Category Archives: betting

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
Granville Taylor

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

Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN

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
Granville Taylor

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

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
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
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
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: Athwenna Irons/WMN

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – FOUR BURROW AT TREBUDANNON 24TH APRIL 2021

Granville’s Betting Gossip: There was plenty of betting money flying about at Trebudannon for the eight races at the Four Burrow meeting. Unfortunately my cash flew in the wrong direction – straight into the bookies satchels.

David Phillips and Rich Pittard again did duty for the layers, and continued the innovation of taking telephone bets from punters at home watching the live streaming. 

All eight favourites were beaten, starting with Honest Opinion who drifted from 4-5 to 5-4 in the face of good money for The Dartmoor Rose (6’s to 5-2). The mare made up for a moderate display at Maisemore Park last month, but in fairness that race has thrown up three subsequent winners apart from the blooming rose. Newcomer Benny’s Miracle was cut from 3’s to 6-4 in a weak market and showed promise to finish third.

Eric The Third, ridden by Charlotte Summersby
Four Burrow Point-To-Point. RoR & The Jockey Club conditions race winner Eric The Third, ridden by Charlotte Summersby. From Trebudannon on 24th April 2021.

Eric The Third (6-1) had won his share of races over jumps in his time, but was in the winner’s circle for the first time for two and a half years in the 12 –runner veterans event. Now with John Heard, and competently ridden by Charlotte Summersby, the gelding kept on strongly to hold a gallant effort from Awesome Tunes (7-1).  2-1 joint favourites Purple N’ Gold (from 7-2) and Soul Kaliber (from3’s) failed to sparkle.

It was unusual to see digital odds of 7-5 displayed against Port O’Clock’s name in the Conditions. That didn’t stop him from making all the running after a protracted duel with Crown of Thorns (1-2 to 2-5 fav), who went down fighting in trying to give the winner 6 lbs.

Race winner Port O'Clock, ridden by Darren Edwards
Four Burrow Point-To-Point. Conditions race winner Port O’Clock, ridden by Darren Edwards. From Trebudannon on 24th April 2021.

River Myth (evens to 4-6) was the next jolly to keep the bookies smiling in the Men’s Open. She led until four out, but weakened quickly at the next. Despite looking in need of the race, 4-1 chance Los Alamos ran down Talk of the South (8-1) in the home straight.  The winner is by Galileo and had been in the doldrums since winning for Joseph O’Brien in the colours of J P McManus in his younger days.

Master Baker (evens to 4-5 fav) and Chosen Lucky (11-10) jousted at the head of the market for the Ladies’ Open, but a bet of £500 to £50 was enough to see The Last But One cut from 10’s to 6’s. He duly obliged thanks to a fine display of jumping under Chloe Emsley. Master Baker ran his usual genuine race to finish runner up, but age has caught up with him nowadays and his owner announced  his honourable retirement afterwards.

The defeat of well fancied horses was getting a bit monotonous now, but worse was to come for one punter. A gamble on four-year-old Snow Stoppin Him went badly astray.  He was forced down from 8-1 to even money (bets of £ 800 to £100 and £400 to £100 were noted) in the first Maiden won by front running Party Tunes (2’s to 6-4). This easy winner was the middle leg of a fine treble for jockey Darren Edwards and trainer Dean Summersby.

Four Burrow Point-To-Point Maiden (Division 1)Race winner Party Tunes, ridden by Darren Edwards
Four Burrow Point-To-Point Maiden (Division 1)Race winner Party Tunes, ridden by Darren Edwards

The same combination came good in the second Maiden when Russian Invasion (5-2) sauntered home impressively from the only other finisher of the nine starters What a Bug (20-1). This time there was an amazing plunge on Bourbon Prince, seen at 8’s early before going off a shade of odds on (4-6). A former flat racer, he had shown a modicum of ability in points but had been off the track for over two years.  

Four Burrow Point-To-Point. Open Maiden Division two race winner Russian Invasion (nearside), ridden by Darren Edwards. From Trebudannon on 24th April 2021.
Four Burrow Point-To-Point. Open Maiden Division two race winner Russian Invasion (nearside), ridden by Darren Edwards. From Trebudannon on 24th April 2021.

The two market leaders fought out the finish of the getting out stakes with the Fran Nimmo trained Kinondo Kwetu (3-1) completing a double for Will Biddick. The useful looking five-year-old overhauled Funky Sensation (2’s to 4-5 fav) in the home straight.

Race winner Kinondo Kwetu, ridden by Will Biddick
Four Burrow Point-To-Point. Maiden (NWFAA) race winner Kinondo Kwetu, ridden by Will Biddick. From Trebudannon on 24th April 2021.

I suppose my regular readers of Granville’s betting gossip (both of you?) will want to know how I contributed to the bookies profits.  Well, it was easy. Four bets, four losers – but I will be back at Flete. There’s never a last race for Granville’s Betting Gossip.

Next Fixture

Flete Park Races on 1st May 2021. Livestream (buy tickets below) and Telephone betting are both available.

Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP FROM FLETE RACES on 17th APRIL 2021

DARTMOOR AT FLETE PARK

The betting situation was a bit strange at sunny Flete, with one bookmaker standing in each of the two zones. Dave Phillips served the green zone, and Rich Pittard did duty in the owners roped off area. Fortunately for scribes like me their boards were adjacent so it was just possible to assess a market (and have a bet). In addition phone betting was offered for punters watching the live streaming which again drew much praise for the coverage.

Favourite backers got off to a flying start as Journey Juice landed odds of 4-5 after an opening show of 4-6 in the Hunt race. His jockey Chloe Emsley survived a scare as her mount stumbled badly at the top of the hill. Bay To Go (6’s out to 14’s) had made the best of his way home under James Armstrong, but had no answer when tackled by the winner on the run in.

I backed Corbett Court (4-1) in the next. Although he had been off the course for two years, he had beaten Rio Bravo in his Maiden ( unbeaten in both his races this season including a hunter chase at Catterick)). Corbett Court is from a shrewd yard and looked fit. Well I was wrong: Corbett Court was off the bit at half way and finished a poor fifth. The race went to gallant Cottage Rose (100-8) who ran straighter than runner up Boygochasing (8-1), who seemed intent on taking a more scenic route. The favourite Mustmeetforapint (5-2 to 6-4) was appearing for the second time in six days. He probably needs softer ground but has proved expensive to follow.

Darren Andrews riding Cottage Rose thanks his mount after winning the Restricted race
Darren Andrews riding Cottage Rose thanks his mount after winning the Restricted race

Know The Score (10-1) was certainly on the ball in the four miles Open for the Lord Mildmay Cup. Now with Leslie Jefford, and ridden by Fly McIntyre,  this once very expensive gelding had “lost his way” after a rules career which included three wins and a good run in the Cheltenham Festival bumper in his youth for David Pipe. He had been off the track for 18 months but looked fit and collared front running Welsh challenger Ramble On (7-2 to 5-2) 50 yards out. Where’s Wilma (10’s to 6’s) was a creditable third, upped in class, but staying on nicely. Navanman (evens) headed the market, but ran a shade below form in finishing fourth.

Know The Score ridden by Martin McIntyre (nearside) winning the Mixed Open four-miler from long-time leader Ramble On (far side)
Know The Score ridden by Martin McIntyre (nearside) winning the Mixed Open four-miler from long-time leader Ramble On (far side)

Oh yes, I nearly forgot:  with a BHA rating of 129 and probably a stone in hand I couldn’t resist a few quid on the winner.   

The four and five-year-old Maiden attracted only four runners, three of which were previously unraced from Ed Walker’s yard.  The one for money was Misstree Wave (evens fav), but even Will Biddick’s handling couldn’t prevent the five year-old from veering off the course nearly into the woods coming down the hill. The other two, Ribo A Irep (7-2) and Nuova Vita (5-2) raced locked together in front for two miles, but were left behind by the finishing burst of Swearer (5-2). The winner, ridden by Darren Edwards for the Joe Tickle yard had benefited from his bumper run at Maisemore Park last October. 

That grand old gelding Unioniste (7-4 ), winner of £170,000 under rules in his day, led his five rivals for a long way in the Owner/Trainer Conditions race, but his old legs couldn’t hold off Bridge of Spies (2-1). The winner had been mugged close home at Cherrybrook and merited a nice bet here. 

Syracuse’s Dream was ignored at 14-1 before making virtually all in the Conditions race. The grey galloped on merrily under his young rider Barnaby Treneer to hold the strong challenge of Will Biddick’s mount Board of Trade (7-2). Cloudy Music (2’s to 6-4 fav) had won on heavy ground at Great Trethew last year and the mare soon looked in trouble here before trailing in last. This form is best forgotten. It might however be worth keeping in mind Lomanchenko (10’s to 4’s), presumably named after the former world featherweight champion boxer. Admittedly his form under rules took a nose dive after his maiden hurdle win, but he was in touch for a long way here under his penalty  before getting tired.

13 lined up for the Open Maiden, unlucky for some, including me. I went for Melvyn (2-1) who looked the part but slid to the floor at the ninth. I am not sure how much cash went on the winner Dr Time, but he was noted at 8’s early before being returned 6-4 favourite. He is from a top yard but the nine-year-old had shown little in public. Runner up Jimmy Tew (5-1) should win a Maiden, but third placed Aracaras ((5’s) ran too freely. Da Vinci Rock (4-1) was not knocked about. He had bits of form in Ireland and has joined a good yard.

Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP: SPOONERS & WEST DARTMOOR AT CHERRYBROOK – 3rd APRIL 2021

I don’t need a line of 15 bookmakers to lose money. I did it with only two at Cherrybrook, where point-to-pointing resumed after a four months gap with a tricky eight race card.

Anyway, well done to our bookie friends Dave Philips and Rich Pittard, two intrepid layers who stood like masked highwaymen behind the closed doors. It was a pity for my sake that the Cherrybrook doors weren’t locked.

Wandering Soul (evens – 4-5 fav) started the rot in the opener. Even Will Biddick couldn’t persuade this sturdy Irish beast to get out of third gear. Lightly raced King’s Quay (100-8) had been a bit unlucky in his previous two races, but the Matt Hampton trained and ridden six-year-old put 14 rivals into their place. Berboru (10’s to 6’s) ran fast for two miles but was a spent force when falling at the last. The other horse for money was Oscara (20’s to 14’s) who finished strongly as runner up and can go into the notebook.

The second Maiden went to the more experienced Our Grey Boy (13-2 to 7-2). He comes from the same stable as Oscara (Annie Bacon at Frome), and was nicely handled by Josh Cameron . Exeter University student Will Knight got the 6-4 fav Da Vinci Rock into third place on his first ride, but the well backed This’ll Do (6’s to 4’s) made no show and was pulled up.

I hesitated over Crown of Thorns (4-5/evens fav) in the next, thinking that he may have needed the race and he had a 6lbs penalty.  He who hesitates is lost. Trainer Sarah Pidsley had him spot on and he received a masterful Biddick ride The Dapper Fox (7-2) ran his usual genuine race and was closing at the post.

The Restricted looked a decent contest. The eventual winner Where’s Wilma was backed from 5’s to 3’s and won with her ears pricked. She can progress to Intermediate class. Runner up Arcal Fifty (8’s to 7’s) looked really dangerous going to the penultimate but was held when blundering at the last. I had a small bet on Funky Sensation (3’s to 7-4 fav) on the basis of his NH runs. He came with a promising effort three out but found nil.

Apple’s Queen (3’s to 5-2) is a useful pointer and relished this better ground to beat the ultra consistent Chosen Lucky (5-4 to 4-5 fav) in the Ladies’ Conditions race. I did a bit of each way thieving with third placed Dry Ol’ Party (8’s to 6’s), whose small yard is in such good form with winners at Charing and Dingley since the resumption.

River Myth (7-1) set the pace in a good Men’s Open,  and this game mare was unlucky to be mugged a few yards from the line. It was ex-Irish chaser Static Jack (100-8), who took the prize, literally flying up the run in under novice jockey Michael Treneer. Honest Deed (2’s to 5-4 fav) made it nil out of four for me in finishing third, but can resume winning ways next time. Raddon Top (100-30) looked held when demolishing a wing at the last, leaving Eric The Third (12’s to 8’s) in fourth. Unioniste (8-1) found this company beneath him and lobbed round after running in such races as the Grand National in the past.

It always happens: have a bad day and give up, then your bet for the next race wins. On this occasion it was The Roestone (5-2 fav) in the Intermediate who stuck his tongue out at me (he was actually wearing ear plugs). He looked to have no chance at half way but made steady progress under Fly McIntyre  to head Bridge Of Spies (5-1) on the line.

A lovely sunny day at Cherrybrook with excellent racing; almost a pleasure to lose money….

Cover photo: Athwenna Irons/WMN

The meeting’s official photographer Hazel Mansell Green’s album can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/gp/hazeblingbling/Lf5Ym0

Full results from Cherrybrook available at: www.pointtopoint.co.uk

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – CORNWALL CLUB AT WADEBRIDGE ON 6TH DEC 2020

After a nine months gap from betting gossip due to you know what, I am pleased to offer readers (if they are still there) some snippets from the point-to-point betting ring at Wadebridge.

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the Cornwall Club meeting on press duties, but It was a bit like working in a ghost town “behind closed doors”.

At least we got some very good point-to-point action. It was also pleasing to battle with the layers again, although I could have done with socially distancing my wallet from them.

Full marks anyway to Dave Philips, Rich Pittard and G & T Williams for standing at the showground. Dave and Rich operated in the green zone and Tony Williams was the lone ranger in the amber zone. The zones were strictly enforced with no transit between them. The bookies on -course business was boosted by a telephone betting service for punters watching the live streaming in their armchairs at home. I am told that the live streaming was excellent.

Some of the contests on Sunday resembled a three card trick for punters. Sir Mangan was the form pick in the opener and was backed from evens to 4-6. Like most good things he finished second. The winner Raddon Top (4-1) is no mug and got a good ride from Conor Houlihan. Guerrilla Tactics was supported from 5-1 into 4’s but lost rider Finn Muirhead at the third fence.

The other division for Veteran and Novice riders attracted 14 runners. There was money for Tom Malone’s Thelastbutone(4’ to 5-2) and Chosen Lucky (5-4 fav), but they could only fill the places behind Carmarthenshire raider Coquin Mans (6-1) who dominated this field. On reflection he could have given all his opponents at least two stones on his Irish form for Willie Mullins as a young horse. He had a BHA  rating of 158 at his best.

The three Open Maiden divisions took some sorting out. In the first section I ruled out Eros (5-4 fav) because he had pulled too hard at Ottery. He ran well to finish third here however and should atone. Another for the note book is four-year-old debutant Imperial Joe (6’s to 4’s) who stayed on nicely up the hill. The winner Old Town Garde  (5-1)  is another four-year-old from a good yard and looks to have a future.

There was a remarkable plunge on the mare The Kitchenmechanic  from 10’s in one place to as low as 5-2 at flag fall in the second division. She finished seventh. The winner Rossderrin (6-1) is nicely bred but arrived with a modest CV.  He turned in a workmanlike performance and should win again. Feu Des Malberaux (7’s to 5’s) chased the winner home and is improving steadily. 

Five-year-old Tip Top Mountain (4’s to 3’s) made all the running to win the other division easily under a positive ride from Rob Hawker. He looks the part and fetched £30,000 a few days later when offered at the Cheltenham sales (confusingly held at Newmarket). Word had obviously got out about Ed Walker’s four-year-old Charles Ritz because this Milan gelding was always tight at evens. He wasn’t unduly knocked about by the champion to finish ten lengths second best, but is no Santini. There is a race to be won by Reflex Action (6-s to 5-2) but he will need to jump better.

There was little or no value for punters in the Ladies’ race. I thought that Different Gravey (6-4 to 5-4) would win despite a long absence but he never looked like getting to grips with Back Bar who traded from 6-4 to evens.  Back Bar is a lot more consistent in points than he was under rules.

Navanman was virtually unbackable at level weights in thefive-runner Men’s Open with 1-3 called early. He was sent off at 1-2. There was good money for Welshman Dr Des (5-2 to 7-4) but he jumped sloppily and managed to knock the rider off Beneficial Joe (25-1) at the sixth with a violent leap to his right. The Dapper Fox (16’s to 14’s) ran very well when ridden closer to the pace than normal to finish second, but there was no stopping the consistent Honest Deed (5-1) who sailed clear under Darren Edwards down the hill.

Getting Closer (6-4 fav) just snatched the Intermediate in a six horse blanket finish to give Izzie Marshall a double., denying Waterloo Warrior(3-1) by a short head. The latter was only sixth jumping the last. Missyladie (100-6) was in front 50 yards out before being edged out to finish third. ClondawBunny (12-1) caught the eye under his novice rider and is worth bearing in mind. 

Only two of the eight favourites had obliged so far and it was the same story in the getting out stakes. This time Starsky (5’s to 7-4) was the culprit. Like most each way certainties he finished fourth. The winner Hotel du Nord (3’s to 2’s) gave Charlie Sprake his first jumps winner. Runner up Schiap Hill (7-2) looks nailed on for a Restricted.

Photo credit: Athwenna Irons / WMN

GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP: DART VALE & HALDON HARRIERS AT BUCKFASTLEIGH ON SUNDAY 15TH MARCH 2020

Oh dear, so that’s it for the season with three months of pointing in our area still to go. No more point-to-points, no more betting gossip, racing suspended, the industry jeopardised, bookies redundant and they are trying to handcuff me to the chair.

Whether it was the dodgy weather (it rained all morning on Sunday) or coronavirus worries, it was a shame that the normal bustling atmosphere of Buckfastleigh was lacking. The track conformation was a bit different because the normal last fence was not jumped, meaning a very long run-in from the jump coming off the top bend. There was plenty of quality racing though for the faithful to enjoy.

The opening five runner Hunt race was a bit of a puzzle. I couldn’t work it out so no bet. 10-year-old Moonaro is still a maiden but was sent off 2-1 fav having been chalked up at 3’s. Beuvron settled at 5-2 from 3’s but he is not very reliable nowadays. Tarrytown (9-2) had shown a glimmer of form, and the experienced Skylander (11-4) is capable on his day. It was another maiden however, Ragged Dream (7-1), who prevailed in a close finish to give 17-year-old Tamby Welch a deserved first point-to-point winner.

Stevan Steel (5-2 to 9-4 fav) is no rock star but came good under a typically positive Darren Edwards ride to win the Open Maiden easily from 11 opponents. The rider had the luxury of a peep round with his toiling rivals stone cold off the last bend. West Somerset trainer Janet Ackner does well with this type of horse who was placed in an Irish Maiden as long as four years ago, but had been knocking at the door recently. He must get his grey coat from his dam Silver Proverb who was moderate but had to lump a young claimer called Tom Malone round over hurdles a few years ago.

Gunner Vic (10-1) came from well off the pace to claim the runner up spot (he would have been put into the note book for a Bratton Down meeting). Natalie Parker’s mount Clever des Assence (drifted from 2’s to 3’s) was a head away in third after pressing the leaders for a long way.

The Men’s Open was the Devon & Cornwall Area Classic race limited to previous winners. Navanman (6-4 fav having touched 11-4) needs little introduction and duly took his pointing wins to 11, this time with Darren Edwards in the saddle. John Heard’s charge relished the heavy ground and went 20 lengths clear round the top bend before cantering home ahead of Big Georgie (7-1). Below form Fishy Story, who had touched evens before settling at 2’s, finished a well beaten third. Navanman had a good reason for his defeat at the showground last month when sustaining an injury, and connections have done well to squeeze another win out of this top pointer.

Nickelsonthedime (5-4 to 4-5) had created a very favourable impression with a couple of Wadebridge wins, but had to give best in a good Intermediate to The Galloping Bear (5-2) who had won his Restricted on the showground after opening his account in the mud at Ffos Las in December. The Galloping Bear (Darren Andrews) led from the top of the hill and stayed on well in conditions much to his liking. Both these promising types are by the St Leger winner Shantou who has developed into a leading NH stallion. It is unfortunate that the Exeter final to this event is lost.

The two market leaders also dominated the Skinner’s Ladies’ Open. The game veteran Dicky Bob (solid 3’s) jumped well and tried to make all the running under Millie Wonnacott, but was overhauled off the last bend by a confidently ridden Master Baker partnered by Jo Supple (evens fav). Jo is nearing her century of winners and has been on board Master Baker for all of his 15 wins, including three hunter chases. Wind Tor (3’s) was a distant third. Goldbury (8’s to 7’s) looked fit but had an off day and was pulled up before half way.

The form worked out in the Novice Riders race when Millanisi Boy (4-5 to 4-6) just made his experience pay with a two lengths success over the penalised Raddon Top (3-1). The winner always seemed to be holding the upper hand but was hard pressed by his main rival from the top of the hill and was driven right out by Fergus Gillard.

The Point-to-Point flat race was scheduled as the last race but had to be divided after attracting 15 declarations, exceeding the safety limit by one. Six of the eight runners in the first section were unraced which made for a cagey betting market. The faces went for Alan Hill’s once raced five-year-old Vain Girl (2-1 fav), but there was support for Any Alibis (7’s to 3’s) and the subsequent Fran Nimmo trained winner Sun Rising Hill (3-1). The Warwickshire trainer specialises in this type of event and this Mahler four-year-old certainly knew her job, coming clear under Alice Stevens to beat Nicky Martin’s Fevertre (4-1).

The other division, shall we call it the last waltz, went to Gerry Supple’s Sandaroc (3’s to 5-2), a strong bodied four-year-old filly by Shirocco who looked fit and ready to go in the preliminaries. Sandaroc landed a double for promising young jockey Fergus Gillard, fending off the jolly, Charlottes Way (2’s from 4’s) inside the last couple of furlongs. In another tight betting heat there were bits and pieces for third placed Red Cap (4’s to 3’s), Midnight Billy (7-2) and The Ramp Sleeper (5’s).

Before you ask, yes, I backed Sandaroc ( on the basis of paddock inspection). I would like to think that I was just coming into form on the betting front when the curtain came down dramatically, but that is what all of us punters would say……

Granville’s Betting Gossip: East Cornwall Point-To-Point, Great Trethew, 8th March 2020

Punters should have sensed they were going to be up against it during the afternoon when the favourite in the opener (two miles flat race) got no more than 100 yards before pulling up . This was Le Slithy Tove, eased from 4-5 to 5-4 having touched 6-4 in a light betting race. Unfortunately the mare appeared to go lame behind and was quickly dismounted. In a good finish Tom Chanin just got his fit looking four-year-old Bravo Buddy ( 15-8 touched 2’s) home. Front runner Grumpy Freya (4’s to 7-2) looked the winner until headed by the winner entering the final furlong. The Grumpy one was coming back in the final strides. Both first and second were making their racecourse debuts.

13 lined up for the young horses Maiden over two and a half miles with Party Tunes (11-10 fav touched 5-4) all the rage after his promising Buckfastleigh run. Darren Edwards soon had him in front and he looked the winner coming down the hill. Don’t Rightly Know (4-1) emerged as the only real challenger going to two out and stayed on strongly after the last to win going away as the favourite hung towards the inside rails. The winner, given a good ride by Chloe Emsley, was making her racecourse debut and this Malinas mare looks a promising chasing type. Say About It (100-8) was unfancied but finished a creditable third. Ahead of the Game (5’s to 4’s) again carried Welsh cash. He must have shown something at home but has left the money behind three times in a row now. The other eye catcher in the ring was Henry’s Regime (6’s to 3’s) who crashed out at half way.

The next jolly to boost the bookies satchels was Roc The Boat (2’s to 6-4) in the Maiden for older horses which saw the longest price winner of the day in The Meters Running (8-1). This gelding was making his seasonal debut but had shown promise last year from the yard of Gordon Chambers. Jake Bament sent the winner clear down the hill to win as he liked. The favourite was never sighted.

Only three turned out for the Mixed Open. Chosen Lucky (5-4) is one of the most consistent pointers in the area and won the battle with his main rival Spencer Moon (evens fav) who was eventually pulled up at the top of the hill when palpably tired. Talk of the South (9-4) chased home Chosen Lucky and can win a race before the ground dries up.

Somewhere To Be was a surprisingly short priced favourite (13-8) for the Novice Riders. He never looked like winning and was eventually pulled up four out. The main gamble here was course winner Syracuse’s Dream (8’s to 4’s) but he faded after showing early pace. At the business end of the race the mare Cloudy Music (4’s touched 9-2) stayed on strongly to give Charlotte Summersby her first winner, coming with a strong run to beat Awesome Tunes (drifted from 5’s to 10’s).

With the rain and hail lashing down, only the needy and the greedy remained for the last race where the four bookies left narrowly outnumbered the punters. Makeapoint (evens) was preferred to Port O’Clock (5-4) in a very weak market. Once again the Welsh lads left their money behind as Port O’Clock repeated his Milborne success as his three rivals all threw the towel in – and who can blame them.

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GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP -WESTERN POINT-TO-POINT AT WADEBRIDGE ON SUNDAY 23RD FEBRUARY 2020

Mixed bag as pointing resumes: Six races, six bookmakers, one complete outsider wins and two odds-on shots beaten

The relentless rain stopped just in time for the first race as the final Wadebridge meeting of the season got under way on testing ground at the showground. This was about the only crumb of comfort for the small army of punters, as most of the fancied horses were about to be sunk without trace, leaving the six just men with the boards counting their winnings.

Honest Deed (4-6 to 4-5 fav) started the rot for favourites in the four-runner opener, stalking the leaders until unseating his rider at the third last. Raddon Top (11-4 to 5-2) stayed on gamely to take the prize, just holding the spirited effort of Somewhere To Be (solid 4’s).

They went 2-1 the field in the 11-runner Open Maiden with Arctic Milly heading the market. Once again this mare was not entirely foot perfect, leaving the more fluent Cottage Rose (7-2 to 3’s) to get on top up the final climb. The Kitchenmecanic (6’s to 5’s) was well back in third, but her stable is not firing yet and this mare can win a Maiden. The gamble of the race was Oscar World, forced in from 10’s to 4’s for the Stuart Payne yard. She dropped away on the final circuit but is probably capable of better.

Nickelsonthedime had already created a good impression when beating the aforementioned Cottage Rose at the last Wadebridge meeting. The layer who chalked up an opening show of 5-4 for the Restricted was quickly swamped, and 1-2 ruled at the off. It could easily have been 1-10 as the useful looking Shantou six-year-old came right away from the third last to win by an official 17 lengths. Georges Legacy (8-1) put a string of moderate efforts behind him to finish second and it was good to see Jimmy Cole back in the saddle to partner his Macca’s Stowaway (12-1) into third place.

Cloudy Music (2’s to 5-4) was the clear form choice in the Intermediate. I made her the best bet on the card but she faded quickly after leading until the final ditch. She had Bridge of Spies (6-1) and Dragon de la Tour (8-1) behind her at the Christmas meeting at Wadebridge, but this pair filled the first two places here. Bridge of Spies always looks like a ball of muscle and gave his young novice rider Conor Houlihan a double on the day.

The Ladies’ Open looked a trappy affair and three of the four runners jumped the last with a chance. At the business end, Chloe Emsley forced Wind Tor (2’s to 6-4 jt fav) up to beat the rallying Chosen Lucky (4-6 to 6-4 jt fav). Inch Rock (7-2) finished a close third after leading most of the way.

Once again punters got a smack in the face in the concluding four-runner Men’s Open. Navanman (4-6 fav) lost his unbeaten record for the season behind the unconsidered Ballyhowne (14-1). The winner ended last season when winning a good Conditions race at Upcott Cross at 33-1 but had shown nothing in his two outings this season. Millanisi Boy (6-4) finished second and will surely win points this year. Navanman , carrying a 7lbs penalty, was only third and was never really travelling.

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