EASTER 1983: NORTH CORNWALL & FOUR BURROW
“Oh to be in England now that April’s there”
Robert Browning 1812 – 1889, English poet, died in Venice.
I would normally agree with you about the month of April Mr Browning, but things have changed a bit in 2020. No point-to-points, no racing, no cricket, no soccer, no golf, no tennis, no sport at all. We are all locked up and I haven’t even got an Easter egg.
So I have delved into my scrapbook again to look back to the Easter holiday of 1983. I was lucky to attend two Cornish meetings on the Saturday and Monday – what marketing people would now promote as a “Cornish Easter Festival”. Each of the courses involved have long since been closed.
The Saturday North Cornwall fixture was held at Trewornan Farm, Wadebridge. I seem to remember that it was located on the opposite side of the A39 (and the Camel Estuary) from the Royal Cornwall Showground, where the Wadebridge fixtures take place nowadays. Racing at Trewornan Farm had been held on this right handed, undulating track since 1965. It closed twenty years later in 1985.
NORTH CORNWALL AT TREWORNAN FARM, WADEBRIDGE, APRIL 2ND 1983
1 Swedish Beau (Stephen Long)
2 Harmony Way (Pat Cole)
3 Freeway (Mike Biddick)
4 ran; 3l; distance; 8m 50s SP 4-5 fav
1 Frevolity (David Wonnacott)
2 Four Tens (Richard Long)
6 ran; only two finished; won by a distance; 7m 39s SP 1-2 fav
1 Hargan (Miss Pip Fisher)
2 Moonbribe (Miss Katie Halswell)
3 Bubbling Spirit (Mrs Jane Wickett)
4 ran; 4l; distance; 7m 58s; SP 1-3 fav
1 Northern Star (David Wonnacott)
2 Hillie Billie (Grant Cann)
3 Monk’s Flyer (Pat Cole)
8 ran; 1/2l; 6l; 8m 6s SP evens fav
ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN
1 Golden Singer (Miss Mandy Turner)
2 Phil Grey (J Wright)
3 Sorcerer (Chris Crosthwaite)
11 ran; 1l; 1/2l; 8m 6s; SP 11-10 fav
My journey to the racecourse that day was via the Cornish pasty shop in the centre of Wadebridge, a culinary habit that has continued to this day. A few winning jolly old favourites soon covered the cost of the pasty.
The Hunt race was a bit of a farce taking nearly nine minutes. The winner Swedish Beau had previously shown some form at the Lamerton, and won this event easily enough. His rider Stephen Long was sometimes associated with the excellent Dicky Blob in that era. Swedish Beau’s main rival Harmony Way had refused early on before continuing tailed off.
Frevolity was the only one to jump round this tough track in the six-runner Men’s Open, beating the remounted Four Tens very easily under David Wonnacott. He was probably the best of Rame Fell’s decent string of pointers at the time, winning over 20 races. It was a very dark day which still sticks sadly in my memory when he met his end at Kilworthy the following season.
The Ladies’ winner Hargan was another ultra consistent pointer who was a star of the Westcountry Ladies’ scene in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Well bred, by Harwell out of a Vulgan mare, this strong chestnut mare was owned and trained by Paul Tylor, who travelled his horses’ miles from his base on The Lizard, the most southerly point on the British mainland. Hargan, who loved heavy ground, was the Grand Marnier champion when winning seven times in 1979, contributing significantly to Pip Fisher’s National Ladies’ championship that year. Eventually the winner of 36 races, and with her regular rider up, she kept her form well and had little difficulty in beating John Weldhen’s Moonbribe on this occasion at Wadebridge. Bubbling Spirit was a headstrong mare who had no chance of staying this trip after leading early.
Northern Star was completing a double for trainer Rame Fell and jockey David Wonnacott when setting up his seasonal hat trick in the Adjacents Hunts’. Northern Star just got the better of Grant Cann’s mount Hillie Billie after jumping the last. The winner was evidently hard to train, though he did win twice in the same day (including a walk over) under Gordon Edwards at Kilworthy in 1985. It is good to see Millie Wonnacott upholding the family tradition in the saddle today (her mother Claire was also an accomplished rider). John Squire’s Hillie Billie never seemed to fulfil his potential. He did manage to win the Bolventor Members’ under Kelvin Heard two years later. Monk’s Flyer was hard to win with, but his gallant veteran rider Pat Cole eventually won a couple of modest races on this non stayer after years of trying.
Golden Singer led all the way to win the Maiden, well ridden by Mandy Turner (now Mandy Hand). He didn’t progress much afterwards, but the runner up Phil Grey certainly did. The five-year-old failed to complete on his first two runs but his promise here was soon fulfilled and he went on to win over 20 races, including four hunter chases. Sorcerer was quite a modest pointer and went on to win the Hunt race at this meeting the following year.
A profitable day if my memory serves me correctly, with enough left over for a couple of nights stay in Newquay.
FOUR BURROW AT OLD MERROSE FARM, TEHIDY, EASTER MONDAY APRIL 4TH 1983
1 Fyghame (Mike Biddick)
2 Silvers’s Pet (D Harris)
3 Tombstone (Miss T Congdon)
4 ran; 2l; 10l; 7m 37s
1 Happy Klondyke (S Williams)
2 Viewfinder (Pat Cole)
2 ran; distance; 7m 39s
1 Moon Step (Miss Katie Halswell)
2 Hargan (Miss Pip Fisher)
3 House Breaker (Miss Tracy Turner)
5 ran; 1l; 2l; 7m 29s
ADJACENT HUNTS’ RESTRICTED
1 Presceena Wood (Miss Pip Fisher)
2 Monk’s Flyer (Pat Cole)
3 Sandy Leys (B Webber)
7 ran; short head; 1l; 7m 26s
ADJACENT HUNTS’ MAIDEN
1 Fisher Folk (S Williams)
2 What A Chance (David Wonnacott)
3 Moonbribe (Miss Katie Halswell )
8 ran; 15l; 1/2l; 7m 24s
After writing up Saturday’s notes in Newquay, it was only about 20 miles down the road to Tehidy, near Camborne, for the Easter Monday fixture. The course was a bit rustic from what I can remember. Right handed, undulating, with some plough over a distance of about three and a half miles which suited strong stayers.
It was only the jockeyship of Mike Biddick that got the favourite Fyghame home to win the Members’ after a sloppy display of jumping. The runner up Silver’s Pet, fresh from finishing fourth in the Maiden at Wadebridge, led until the last in what was a moderate race.
Happy Klondyke had the race won when he blundered two out in a disappointing match for the Men’s Open. This was his best season though and he notched up four wins, culminating in a commendable third behind Cheekio Ora at Cheltenham’s hunter chase evening meeting. Viewfinder was a veteran by now and was well behind from half way.
Hargan turned out again for the Ladies’ Open after her success two days previously. She looked the winner until giving best to Moonstep approaching the last. These were two of the best Ladies’ horses in the area and John Weldhen’s Moonstep was completing a five-timer at the Four Burrow.
Hargan’s rider Pip Fisher took the next race when the grey mare Presceena Wood just held on to beat Monk’s Flyer by a short head. Presceena Wood went on to win a couple of races under rules in Paul Tylor’s colours. Monk’s Flyer was also turning out quickly after Saturday’s effort and ran probably his best race of the season. He had led until two out and rallied well close home. Sandy Leys was a fine jumper who eventually won races under Frank Edwards from the yard of Keith Cumings.
Fisher Folk won the Maiden very easily but did not really progress afterwards. Moonbribe was made favourite on the strength of his fine effort at Wadebridge, but lay well off the pace and was never a threat. It was fully a year before he broke his duck at the 19th attempt. What A Chance went on to win his share of minor races and became something of a Flete Park specialist.
The Old Merrose Farm track at Tehidy closed after the 1985 meeting. The Four Burrow fixture moved to the new Wadebridge course on the showground until 2000 when the meeting became established at Trebudannon.
MacKenzie & Selby’s Point-to-Pointers and Hunter Chasers
Horse and Hound Year Book
Mr Michael Kutapan (Jumping for Fun forum)