirm that the British point-to-point season is closed for this season.

This was a very difficult decision to make recognising that many people’s livelihoods are involved. However, the Prime Minister’s words last night made clear that everyone should minimise social contact and non-essential travel. Furthermore, our sport creates some medical burden, both on the course and potentially at the hospitals, where it would be unwelcome under the current circumstances.

The PPA would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard to keep this season going so successfully until now, often under very trying circumstances. We will now be working on preparations to ensure that we start next autumn in the same successful manner as last, and will soon be in touch with many of you for your thoughts and ideas.

For more information, contact the PPA office:

01793 781990


The Devon & Cornwall bookies normally provide a strong betting market and the Tiverton Staghounds fixture was well up to standard. There was some entertaining jousting between the layers and the faces on this six-race card with a total of 42 runners.

Lawsons Thorns (Leading horse)
Lawsons Thorns (Leading horse)
(c) Megan Cobley Photography 2019

Lawsons Thorns (8-11 fav touched 4-5) struck the first blow for the followers of the horses for courses theory. Mike Vanstone’s 10-year-old relishes this track and was scoring his third course win in three weeks (with three different jockeys). The useful young mare Cloudy Music (evens from 5-4) was well held after looking dangerous at the penultimate.

Will Biddick’s mount A Mill From Milan was backed from 4-1 to 6-4 fav in the Open Maiden, having run well on her English debut at Cothelstone. She stayed on late to finish third behind Basher Brian (5-2 out to 4’s) and Spring Break (6’s touched 13-2). The basher had shown a bit of form when runner up at the Dulverton West meeting here.

I met a man from Llanfairpwllgwyngyll just before the third race and he told me to plunge on the Welsh nag Holy Water (2-1) ridden by the capable Byron Moorcroft. I couldn’t get any more than 2’s but my Welsh colleague seemed confident and Holy Water looked the part in the parade ring. I had a feeling however that Soul Kaliber (4-5 to 4-7 fav) was the goods, and this ever improving gelding won easily from Holy Water. Dean Summersby has done what Gordon Elliott failed to do with Soul Kaliber (win a race) and I needed more than holy water after that.

Soul Kaliber & Darren Edwards
Soul Kaliber & Darren Edwards
(c) Megan Cobley Photography 2019

Desert Roe (5-4 fav from 7-4) carried Welsh hopes in the Men’s Open and held every chance when falling at the last giving young Jack Tudor a nasty fall. This left Namako (8’s touched 9’s) with a clear lead as my selection Saffron Wells (7-4 out to 9-4) pulled up lame after jumping the last

The next jolly to hit the buffers was Ramble On (6-4 to 11-10 fav), who went on to finish runner up under Jodie Hughes in a decent eight-runner Ladies’ Open. The veteran Beggar’s Velvet (solid 5’s) has struck form with a vengeance lately with wins at Dingley and Garthorpe. His trip down the M5 paid dividends with Amy Cox again in the saddle. There was little in it all the way up the finishing climb with the pair virtually dancing cheek to cheek close to the rails. In the end Beggar’s Velvet just had the call before surviving a stewards inquiry.

I had the misfortune to bump into my friend from that Llanfair thingy place again just before the last. He offered a tip for Seniergues (is that Welsh?). I knew that this horse had beaten Basher Brian previously and was by Midnight Legend so went along with it. We backed him from 5’s to 7-2. You can guess what happened: Seniergues finished a close second to another Welsh horse with a French name, Airpur Desbois, as the shrewder Welsh guys piled in from 6’s to 7-2. Well done James King who completed his first treble.

Fish and chips again for me instead of steak. A lesson learnt: be wary of a Welshman’s tips, especially if you cannot pronounce where he comes from. Nos da nohs da as they say in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.

Upcoming Fixture

  • Season Finale: Saturday 15th June 2019 Torrington Farmers Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh EX37 9EB 1st Race 2.00pm

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“You never tire of the moor. You cannot think of the wonderful secrets which it contains. It is so vast, and so barren, and so mysterious.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930

Wet weather had arrived on Exmoor in time to ease the going for the third and final point-to-point of the season at Bratton Down.

A total of 42 runners for the six races at this picturesque venue included the usual quota of late season long distance travellers on a day which featured a first ever riding treble for 23-year-old James King.

The young jockey started the day with a pillar to post success on Lawsons Thorns in the Hunt race sponsored by Winston Pincombe Land Rovers. This gelding, based at the local Rackenford yard of Mike Vanstone, was completing his own personal treble, having won at the previous two Bratton Down fixtures recently. This time, starting odds-on favourite, he had to cope with the useful mare Cloudy Music, recently crowned as the Jockey Club champion mare. Liam Harrison brought the mare to challenge at the penultimate fence, but King’s mount galloped on relentlessly to score by five lengths.

The rider had to work harder on Namako in the Sid Tarr Memorial Men’s Open. The nine-year-old had been running consistently without winning all season. This time Namako made steady progress and was left clear when the favourite Desert Roe fell at the last. “I think I had the beating of him,” reported the winning rider who was wearing the colours of Hugh Jarvis and trainer Alan Hill. Namako was paying a quick return visit to Bratton Down from his trainer’s Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire yard, having finished second in the Exmoor Men’s Open just a week ago.

Desert Roe’s jockey Jack Tudor has had an up and down season. The highly promising 17-year-old suffered a broken leg early in the season, then rode 22 winners to secure two major National novice riders titles (Harley Racing PPORA and Fuller’s), and looks to have ended his season with a broken collar bone sustained in Desert Roe’s fall.

Nothing was stopping James King however as he went on to complete his treble and his 14th pointing winner of the season, as Welsh invaders Airpur Desbois and Seniergues (with Ben Jones stepping in for Jack Tudor) fought out the finish of the nine runner Best Western Tiverton Hotel Restricted. King produced Airpur Desbois to challenge course winner Seniergues at the penultimate and would not be denied on the stiff climb to the judge. “He needs a patient ride, has improved through the season and will be better next year,” was how the delighted rider summed up his Gareth Moore trained winner .

The Riverside Caravan Park Open Maiden winner, Basher Brian, was another return visitor to the track, having finished runner up to Seniergues at the Dulverton West last month. This time Byron Moorcroft had Basher Brian prominent throughout, and just fended off the challenge of Spring Break up the final hill. Ironically James King’s only losing ride of the day came on the Getaway gelding Spring Break, who is from the yard of his employer Will Biddick.

Byron Moorcroft, who also trains Basher Brian at his Cowbridge yard for owner Jason Warner, is enjoying his best season in the saddle and clocked up his 28th winner on this lightly raced eight-year-old.

Holy Water was well fancied to give Moorcroft another winner in the Intermediate, sponsored by ex-pointing jockey Saul Kidston’s Exmoor Hay & Straw Ltd. He had to give best however to the progressive Soul Kaliber in the hands of Darren Edwards. Despite carrying a 5lbs penalty, the winner drew away effortlessly up the finishing hill to beat Holy Water by 10 lengths . The ex-Gigginstown nine-year-old Soul Kaliber started the season as a maiden and was achieving his fourth success for the Little Acres Racing Club. He is in pole position now for the leading horse award for the Devon & Cornwall area. “ He has had lots of physio and Masterson method equine massage from Catherine Davis and Claire Morshead, and has improved through the season,” remarked trainer Dean Summersby, who also mentioned that Soul Kaliber had spent two and a half hours in a traffic hold up following an accident on the M5 in an abortive attempt to get to the Stratford hunter chase meeting recently.

Northamptonshire rider Amy Cox rode her third career winner when Beggar’s Velvet took the good quality Greenslade Taylor Hunt sponsored Ladies’Open at the expense of the favourite Ramble On (Jodie Hughes), who was conceding 4lbs . The pair dominated the closing stages, coming very close together on the brow of the finishing hill before Beggar’s Velvet, despite hanging towards his opponent as they squeezed up the rails, stayed on dourly to win by a length, subsequently surviving a stewards enquiry. Trained by Fran Nimmo, the veteran Dr Massini gelding is proving a good schoolmaster for his rider having carried her to victory three times in the last 16 days.

The meeting included a short tribute to Richard Barber who had passed away two days before. A legendary trainer, Richard’s final winner as an owner came at Upcott Cross as recently as 27th May. That was home bred So When, saddled by his grandson Christopher Barber, and given a vintage ride by Will Biddick.

The champion jockey also rode the last winner Richard saddled as a trainer when Whataknight won an Open Maiden at Bratton Down in June 2014

Upcoming Fixture

  • Season Finale: Saturday 15th June 2019 Torrington Farmers Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh EX37 9EB 1st Race 2.00pm

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1 Lawsons Thorns (James King) 8-11 fav made all, drew clear flat
2 Cloudy Music (Darren Edwards) evens in touch, hdwy & every chance two out, no extra flat
3 Tiger Sam (Heidi Stevens) 9-1 lost touch four out
3 ran; 5l; distance; 6m 5s


1 Basher Brian (Byron Moorcroft) 4-1 prom, cl 3rd two out, disp last, asserted last 100 yards
2 Spring Break (James King) 6-1 with ldrs, disp two out til no extra last 100 yards
3 A Mill From Milan (Will Biddick) 6-4 fav hdwy three out, outpaced next, ran on well flat
10 ran; 1l; 4l; 6m 9s


1 Soul Kaliber (Darren Edwards) 4-7 fav with ldrs, led two out, stayed on well, drew clr flat
2 Holy Water (Byron Moorcroft) 2-1 prom, effort two out, no extra apprg last, just held 2nd
3 On Your Max (Tom Chanin) 5-1 with ldrs til outpaced two out, rallied & kept on nr finish
6 ran; 10l; 3/4l; 6m 9s


1 Namako (James King) 8-1 prog to 3rd two out, challd & left in lead last, dvn out
2 Kernel Victor (Will Biddick) 7-1 in touch, outpaced two out, stayed on, not reach wnr
3 Matts Legacy (Byron Moorcroft) 3-1 went clear three out, mstk & headed next, wknd
6 ran; 6l; 15l; 6m 8s


1 Beggar’s Velvet (Amy Cox) 5-1 chall’d two out close 2nd last, led & hung right flat, just held on
2 Ramble On (Jodi Hughes) 11-10 fav made most til joined three out, slight ld last, headed & not much room last 100 yards
3 Peterbrown (Holly Ann Drowne) 14-1 behind til good hdwy to 3rd nr finish
8 ran; 1l; 8l; 5m 54s


1 Airpur Desbois (James King) 7-2 hdwy 16th, disp two out, led & kept on well flat
2 Seniergues (Ben Jones) 7-2 led 16th. joined two out, disp til no extra last 75 yards
3 Ann Maries Reject (Jake Bament) 10-1 in touch, outpaced two out, stayed on well flat
9 ran; 1 1/2l; 15l; 6m 3s

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Entries: Tiverton Staghounds Point-To-Point, Bratton Down, Sunday 9th June 2019

Race Start time Link to entries and form for race
1st 14:00 Members Race
2nd 14:35 Open Maiden Race
3rd 15:10 Intermediate Race
4th 15:45 Mens Open Race
5th 16:20 Ladies Open Race
6th 16:55 Restricted Race

Going Update

Heavy rain Friday morning, showers on and off since and with more forecast overnight. The going on Friday evening is good, good to firm in places. All fences have been moved to fresh ground. ( updated Fri 7th June 8.00pm)

Bratton Down remains Good to Firm. Good in places. All fences have been moved to fresh ground. Substantial rain is forecast for Friday.( updated Wed 5th June 8.00pm)

The Official going for racing yesterday ( Sun 2nd June ) at Bratton Down was Good to Firm. Safe, fast ground. More rain is forecast for the coming week. ( updated Mon 3rd June 7.00am)

Preview extract:

This weekend will see the third and final meeting of the season to be held at the panoramic Bratton Down course at Bratton Fleming, where it’s the turn of the Tiverton Staghounds to host their meeting on Sunday June 9th. Six races are on offer with a start time of 2pm. 75 entries have been received.

The course offers a fantastic backdrop view of Exmoor making this an ideal picnic location. On course facilities include hot and cold refreshments and food, beer tent, bookies and a number of trade stands offering items such as country wear, gallery pictures to antique trinkets. Entrance is £10 per person to a cap of £40 per car. Children under 16 free. Dogs on leads welcome. Location is Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming,9m NE of Barnstaple on A399, 11m N of South Molton – EX31 4SG.



f = fell u = unseated rider
p = pulled up k = knocked over
b = brought down c = carried out
d = disqualified ? = unreliable form
s = slipped up + = improving rating
r = refused blkd = baulked
ro = ran out t = took no part
(c) = course winner


NH = National Hunt
L = Length
Rest – Restricted
Nov = Novice
RT – Rating
PTP – Point to Point

An up to date form guide and synopsis of the horses entered at this meeting. Form figures for up to 6 outings appear. A dash(-) is used to separate 2017/18 form from 2016/17 form. Figures preceded by an oblique (/) represents 2015/16 form or earlier. Horses marked with an asterisk (*) indicates National Hunt form. The higher the rating the better the form. No responsibility can be accepted for any errors which may be considered to have occurred.

Produced by Jeff Guyett of Westcountry Videos.

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Return to list of Races

Race 1 – Members Race

# Dec Form Name Rating TRAINERS Rider Notes
1 33ur-pp2 A MILL FROM MILAN (IRE) 31 Joe Tickle
2 23113222 CLOUDY MUSIC (IRE) 40
Dean Summersby
3 42-332p11 LAWSONS THORNS (IRE) 40+ Mike Vanstone
4 2u-55121 LURE DES PRES (IRE) 37+ Mike Vanstone
5 *0-673614 TIGER SAM (IRE) 36? Laura Hurley


Place Number Distances Time

Preview extract

The opening Winston Pincombe-sponsored members race could see the Dean Summersby top novice mare Cloudy Music take on either of the Mike Vanstone entries Lawsons Thorns or Lure Des Pres who both won at this course last weekend under Josh Newman. All three are also entered in the Intermediate race here and it will be interesting to see which race the trainers select.

Return to list of Races

Race 2 – Open Maiden Race

# Dec Form Name Rating TRAINERS Rider Notes
1 33ur-pp2 A MILL FROM MILAN (IRE) 31 Joe Tickle
2 p/ppp-62 BASHER BRIAN (IRE) 25 Byron Moorcroft
3 45/-43u63 BRANNOC (IRE) 24 Gail Heywood
4 *706-42p CALVIN’S GAL (IRE) 24 Max Comley
5 p5p65754 INNER LOOP 22 Byron Moorcroft
6 346-fpu23 LITLE BRIAN (IRE) 28 Callum Griffiths
7 42p2p4p2 LONG MILE ROAD (IRE) 31 Jason Warner
8 up-4422 ON PAROLE (IRE) 26
Francesca Nimmo
9 -2p2 QUICK REMARKABLE 22 Jonathan Tudor
10 *7-3p2p3 SPRING BREAK (IRE) 27+ Will Biddick
11 -0233p63 THE KITCHENMECANIC 20 Emma Moseley
12 -upp3p TREBORS TWINKLE 17 Joe Tickle
13 pp/-f2p WHAT A BUG 25 Sarah Prouse
14 u355p333 WHICH SKY 24 Mark Robinson
15 pp/76-p WIDLAKE SCORPIOUS(IRE) 9 Ella Pickard


Place Number Distances Time

Preview extract

The Open Maiden race has been sponsored by Riverside Caravan Park and has attracted many horses which have recently gone close in progressing from Maiden races, these include Welsh raiders Basher Brian(Byron Moorcroft), Little Brian (Callum Griffiths),  along with Long Mile Road (Jason Warner) the horse having consistently finished second and is sure to win soon, and the Getaway-sired Spring Break for Will Biddick could improve on his placed run at Cothelstone and seal the gentleman’s area title for the jockey.

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Race 3 – Intermediate Race

# Dec Form Name Rating TRAINERS Rider Notes
1 /p4-pup44 CIDER ‘N’ BLACK 31
Michael Sweetland
2 23113222 CLOUDY MUSIC (IRE) 40
Dean Summersby
3 3R/-f4143 COME ON JOEY (IRE) 37 Roy Smith
4 pp6pp343 FARAWAY STAR 36 Tracey Williams
5 -p3f11f2 HOLY WATER (IRE) 36 Luke Price
6 42-332p11 LAWSONS THORNS (IRE) 40+ Mike Vanstone
7 2u-55121 LURE DES PRES (IRE) 37+ Mike Vanstone
8 4f-54532u ON YOUR MAX 37 Louise Kittow
9 p9-22113u PLATINUM BEN (IRE) 37 Nigel Padfield
10 122-3pp15 PREDESTINED (IRE) 37
Gordan Chambers
11 p222122 RUPERRA TOM 37 Michael Bowen
12 -51221121 SOUL KALIBER (IRE) 40
Dean Summersby
13 47235316 SYRACUSE’S DREAM (FR) 37 Deborah Treneer


Place Number Distances Time

Preview extract

Dean Summersby’s Soul Kaliber is entered in the Exmoor Hay & Straw -sponsored Intermediate race, and connections will be hoping that the rain forecast for this week is correct, and they can make up for their disappointment of their missed run at Stratford last week. The Little Acers Racing Club have had tremendous fun with their horses with the Summersby team this season, with Soul Kaliber under Darren Edwards winning three races to date, including the most recent at Trebudannon when he came home a three-quarter length winner ahead of Awesome Tunes.

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Race 4 – Mens Open Race

# Dec Form Name Rating TRAINERS Rider Notes
1 5/f4513-43 BAY TO GO (IRE) 37
Patricia Armstrong
2 722513131 DANDAN (IRE) 40
Francesca Moller
3 3321-2111 DESERT ROE (IRE) 43 Jonathan Tudor
4 /2f11-222p FLY WEST 41 Ed Walker
5 -24p3323p GOLDEN CRISP (IRE) 37 Elizabeth Scott
6 4p/-p4p3fp HONOURABLE EXIT (IRE) 32 Joe Tickle
7 3pp5-ppp KALASTAR (IRE) 21? Elizabeth Scott
8 1-403p131 KAPRICORNE (FR) 40
Rebecca Branton
9 33-333115 KERNEL VICTOR 41 Ed Walker
10 R0-f1f211 MATTS LEGACY (IRE) 40 Luke Price
11 2ppp2-23p MR SAWYER 40? Kristen Jacks
12 -p5p32522 NAMAKO (FR) 39 Alan Hill
13 14-31233 QUICK OATS 38 Nigel Padfield
14 1-2p12221 RAMBLE ON (IRE) 43 Luke Price
15 6/-23u221 SAFFRON WELLS 43 Mark Hoskins
16 121-42142 SIXTEEN LETTERS (IRE) 42 Neil McLean
17 -u9042313 VAILLANT CREEK (FR) 39 Abbie Myers


Place Number Distances Time

Preview extract

The feature race of the day looks to be the Witheridge Garage-sponsored Men’s Open race which has attracted 17 entries. These include the top rated Fly West from the Ed Walker team, with the recent showery weather he could get the give in the going he prefers and clock up another win for Will Biddick. They could come up against some hot opposition in recent course winner Matts Legacy for trainer Luke Price and jockey Byron Moorcroft. The combination won the Intermediate race here at the Dulverton meeting, having been left a dozen lengths behind at the start. Ramble On another from the Luke Price yard could be a danger having won well at Kingston Blount. Recent Huntingdon Hunter Chase winner Saffron Wells, for trainer Mark Hoskins, could be a ride for Darren Edwards who is still in touch for regaining the gentleman’s area title.

Return to list of Races

Race 5 – Ladies Open Race

# Dec Form Name Rating TRAINERS Rider Notes
1 -u2d3411 BEGGAR’S VELVET (IRE) 42
Francesca Nimmo
2 1/*ppp-2p CINEVATOR (IRE) 40? Ella Pickard
3 6p1-p134 COURT DISMISSED (IRE) 37? Alan Hill
4 -24p3323p GOLDEN CRISP (IRE) 37 Elizabeth Scott
5 1213-u4u3 LA MADONNINA (IRE) 40? Abigail Lewis
6 3-6743214 LE CLO DE LA LONDE (FR) 36 Emma Watson
7 -6565423u PETERBROWN (IRE) 40?
Holly-Anne Drowne
8 14-31233 QUICK OATS 38 Nigel Padfield
9 1-2p12221 RAMBLE ON (IRE) 43 Luke Price
10 3-p337f63 SKYLANDER (IRE) 36 Sam Holdsworth
11 175/-7u32 ST DENYS (IRE) 34? Will Biddick
12 /2-45113u THERE’S NO PANIC (IRE) 42 Will Biddick
13 *0-673614 TIGER SAM (IRE) 36? Laura Hurley


Place Number Distances Time

Preview extract

There’s No Panic could appear in the Greenslade Taylor & Hunt-sponsored Ladies Open under Ella Orrtewell, and should run well if recovering from his unfortunate slip up when leading at the last bend at the Exmoor meeting here. There are 13 entries which also include Ramble On (Luke Price) mentioned previously, and the Dr Massini-sired Beggers Velvet for trainer Francesca Nimmo. Beggers Velvet ran well at Garthorpe earlier this month, coming home the 12 length winner of the Conditions race there, to add to the veteran geldings 9 Point wins and two Hunter Chase victories, he could prove the main danger if reproducing that form.

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Race 6 – Restricted Race

# Dec Form Name Rating TRAINERS Rider Notes
1 -p5312 AIRPUR DESBOIS (FR) 35 Gareth Moore
2 13-6p4243 ANN MARIES REJECT (IRE) 35 Christine Gray
3 p/34p-4p1 BABY SHERLOCK 35+ Roy Smith
4 21/p6f3-p5 BALTAZAR DU SEUIL (FR) 33? Stuart Sampson
5 p-343s34 CARDNINAL TOM 34 Simon Jones
6 *968/8p-1 CONCEALED AMBITION(IRE) 35+ Kieran Price
7 -61 GOGETTHAT (IRE) 00? Mr Max Young
8 *00/f14-p3 MISTER BUDDY (IRE) 33 Luke Price
9 p-2upp31 SENIERGUES 35 Jonathan Tudor
10 175/-7u32 ST DENYS (IRE) 34? Will Biddick
11 /pp-sp21 VINCS VINNIE (IRE) 35+ Ed Walker
12 pfpp-4221 WILLALDOO 36+ Leslie Jefford


Place Number Distances Time

Preview extract

Finally the Best Western Hotel-sponsored Restricted race could be another competitive affair with Vinc’s Vinne (Ed Walker) a six-length winner at Trebudannon, Willaldoo (Les Jefford) a 10-length  Upcott Cross winner, and Lydstep winner Airpur Desbois (Gary Moore) all among the progressive horses entered.

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Five out of six winning favourites put the bookies on the back foot at Bratton Down, however one or two gambles went astray. “About level on the day,” I was told by a leading layer.

Purple N Gold & Millie Wonnacott
Purple N Gold & Millie Wonnacott
(c) Megan Cobley Photography 2019

The Ladies’ Open changed shape on the last bend when the leader There’s No Panic (easy to back out to 7-2) hit the straw bale marker and lost his rider. This left the eventual winner Purple’N’Gold (evensand to 4-6 fav) in front. This useful pointer ran on well up the hill to hold the closing pack of It’s All or Nothing (5’s touched 6’s) and the well backed Allie Beag (6’s to 7-2). The winner benefited from a good patient ride from Millie Wonnacott

The conditions race for older horses went to Lawsons Thorns (5’s to 7-4 fav) who followed up his recent course win in good style under Josh Newman. At one stage Get Rhythm (20-1) looked a threat, but this nine-year-old hung badly left up the hill. Third placed Vaillant Creek (8’s to 5’s) was well held at the finish. Once again I was too slow to hit the books, missing the value of the 5’s and 3’s and thinking 7-4 was too short.

Lure Des Pres & Josh Newman
Lure Des Pres & Josh Newman
(c) Megan Cobley Photography 2019

Lure Des Pres (evens fav) , stable companion of Lawsons Thorns, was another one to slip through my net. I had him in my note book for a Restricted after he had run really well at Flete Park when runner up to Goldbury, but the short price put me off. The Pembrokeshire gelding Tucks Bergin was the one for money here (8’s to 7-2), but caught a tartar in the winner who looks capable of further improvement.

Baby Sherlock (7-4 to 6-4) landed the Open Maiden under Paul John in competent style.His owner/trainer Roy Smith does well with his small string and he drew right away to score by six lengths as Chips For Free (6-4 to 7-4) and the gallant veteran Brannoc (6-1) duelled for second in a disappointing four horse field. Baby Sherlock’s dam Lady Cricket won seven times over fences for David Pipe. The race card had the incorrect pedigree of the winner.

The Men’s Open looked a weak affair. Theatre Evening (7-4 to 6-4 fav) unseated two out when well beaten as the Heythrop gelding Dandan (2’s touched 9-4 in a place) held Namako (2’s touched 3’s). The winner’s jockey, 17-year-old Tristan Durrell looked tidy.

The heavies backing two-horse Hunt race winner Kapricorne (solid 1-8 fav) must have been candidates for a heart attack as his sole rival Gunner Vic (5-1) ranged up alongside at the penultimate and snapped at his heels after crossing the last. Kapricorne settled matters in the last 200 yards though to give 25-year-old Vinny Webster his first winning tide.

Upcoming Fixtures

  • Sunday 9th June 2019 Tiverton Staghounds Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Season Finale: Saturday 15th June 2019 Torrington Farmers Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh EX37 9EB 1st Race 2.00pm

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