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.
The second Buckfastleigh meeting of the season attracted a large crowd more akin to a Bank Holiday fixture (a hint of sunshine always brings the crowds out).
The 15 bookmakers presented a strong line and lost no time in chalking the prices up in good time – in contrast to a point-to-point meeting I had attended the previous day (not in the Devon & Cornwall area). Unbelievably in every race there the timid line of bookies failed to price up anything until the last few minutes when the jockeys had already mounted. Don’t ask me why.
After Beuvron (1-4) had easily seen off his two opponents in the Buckfastleigh opener, a succession of beaten favourites got the bookies smiling.
I was silly enough to back Looking Glass (5-4) in the first Maiden on the basis that Mike Legg was taking over from her novice rider. She is a difficult mare to settle and looked vulnerable when Betty’s Boy (4’s to 7-2) shadowed her along the back straight travelling ominously well. Sure enough Looking Glass crashed out at the third last, leaving Betty’s Boy to set up a double for Josh Newman. This strong bodied type has not been rushed and will improve further. Buz Barton (8’s to 4’s) was in touch until the top bend but was left behind coming down the hill, as was Onwegoagain (3’s to 5-2).
Forrardon Xmoor was easy to back at 6’s and 7’s prior to a hard fought success under Vicky Wade in the other Maiden division. Back In June (solid 6-4) has decent NH form to his credit and was a creditable second. Robin Longstride (6-4 to evens fav) got left behind at the top of the hill before snatching a modest third place. As his name suggests, he is a rangy type and there is more to come from him in due course
Seven of the nine entries for the Mixed Open went to post, Welstonedruid (5-2 to 7-4) had disputed favouritism with Ziggerson Hill (5-2 / 9-4 / 5-2) but there was money for Doctor Henry (7’s into 4’s). Steeltown (5-2 out to 9-2) looked a likely winner two out, but Doctor Henry responded well to his novice rider and took command on the final bend.
It was amusing that the presentation announcer said that Doctor Henry had come “all the way from Wales.” He had actually travelled only 13 miles from his base at Modbury, South Devon, and was a first winner for owner / trainer / jockey Bronwyn Buttery.
It’s All or Nothing (11-10 / evens) was the next favourite to fail. Sea Bear (4’s to 7-2) put his beat foot forward this time to leave his modest Black Forest run behind him. Josh Newman gave Sea Bear a positive ride and the grey never looked like being caught.
Premier Portrait (2-9) could not be opposed in the three runner Novice Riders’ contest and duly won by 12 lengths after Overafrica (6’s – 7’s) had stayed with him until the second last.
In The Tub (8-11 / 4-4) was the obvious form choice for the Restricted on his Milborne and Larkhill form. Jo Buck soon had him out in front and he dominated proceedings throughout.
JOSH Newmancelebrated his 24th birthday last week and gave himself a belated birthday present when riding a double at Buckfastleigh in front of a large crowd basking in the hazy spring sunshine.
The young jockey, who rode a Cheltenham festival winner two years ago with Midnight Prayer in the National Hunt Chase, is now based at the Ali Stronge yard near Hungerford. Sea Bear and Betty’s Boy provided Sunday’s double, putting him on the nine-winner mark for the current campaign.
Sea Bear, trained at Woolminsone near Crewkerne by Chloe Newman, made all the running and jumped soundly to win the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate. The grey runs in the colours of Robert and Janet Gibbs and was followed home by the only other finisher Shanann Star.
Newman had earlier steered Betty’s Boy to victory in the first division of the Open Maiden. This sturdy seven-year-old was always travelling well and was left clear when Looking Glass fell three out. “He was too keen when he ran here last time and got a bit lonely out in front today,” reported the rider. Betty’s Boy is trained by Ed Walker for owner Ross Oliver who bred the gelding out of his mare Acting Tough, a winner in her day at the now defunct Lifton course.
Vicky Wade is also in great form at present. Afterpartnering Tetralogy to finish runner up to Betty’s Boy, Vicky, successful in a Leicester hunter chase two days previously, won the other Maiden division on Forrardon Xmoor who battled on gamely to hold Back In June. The winner is owned and trained by Jill Baskerville at Exford who said, “I bought him as a four-year-old. He is the only horse I have in training and I hunted him every week, sometimes twice a week.
The Mixed Open also went to a small yard as Bronwyn Buttery’s Doctor Henry fought off the sustained challenge of Steeltown. 22-year-old Bronwyn was partnering her first winner and also does it all herself from her Modbury yard. “I ride out for Gordon Chambers regularly, where I also get the chance to school Henry. I often school with Millie Wonnacott, Hannah Welch and Jennifer Davenport. I also work at the local pub in Modbury, The Exeter Inn, some evenings.” 10 year old Doctor Henry, was bought at Ascot sales last June, He is by the successful stallion Dr Massini.
Doctor Henry had run well on the opening day of the season when runner up to Premier Portrait, and the latter went on to win his fifth race of the season (plus an unfortunate disqualification when the rider failed to weigh in) under his regular 17-year-old rider Gus Levinson in the Novice Riders’ race.
The Restricted produced an easy winner in the shape of In The Tub who gave Jo Buck her sixth winner of the season. Culmstock based Bloodstock agent Tom Malone owns and trains this progressive seven-year-old who is likely to be aimed at the Subaru Restricted Series Final at Stratford upon Avon in May. “I bought him from Martin Cullinane in Ireland. He has sold such as Road To Riches and Kingscliff in the past,” reflected Malone.
Beuvron had won the Hunt race on this card last year, and had little difficulty in duplicating that success with a comfortable 12 lengths success over his two rivals. It was good to see that the trio were all partnered by former pony racing jockeys with 18-year-old Hannah Welch coming out on top. Hannah is set to become a pupil assistant to trainer Clive Cox after completing her A levels at King’s College, Taunton.
Point-to-Point resumes in the Devon and Cornwall Area on Sunday Dec 30th at Ideford Arch near Chudleigh for the South Devon Hunts Club meeting. More than 80 entries have been received and it promises to be an exciting day out to follow in the festive spirit for all the family to enjoy.
Racing starts at 12 noon with the South Devon Hunts Club Members race. Never So Blue won this race last year and scored again at Brampton Bryan for Ledbury trainer Claudia Wilesmith, Lucette Annie is game and made all to win at both Buckfastleigh and Wadebridge for jockey Darren Edwards, Amber Love is another entry that goes well for Darren Edwards.
Next up is the South Devon Hunt Club Members race for Novice Riders. Idle Talk provided his jockey Anna Pycroft with her first winner in a three-runner race at Kingston St Mary, while Stitchnick may have needed the run when travelling well until pulling up two out at Wadebridge for Ollie Barrett.
Following on is the 2m4f Open Maiden. Of the 23 entered Driftwood Pride ran a creditable fifth behind The Wealerdealer at Black Forest Lodge for trainer Kayley Jones, Marlpit Oak has been in contention on a few of her outings the latest when she fell at the twelfth at Barbury earlier this month.
The Mixed Open has attracted eleven entries and of these That’s Rythem collected Hunter Chase wins at Bangor and Uttoxeter last season and only just missed out on another at Stratford in June when two and a quarter lengths behind Salsify for trainer Sally Duckett. Hugh Wilson’s prolific Divine Intavention (Coronation Cup winner) may be looking to follow up on his recent impressive win at Black Forest Lodge for Mark Wall.
Exeter racecourse sponsor the Intermediate. Mister Tiger is clocking up wins fast and looks set to progress to Open company soon for Sam Allwood; the Robert Chanin trained Ned White set a strong pace at Wadebridge and only got mugged for the race in the last 50 yards by Alright John and Batu Ferringhi.
The concluding race is the three mile Open Maiden. This race looks wide open and the bookies will be a good indicator of the favorites out of the 19 entered.
Bar, bookies, catering and numerous trade stands are all on site. Entrance is £20 per car or £10 car and driver. The course is 2 miles SE of Chudleigh just off A380 between Exeter and Newton Abbot. Postcode TQ13 OAE.