Category Archives: Flete Park



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


“Before me rose a lofty hill,
Behind me lay the sea,”

From a poem by Anne Bronte 1820 – 1849

The lofty hill was again packed for this popular late April meeting at Flete Park

Ed Walker’s Ottery St Mary yard stole the headlines on well watered ground with two winners and two seconds.

Field Exhibition soon set up a very long lead in the Marchand Petit Conditions race run over the shorter distance of two and a half miles and this free running 12-year-old never looked like being caught.

Formerly a winner under rules for Christian Williams, the mare was picked up at Doncaster sales and became a first winner for 21-year-old Ella Herbert. “She is so fizzy and tends to put me there,” said the rider. The winning trainer explained, “She has been running in a nose net and we have tried to hold her up. My aim was to get Ella a winner. She works and lives in the yard.

The yard’s regular rider Chloe Emsley rode odds-on favourite Board of Trade to win the Olympus Plant & Tool Hire Veteran Horse Conditions, catching front running This Breac at the last. This 11-year-old runs in the colours of the trainer’s racing club and their “group of otters” and had won the four miles Ladies’ Open on this course last year.

Chloe Emsley was enjoying her 5th winner of the season and is now leading the area Ladies’ award, but had earlier had to settle for the runner up spot on both Hold Me Tight and Danseur du Large. Hold Me Tight was unable to get to grips with the Robert Chanin trained Call Simon in the Francis Clark Maiden. Josh Newman took the winning ride on the well bred Call Simon and reported, “This was better than my trip to Cheltenham yesterday when I got stuck in traffic on the M5 and had to turn back.”

Danseur du Large was just chasing shadows in the Totnes & Bridgetown Races Co Ladies’ four miler. This became an easy opportunity for Olive Nicholls whose mount Virak was never headed wearing first time blinkers. Olive has a good chance of landing the Highflyer Bloodstock novice title which seems to be developing into a three way finish.  Paul Nicholls described Virak as, “An amazing schoolmaster and a brilliant training performance by Sam (Loxton). We decided blinkers and they made him pay attention. He could go to Bratton Down if it rains.”

Say About It stepped up on last week’s Axe Vale run to win the Hassall Law Restricted under Vinny Webster after the favourite Champions Hill had run out of steam at the penultimate. The winner joined his owner/trainer Roy Smith two years ago from Victor Dartnall.

Alternatif, trained by Annie Bacon at Frome for the Dartmoor Racing Club, followed up his recent Flete Park win when easily beating Syracuse’s Dream in the Brewin Dolphin Novice Riders race. Otis Morgan sent his mount to the front at the fourth and was a distance clear passing the judge. Otis is studying for his A levels at Sherborne school and has already gained full marks around Flete as one of the leading riders here in the past two years.

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

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

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN




1 Call Simon (Josh Newman) 3-1  alwysprom,chall;d two out, led last

2 Hold Me Tight (Chloe Emsley) 9-4 fav   rear tilprog three out, stayed on closing stages

3 Gunner Vic (Vinny Webster) 4-1  led til headed apprg last, wknd

8 ran; 4l; neck;  7m 0s


1 Say About It (Vinny Webster) 6-4  led 8th til 11th & agn 14th, left solo apprg last

3 ran; winner finished alone; 7m 6s


! Virak (Olive Nicholls) 4-9 fav made all , comf

2 Danseur du Large (Chloe Emsley) 13-8  short lived effort three out, not quicken next

2 ran;  6l;  8m 33s


1 Field Exhibition (Ella Herbert) 3-1 soon well clear, unchallenged

2 No Escape (Jimmy Cole) 7-2  went 2nd at fifth, not reach winner

3 Dry Ol Party (Chloe Emsley) 6-4 fav  alwysbehind, remote 3rd from three out

6 ran; 10l;; 15l’  5m 31s


1 Alternatif (Otis Morgan) 4-6 fav   led from fourth, easily

2 Syracuses Dream (Michael Treneer) 11-4 led to fourth, saddle slipped, no chance with winner

3 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; 7m 2s


1 Board of Trade (Chloe Emsley) 4-6 fav  held up in touch, led apprg last, dvn out

2 This Breac (Amy Bennallick) 9-2 led til headed apprg last, no extra

3 Sandford Castle (Arron Butterfield) 7-5 well in touch til wknd after three out

3 ran; 1 1/2l; 20l; 7m 11s

Preview: Flete Park Races – Totnes & Bridgetown Racing Co Ltd at Flete Park Ermington, Saturday 30th April 2022

We head back to the glorious parkland setting of Flete Park for another action packed day at the races this Saturday April 30th,,. The Flete Park races (Totnes & Bridgetown Race Co Ltd) meeting offer six races with a start time of 2pm. This must be one of the most popular tracks in the Point-to-Point horse racing schedule. Not only being one of the best picnic spots in South Devon, the course offers a great family day out, with plenty of rural trade stands to amble around, be it gin and oyster tasting provided by the local Oyster Shack restaurant, to country clothing offered by Farmers Friend and other local jewellery, clothing and gift shops. There is also locally produced Ice Cream offered by The Surfing Cow Devon Ice Cream company, which look to be a generous mouth watering sized tasty treat.

Races are headed up by the Francis Clark-sponsored Maiden race with entries Call Me Simon for the Robert Chanin team looking to improve on his third at Dunsmore earlier this month, Gunner Vic had to settle for runner up place at the Kilworthy meeting but looks to be progressive and deserves a win soon for the Hugh Thomas team. Also Hold Me Tight, for trainer Ed Walker has consistent place form and deserves a win soon.

The Hassal Law-sponsored Restricted race could see the George Beilby entry Champions Hills give jockey Conor Houlihan a quick fire double at the track having won his maiden at the previous meeting. Say About It for the Roy Smith team, looks to be the main danger after his six-length win at Buckfastleigh last month.

In the Totnes & Bridgetown Race Co Ltd-sponsored four-mile Ladies open Virak would be a popular winner for jockey Olive Nicholls and trainer – Sam Loxton to follow up on their win in this race two weeks ago. Olive also has a ride booked on Rhythm Is A Dancer for trainer Georgie Nicholls in this, but they also hold an entry at the Cattistock meeting where the combination may head to. Here there opposition could be either of the two Ed Walker entries, Board Of Trade who has already won a four-mile race here last season, and Danseur Du Large who holds an entry this Friday at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening event for jockey Chloe Emsley. The latter ran six lengths second to Chameron at the Buckfastleigh meeting.

In the first of the three Condition races, which is sponsored by Marchand Petit Minimalistic is looking to score a likely treble of wins for the local Darke family and jockey Josh Newman. Minimalistic is another to hold a provisional entry at this stage at Cheltenham on Friday. Llancillo Lord a previous Hunter Chase winner, could go well here if recovering from his fall at Stratford for young trainer/jockey Megan Bevan. Field Exhibition for the Ed Walker team looks the main danger having some good place form but needs to have recovered from his fall at the Cothelstone meeting.

In the Brewin Dolphin-sponsored Novice Riders conditions race Alternatif holds the highest rating for jockey Otis Morgan and is another to have won at this track when taking the Conditions race at the last meeting. The jockey has the option of riding Skylander for the family team, who was also a winner at this track two weeks ago when finishing alone in the Members race. Miltown Bridge ran third at this track at the previous meeting and could go close if improving here for trainer Gordon Chambers.

Whilst in the Veteran Horses Conditions race which is sponsored by Olympus Plant & Hire Tools, previous course winner Board Of Trade looks to have good form and should go close for the Ed Walker team with Chloe Emsley aboard if not competing in the earlier Ladies race. It is always good to see some of the winning ex- National Hunt horses compete with young riders on board, giving the riders a good experience and leg up the ladder, and the horses being given a life still in racing which they enjoy. Alternatif also holds an entry in this race along with Field Exhibition both should be considered if not competing earlier.

The track has on course bookies, licenced bar, hot and cold food and refreshments. Entrance to the course is £15 per person which includes racecard. There is a maximum fee of £60 per car load. Children under 16 are free, and dogs on leads welcome. There will be live streaming at the track, this can be sourced via eventbrite at www.pointingdc/live. The course is located at Flete Park Ermington, just North of Ivybridge. Postcode PL21 9NN.

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Donna Harris
Donna Harris

Best selling Children’s Author Interested in journalism, novel writing. Currently PRO Devon & Cornwall Point to Point.


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


“And from midst of the road to the roadside shifting
The crowd of the world on foot went drifting,
Standing aside on the trodden grass
To chaff as they let the traffic pass.
Then back they flooded, singing and cheering,
Plodding forward and disappearing,
Up to the course to take their places,
To lunch and gamble and see the races”

From the poem Right Royal by John Masefield 1876 – 1967

A massive holiday crowd enjoyed warm sunshine and good racing at Flete Park where two overflow car parks had to be deployed.

Two young jockeys stole the headlines. Otis Morgan recorded his first double and Chad Bament rode his first winner.

17=year-old Otis Morgan took the Members’ sponsored by A Salon Called Fish on the gutsy 13-year-old Skylander, and followed up when another veteran Alternatif made most of the running to win the Full Circle Motors Conditions event. Frome based Annie Bacon saddled each of these winners in the colours of the 18 strong Dartmoor Racing Club.

“I am studying for A levels in geography, philosophy and business at Sherborne school and get to ride out at Annie and Josh (Cameron’s) yard on weekends and school holidays” said the young rider who had ridden Skylander to success here last season.

Otis completed his double on another veteran pointer Alternatif who finished alone as the outsider of three in the Conditions race after Board of Trade had fallen at the final ditch and Jeremy Central was pulled up by Will Biddick approaching the last when well held. “I always knew that Will was chasing but I had so much in the tank down the hill,” reported the enthusiastic winning rider.

Talk of the South had not won for four years but readily overhauled Dan’s The Man jumping the last to take the Oriental Club Owner/Trainer event and give Chad Bament his first pointing winner. “I work for Anthony Honeyball and will be 19 next week,” said the rider. Chad’s mother Helen, who trains the family owned gelding at Fremington near Barnstaple said, “I am delighted for Chad who won a pony race here. We bought Talk of the South from Gordon Chambers.”

Honest Opinion was a thoroughly game winner of the Wainhomes Restricted, stretching clear of Quintin’s Man and King’s Quay approaching the last.”She is a game little mare, very honest,” remarked jockey Darren Edwards who was partnering his 13th winner of the season. Trainer Dean Summersby was saddling his third winner of the week which included his first hunter chase success at Exeter two days previously.  The yard had endured quite a lean spell and Dean said. “The horses were not right until recently. It was difficult to put a finger on it but we seem to have turned a corner now.

Josh Newman’s CV includes a Cheltenham festival winner and Minimalistic’s Charles Stanley Intermediate win gave the Somerset rider his 99th pointing success. Minimalistic belongs to 80-year-old Edward and Sue Darke and is regularly ridden out by each of them.  

Josh had to wait for Easter Monday for his century as Hold Me Tight filled the runner up spot behind all the way winner Champions Hill (Conor Houlihan) who was making his English debut in the nine runner Luscombe May Maiden. Owner/trainer George Bielby  said, “Conor told us about this horse 18 months ago. We hope to come back here in two weeks time for the Restricted.” One of the tallest riders on the circuit, Conor had sourced the gelding from his Dungarven based uncle David Kiely, and was partnering his 12th career winner. He has recently joined the Paul Nicholls yard as a pupil assistant.

Paul had dashed from Newton Abbot to see his daughter Olive partner Virak to victory in the two runner Totnes and Bridgetown Races Co  Mixed Open over four miles. “ They have done a fantastic job with the watering here,” was a nice tribute from a champion trainer.  In the smallest field of the day Virak and Broadclyst (Anna Johnston) raced stride for stride until Virak took control on the run in. “I was a bit worried two out, but he is so clever and saved his best until he saw the winning post,” said the promising 16-year-old jockey who was scoring for the seventh time in her first season.




1 Skylander  Otis Morgan 4-5 fav   led 14th,clear last  held on well

2 One Tree Hill  Pippa Glanville 2-1  held up, prog three out, fin well

3 Syracuses Dream  Barnaby Treneer 8-1  prom til 15th, stayed on nr finish

5 ran ; 2 1/2l , neck;   6m 57s


1 Honest Opinion  D Edwards 11/4  made most, drew clear two out, gamely

2 Quintins Man  D Andrews 5-4 fav   held up, effort three out, kept on flat

3 Kings Quay  M Hampton 5-2   chased wnr 12th, every chance til no extra two out

6 ran; 8l;  2l;;  6m 56s


1 Virak  Olive Nicholls  2-5 fav    disp ld til went clear flat

2 Broadclyst  Anna Johnston  5-4    disp ld, no extra flat

2 ran;  2 1/2l   8m 20s


1 Minimalistic  Josh Newman  4-7 fav   prom, led two out, comf

2 Steel Express  Martin McIntyre  11-4    led 11th til headed & wknd apprg last

3 Miltown Bridge  Arron Butterfield  12-1   never nearer, kept on closing stages

5 ran;  6l;  10l; 5m 34s


1 Talk of the South  Chad Bament   5-1    in touch, chall’d last, dvn out

2 Dans Wee Man  Daisy White  6-4   led 8th til headed after last

3 The Dapper Fox  Jack Veysey  4-7 fav   never near to chall

5 ran;  1l;  6l;  7m 0s


1  Alternatif  Otis Morgan  3-1   led from 4th, clear from two out

3 ran; Finished alone;   6m 55s


1 Champions Hill  Conor Houlihan   5-1   made all, held on well flat

2 Hold Me Tight  Josh Newman  5-1   stdy hdwy 14th, chall two out, no extra flat

3 Oyster Perch  Darren Andrews  7-2 co fav   hdwy three out, kept on closing stages

9 ran;  1 1/2l;  5l;  7m 0s

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

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

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN

Preview: Flete Races (Dartmoor) on Easter Saturday at Flete Park, Saturday 16th April 2022

We head back to the fabulous parkland setting of Flete Park, Ermington, where the Dartmoor host their meeting on Saturday 16th April. This will be an excellent Easter picnic venue meeting, with seven races on offer attracting 66 entries, and in addition Pony Racing sponsored by Anne Kane heads up the action at 1pm, with the main race card at 2pm. There will also be a parade in the paddock of Santini who was placed fourth in the Grand National for jockey Nick Scholfield and trainer Polly Gundry.

A Salon Called Fish sponsor the opening Members race which looks a hot race between the local entries. O Maonlai is the highest rated for the George Welch team for son Tamby to ride, Pippa Glanville has One Tree Hill entered who should go well for her family team, and Annabelle Bacon’s Alternatif could follow up on his win at Larkhill with Otis Morgan in the saddle.

The Wain Homes-sponsored Restricted race follows, with those catching the eye are the consistent Honest Opinion for team Summersby and jockey Darren Edwards, also Matt Hampton’s trained and ridden entry King’s Quay has been placed recently. Whilst Quintins Man out of the John Heard yard won his maiden race at Kilworthy last month. looking a progressive type for jockey Darren Andrews to score again on. 

Totnes & Bridgetown Racing Company sponsor the feature race of the day which is a 4m Mixed Open. This race could see Board Of Trade repeat his win at this meeting last season, coming from a strong yard who have just saddled Santini who finished fourth in last Saturdays Grand National, they will be hoping Board of Trade runs well here for the Ed Walker racing syndicate and Otter Partnership. However there will be plenty snapping at his heels including Virak for trainer Sam Loxton and Olive Nicholls to ride, who is readily making her presence noticed in the winners enclosure. The veteran pointer Sykes for Nicola Martin team and Darren Edwards to ride, could follow up on their four-length victory at Kilworthy. Also Broadclyst, another to have won between the flags this season with a dual at the Wadebridge meetings under jockey Anna Johnson.

Charles Stanley and Wealth Managers sponsor the Intermediate race, and of the six entered Minimilistic enjoyed an easy race at Buckfastleigh which could prepare him nicely for here, and would be a popular winner for the Darke team. Cottage Rose who won his Restricted here last season under Darren Andrews, retains the partnership again for team Heard and is likely to go close.

The Oriental Club sponsor the Owner/Trainers Conditions race with prolific winning Footloose stands out for trainer Arran Butterfield, having clocked up four wins this season, the latest at the Cherrybrook meeting, but needs to defy top weight. His opponents could be The Dapper Fox, another previous consistent type for owner/trainer/jockey Jack Veysey and a dual course winner here in 2016. Together with Doctors Differ for the George Hiscock team who has Ella Orttewell aboard, she will be looking to improve on their one-length third at the Cotley meeting last month.

Full Circle Motors sponsor the following Conditions D&C race which could see Board of Trade (Ed Walker), Jeremy Central (Tom Malone) with leading gentleman jockey Will Biddick aboard, and Steel Express (Mike Vanstone) for Martin McIntyre  battle out the finish.

Luscombe Maye sponsor the final race of the day which is a Maiden race, with those to note at a glance are Oyster Perch runner up on two occasions the latest at the Kilworthy meeting, when finishing a length second to Highland Legend that day for the Louise Kittow team,  and Young William a promising looking youngster for Chris Barber with his recent ten-length second at Cotley. The course is located at Flete Park Ermington. PL21 9NX. Entrance to the course is £15pp including a racecard Children under 16 Free of charge. On course facilities include bar, hot and cold food and refreshments. Rural trade stands, and on course bookies. This is a fabulous picnic spot located in a beautiful parkland setting offering a great day out for all the family. Dogs on leads welcome. Live streaming will be available through www.eventbrite/pointingdc.

Donna Harris
Donna Harris

Best selling Children’s Author Interested in journalism, novel writing. Currently PRO Devon & Cornwall Point to Point.

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN


It was good to see three bookies at Flete, with Joe Oliver joining Dave Phillips and Rich Pittard in the firing line. We should have known it was not going to be a day for the punters when a couple of unconsidered outsiders fought out the finish of the opening Maiden race. That result was enough to stop me betting for the afternoon.

I thought that the Tom Ellis trained grey Festin D’un Soir (6-4 jt fav) looked the pick of the paddock in the opener, but he was no betting proposition at such short odds. His form in Ireland last autumn was nothing to get excited about and it was not to be an evening feast. In-form jockey Jack Andrews always had him in a good position and he looked the winner coming down the hill, only to run out of steam after two out. He could not go with the Tommie O’Brien ridden Lucky Lucarno (7’s out to 12’s with no form to commend him) and Gunner Vic (13-2 out to 12’s). It was Lucky Lucarno who just got his head in front reaching the judge.

Dr Time (4-6 to 4-5) held favouritism in the Restricted in his bid to follow up his Maiden win on this track two weeks previously. His general form hardly merited odds-on, but he was always in pole position and readily drew away from Thewinnertakeitall (5-1) to win easily. Third placed Dancing Dave was friendless out from 6’s to 10’s and never threatened the leaders.

Dr Time ridden by James King (farside) flanked by Thewinnertakeitall and Darren Edwards (nearside) on his way to winning the Restricted
Dr Time ridden by James King (farside) flanked by Thewinnertakeitall and Darren Edwards (nearside) on his way to winning the Restricted

The shock of the day came in the four miles Ladies’ Open when dear old Southfield Theatre (1-4 to 1-3), after dominating throughout, had no answer as Board of Trade (4-1) pounced on him on the run-in thanks to a well judged ride from Chloe Emsley.

In the Conditions race For Rita (5-4 to 6-4 fav), a nippy looking mare, had obviously handled the downhill run at Aldington to win her Restricted recently. She was probably at home on the gradients here and almost merited a bet at 6-4. James King eased her clear here from the top of the hill to win unchallenged. Runner up Wotzizname (10’s out to 20’s), a former winning chaser under rules for Harry Fry, stayed on steadily for his novice rider without getting too involved. There was money for Mahler Style (4’s to 2’s). She has winning form but had not run since October. She was switched off early by Biddick, but faded tamely when asked at the business end.

Cloudy Music (6-4 to 4-5 fav) was expected to maintain the good form of the Dean Summersby yard in the Novice Riders race, but she has become a bit inconsistent lately and never really threatened. The race, went to Skylander (6-1), giving 16-year-old jockey Otis Morgan a first success in the event run in memory of his late sister Artemis. Skylander is a first class schoolmaster and this was a very apt and poignant success for Otis and his family.

Otis Morgan jumping the last on Skylander to win the win the Artemis Morgan Happiest When Hunting Devon and Cornwall Novice Riders Conditions race
Otis Morgan jumping the last on Skylander to win the win the Artemis Morgan Happiest When Hunting Devon and Cornwall Novice Riders Conditions race

Sheldon Cooper (2’s to evens) displaced The Rosary Flyer (6-4) as favourite at the last minute in the getting out stakes. However it was the flyer who got to the judge in front to secure this Maiden . He cost £45,000 as a three-year-old and had proved a costly disappointment for the Skeltons under rules.

Have you heard the one about the bookie who gave a punter his money back? Well this happened at Flete when a punter, after placing a £100 bet realised he had backed the wrong horse and asked for his money back just before the start. By this time of course the bookie had hedged the bet, but obligingly gave the punter half his stake money back. Incidentally the horse lost. For this bit of gossip, I am indebted to the astute Simon Nott who sums up the betting market for the excellent Area live streaming TV team.

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN


The story of Otis Morgan pulling off a fairy-tale success in the race staged to remember and celebrate his late sister Artemis will live long in the memory, and is such a terrific illustration of the kind of poignant result that British sport as a whole, but all aspects of horseracing in particular, regularly achieve.

In 40 years of reporting I long ago lost count of the amount of times that horses seem to have an instinct for what’s required, and consequently put their best foot forward to help to light up an otherwise dark and difficult situation, and this example would rate right up there amongst the most striking.

Ahead of the Conditions race at Flete Park, named in honour of Artemis, a young rider with ambitions aplenty – so completely appropriate that those conditions revolved around novice riders from the Devon and Cornwall point-to-pointing area in which she had thrived – Otis spoke to me on the Live Feed of about having a number of mounts during the course of the Totnes and Bridgetown Races Company fixture, but, obviously, one stood out.

And with commendable poise on what must have been an afternoon of high emotion, he concluded by saying that he was “hoping to have some of my sister’s courage on my side…and hopefully I might come out with a place”.

Despite reversals in earlier races, to the delight of the Morgan family and to the large number of their friends amongst the limited crowd permitted, Otis and Skylander actually strolled home into first place with a 30-length advantage over their closest pursuers after being left clear by a faller at the third last; I’m sure I was not the only one who felt I was riding, nervously and a tiny bit tearfully, over the final two fences along with the jockey and his horse.

Well wishers gathered around the transmission area as Otis gave his debrief, and spontaneous applause rang out as he finished, continuing in the winners’ circle, as the Morgans received well-earned trophies.

A genuine dream result: that the success was the rider’s first point-to-pointing just added to the occasion – with Artemis’ courage – and more – clearly behind him the first of quite a few I suspect.

<em><strong>Cornelius Lysaght </strong></em>
Cornelius Lysaght 

Broadcaster – Journalist – Writer – Presenter – Voiceover Artist – Event Host

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN



“Stars can’t shine without darkness”

D H Sidebottom, mum and author from Derbyshire

The Novice Riders’ race is not normally the highlight of a point-to-point meeting, but it took centre stage amidst poignant scenes on the six-race card at Flete Park, a fixture which received significant sponsorship from the Totnes & Bridgetown Races Company Ltd

The race in question was called the Artemis Morgan Happiest When Hunting Devon & Cornwall Novice Riders Conditions Race. This mouthful of a title however meant so much to the local community, since the race was held in memory of a 13-year-old girl who lost her life last April in a tragic accident near her home at Buckfastleigh.

Artemis had been a keen pony racing participant, and the race run in her memory resulted in a fairy tale scenario as her 16-year-old brother, Otis, steered Skylander home to win by a distance. This was a first pointing success on his fifth ride for the young jockey, who, like his sister had competed in pony races and was cheered on by a host of ex-pony race riders.

“I wasn’t sure who was behind me so I just kicked on. To win my sisters race was the great thing and I hope that Arty is looking down now, said an emotional Otis afterwards.” Skylander was winning for the ninth time in his career and now runs in the colours of the Dartmoor Racing Club, run by mum Joanna and trained by father Richard.

The four miles Skinner’s Ladies Open produced a form upset as long odds-on favourite Southfield Theatre was collared on the run-in by the Ed Walker trained Board of Trade. “He loved it, travelled really well and battled to the line,” enthused winning jockey Chloe Emsley, partnering her fifth winner of the season.

Local successes were few and far between in the other races. Warwickshire trainer Francesca Nimmo collected a double thanks to Dr Time in the Print Concern Restricted and For Rita, who sailed home in the Brewin Dolphin Conditions Race. James King had the mount on both these winners to stretch his lead in the Men’s championship over Will Biddick, who drew a blank from his two rides

Dr Time led from half way before shrugging off the Darren Edwards ridden Thewinnertakeitall coming down the hill to follow up his course win two weeks ago. Representing his wife Fran, Charlie Poste said of the winner, “He was very nimble and accurate with his jumping.”

For Rita is quite a small mare, but had too much pace for her nine rivals to secure the stable double in the Conditions race. Charlie Poste reported, “We bought her cheaply in Ireland. She is now owned by a small syndicate called The Picnic Partnership. She is a lovely filly and was more impressive today. The cut in the ground helped.”

Sheldon Cooper started evens favourite to give James King a treble in the Whitehouse Farm Maiden over two and a half miles. Despite a healthy lead at the penultimate, King’s mount ran out of stamina on the climb to the post as The Rosary Flyer swept past under another in-form jockey Jack Andrews.

A four hours journey from his yard near Rugby paid off for winning owner/trainer Tom Ellis, currently running away with the Foran Equine point-to-point trainers’ championship, and fresh from saddling a hunter chase winner under Jack Andrews the previous evening at Cheltenham. He said, “I wasn’t too confident but told Jack to get him into the race today. He is not an easy horse and didn’t handle it at Mollington the other day.”

Martin and Jane Wanless sent Lucky Lucarno from their base near Stratford on Avon to take the three miles Marchand Petit Maiden under Tommie O’Brien, whose prelude to Flete had been a double on the previous evening at Cheltenham. The winner had shown modest form under rules with Sue Smith, and just got the better of fellow 12-1 outsider Gunner Vic after jumping the last.

FLETE PARK RACES, Saturday 1st May 2021.

Cover Photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN