Category Archives: 2010-11 Season



A dry afternoon at Bratton Down – nothing new about that for the past two months! The strong, gusty wind off the sea made it feel more like March on the exposed moor. The trees up there seem immune to this kind of weather, standing upright against the elements like a row of soldiers. The going was on the quick side, but there had been some rain before the meeting. The added use of an aggravator, which is a mechanical device for lifting the surface helped to provide a cushion on the old turf on the racing line.

 Men’s Open (The Pittard Family in memory of Bob Pittard)

Only four went to post with Gaelic Flight a heavily backed 1-2 favourite on the strength of two recent Open wins at Cothelstone.. Will Biddick’s mount Cappoquin was second market choice at 7-4. The race may have been decided as early as the sixth fence where Gaelic Flight’s blunder sent Neil Harris flying into space with a particularly painful landing. 25-1 outsider Classic Rock took the remaining trio along, but Biddick was biding his time on Cappoquin, and soon had the race sealed up when quickening well clear approaching the final fence. Seven-year-old Cappoquin has been a model of consistency this season having added four consecutive wins to three placings earlier in the year. “Luckily he didn’t have a hard race and can run again next weekend,” said his owner/trainer Richard Barber who was saddling his 37th point-to-point winner of the season.

 Intermediate (Hi-Tec Drains in memory of David Willes)

Will Biddick was hoping to add to his winning tally on the Keith Cumings trained Certain Flight, but the promising six-year-old, who had won his Maiden on this track last year, had to give best to Turtle Tim who stayed on well up the hill after the pair had crossed the last together. Josh Guerriero was riding his 13th winner of the season on 6-1 chance Turtle Tim who had shown signs of returning to form at FletePark recently. Trainer Leslie Jefford explained that the seven-year-old: “had a wind operation last year but had run two bad races earlier this season. He has improved for the tongue tie and has got the confidence to breathe again,” he added.

 Ladies’ Open (AP & VA Maddox Ltd)

John Pearn’s Dr Massini gelding Deloughtane has enjoyed a fruitful campaign and easily put his three rivals into their place to gain his fourth success of the season. Alice Pearn’s mount took a clear advantage at the second last and stayed on under hands and heels on the run-in to beat Waziri and Over The Creek. Connections are likely to bring the winner back to Bratton for the Exmoor hunt race on June 4th.

 Confined (Eastleigh Care Homes)

Richard Woollacott had saddled Deloughtane to his Ladies’ Open success, and the Rose Ash yard was also responsible for sending out Deb’s Dasher, ridden by Woollacott to win this five runner contest. Saint Romble led early, but Deb’s Dasher jumped his way to the front going out on to the final circuit and was always holding the challenge of Yufo in the closing stages. Although he has shown winning form on soft ground, six-year-old Deb’s Dasher seems to cope well in faster conditions and is in my note book as one of the more progressive youngsters in the area. A left handed track is a pre-requisite however for this excellent jumper, and the trainer/rider’s post-race comment was that: “he is still a baby and needs to fill into his frame”.

 Open Maiden (James Pryce Tractors)

In The Dock was making only his second racecourse appearance, but his promising debut third at Larkhill in March was sufficient to assure the five-year-old of warm favouritism here against six opponents. Amanda Bush was content to track the leaders as Derniere Dance (Will Biddick) headed the field. This pair forged clear from the final ditch, and Will Biddick opened up a five lengths gap along the bottom end of the course. Derniere Dance was still in front jumping the last, but was running out of petrol up the punishing final climb and began to edge left towards his opponent as he was challenged. The duo eventually ended up alongside the far running rail with the favourite short of room and squeezing past just before the line. The winner, who will be turned away now for the season, was bought by his owner Grant Cann as a three-year-old at the Goffs Land Rover sale.

 PPORA Club Members’ Novice Riders’ (Connolly’s Red Mills)

A novice rider meets that qualification by having ridden no more than three winners at the start of the season. It is quite an achievement therefore that the five jockeys in this race had accumulated a total of 34 winners between during the past five months.  Minehead’s adopted Irishman Micheal Nolan is blazing the trail for the National Novice Riders’ title with 14 wins, but could only finish fourth here on Wee Bertie. The finish was an action replay of the corresponding Avon Vale event in March with the game veteran Preacher Boy (Philip Prince) produced late to mug Barney’s Mate (Harry Derham) inside the final 150 yards. It might have been a very different story had not Preacher Boy’s jockey survived a jolting blunder at the 13th fence which left him clinging on for several strides. 19-year-old Philip Prince has impressed in clocking up his seven winners this season

 Restricted (BMW Westerley Barnstaple)

Once again the lead changed hands on the long finishing climb. Darnays Whistle was sent on by Darren Edwards at the third last, but was caught and headed by Obamarama just inside the final furlong. Trained by Ed Walker for owners Ken and Sylvia Dare, the six-year-old was the ninth winner of the season for Ed Barrett. The 23-year-old jockey also started the season as a novice, and has undoubtedly benefited from the tutorage of Polly Gundry who was away riding in a charity flat race at Kelso. “That was a Gundry ride and she would be very pleased to see that,” said Ed who feels that Obamarama has a preference for fast ground.

Report: Axe Vale Harriers – 1st May 2011


The dry spell, coupled with a proliferation of racing around two successive weeks of bank holiday fixtures continues to affect the number of runners, and make life difficult for point-to-pointing. Clerk of the course Chris Holmes and his team had spent 100 hours watering the Stafford Cross track at a cost of some £3,000, but the meeting still faced a disappointing turnout.

Confined (J & FJ Baker & Co Ltd, Colyton)

Kilrogan (Richard Woollacott) made most of the running, but had no answer when Cappoquin sailed past three fences from home. Jack Barber had to keep Cappoquin up to his work in the home straight, but the consistent seven-year-old kept on well for his 19-year-old rider. Jack was riding his fourth winner of the season and took his career tally to 20.

Mixed Open (Axminster Carpets Ltd)

Cappoquin turned out again 35 minutes later, this time in a walkover with Will Biddick on board, as none of the other eight Open entries had been declared. “Nobody wants a void race and I have given the prize money back to the Axe Vale hunt,” said Cappoquin’s owner/trainer Richard Barber.

Intermediate (Matford Land Rover)

Only two competed for this and 4-7 favourite Fredwal (Will Biddick) was left solo when Ball Hopper (Matt Hampton) departed at the 15th tell us much, but Fredwal had beaten a subsequent winner at Larkhill last month and is still improving.

Novice Riders’ (Lentells Chartered Accountants)

There was a lot of money in the ring for the Welsh challenger Pelennor, but it was the prolific Barney’s Mate who started favourite at 11-10. Pelennor was closely tracked by Barney’s Mate throughout, but just as the race was taking shape, the favourite’s 16-year-old rider Harry Derham found himself with no room to manoeuvre at the 14th fence and was squeezed out through the edge of the wing. This left the Welsh horse clear, but he hung badly left on the long run-in, and that grand old campaigner Preacher Boy nailed him on the line. Preacher Boy once finished third in the Hennessy Gold Cup and was well ridden here by 19-year-old Philip Prince.

Restricted (Martin Diplock)

Will Biddick completed his treble on Flanshan, who became Richard Barber’s fourth winner of the afternoon and the 32nd point-to-point winner of the season for the Seaborough yard. Seven-year-old Flanshan was left clear when Irish Airman fell at the 14th fence when lying a close second.

Open Maiden (Everys Solicitors)

The four runners crawled early on with no jockey keen to make the running. In the end it was ladies’ first, as Suzy Berry and Madam Zola found themselves in front. Suzy, who also trains the mare for owner Steve Williams, had the last laugh because her tiny mount kept finding a bit more in the closing stages. They eventually saw off the challenge of 7-4 favourite Cativo by five lengths.

Hunt race (Beviss & Beckingsale Solicitors)

The long odds-on favourite Doof landed the race under Jo Buck, but only after a battle with Obamarama. Ed Barrett sent Obamarama past Doof at the end of the back straight, but Jo Buck’s mount rallied gamely between the last two fences and asserted inside the final 50 yards. “He doesn’t mind quick ground and we may look for a hunter chase before the end of the season,” said trainer Leslie Jefford.


Hunt race

1 Doof (Miss J Buck); 2 Obamarama (E Barrett); 4 ran; only two finished; 1 1/2l;


1 Cappoquin (J Barber); 2 Kilrogan (R Woollacott); 3 Freedomofthecity (M Hampton); 5 ran; 15l; 3l; 6m 0s

Mixed Open

1 Cappoquin (W Biddick) walked over


1 Fredwal (W Biddick); 2 ran; finished alone; 6m 2s

Novice Riders’

1 Preacher Boy (P Prince); 2 Pelennor (B Gibbs); 3 Dusty Bandit (M Hampton); 4 ran; 1/2l; dist; 5m 55s


1 Flanshan (W Biddick); 2 Not A Doctor (E Barrett); 3 Webbery’s Dream (R Woollacott); 8 ran; 2l; dist; 5m 54s

Open Maiden

1 Madam Zola (Miss S Berry); 2 Cativo (I Chanin); 3 All Four Paws (Miss J Carr); 4 ran; 5l; dist; 6m 29s



A massive crowd flocked to hot and sunny Flete Park near Ivybridge for the Dartmoor meeting on Saturday. Overflow car parks had to be pressed into use to accommodate a record attendance for the track. Clerk of the course Mike Weir and his team had produced a good racing surface thanks to ample watering in the face of the current dry spell. “The ground is brilliant with no jar,” remarked Ladies’ Open winning jockey Suzy Berry.

Lord Mildmay of Flete Memorial Men’s Open-four miles. (Luscombe Maye & Bartons Solicitors)

The veteran Paddy the Piper started odds-on to defy his penalty and did so in fine style to initiate a double for his young rider Michael Heard. Dare Too Dream matched strides with the favourite until after half way, but Paddy galloped on relentlessly from the top of the hill to leave Wee Bertie and Karinga Coin fighting for the places.14-year-old Paddy The Piper is in great form and has now won three of his last four races.

Intermediate – Elizabeth May Memotrial (Full Circle Motors)

Only three went to the post with Roll on Rose and Turtle Tim fighting it out in the closing stages. Although she took her usual keen hold, 18-year-old Michael Heard got Rose jumping really well and she saw out the trip in fine style to hold Turtle Tim after out jumping him at the last. Michael was partnering his fifth winner of the season.

Confined (Rodgers of Plymouth)

Bryony Frost made a bold bid to gain her first pointing winner on the Frosts’ former selling hurdler Silver Sister in this four runner contest. The wily Woollacott was having none of it and eased the blinkered Turning Tide to the front just after the final ditch before putting the issue beyond doubt down the final hill. “He has ridden this horse to win three times for me this season and never left the inner,” exclaimed trainer Sam Holdsworth, based just four miles from the course at Modbury.

Confined Maiden (Francis Clark)

Richard Woollacott completed his double on Mike Tozer’s Moonberry to keep himself within striking distance of holding on to his Men’s National title. Josiah Bay and Award Winning shared the lead until the latter departed at the final ditch. Moonberry crept closer but found the loose Award Winning blocking her path on the run to the last. A quick side-step avoided trouble and the mare put in a fine leap at the last to seal the issue over the luckless Josiah Bay.

Restricted (Gillard Motors, Loddiswell)

Six-year-old mare Best Bette had created a favourable impression when winning her Maiden at Great Trethew, and followed up here under Ian Chanin, who was putting himself into double figures for the season. “I dropped my whip at the final ditch otherwise I would have won by 30 lengths,” reported the winning rider half in jest. Ansa The Question ran easily her best race of the season and was right in contention until the last. Prudent George was just delivering his challenge when blundering at the second last which saw an acrobatic recovery by Bryony Frost who was having her first point-to-point ride. Unfortunately she came adrift at the last as she struggled to regain an iron.

Ladies’ Open (Totnes & Bridgetown Races Co Ltd)

Punters opted for Miss Midnight (Jenny Carr) who had won her last three Ladies’ Opens and was backed into 11-8 on. Outsider Lisheen Storm made the running under Zoe Gray until Deloughtane took over at half way. Dr Cerullo had been stalking the leaders and joined Deloughtane at the penultimate. This pair fought it out as Miss Midnight faded. Deloughtane’s leap at the last looked to have settled it, but Suzy Berry got a renewed effort out of Dr Cerullo who secured the race on the line by the minimum distance. “He is as genuine as the day is long and really stuck his head out”, said trainer Ed Walker, who reported that the ten-year-old had been off colour with a virus earlier in the season.

Hunt Race (Mrs Sally Goodman)

Global Party was always holding the upper hand in a very slowly run affair. Tom Chanin pushed the nine-year-old clear after the third last to beat his solitary opponent Flora Springs by 12 lengths. A very proficient jumper, nine-year-old Global Party has now won three times between the flags for Dennis and Marion Turner.



The old Buckfastleigh racecourse provided a superb setting for some high class point-to-point total of 63 runners contested the seven races.

Mixed Open (Totnes and Bridgetown Races Company)

This race is billed as the Westcountry Champion Chase and offers a total of £1,000 in prize money. The purse went to the Portman qualified Vintage Class who started odds-on favourite and basically outclassed his five rivals under his rider/trainer Michael Miller. Jean’s Joy (Polly Gundry) and Holly Walk (Jimmy Cole) took turns in the lead, with Vintage Class moving ominously well stalking the leaders. Holly Walk kept herself in contention thanks to some athletic jumps down the far side, but Vintage Class began to assert approaching the final fence before drawing away on the flat to score comfortably. Vintage Class is a strong, good looking eight-year-old who could not win an egg and spoon race under rules in eight attempts in Ireland. He has now won five point-to-points in this country since being acquired by Beaminster owner Bill Dupont as a six-year-old. “He really needs cut in the ground and we may go for a Novice hunter chase at Exeter if it rains enough,” reported the owner. Bill seems to have acquired a bargain in Vintage Class. His half brother called Oscar Nominee fetched £100,000 at Doncaster last May and is now with Nicky Henderson. Jimmy Cole was delighted by his mare Holly Walk’s performance in finishing second. “She is getting back to her best after a virus,” reported the Tavistock rider. Jean’s Joy stayed on late to finish third, just ahead of Minella Tipperary.

Intermediate (Connolly’s Red Mills)

The Worcestershire gelding Drom was backed from 11-8 to evens and gave a workmanlike performance after setting off in front. The eight-year-old was never headed and ran on resolutely when tackled by recent Ottery winner Benedictus after the second last. Drom is certainly proving a friend to form students. He won twice last year and was runner up to the useful Blackstaff at Black Forest last month. His subsequent second to Over The Phone in a hunter chase at Leicester reads even better since Over The Phone was successful at Newton Abbot last Sunday (March 20th). Drom is trained by Paul Davies at Bromyard, and is a likely candidate for the final of this series at Cheltenham in May. Jockey John Mathias was making his first visit to Buckfastleigh and Drom was his only ride of the day, but the 20-year-old Welshman made history on the following day when setting a British point-to-point record with an astonishing six winners from seven rides at Cilwendeg, Pembrokeshire.

Restricted (AGL Chartered Accountants Ltd)

This was the strongest Restricted run in the Area this season. Eight of the 11 runners had already won this term. Despite the quality of the field, the Richard Barber trained Curtain Razer was sent off evens favourite. The five-year-old had created a good impression when winning on his debut at Ottery, and Will Biddick was content to hold him up until joining Wayward Frolic and Alysia’s Flame after the final ditch. Alysia’s Flame gave Polly Gundry a nasty fall at the 16th, bringing down Hereweareagain, leaving Curtain Razer and Wayward Frolic to fight it out. The pair quickened in unison and raced neck and neck on the long sweeping run to the final fence where Curtain Razer’s inside advantage began to tell. Biddick’s mount forged clear on the run-in to score by four lengths, with Rockon Xmoor coming from a long way back to snatch third. The winner is owned by Graham Roach and is undoubtedly being primed to join Paul Nicholls in due course. “He will probably have another point-to-point,” said the owner. Runner up Wayward Frolic is another fine prospect, and Lizzie’s Lass and Prudent George are just two others to watch from this race.

Open Maiden Division 1 (Winston Pincombe, Chulmleigh)

This turned into a straight fight between Valoroso (Ian Chanin) and The Accordionist (Will Biddick), with six-year-old Valoroso just holding the persistent challenge of his rival from the second last. The winner was bred by his owner Audrey Goodwin and is trained by Ed Walker who said: “We will turn him away if the ground dries up because he is a nice prospect for next year.” Ian Chanin was partnering his eighth winner of the season on Valoroso.

Open Maiden Division 2 (Bartons Solicitors)

Punters latched on to a Graham Roach owned youngster making his racecourse debut in the shape of Watergate Bay from the Richard Barber yard. The five-year-old is a full brother to the same owner’s useful chaser Fistral Beach. This time the cash stayed with the bookies as the 5-4 favourite had nothing left when push came to shove. Sixyear-old Tans Hill came out on top, fulfilling the promise he had shown on his debut at Great Trethew under a good ride from Joe Tickle. Tans Hill was always travelling well and joined the leaders entering the final circuit before staying on resolutely to hold the strong finishing Tamatown. “One of the nicest I have ridden,” said Joe. The winner is owned and trained by Jill Dennis. A good looking son of the 2,000gns runner up Revoque, he was bought as a foal in Ireland and is: “on the market,” according to connections.

Confined Novice Riders’ (Luscombe Maye)

21-year-old Micheal Nolan is one of the jockey finds of the season. The Irishman joined Philip Hobbs only a few months ago, and was riding his fourth winner of the season here from only a handful of rides. The Christine Gray trained veteran Quizzling has now been responsible for three of Nolan’s winners, and was scoring for the third consecutive time. Quizzling was hard pressed from the penultimate but ran on gamely to beat Mistified, with Rockwithacaveman unable to get in a blow in third.

Hunt Race (John Bond in memory of his late wife Kath)

Only three runners with Tom Chanin setting a very slow pace on Aryshvic, ahead of two other maiden pointers in Award Winning and Ducal Daisey. Award Winning, with 17-year-old Lara Sliwinski having her first ride in public, threw down a late challenge, but the Robert Chanin trained Aryshvic maintained her advantage to win by three-quarters of a length. Aryshvic’s owners Trevor and Carrie Marks owned one of the best pointers of the 1980’s called Stanwick Lad who won 42 times in their colours, mainly in the Midlands and East Anglia. They have recently moved to the West Country and their daughter Amanda Burden is also a member of Aryshvic’s owners’ group.


Three jockeys rode their first winners at Treborough Hill on Sunday (March 13th).

24-year-old Kayley Jones, partner of Richard Woollacott, started the ball rolling on board Kilrogan in the Confined. “I have been trying since I was 16”, said Kayley, who had been in the winner’s enclosure at Black Forest four years ago, but suffered disqualification on that occasion due to losing her weight cloth.

Four of the five runners figured in a blanket finish to the Men’s Open, with Matt Hampton forcing King of the Road up to secure his first success in the saddle. The 20-year-old rider comes from Salisbury, and is another youngster to emerge from the Philip Hobbs yard.

King of the Road had started at 25-1, and another long priced winner in the shape of Inishrush gave 31-year-old Will Potter his first success in the Restricted. A blunder three out failed to stop 14-1 chance Inishrush who got up to beat Obamarama in a driving finish.

King’s Wood (Darren Edwards) made all to win the Hunt race, seeing off the challenge of Delta Borget after Sarika had run out at the 14th. Delta Borget’s rider Jo Buck and trainer Leslie Jefford went on to enjoy their first success of the season when Doof drew clear from the penultimate to win the Ladies’ Open at the expense of Absolut Power and Carroll’s O’Tully.

Monkerty Tunkerty won the Intermediate in a canter to give Jess Westwood her second success of the season, and Kirkleigh was another easy winner of the Open Maiden. Tom Chanin partnered this promising six-year-old, trained by his father Robert for the gelding’s owner / breeder Sue Trump.



SHOWERS for the first part of the afternoon, plus a biting wind tested the most ardent of spectators at Great Trethew for the East Cornwall’s nine-race card. The going was soft with heavy patches, but became more testing with stamina very much an issue as the afternoon wore on.

Mixed Open (Sponsor – Roger Young Engineering)

Bishy Barnaby looked a good thing for this Open on form, and did not let his supporters down. Ridden for the first time by Richard Hawkins, the ten-year-old went to the front with a circuit to go and duly won by the length of the run-in. He got a bit tired up the final climb in the gluey conditions, but his rivals had only been playing for places from a long way out. In the end, Prince de Bersy just denied Paddy the Piper for the runner up spot. The winner started this season with a proud record of five wins from his six point-to-points. However he finished a disappointing sixth on his seasonal debut at ChipleyPark, and was fourth in a hunter chase at Taunton last week, when his saddle was reported to have slipped. “He will go hunter chasing now”, stated trainer Gordon Chambers.

Hunt Race (Cornish Times)

Quizzling followed up his recent Ideford Arch win, battling on well to hold Percy de Burrell and Bold Perk. “He had to dig deeper on this softer ground”, said Irish born jockey Micheal Nolan, who was enjoying his fifth career win and his second in England since he joined the Philip Hobbs yard. Quizzling’s trainer Christine Gray has done well to restore the veteran chaser to form. “This win means a lot to me”, she remarked. Her late father Basil had East Cornwall hunt connections stretching back over many years, and her sister Kate is the current point-to-point secretary.

Open Maiden 8-year-olds & over (Jamaica Inn, Bolventor)

James Best had his first ride back after a long absence through injury on Percy de Burrell in the Hunt race, and got his longed for winner in this event on Living The Dream. It has been a painful and frustrating ten months for the 20-year-old jockey, who had broken both his legs in a fall at Kingston St Mary last Easter, and endured various complications during his recovery. “I couldn’t wait to get back and it feels great since this is my local track”, said the Saltash rider. “I was booked for the ride on Friday through my boss Philip Hobbs”, he added. Living The Dream had taken a keen hold and was left in the lead when Greenock fell five out. The nine-year-old Double Trigger gelding began to wander approaching the second last, but the main danger evaporated at that fence when the pursuing Irish Mystery came down. JosiahBay eventually claimed second place at a respectable distance. He was the only other of the 13 runners to complete the course.

Open Maiden 2m 4f , 4 to 7 –year-olds only

Division 1 (Group Travel, Bodmin)

Geneva Lake (Will Biddick) and Blazing Bouncer (Richard Woollacott) fought out a stirring finish after newcomer Hilda Wild had fallen at the last when a close third. Biddick’s mount just prevailed where it mattered, but Blazing Bouncer looks sure to find a race. An attractive lightly raced six-year-old, GenevaLake was bred by his owners Stewart and Monique Pike, who have bred and turned out numerous winners from Synderborough. “She is so laid back and has a lovely temperament. She is related to several winners and is the last out of her dam Lady Geneva, so we will hopefully keep the line going with her”, said Monique.

Division 2 (Blight, Broad & Skinnard, Solicitors)

A few hail stones preceded this race, which made a change from the frequent rain showers. Even money favourite Sarika initiated Lizzie Kelly’s first ever double with a comfortable success. Ridden positively, Sarika led from the sixth and forged clear of his 12 rivals entering the final circuit. The Pasternak grey Colin’s Desire ran promisingly to finish second, and the previously unraced Tans Hill caught the eye doing good work towards the finish to secure third place. Sarika was not winning out of turn because he had run well at Wadebridge before finishing a creditable runner up at ChipleyPark when he probably should have won. “We bought Sarika as a yearling,” said owner/trainer Jane Williams. “He has run under rules but is a slow maturing type who will probably run in France eventually because the prize money is so much better there”. A very true statement.

Division 3 (Dawe, Hawken & Dodd, Accountants)

A good performance on his racecourse debut by four-year-old Weldesigned, who ran on gamely to defeat another newcomer in the shape of the Milan five-year-old Georgie Whale. Ian Chanin sent Weldesigned to the front four out and the rangy youngster kept on well despite getting tired and edging right after the final fence. This was the first leg of a double for jockey Ian Chanin who missed the whole of last season with a broken leg. Weldesigned is trained by the jockey’s father Robert Chanin for owners James and Debbie Siggs. “He was bought as a two-year-old and we broke him last June”, said the trainer. “He has impressed us all the way”, he added.

Division 4 (Rising Sun Nurseries, Harrowbarrow)

Wayward Frolic completed a double for his rider Lizzie Kelly and her mother Jane Williams. The 17 hands five-year-old came home in splendid isolation as his six rivals all pulled up in holding ground which had become extremely gruelling by this stage. The winner had given notice of his ability at Chipley, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that he will be a force to be reckoned with under rules in due course. “This is the best horse I own”, said Jane Williams who bought the Fairmix gelding for 11,500 euros at the Fairyhouse Derby sales in Ireland as a three-year-old. Your correspondent was at the sales that day. I must have missed out on that one!

Restricted (King’s Head Hotel, Altarnun)

This turned into a battle between 33-1 outsider Mayfair Lastchance and the well backed Knight In The City. The pair raced down the hill after the third last with little between them, but separated by the width of the course. “Mayfair” showed ahead jumping the penultimate, and went on to score despite veering left close home, with his rider Jimmy Cole giving his trademark victory salute passing the post. Jim’s celebrations continued unabated in the jockeys’ tent with a liberal spraying of champagne over his fellow jockeys. “This horse loves the course and only goes on wet ground”, reported the ebullient Tavistock based rider, adding that, “He had worked all over Holly Walk in the week”.

Confined (Peake GB Ltd, Liskeard)

The Ed Walker trained Dare Too Dream was another to revel in the going which by now resembled a tin of Golden Syrup. His dam Dubacilla would have been proud of him as he galloped his six opponents into the ground to give Ian Chanin his double. “We put the blinkers back on today and he loves this ground and keeps going”, said the successful trainer.



After Sunday I know why they don’t have horse racing at the North Pole. Yes, they have sent us their arctic weather with snow and temperatures of minus this and minus that. Thank goodness the organisers of the first British point-to-point of the new season were prepared. It isn’t easy for racing to defeat sub-zero temperatures, but the organisers of the Black Forest Club meeting are a determined lot and somehow the show went on despite the icy blast.

Whoever thought of the innovation of utilising thick duvets around the jumps to afford frost protection should think of applying for a place on Dragons Den. Senior jockeys told me that on the racing line the ground was riding on the fast side of good.

A well muffled, reasonable sized crowd for a November point-to-point saw 80 horses from far and wide contest the nine races with some stirring finishes.

Black Forest Club Members’Novice Riders’ (Sponsor: Heltor Ltd)

Fully Loaded gained the first of his nine wins last season in this race ridden by Emma Pugsley. Andrew and Linda Pugsley’s ten-year-old gelding went on to take the National Leading Horse award with Emma and her sister Lucy taking the rides. Emma, now in her second year at Plymouth University, is still qualified as a novice rider and rode a confident race here to see off the late challenge of Paddy the Piper.

Emma’s grandfather Gerald Greenway had Fully Loaded looking fit and well for his seasonal debut and looks to be plotting a similar route to last season. “He will not be going hunter chasing and may run at Wadebridge next month”, said the trainer.Paddy the Piper ran his usual solid race under young Michael Heard and this combination look sure to gain consolation before long.

Mixed Open (Wilkinson Grant, Exeter)

Le Duc started a shade of odds-on, with former useful rules performer Simon and Huntingdon hunter chase winner Blaze Ahead the next market choices. Blaze Ahead and Cinaman set off in front, but outsider Surenaga took the race by the scruff of the neck coming off the top bend. The 12-1 chance strode clear at the third last, with Le Duc coming from well off the pace to finish runner up. The winner was astutely ridden by his trainer Sally Randell who is based near Bridgend. This good topped gelding, twice successful on good to firm ground when trained in Ireland was acquired recently. “He had got a bit stale in his previous yard. I wasn’t sure that he was ready but he started to freshen up this week” explained connections.

Open Maiden 4 & 5 -year-olds only. Two and a half miles

( Division 1 The Point-to-Point Authority and Brightwells Ltd)

The honour of winning the first race of the new season went to five-year-old Snope. Owned and trained at Chepstow by Michelle Harris, this small gelding was ridden by the owner’s 22-year-old son Josh Harris, who started his career with Richard Barber and now works in the Evan Williams yard. Snope took the lead from flag fall and despite jumping continually to the left kept in front until headed by Satisfied round the last bend. A great leap by Snope at the last fence saw him regain the lead, and he ran on gamely to hold off the late challenge of Hard to Tell. Snope has had a job to find a permanent home until now. He joined Nicky Henderson’s yard for £18,000 as a three-year-old and has since resided with Jamie Snowden and Polly Gundry. Current connections got him for £3,200 at Doncaster in August.

(Division 2 – Philip Saunders Building Contractors Ltd)

Son of Flame seemed to lack stamina in his races last season, but turned in an authoritative display here over this shorter distance. Richard Hawkins sent the five-yearold clear off the top of the hill to score comfortably despite fluffing the last. “He is a nice horse but pulled hard and would be better left-handed”, reported the 21-year-old jockey who partnered nine pointing winners last season. Trainer Keith Cumings has fond memories of the winners dam, Flame O’Frensi who won 24 times for the yard Son of Flame was the jockey’s first ride since a crashing fall at Cheltenham last month put him out of action. “I actually fractured two small bones in my neck when Cornish Sett fell, but rode out again this Thursday and passed the doctor two days ago”. These boys are tough.


(Division 1 – Dyson Quaintance & Strange Financial Management, Newton Abbot)

The winner Timeshift looks to be a bright prospect. Looking very fit in the preliminaries, he was always travelling easily under David Mansell and won as he liked in the fastest time of the day. A sturdy six-year-old trained by Zoe Hammond in Worcestershire, he had won his Maiden by 20 lengths two seasons ago and has been runner up in two bumpers. “We got him originally from Roger McGrath in Cork”, said owner Don Constable who outlined a plan to go for the Red Mills Intermediate Final at Cheltenham.

(Division 2 – Gingerland Livery)

Jimmy Cole’s forcing tactics on his six-year-old Furmagiatt nearly paid off, but in the end he had to give best to 4-1 chance Busy Times. Winner of an Irish Maiden last year, Busy Times is trained at Ross on Wye by Glyn Watkins and was giving a first success to his owner Lorna Vaughan. Busy Times was ridden by 28-year-old Kevin O’Keefe who rode the first of his three pointing winners last year and rides out for Venetia Williams.

Open Maiden Three miles

(Division 1 – Bonhay & Eagle Propert Company Ltd)

I cannot imagine a worse name for a racehorse than The Slug. Anyway this six-year-old was anything but sluggish in the hands of his trainer Chloe Roddick and turned in the faster time of the three divisions. Tough Cookie made most of the running, but The Slug took over at the second last and went on to score readily. Ther winner’s form in Ireland was distinctly moderate, but at least current connections spotted his potential at Ascot sales in June where he was acquired for £2,300

(Division 2 – Hi-Line Contractors SW Ltd, Exeter)

The third Welsh trained winner of the afternoon came in the shape of Washed Out (a marginally better name than The Slug?). Patiently ridden by Isabel Tompsett in the early stages, Washed Out crept into contention half a mile out and took command at the penultimate fence to score comfortably from the favourite Ace High Blue. A stoutly bred gelding who once changed hands for 20,000 euros, the winner showed a glimmer of ability for Paul Nolan in Ireland before being bought by owner/trainer Kim Thomas who is based in the Rhondda Valley.

(Division 3 – The Farriers)

Lucy Gardner has not enjoyed the best of luck having suffered injuries which have curtailed her last two seasons. It was good to see her back on song here with a smooth success on Craig Brian’s Diamond Supreme. King Dick looked a big danger rounding the final bend, but Lucy got a good run out of her mount to win going away. The winner failed to sparkle for former trainer Henrietta Knight and was picked up for £3,000 at Brightwells sales in April.