Category Archives: Reports

A report on a past Point-To-Point meeting in the Devon & Cornwall area

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – DUNSMORE CLUB, SILVERTON 14 NOVEMBER 2021

It was good to see the line of bookmakers  back in full swing for the opening Devon & Cornwall meeting of the season at Dunsmore, with plenty to smile about as the first four favourites went down the pan.

It was such a mild, sunny day that it was almost a pleasure to add to the bookies profits. I gave a generous contribution as Captain Westie (4-5 fav) just failed to last home in the opening Maiden. Will Biddick sent him three lengths clear on the bottom bend, but he fluffed the last and Park This One (4’s to 9-2) swept past him under Josh Newman close home. Captain Westie’s Thurles bumper form with subsequent winners all around him looked solid and I thought  justified a good bet, but the winner is a nice staying type, won on merit, and can only improve further.

So it became a more cautious betting day. Thumb Stone Blues had won his last four points last season but was saddled with a 10 lbs penalty in the Conditions race. He drifted from 4-6 to 11-10 in the face of good money for both In Arrears (6’s to 7-2) and Inch Rock (6’s to 4’s). The latter pair fought out the finish with the mare In Arrears just prevailing in the hands of Darren Edwards. She enjoys soft ground and can win again. Inch Rock ran a brave race in defeat, but third placed The Roestone (9-4 to 2’s), a previous course winner, never really threatened.

The former Gigginstown horse Moratorium (5’s to 2’s) was bought by current connections only recently. The eight-year-old winning hurdler was picked up for £10,000 at Goffs UK Doncaster sales last month having lost his form a bit in Ireland. He gave a first winning ride to Nathan Green in the Conditions race reserved for Veteran and Novice Riders. The Heythrop gelding won very easily and trainer Myles Osborne has his eye on hunter chases. Runner up Guerrilla Tactics (4-1) is proving a good schoolmaster for Finn Muirhead and ran up to his form to finish second. Broadclyst  (2’s to 15-8 fav) has had a spell under rules and ran better than his nine lengths third suggests. Bridge of Spies was friendless from evens out to 3’s and will be better for the race. He was doing his best work at the finish.

In the three runner Mixed Open (with a new sponsor INEOS Grenadier), the early prices chalked up for Southfield Theatre (evens) and Chameron (1-2) were off putting, but when the market settled Southfield Theatre could be backed at 6-4 and 7-4. Chameron eased to evens and these two useful pointers had the race between them as Static Jack (6’s to 3’s) dropped away. It was the game veteran Southfield Theatre who took the prize, making all and jumping well for Lily Bradstock to fend off Chameron’s efforts. The final of this new series is at Cheltenham in May.

All six entries went to post for the Restricted which saw a successful late gamble on the South Wales traveller Accordini at all prices down from 5-2 to evens. Well done to the Welsh boys who collected bundles after a very confident ride from the reigning champion James King. Eole D’un Regard (6-1) has a funny head carriage but kept on gamely under Barnaby Treneer to finish second with Will Biddick steering Thomas Crown (7-1) into third. I backed Clever Des Assence (5-1) who looked really fit and chased the leaders but found little where it mattered.

On all known form Truckers Pass (4-6 to 4-9) was a certainty in the getting out stakes and duly delivered with the minimum of fuss. Will Biddick’s hardest task was to pull him up afterwards.  Evron (9-2) got to within four lengths of the winner and is a sure Maiden winner. Da Vinci Rock (4-1) is giving his novice rider useful experience and can pick up a race before long.

I am told that the live streaming from Dunsmore proved a great success. Dave Phillips was taking phone bets from the armchair punters. 

Cover Photo Credit: Megan Cobley Photography

Granville Taylor

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

REPORT – DUNSMORE CLUB, SILVERTON POINT-TO-POINT   14TH NOVEMBER 2021

WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR

“How like a winter hath thine absence been from me, the pleasure of the fleeting year”

William Shakespeare

Yes Mr Shakespeare, it has been a difficult year or two. You remember the plague in your time, well we have our own version of the plague nowadays, but we are optimistic that the new point-to-point season will put our sport back on track.

It started off well on Sunday, as despite small fields the Dunsmore Club provided competitive racing in bright sunshine and blue skies before a good sized crowd. The prolific winning gelding Southfield Theatre, owned by Angela Yeoman, made all under Lily Bradstock to upset the favourite Chamelon in the INEOS Grenadier sponsored Mixed Open. This was the first of 16 Open races throughout the country sponsored by this company, culminating in a final at Cheltenham in May.

In form jockey Lily Bradstock had ridden Southfield Theatre’s young half sister to win at Badbury Rings last week, and said of the prolific winning 13-year-old Southfield Theatre, “He loves it and loves his jumping. We will keep going as long as he enjoys it. Mum (the trainer) rides him every day.” Mum is of course Sara Bradstock who rode winners herself as Sara Lawrence, daughter of the late Lord Oaksey.

The reigning Devon & Cornwall champion jockey Darren Edwards got off the mark for the new season as the family mare In Arrears, one of just two pointers owned and trained at Exford by his father Gordon, just overcame front running Inch Rock (Pippa Glanville) to win the Conditions race. Trainer Gordon, a long standing farrier, “rides it, shoes it and schools it” according to his wife Angela. Darren has less long distance travelling this season (he formerly commuted each week from Leicestershire) as he is now based as a partner with Fisher German at Exeter.

Last season’s National champion rider James King was well beaten behind In Arrears when his mount Thumb Stone Blues, a winner of his last four races, faded in the home straight under a hefty 10lbs penalty. The leading rider however went home having ridden a winner thanks to Welsh challenger Accordini, given a perfect waiting ride in the Restricted. The winner is trained at Pyle by Gareth Moore for Caerphilly based owner Justin Hoskins.

Similar waiting tactics paid off for Will Biddick in the Open Maiden, confidently bringing his mount Truckers Pass from off the pace to justify odds-on favouritism when toying with his five rivals. “He is a classy horse and I was able to switch him off,” reported the seven times National Champion jockey. The winner runs in the colours of his trainer, Taunton bloodstock agent Tom Malone, who dashed off to a big spending jaunt the following day at Deauville sales.

Somerset jockey Josh Newman chased home Biddick’s Maiden winner on Evron, but the boot was on the other foot in the Goffs UK Maiden for four and five-year-olds as Newman drove home Park This One to outpoint Biddick’s mount Captain Westie with a strong late run. A nicely bred four-year-old, Park This One is trained by Neil McLean near Crewkerne for owner Ivan Thompson who runs a popular local outlet called The Sausage Shed. The winner was purchased at Goffs UK Summer sales at Doncaster last July and is destined to return to the sales ring.

It was a red letter day for 23 year old jockey Nathan Green who scored his first winner from only his second ride when Moratorium quickened clear of Guerrila Tactics and Broadclyst in the home straight to win the Veteran & Novice Riders event. The Lancashire born rider works at Ben Pauling’s Cotswold yard, alongside Moratorium’s trainer Myles Osborne. Formerly a winner in Ireland for Gigginstown, Moratorium now runs in the colours of the trainer’s stepmother and was yet another sourced from Goffs UK.

Granville Taylor

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

WHERE’S WILMA BEGINS A SUCCESSFUL NEW SEASON AT BADBURY RINGS

WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR

The ever improving Tiverton mare Where’s Wilma opened her account for the new season when winning the Richard Miller Memorial race at the Portman fixture, watched by a hugecrowd at Badbury Rings, Dorset on Sunday (November 7th).

The mare’s regular rider Matt Hampton was content to drop his mount out in a quality ten runner field. The mare got into top speed coming down the home straight, and neatly side stepped the faller Trainwreck at the third last. Where’s Wilmawent on to collar the leader Exxaro (Conor Houlihan) at the last and won going away.

“She made several jumping errors but quickened nicely,” reported the jockey, partnering the 11-year-old mare for the Not So Innocent Partnership headed by trainer Michael Watson. Where’s Wilma had won three of her four races last season, earning her owners the Leading Horse and Leading Mare awards for the Devon & Cornwall Area.

The successful rider Matt Hampton also trained a winner, as the progressive six-year-old Twig added to his wins at Maisemore Park and Upcott Cross last season in the Novice Riders’ Condition race in the hands of teenager Beau Morgan. The Sally Alner trained Tom Barton (Charlie Sprake) made much of the running, only to be headed and outstayed by Twig after the second last.

It was good to see Will Biddick back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time since his heavy fall at Upcott Cross in May which had left him with a fractured ankle and two torn ligaments. The seven-times National Champion jockey steered home four-year-old debutant Hey Soul Sister, who was stepping straight into Restricted  class and got the better of a spirited duel with Schiap Hill. The winner, looking a nice prospect, was sent off 5-4 favourite, and hails from Christopher Barber’s yard at Mosterton near Crewkerne. Her next appointment is on Friday (Nov 12th) at TattersallsCheltenham November Sales.

The Barber/Biddick combination had to settle for the runner up spot in the Four and Five-year-old  Maiden as the previously unraced Monty Searle could not quite get to grips with the more experienced Southfield Lily, given a positive front running ride by Lily Bradstock.

The former Philip Hobbs inmate Le Ligerien scooted clear down the hill under Tommie O’Brien to win the seven-runner Mixed Open by five lengths from the versatile ex-Irish gelding Sky Marshal (Milo Herbert). A winner three times over hurdles in the colours of David Churches, the eight-year-old, who was winning for the first time over three miles, is in the same ownership and now stabled with Marie McGuinness near Taunton.

The closest finish of the day came in the concluding Open Maiden as Martin (Fly) McIntyre just forced home Dock of the Bay to score by a head from the Darren Edwards ridden Jimmy Tew. Formerly with David Pipe, the seven-year-old is now qualified with the Four Burrow and trained by Leslie Jefford at Payhembury near Honiton for the Otis Partnership.“He is always on the go and we had to have him out of the box to calm him down after the first race today. The idea was to give him time to settle in the race and Fly did that well,” said trainer’s wife Lisa Jefford.

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – EXMOOR AT BRATTON DOWN on 29th June 2021

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – EXMOOR

There was a good line of nine bookies at Bratton Down on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend, and it was also nice to see spectators allowed to return, although limited in number. It was also a relief to get a proper race card at Bratton Down instead of the sheets of paper which are virtually impossible to work with- well done to the organisers.

The Hunt race at Bratton looked a simple puzzle so I piled in on Hadmeathello (try saying it) to justify 1-2/ 4-7. He had impressed me when winning at Dingley but Chloe Emsley never seemed really happy on the beast on this occasion , neither was I. He was well held on the run in by The Mulcair (7-4 to 13-8) giving Blumndell’s schoolboy Finn Muirhead his first winner.

They went 4-1 joint favourites Florrie Webb and Thewinnertakeitall in the 11-runner Maiden. Darren Edwards took a crashing fall from the latter, but Florrie did the job well, setting Conor Houlihan off on his weekend five winner spree. I did some each way thieving on Minella Beag (5-1) who had caught the eye at the previous fixture here. She finished third. The Dartmoor Rose (12’s to 8’s) was nearly brought down at the 10th and this run can be ignored.

Weston-Super-Mare rider/ trainer Lucy Mager is a much under rated jockey and gave Moscow Prices (6-4 to 11-8) a perfect waiting ride to win the Ladies’. If you think I am talking through my pocket, no, I did not have a bet.

The Men’s Open featured a re-match of the Trebudannon Open between the useful mare River Myth and the big imposing gelding Los Alamos (who won that day). It was a bit like Little and Large. River Myth proved an uneasy favourite here (1-2 to 8-13) with Los Alamos clipped in from 3’s to 11-4 to atone for his poor Holnicote run last time. I don’t suppose that Coolmore had Bratton Down in mind when they bred this son of Galileo, but he is a classy pointer, now with leading owner Jason Warner, and readily drew clear up the hill.

The first division of the Conditions race produced the finish of the season. Conor Houlihan on Bridge of Spies (6-1) and Matt Hampton on Where’s Wilma (drifted to 9-4) charged up the hill locked together and were still inseparable at the post. Neither deserved to lose and a dead heat was a fitting result. Crown of Thorns (3-1) ran his usual solid race to finish third and fourth placed Beau Sancy (10’s to 8’s) was well there until the final fence.

Blairs Cove (2-1) made all and won the second division easily under James King, who is about to be crowned National champion jockey for the first time. Runner up Rolling Dylan (2’s to 7-4 fav) had a BHA rating of 143 in his prime, but is not the force he was. He is a fine schoolmaster though.

Darren Edwards took another heavy fall in the getting out stakes as Jimmy Tew (2-1) over jumped at the ninth and brought down Spivey Cove (9-1). Best to Come (3’s to 4’s) came from well off the pace under Conor Houlihan to claim the prize. Runner up Golly its Molly (20-1) showed her first worthwhile form and can only improve further, but Evron (7-2 to 3’s) folded quickly after leading from half way.

Granville Taylor

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

Cover Photo Credit: Megan Cobley Photography

REPORT: SOUTH TETCOTT AT UPCOTT CROSS on 31st May 2021

Conor Houlihan added a double to his Bratton Down treble at the South Tetcott Bank Holiday fixture at Upcott Cross to elevate himself to the nine winner mark and into the lead for the National Novice Riders’ Championship.

The Irishman, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall, began with a hard fought success in the opening Race Hill Garage sponsored Conditions event. His mount Definite Dilemma, trained by his boss Will Biddick, runs in the colours of his father Martin, who was able to watch the action in County Waterford via the popular live streaming. He would have seen Conor shake off Darren Edwards on Party Tunes after a sustained battle in the home straight.

Conditions winner Definite Dilemma, ridden by Conor Houlihan. South Tetcott Point-To-Point at Upcott Cross on 31st May 2021. photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN

A further success for the Irish jockey followed as Gentleman Farmer made all the running to win the Totnes & Bridgetown Races Company Novice Riders’ Mixed Open. Home bred by Richard Hawker, the lightly raced nine-year-old strolled home to win unchallenged.

Mixed Open for Novice Riders winner Gentleman Farmer, ridden by Conor Houlihan. South Tetcott Point-To-Point at Upcott Cross on 31st May 2021. photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN

It is not all plain sailing at this game and a fall on Safe Harbour in the FC Cleaning Systems Maiden literally brought Houlihan back down to earth. The winner Bon Calvados proved anything but an armchair ride for Darren Edwards, racing keenly, and hanging and jumping erratically, but reaching the judge with eight lengths to spare over Roc the Boat. A half brother to Saint Calvados, who was narrowly beaten by Min in last year’s Ryanair Chase, Bon Calvados had been placed in a Market Rasen bumper for Olly Murphy, and is now in the care of Alan Hill for the Cross Channel Racing Club.

Edwards himself had been in the wars two days previously at Bratton Down when two heavy falls put his participation for this meeting in doubt. The Devon & Cornwall champion jockey bounced back however in typically determined fashion, and two winners and three seconds from five rides was his reward.

His win on the game veteran Honest Deed in the Simpkins Edwards Mixed Open was particularly apt, since it was announced afterwards that the Dean Summersby trained gelding had gone into honourable retirement after taking his career wins into double figures for his quartet of local owners.

Mixed Open winner Honest Deed, ridden by Darren Edwards. South Tetcott Point-To-Point at Upcott Cross on 31st May 2021. photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN

16-year-old Beau Morgan gave a polished performance to score on the Matt Hampton trained Twig in the Coodes Solicitors Restricted, beating Darren Edwards on 2-1 favourite Russian Invasion into second place. “This is my second point-to-point winner. I have just left school and plan to ride in Jersey in the summer to gain experience,” said the young rider, who lives near Bath and judging by the cheering had brought his fan club with him to Devon.

Restricted winner Twig (far side), ridden by Beau Morgan. South Tetcott Point-To-Point at Upcott Cross on 31st May 2021. photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN

It was the turn of Darren Andrews as Elusive Intentions just outstayed the Darren Edwards ridden Honest Opinion in the PRJ Engineering Maiden Conditions race. The winner is trained at Mappowder, near Sturminster Newton, by Harriet Brown for owner Shirley Prideaux who bought the well bred seven -year-old at Tattersalls Ascot sales two years ago.. “He is a big horse and has had a lot of niggles,” explained the trainer who was enjoying her first winner of this truncated season.

Granville Taylor

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

Cover Photo Credit: Megan Cobley Photography

REPORT: EXMOOR AT BRATTON DOWN on 29th May 2021

“MAY is a pious fraud of the almanac. A ghastly parody of the real Spring”

From Under the Willows by
James Russell Lovell , 1819-1891, American poet

I couldn’t agree more Mr Lovell. The month of May is not supposed to be cold and wet in England. Even the Exmoor point-to-point had to be postponed for six days, but at least we finally got some action in front of a crowd enjoying ice cream weather for the second of the traditional three late season fixtures at Bratton Down.

A first time treble for jockey Conor Houlihan, and a double for the champion elect James King were the highlights of the Exmoor fixture on a day when motorway hold -ups caused delays, late arrivals, and in the case of some horse boxes no shows.

Restricted winner Florrie Webb (centre), ridden by Conor Houlihan. Exmoor Point-To-Point at Bratton Down on 29th May 2021

Conor Houlihan is set to land his first Devon & Cornwall Novice riders’ title, and the 23-year-old from Dungarvan, County Waterford, who works in Will Biddick’s Somerset yard, kicked off with a five lengths success on the Biddick trained Florrie Webb in the Rosettes Direct Restricted. With his boss and mentor on crutches after breaking an ankle, the tall Irishman proved an able substitute in the saddle, sending seven-year-old Florrie Webb clear after jumping the last.

A dead heat on Bridge of Spies in the Bielby colours in the first division of the Kingdon family sponsored Conditions race saw Houlihan force his mount up to share the spoils with the favourite Where’s Wilma (Matt Hampton). This pair swooped on Crown of Thorns and Beau Sancy at the foot of the hill and battled it out all the way up the climb to the line. “We were both flat out and happy to share a dead heat,” remarked Matt Hampton.

Conditions (Division 1) winners Bridge Of Spies (centre, blue and purple silks) and Where’s Wilma (far side, blue and maroon silks) who couldn’t be split at the line, with the judge declaring a dead-heat verdict

A chance ride on Tattersalls Leading Owner Jason Warner’s eight-year-old Best to Come rounded off Houlihan’s successful day in the Totnes & Bridgetown Open Maiden. James King handed over this ride due to a sore ankle, but had earlier lifted his season’s tally to 28 thanks to Los Alamos and Blairs Cove.

Los Alamos mastered odds-on favourite River Myth jumping the last in the Moore Scarrott Men’s Open to add to his Trebudannon win. “He got stuck in the mud at Holnicote last time and the drier ground helped here,” reported the jockey.

Men’s Open winner Los Alamos (James King) pulls away from River Myth (Darren Andrews). Exmoor Point-To-Point at Bratton Down on 29th May 2021 photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN

Forcing tactics paid off for King as Jason Warner’s Blairs Cove led all the way to take the Wedgewood Buildings Ltd Conditions Race Division Two at the expense of the favourite Rolling Dylan (Isaac Buncle).

It was a memorable day for 17-year-old Finn Muirhead, who partnered his first point-to-point winner on the Camilla Scott trained The Mulcair in the colours of his father Alex in the RSM Beares & Brian Thorne & Son sponsored Hunt Race. The Mulcair pulled clear of Hadmeathello up the finishing climb under his promising teenage rider, who is a pony racing graduate and nephew of Jamie Osborne, who is currently studying for A levels at Blundell’s School, Tiverton.

Hunt Members winner The Mulcair, ridden by Finn Muirhead. Exmoor Point-To-Point at Bratton Down on 29th May 2021

After her successful ride at Stratford upon Avon on the previous evening, Chloe Emsley, who is looking sure to lift her first Devon & Cornwall ladies’ title this year, had to settle for the runner up spot behind The Mulcair on Hadmeathello in the Hunt Race.

She occupied the same spot on Inch Rock in the Bray Leino Ladies’ Open, where Moscow Prices was a stylish seven lengths winner. Lucy Mager, who shares ownership of 11-year-old Moscow Prices with Kim Tripp, trains the gelding at Weston-Super-Mare. “He was my second winner of the season and we might come back to Bratton next week,” remarked Lucy.

Granville Taylor

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

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – DULVERTON WEST MONDAY 17th MAY 2021

There was more of a real point-to-pointing atmosphere at Bratton Down for the Dulverton West meeting on Monday with the crowds returning on a very pleasant evening.

Eight familiar looking Devon & Cornwall bookmakers signalled a hint of normality, but sadly Mike Bolitho was not amongst them. Mike, whose board always showed fair odds, traded under the banner of his late father Roy, but had sadly died a few days ago. He had stood last weekend at the Eggesford’s Upcott Cross meeting with two of his colleagues. Sincere condolences go to Mike’s partner, family and friends from all pointing colleagues.

Edabean (5-4 to evens fav) was a surprisingly short price in the opening Restricted, considering that she had only won a Mares race. Maybe it was due to the in-form connections. To be fair, she didn’t get the best of runs in some scrimmaging up the hill before finishing fourth. The eventual winner Dancing Dave (solid 3’s) was only fifth jumping the last, but stayed on really well on the inside under a good Chloe Emsley ride. The runner up was 20-1 outsider Eole D’un Regard who last won two years ago. He had shown little since, but ran really well here under young Barnaby Treneer. Minella Beag (6’s to 7’s), from the Ed Walker yard, like the winner, came from the back to finish third. He had been running under rules and warrants a look next time.

It was time to get my wallet out in the 12-runner Maiden. Leslie Jefford’s Businessman (13-2) has been on my watch list for some time and looked real each way value. He led everywhere except where it matters as Jimmy Snipe (33-1) stuck his head in front on the line to win by a “nose” (not an official point-to-point distance- should be a short head). The winner, completing for the first time after three runs, is out of the prolific Sea Snipe (won 17 points) and was the first training success for Joe Tickle’s partner Danielle Kenealy. Arctic Milly (9-4 fav) always gets placed and did so again. Nuova Vita was backed from 4’s to 5-2 on the strength of his promising Flete debut, but was never really travelling after an early blunder.

Rolling Dylan (5-2 to 5-4 fav) once had a BHA rating of 143 and now trained by Laura Parker, ran in the colours of the Conditions race sponsor Philip Hobbs, his former trainer. Another useful ex-NH horse Horatio Hornblower (9’s out to 12’s) was making his pointing debut under a stiff penalty and ran well under his novice rider. I missed the 7-2 (returned 5-2) about Minim Mouse and you can guess what happened. Yes, Mini won by a squeak – yet another dreaded “nose” verdict. The runner up Coningsby had no friends in the ring (3’s out to 6’s) but ran up the hill to nearly catch the mouse.

Proven stayer Know the Score (11-10 to 4-5), trained by Leslie Jefford, found the four miles Mixed Open easier than his recent Cheltenham consignment, but was all out under the talented Fly McIntyre to hold Imogen’s Thunder (5’s to 7’s), given a grand ride by Charlie Sprake.

Dr Time (5-4 to 4-6) was all the rage for the 10-runner PPORA race to set up his hat trick under James King, but an early mistake did not help his cause. He was struggling after the ditch allowing the smooth travelling Wotzizname (10’s to 7’s) to hold the running on Skylander (7-2 out to 5’s). The young jockeys on both first and second, Megan Bevan and Otis Morgan, each came out with much credit.

The getting out stakes was a bit more predictable. The Yeats gelding Largy Mountain (5-4 / 6-5 fav), ridden by champion jockey elect James King, completed his English hat trick in good style (he was hopeless in Irish points and has taken time to get his act together), pulling away from French Piece (3’s to 5-2) after the latter had bungled the last. Third place Awesome Tunes (5’s to 4’s) kept jumping to the left but was not disgraced.

Granville Taylor

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

REPORT – DULVERTON WEST POINT-TO-POINT AT BRATTON DOWN on MONDAY 17th MAY 2021

“I love your hills and I love your dales, and I love your flocks a-bleating…..”

John Keats, English poet, 1795 – 1821

.AFTER the suspension of point-to-point racing due to COVID, and the need to hold meetings behind closed doors, the Dulverton West fixture welcomed back a crowd of paying enthusiasts, together with a strong line of bookmakers, for their Monday evening fixture at Bratton Down, where the hills and dales are an essential part of the scenery

On an evening when the sun seemed to rise to the occasion by illuminating the Exmoor backcloth, and with a racecourse atmosphere that had been lacking for so long, spectators were treated to some very exciting finishes.

A winner over four miles at Flete Park last month, Know the Score had been dropped in class after his recent Cheltenham hunter chase effort, and started a shade of odds-on when landing the Brends Hotel Mixed Open over an extended four miles.

After racing stride for stride for most of the journey with Imogen’s Thunder, Martin (“Fly”) McIntyre poached a handy lead on Know the Score at the last, but was all out up the stamina sapping final climb to hold the rallying Imogen’s Thunder (Charlie Sprake) by half a length.

“He battled well. We got into a lovely rhythm and I was happy all the way,” reported the jockey, who had walked away from a crunching fall at Edgcote on the previous day.

Leslie Jefford trains the eight-year-old ex-David Pipe inmate for the Angove family and said, “We took him to Cheltenham and it didn’t work out. He is very genuine but not experienced with his fencing yet.”

There was an even closer finish to the 12-runner Mardon Recycling Machinery Maiden which went to Jimmy Snipe by a “nose”. One third of the field were eliminated when a loose horse barged into them on the bottom bend at half way. By this time Businessman was out in front under Darren Edwards, but the seven-year-old could not sustain the gallop and was running on empty at the end only to be caught by 33-1 outsider Jimmy Snipe (Darren Andrews) on the line.

Owned by Lucinda Tylor, the lightly raced winner is from the family of 1988 Grand National hero Rhyme ‘N’ Reason, but came into the race with three non completions from his early season exploits. “We tried a change of tactics today to more front running. He always jumps well but found it challenging and it’s taken a long time with him,” explained Danielle Kenealy, who was saddling her first winner since her partner Joe Tickle took out a full licence.

The judge’s winning verdict of a nose cropped up again in the following Sandhill Racing, PJ Hobbs Conditions race as Minim Mouse (Josh Newman) was adjudged to have held on by that amount as Coningsby charged at her in the dying strides.

Minim Mouse was bred by her owner Gail Dare and is trained by Chloe Newman at Woolminstone near Crewkerne. “We had to treat her for gastric ulcers and it has made a massive difference. She will go on holiday now,” said the trainer. Josh Newman reported, “She really enjoyed it and jumped well but I got there miles too soon.”

Ottery St Mary trainer Ed Walker saddled first and third in the Andrew Maddox Restricted race. The winner Dancing Dave was only fifth jumping the last, but stormed up the hill to give jockey Chloe Emsley her sixth winner of the season in a bunched finish. “I knew he would stay and the hill suited him,” reported the jockey, enjoying her best season. The winner runs in the colours of Stuart Jarrett, whose wife owns third placed Minella Beag.

The gallant Wotzizname stayed on strongly to hold Skylander (Otis Morgan) in the Totnes & Bridgetown PPORA Conditions race for nine-year-olds and over. This was a first winning ride for 17-year-old Megan Bevan who works for the Colin Tizzard yard. The elated young recruit from the pony racing circuit said, “This was my sixth ride and I thought I had a chance when we jumped the open ditch. The pace was very quick and I saved enough energy to get home. He picked up well for me.”

Cranmore based Sarah Gould trains the winner for her family. The 11-year-old gelding was successful under rules in his younger days for Harry Fry’s yard. Wotzizname was nicely backed from 10’s to 7’s but the unplaced odds-on favourite Dr Time, ridden by championship chasing James King, was in trouble after an early mistake.

The King and Francesca Nimmo combination fared better in the concluding James Pryce Tractors Intermediate thanks to the progressive Largy Mountain. Valerie Cockburn’s promising Yeats seven-year-old put six lengths between himself and French Piece (Tommie O’Brien) after the latter had blundered at the last.

Granville Taylor

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

Photo credit: Megan Cobley Photography

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP EGGESFORD

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – EGGESFORD POINT-TO-POINT, HELD AT UPCOTT CROSS ON SUNDAY 9th MAY 2021

Dave Phillips and Rich Pittard have been regular layers on the Devon & Cornwall pointing circuit in this COVID hit season, and were joined by Mike Bolitho at Upcott Cross, as racing continued with a strong seven-race Eggesford card behind closed doors.

I really fancied The Roestone (2’s to 11-10 fav) in the opener on his Cherrybrook form, and so did quite a few others. He flattered briefly on the top bend but soon came under pressure and had no chance as Raddon Top (9-4) just nudged past Cloudy Music (11-2) in the dying strides.

It didn’t take long to get back into profit though as Where’s Wilma (5-2 to 2-1) justified the bet of the day in the Intermediate. She was guaranteed to stay this testing track with her Flete Park Open effort in mind (4 miles and running on), and saw out this three miles plus trip well. Pancrace (8’s to 7’s) had come on for his Cothelstone race and ran well. He should win an Intermediate. Dr Rhythm (5-2 to 9-4) was the only danger to the winner in the closing stages, but looked held when falling at the penultimate. Port O’Clock was sent off a strong 5-4 fav but was struggling a long way out. He may need a shorter tri

Race 2: Intermediate winner Where’s Wilma, ridden by Matt Hampton, jumping the last

Punters were on the mark in the first Maiden with the 6-4 joint favourites filling the first two places. The four-year-old newcomer Hermes Du Gouet looked a nice type and his yard has done well in this lopsided season. He showed plenty of pace and determination to quicken away from Welsh challenger Aracaras. A few outsiders were nibbled at. Gone Surfing (12-1) is still immature but is improving steadily. Fusionice (10’s to 8’s) was pulled up, but this half brother to Bacardys looks the part and once changed hands for 92,000 euros. Even Richard Johnson couldn’t get him to win under rules but I wouldn’t write him off yet. What a Bug (8’s to 5’s) never showed.

Honest Opinion (5-2 to 6-4 fav) keeps knocking at the door and this mare had every chance in the second Maiden, but it was the lightly raced Don’t Ask Us (8-1) who stayed on the better for the Keith Cumings yard. Whispering Soul (5-2) took a crashing fall at the last when in front, putting Will Biddick out for the season. Master Sam Bellamy (12’s to 5’s) just got past Roc The Boat (16’s to 3’s) for minor honours.

River Myth (6-4 to 11-8 fav) returned to her best form to win the Mixed Open at the expense of Honest Deed (2-1). Ramble On (2-1) struggled and forfeited third place when the jockey dropped his hands after the last, allowing Quinto (7-1) past him.

Race 5: Mixed Open winner River Myth, ridden by Darren Andrews

Party Tunes (9-4 to 2’s) put an end to a frustrating weekend for the Summersby yard (five seconds) when jumping soundly and making all in the Restricted. Essex trained Man of Means is a nice type and Jack Andrews’s only mount of the day was a creditable runner up. He is sure to win a Restricted. Corbett Court (12’s to 3’s) was dropped in class after his Cheltenham hunter chase effort but was done with after the final bend.

Race 6: Restricted winner Party Tunes (far side), ridden by Darren Edwards

There was a sad outcome to the last race as Thereyarsee (9-2) fell heavily at the last with the race won. The Mulcair (5-4 fav) had departed two out leaving Imogen’s Thunder (5’s to 3’s) to stroll home after being tailed off.

Cover Photo Credit: Megan Cobley Photography

EGGESFORD AT UPCOTT CROSS on 9th MAY 2021

EGGESFORD POINT-TO-POINT REPORT WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR

“When will I see you again?
When will we share precious moments?
Will I have to wait forever? “

The chorus from a song by a pop group called The Three Degrees which oldies may remember from the late 1970’s

The answer is we will see you again next Monday evening at Bratton Down , when hopefully we can say goodbye to behind closed doors point-to-pointing in the Devon & Cornwall area and welcome back spectators to enjoy their sport.

It was still behind closed doors at Upcott Cross, with just a smattering of owners in attendance to witness the Eggesford’s seven races which attracted a total of 65 runners.

Will Biddick and Darren Edwards are neck and neck in their quest for the Devon & Cornwall jockeys’ title, and each landed a winner on the softish ground at the Eggesford meeting. It was Conor Houlihan who stole the headlines however with a first and last race double as he chases the Area Novice Riders’ championship.

The tall Irish born jockey, who works for Will Biddick, opened his account for the day when Raddon Top, conceding 10lbs, got home by a head after a sustained battle with Charlotte Summersby’s mount Cloudy Music in the Chris Hodgson Engineering Area Conditions race. By coincidence these two jockeys are currently in pole position for their respective Area Novice riders’ championship.

Race 1: Conditions winner Raddon Top, ridden by Conor Houlihan, going down to the start

Raddon Top is trained at Payhembury by Leslie Jefford for owner Sue Trump and said, “He appreciates some cut in the ground but will go out in the field now.” The eight-year-old had won at Wadebridge before Christmas, but blotted his copybook when running out at the last fence in a good Open at Cherrybrook last month. “He was brilliant today, really gutsy and stuck his head out to get there,” reported the jockey, who has set his sights on the local Area Novice Riders’ title.

Conor Houlihan’s double was completed when Imogen’s Thunder was virtually presented with the Totnes & Bridgetown Races Company Conditions race for riders with no more than 15 wins. The South Dorset gelding, trained by Mary Tory for owner Wendy Jarrett had more letters than numbers to his name in the form book this season, but came from well back to win as his rivals fell by the wayside.

River Myth had let her supporters down when last seen at Trebudannon, but put matters right with a sparkling performance in the Simpkins Edwards Mixed Open to get her trainer Stuart Sampson off the mark for the season. Owners Terry Hamlin and John Gardener have now seen their mare win 10 races, with jockey Darren Andrews explaining ,” She is a genuine, tough mare who had colic in the evening after that Trebudannon race.” The jockey was fresh from a six hours trip from Hexham on the previous day where he had ridden Dr Kananga to win a hunter chase.

Race 5: Mixed Open winner River Myth, ridden by Darren Andrews

Darren Edwards chased home River Myth on Honest Deed, but enjoyed a pillar to post success on Party Tunes in the Waie Inn & Ford Fuels Restricted. Rita Underhill and Ruth Burrow share ownership of the Dean Summersby trained seven-year-old who gave a fine display of jumping to beat Man of Means (Jack Andrews). “He will probably run again this season. He is my fifth winner of the season but I have had four seconds this weekend,” said the trainer, whose yard is at Broadwoodwidger, near Launceston.

Where’s Wilma was impressive in winning the Bridgetown & Totnes Races Company Intermediate by 15 lengths under Matt Hampton.”She gives her all and Matt gets on well with her,” said Michael Watson of one of the two pointers he trains near Tiverton for the Not So Innocent Partnership. “She was flat out all the way and really tries,” commented the jockey, partnering his fourth winner of the season.

Race 2: Intermediate winner Where’s Wilma, ridden by Matt Hampton, jumping the last

Will Biddick kept his championship hopes alive by scoring on four-year-old debutant Hermes Du Gouet in the first section of the C & R Construction Maiden. Littlewindsor, Dorset based trainer Christopher Barber described his four-year-old as, “Very green. I bought him at Goffs Land Rover sale. It is the first time he has been away from home as I have not been able to give him the usual build up. He will go back to the sales”.

Race 3: Open Maiden (Division 1) winner Hermes du Gouet, ridden by Will Biddick

The Barber/Biddick team came close to a Maiden race double, but five-year-old Wandering Soul failed to read the script and gave Will Biddick a crunching fall at the last when looking the winner. The race went to the lightly raced eight-year-old Don’t Ask Us in the hands of Josh Newman, still celebrating the birth of his daughter a few days ago. The winner is owned jointly by Peter Clarke and Bishops Nympton trainer Keith Cumings. “It is our first winner of the season,” remarked Keith’s daughter Nicky Boundy. “He has had all sorts of issues since we bought him as a three-year-old at the (Goffs) Land Rover sale. He is a heavy topped horse who overheated on that hot day at Maisemore (30th March)”.

There was unanimous approval for the state of the track (officially good to soft, soft in places) produced by the Heard family on this popular North Devon stayers course.