Category Archives: Axe Vale

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – AXE VALE HARRIERS

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

REPORT: AXE VALE HARRIERS POINT-TO-POINT AT STAFFORD CROSS ON SUNDAY 24TH APRIL 2022

 “There is something special about the Axe Vale Harriers point-to-point at Stafford Cross. This pleasant, compact course has a garden party atmosphere….”

Extract from the book Axe Vale point-to-point – An illustrated history by Jacquie McCullough.

I can recommend the above book which also contains a few of my reminiscences and celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Axe Vale point-to-point.  The well watered ground at Stafford Cross featured a treble for the jockey / trainer combination of Darren Edwards and Dean Summersby, plus a first winner for jockey Anna Hylands.

Jetmeoutofhere and Party Tunes faced relatively easy tasks for the Summersby stable when making all the running to win the Hunt race and Conditions respectively. Six-year-old Jetmeoutofhere had two subsequent winners behind him when winning at Dunsmore recently and was left solo here when Aldreth gave Nathan Rahman a crashing fall five out. Best wishes to Nathan, uninjured in the fall, who leaves Larkhill shortly for Army duties on the Ukraine border.

Party Tunes had been consistent without winning this season, but had too much pace for Druid Spitfire. “He liked the better ground and is another of ours that wasn’t quite right earlier,” reported the trainer”, who is based at Broadwoodwidger near Launceston.

 Forcing tactics again paid off on this sharp track as six-year-old Transition Period, in the colours of John and Sonia Gardener, shrugged off a mistake at the 13th and the challenge of Say About It in the home straight to win the Restricted, completing a treble for the Edwards / Summersby team .

Nikki Steel gave Anna Hylands her first winner in the Novice Riders’ contest.  Yet again a front running ride paid off as the Robert Chanin trained gelding stayed on bravely to deny the favourite Rocheston. The 28-year-old rider works as a primary school teacher at St Dominics School in Cornwall. “It’s near Great Trethew,” Anna aptly described the school’s location in point-to-point terms. “We bought Nikki Steel privately in Wales from Daniel Bourne. We just met up in a moorland place and I cantered him up the hill and liked him. I now ride out at the Chanin’s at weekends and school holidays,” she added.  

The in -form mare Country Legend set a scorching pace under Tom Bishop in the Mixed Open, but Josh Newman’s mount Sixteen Letters, conceding  9lbs to the mare, jumped ahead at the third last and stayed on strongly to record his fifth success of the season. Neil McLean saddled the winner for John and Floss Symes. “We got in tight to a couple but there was plenty in the tank,” reported the winning jockey.

Westhill gave Martin (Fly) McIntyre his 13th winner of the season in the Intermediate and was yet another to lead all the way. A winner at both Cotley and Dunsmore, Westhill readily fended off Will Biddick’s challenge on Jabbea. “I was never worried. He jumped really well and I had loads left,” said the jockey, now attached to the David Pipe yard. Seven-year-old Westhill, who once changed hands for £105,000 as a three-year-old, now hails from the small but select Somerset yard of Sam Loxton.

Will Biddick’s frustrating afternoon continued in the Maiden when Christopher Barber’s  four-year-old debutant Talkingtothemoon failed by a couple of strides to catch Grove Ash. The winner, trained by Mary Sanderson for Andrew Finch, seemed to relish the better ground. “ He is a kind horse and my granddaughters Mia and Shannon sometimes ride him out,” remarked the trainer. Charlie Sprake, who works for Will Biddick, came in for the ride on the winner to beat his boss, replacing the injured Rob Hawker. The 19-year-old jockey was taking his seasonal total to eight and keeps him well in contention for the Highflyer Novice Men’s title.

A cheque for £2,200 being presented to the Axe Vale from the book sales proceeds of the book written by Jacquie McCullough
A cheque for £2,200 being presented to the Axe Vale from the book sales proceeds of the book written by Jacquie McCullough

For more information on the Illustrated History of the Axe Vale (£19.99)  contact email axep2p.book@gmail.com

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

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

Photo Credit: Tim Holt Photography

RESULTS: AXE VALE HARRIERS POINT-TO-POINT AT STAFFORD CROSS ON SUNDAY 24 APRIL 2022

GOING; GOOD – WATERED

HUNT RACE – SPONSOR WBW SOLICITORS

1 Jetmeoutofhere (Darren Edwards) 1/4 fav  made all, left solo 15th

2 ran; finished alone; 6m 7s

CONDITIONS – J & FJ BAKER 7 CO LTD – HARRY PARR MEMORIAL CUP

1 Party Tunes (Darren Edwards) 1-5 fav  made all, easily

2 Druid Spitfire (Anna Johnston) 3-1  chased winner, outpaced 16th

2 ran; 15l;  6m 13s

MIXED OPEN – LEE CLIFFORD ENGINEERING – GRAHAM HOLLINGWORTH MEMORIAL CUP

1 Sixteen Letters (Josh Newman) 1-2 fav;   hdwy 16th, led three out, pushed clear

2 Country Legend (Tom Bishop) 7-4  keen, led til three out, kept on

3 Celtic Joy (Darren Edwards) 7-1  lost touch 12th,tailed off

3 ran; 2l; dist;  5m 46s

INTERMEDIATE – MARTIN DIPLOCK CHARTERED SURVEYORS – MR & MRS P F PERRY MEMORIAL CUP

1 Westhill (Martin McIntyre) 1-2 fav   made all, ran on strongly

2 Jabbea (Will Biddick) 6-4    in touch, effort three out, no extra apprg last

3 The Ibbster (Alexandra Goodman) 7-1 in touch til outpaced four out

3 ran; 4l; dist; 6m 0s

COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE MEMBERS’ CONDITIONS NOVICE RIDERS- LENTELLS

1 Nikki Steel (Anna Hylands) 7-2  made all, jp right, pushed out

2 Rocheston (Purdy Peaster) 4-6 fav effort four out, one pace from two out

3 Sandford Castle (Arron Butterfield) 6-4  in touch til wknd 14th

3 ran; 3l; 15l;  6m 2s

RESTRICTED – HAMMETT ASSOCIATES – RUTH WILMINGTON MEMORIAL CUP

1 Transition Period (Darren Edwards) 13-8  made all, mstk 13th, stayed on well

2 Say About It (Vinny Webster) 4-1   mstk 12th, effort three out, one pace

3 Twist About (Darren Andrews) 7-1  prog 15th, not reach leaders

6 ran; 4 1/2l;  10l;  6m 4s

OPEN MAIDEN- SCOTT ROWE SOLICITORS – STAN SWEETLAND MEMORIAL CUP

1 Grove Ash (Charlie Sprake) 12-1  hdwy 14th, led four out, just held on

2 Talkingtothemoon (Will Biddick) 5-2 jt fav   chased leaders, strong run two out, not quite get up

3 Lucky Lara (Josh Newman) 5-2 jt fav  imprvd four out, stayed on well

10 ran; 1/2l;  6l;  5m 57s

Granville Taylor
Granville Taylor

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

Preview: The Axe Vale Point-to-Point at Stafford Cross on Sunday 24th April 2022

It’s the turn of the Axe Vale to host their meeting at Stafford Cross near Seaton this Sunday April 24th. Seven races are on offer with a start time of 1.30pm 51 entries have been received. Along with the racing there will be a parade of Santini by trainer Polly Gundry after this horses brave performance finishing fourth in this years Grand National.

There looks to be a competitive Mixed Open race which is sponsored by Lee Clifford Engineering, entries include Highway One O One for trainer Jenny Gordon and son Fred setting the standard having won four Points this season. Captain Bucks, another out of the Gordon yard and an option for Fred to add to their two point wins. Another ex-National Hunt entry Chameron for trainer Sam Loxton, a winner of two for Ben Sutton this season, but needs to defy top weight. Sixteen Letters for Neil McClean has arrived in the winners enclosure four times this season under Josh Newman and Lucy Turner, either who could get the leg up here to compete. Along with the Matt Hampton-trained Twig who will be fresh from winning a Hunter Chase at Exeter, looks to appreciate the faster going, along with recent Dunsmore Mixed Open winner Country Legend for the Francis Bishop team, this promises to be a closely run race. 

The WBW Solicitors incorporating Beviss & Buckingsale-sponsored Members race heads up the action which could see the Ed Walker-trained Board of Trade figure here if recovering from his fall at Flete Park last weekend when going well under Chloe Emsley. Cockspur Bella is another who could run well having finished second at the Cothelstone meeting under Darren Andrews for the Rebecca Vanstone team. Jetmeoutofhere could run in this race and go well for the inform Dean Summersby yard, who may decide to switch him to the later Restricted race, which he also holds an entry in, for Darren Edwards to ride.

The Hammet Association-sponsored Restricted also has team Summersbys Transition Period, entered who ran last Monday finishing second in the Members race at Trebudannon, should be one for the short list if not finding this race comes too soon. Say About It for trainer Roy Smith, won his maiden impressively at Wadebridge this season, and is sure to be another to go close at the finish. 

In the Martin Diplock-sponsored Intermediate race which has has only attracted three entries, West Hill looks the likely favourite for trainer Sam Loxton after his impressive 24 Length win at the Dunsmore meeting under promising young jockey Charlie Sprake. He could be fighting out the finish with Jabbea under Robert Hawker, out of the Mary Sanderson yard, with Jabbea finishing runner up at the Kilworthy meeting only a neck second behind Footloose that day, this race could well offer a thrilling tactical finish.

There are two Condition races, in the first, which has been kindly sponsored by J & FJ Baker, Party Tunes is another out of the Dean Summersby yard who could run well, having progressed well last season winning two and the yard being bang back in form. His opposition is the veteran Druid Spitfire, who for owner and breeder Elisabeth Kessler has given many years of fun Pointing and is in training with Robert Chanin.

In the Lentells Accountants-sponsored Novice Conditions race, Rocheston is one to note having won the members race at Cothelstone for young jockey Purdy Pester. This ex NH hurdle winner had been in training with Paul Nicholls and is now trained by Tom Doggrell. Bistouri d’Honore is another out of the Paul Nicholls yard who has given some young jockeys a spin around the pointing tracks, and he is now based with Michael Felton, one that has the ability to improve on his eleven lengths third at the Dunsmore track and on previous form. Nikki Steel ran a promising second in the members race at the Dunsmore meeting for trainer Robert Chanin and could go well again for jockey Anna Highlands.

The Scott Rowe Solicitors-sponsored open maiden closes the days event which could be a fast run race on this flat track, those catching the eye are Arv Way There( Hugh Thomas), Kates Lane ( Elizabeth Scott) and the Rebecca Branton-trained Buck’s Billionare which are all progressing well. On course facilities offer great viewing close to the action, together with rural trade stands, bar, bookies, hot and cold refreshments. Entrance to the course is £15 per person which includes a race card. Children under 16 are free. Dogs on leads are welcome. Course is located off A3052 20m from M5 junction 30. EX24 6HZ. There will be NO live streaming at this event.

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

THE AXE VALE POINT-TO-POINT – AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY

ACTION FROM THE FIRST MEETING IN 1947. The horse and jockey are not known.

POINT-TO-POINT enthusiasts, especially from the West Country, are promised an enjoyable read in this delightful new book by Jacquie McCullough with contributions from Granville Taylor.

The history of the Axe Vale point-to-point, from the first meeting on 24th April 1947, is thoughtfully covered, illustrated by more than 200 photographs, mostly previously unpublished.

From 1947, Axe Vale meetings took place on undulating farm land “across the road” (A 3052). The move to the presentcourse at Stafford Cross took place in 1965. The writer weaves stories in chronological order throughout each decadefrom that first fixture.

As intimated in the foreword by Ross Wilmington, MFH, Axe Vale Point-to-Point Chairman, “I am confident that this book will take a treasured place in very many homes and makes a fine tribute to all the individuals involved with the meeting since its inception back in 1947.”

All profits from the sales of the book will go to the Axe Vale Hunt point-to-point.

This privately published book at a cost of £19.99 plus £2.20 P & P has a limited print run, so early ordering is recommended. Copies can be ordered by sending an email to axep2p.book@gmail.com when BACS details will be provided.

GRANVILLE’S REMINISCENCES – AXE VALE HARRIERS

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

The Two Gentlemen of Verona – William Shakespeare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESULTS

AXE VALE HARRIERS AT STAFFORD CROSS

WEDNESDAY APRIL 29TH 1981 Going Good

HUNT

1 Sinsinawa VI (Michael Williams)

2 Roman Lily (Chris Down)

3 Culmleigh Padre (B Stevenson) SP evens fav

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

ADJACENT HUNTS’

1 Piping Reed (Michael Williams)

2 Romany Heath (Eddie Whettam)

3 Smart Kid (Nigel Dunn)

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

OPEN

1 Spider Legs (Grant Cann)

2 Grey Granite (J Bishop)

3 Macturk (Tony Harris)

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

LADIES’ OPEN

1 Withen Wood (Rosemary White)

2 Kara Pops (Miss J Woodhouse)

3 Decoy (Janine Mills)

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

ADJACENT HUNTS’ RESTRICTED

1 Hewish Rocket (Robert Alner)

2 Culm Port (Chris Down)

3 Polly Bird (Eddie Whettam)

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

RESTRICTED OPEN

1 Fire Port (Peter Hobbs)

2 Ali’s Chandy (Jimmy Frost)

3 Sulimnos (Robert Alner)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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

BRITISH POINT-TO-POINTING SHUT DOWN FOR 2019/20 SEASON

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:

info@p2pa.co.uk

01793 781990

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP EGGESFORD & AXE VALE

It was inevitable that four local fixtures in nine days would lead to a scarcity of runners. Fortunately our area did not suffer the fate of the meeting at Charing, Kent on Easter Saturday, where four of the six scheduled races produced a walk over.

The course organisers at both Upcott Cross (Eggesford) and Stafford Cross (Axe Vale) can be congratulated for providing safe, watered ground, but no meeting can expect decent fields if there are not enough pointers to go round. There was a stiff wind against the runners in the home straight, not very nice for watching too

Betting is naturally sluggish in three or four runner races and this was the case at both fixtures last weekend. The only certainty was that Will Biddick would be ducked in the paddock water trough by his riding colleagues if he broke the record for number of career winners, and this he did courtesy of a double with Crown of Thorns (4-7 fav) and Kernel Victor (1-2 fav).

Will Biddick and Kernel Victor
Will Biddick and Kernel Victor
(c) Megan Cobley Photography

Herbert Park (2-5 to 1-2) was another odds-on winner in the Mixed Open . He was out with the washing at the top of the home straight as Saffron Wells (4’s to 7-2) raced 20 lengths clear down the hill, but a cool ride from young Fergus Gillard saw Herbert Park swoop into the lead at the last.

Fergus Gillard and Herbert Park
Fergus Gillard and Herbert Park
(c) Megan Cobley Photography

The layers tale of woe continued as both sections of the Open Maiden went to the short priced jollys. Bookmaker David Phillips sponsored the first division and had to fork out more as Banco de Logos (evens) beat Willaldo (9-1). The winner has taken a while to get his head in front after his good run behind the smart Road to Rome at Buckfastleigh, but did little wrong here.

Dr Kananga started 6-4 favourite in the other division and shook off the challenge of 25-1 outsider Poniel. Five-year-old Dr Kananga is a likeable sort who ran very well behind Famous Response at Great Trethew after winning his bumper at Ffos Las in desperate ground. Second Captain (9-2 to 4’s) came out of the clouds to finish third.
The young horses Maiden went to the rangy four-year-old Getaround (6-4 joint fav) who came clear of the other joint fav Largy Mountain from the penultimate. They are each capable of stepping up in class.

Navanman (1-2 to 4-9 fav) suffered a rare reversal in his own Hunt race which attracted just three runners. River Myth (5-4 to 6-4) is in good form however and took command a long way out. She was completing a hat trick.

The only long priced winner on the day was Ballybruff (100 to 8) in the Restricted. Not the most consistent of animals, he had more letters than numbers to his name this season, mostly P’s. He is in a good yard however and won on merit. Owner Alistair Harvey had him with the leaders throughout. Minimalistic (evens fav) can perhaps be forgiven for his below par Cherrybrook run, but this was another lack lustre effort.

The first two winners started 1-3 as we moved on to a less windy Axe Vale on the following day. Dry ol’ Party followed up her Mendip win in the opening Hunt race where only Heartening (9-4 to 2’s) opposed her.

Tuff Nano (opened 2-5) continued in top form in the Confined and romped home by 20 lengths to give Will Biddick another winner.

The Last But One (solid 2’s) was my bet of the day in the Mixed Open. His maximum penalty (12lbs) was offset by Nathan Vergne’s claim, but he only just held off the strong finishing Minella Fifty (3’s to 5-2).

The floodgates had opened as the punters piled in on the next three favourites. Earth Leader (evens) outclassed his three opponents in the Intermediate before Apples Queen (4-7 to 2-5) held on gamely to beat Theatre Evening (5-2) in the Novice Riders’ under Liam Harrison. The layers took another blow when Skinflint (4-5 fav) found ground and track conditions to his liking in the Restricted.

Earth Leader & Bryan Carver
Earth Leader & Bryan Carver
(c) Megan Cobley Photography

The last race (Open Maiden) featured the biggest field of the day, 8, and the springer of the day in the shape of ex-Irish Businessman. I saw £500 to £100 laid early before the five-year-old dropped through all rates to 5-4 fav. Newcomer Raise Your Hand was opposed from an opening show of 2-1 out to 3’s, but won impressively from the promising A Tipple or Two (6-4 to 7-4).

Upcoming Fixtures

  • Saturday 4th May 2019 Modbury Harriers & Totnes Bridgetown Co. Ltd Flete Park, Ermington,  Ivybridge PL21 9NX 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Sunday 5th May 2019 Devon and Somerset Staghounds Holnicote, Minehead, TA24 8TE 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Monday 6th May 2019 Cattistock Littlewindsor, Beaminster, DT8 3QU 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Monday 6th May 2019 Stevenstone Vauterhill, High Bickington EX37 9BT 1st Race 2.00pm

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REPORT: AXE VALE HARRIERS AT STAFFORD CROSS, SUNDAY 28TH APRIL 2019

WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR

“The sun has come out and the air is vivid with spring light”

Byron Caldwell Smith 1849-1877

Although substantial watering had produced good ground at the popular Stafford Cross track, the proliferation of meetings around Easter meant small fields. This flat track suits the speedy types and sub-six minutes times tend to be the norm.

Bryan Carver was the jockey in form at the Axe Vale Harriers fixture, completing a double thanks to Earth Leader and Skinflint

Earth Leader & Bryan Carver
Earth Leader & Bryan Carver
(c) Megan Cobley Photography

Roger Penny’s Earth Leader made all to win the Intermediate, fending off Oxfordshire challenger Captiva Island after a display of quick jumping. “He is a strong travelling horse who has improved throughout the season,” remarked the jockey, who is also making the most of his chances in Paul Nicholls’ yard. This win would have proved a tonic for trainer Rose Loxton, who is currently in hospital.

Carver completed his double when sending the Gerry Supple trained Skinflint to the front four out in the Restricted before coasting to an eight lengths success. The Irish born jockey was deputising for Jo Supple who had good news about her recuperation from an injury sustained at the Cotley last month. Having partnered Skinflint earlier in the season she remarked, “He has strengthened up now. This quicker track suits him.”

Liam Harrison is another young jockey making the most of his opportunities. The 16-year-old rode his 9th winner of the season and has a good chance of lifting the Fuller’s Novice Riders title. Apple’s Queen looked to be making hard work of disposing of his two rivals round the final bend, but the 2-5 favourite responded well to hold Theatre Evening after the pair had jumped the last together.

The Last But One’s stiff penalty was offset by jockey Nathan Vergne’s claim in the Mixed Open and this proved decisive as Tom Malone’s useful pointer just held the late thrust of Minella Fifty. “He could run again at Flete next week and I hope we can get him to the Ladies’ hunter chase at Stratford at the end of the season,” said the owner, better known as a leading bloodstock agent.

The four-year-old Raise Your Hand might have caught the bloodstock agent’s eye in winning the Open Maiden. Making his racecourse debut, this promising type got jockey Darren Andrews off the 13-winner mark, quickening to beat the equally promising A Tipple or Two (Will Biddick). The winner was, “bought out of a Tipperary field,” by former point-to-point jockey Martin Cooney who came over from Ireland to see the race. “I broke him and got him going then sent him over to Christopher (Barber) to train. “He will be a nice horse after summer grass and could go to the sales,” reported the young trainer, another generation of the Barber pointing dynasty.

Will Biddick added to his record breaking tally with a smooth success on Tuff Nano in the Confined. This mare is unbeaten since joining Teresa Clark’s yard last December. “She will go on any ground and might run again this season as she still needs educating,” said the Spaxton based trainer.

Tuff Nano was an inspired £10,000 buy at Ascot sales, but the Hunt race winner cost connections only £600. This was Dry ol’ Party who had already rewarded owner/trainer Stuart Payne by winning the Mendip Ladies’ and followed up here under Chloe Emsley.

Results

RESULTS: AXE VALE HARRIERS AT STAFFORD CROSS, SUNDAY 28TH APRIL 2019

Upcoming Fixtures

  • Saturday 4th May 2019 Modbury Harriers & Totnes Bridgetown Co. Ltd Flete Park, Ermington,  Ivybridge PL21 9NX 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Sunday 5th May 2019 Devon and Somerset Staghounds Holnicote, Minehead, TA24 8TE 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Monday 6th May 2019 Cattistock Littlewindsor, Beaminster, DT8 3QU 1st Race 2.00pm
  • Monday 6th May 2019 Stevenstone Vauterhill, High Bickington EX37 9BT 1st Race 2.00pm

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RESULTS: AXE VALE HARRIERS AT STAFFORD CROSS, SUNDAY 28TH APRIL 2019

GOING: Good

HUNT RACE (SPONSOR BEVISS & BECKINGSALE)

1 Dry Ol Party (Chloe Emsley) 1-3 fav disp ld til led three out, clr last
2 Heartening (Gordon Treacy) 2-1 disp ld outpaced two out
2 ran; 1 1/2l; 6m 3s

CONFINED (J & FJ BAKER CO LTD, HONITON)

1 Tuff Nano (Will Biddick) 1-3 fav led 10th, clr three out, easily
2 According to Harry (Darren Edwards) 2-1 disp til 10th, wknd 16th
3 Railway Storm (Gordon Treacy) 10-1 in touch til 15th
3 ran; 20l; dist 5m 54s

MIXED OPEN (LEE CLIFFORD ENGINEERING)

1 The Last But One (Nathan Vergne) 2-1 fav prom, effort three out, led last
2 Minella Fifty (Josh Newman) 5-2 led 12th til three out, rallied, just failed
3 Tom Barton (Liam Harrison) 10-1 with ldrs til no extra two out
5 ran; neck; 8l; 5m 49s

INTERMEDIATE (MARTIN DIPLOCK, LYME REGIS)

1 Earth Leader (Bryan Carver) evens fav made all jumped well
2 Captiva Island (James King) 13-8 hdwy three out, wknd after next
3 Ballycash (Liam Trott) 16-1 lost touch 14th
4 ran; 6l; dist 5m 49s

NOVICE RIDERS COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE (LENTELLS)

1 Apples Queen (Liam Harrison) 2-5 fav effort three out, disp last, ran on well flat
2 Theatre Evening (Freddie Proctor) 5-2 led til joined two out, no extra nr finish
3 True Flying Colours (Tom Doggrell) 9-2 in touch til four out
3 ran; 1l; dist; 5m 58s

RESTRICTED (HAMMETT ASSOCIATES)

1 Skinflint (Bryan Carver) 4-5 fav led 16th, easily
2 Gracious Prince (Shane Quinlan) 13-2 effort four out not pace wnr
3 Minella Mojo (Josh Newman) 8-1 in touch til 14th
4 ran; 8l; 12l; 5m 54s

OPEN MAIDEN (SCOTT ROWE SOLICITORS)

1 Raise Your Hand (Darren Andrews) 3-1 prom, led three out, qcknd well
2 A Tipple or Two (Will Biddick) 7-4 made most til three out, kept on
3 Niteinshiningarmour (Shane Quinlan) 20-1 with ldrs til two out
8 ran; 3l; 2l; 5m 58s

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