Tag Archives: Bob Pittard



The 88 runners at Bratton Down vastly overshadowed the number of runners at the other seven British point-to-point fixtures at the weekend (Clifton-On Teme could only muster a turn out of 24)

So the scene was set for plenty of betting activity and punters soon got down to action. It was surprising to see The Persuader backed from 8’s into 3-1 fav for the opener, presumably on the strength of his Stevenstone maiden win. He was soon struggling in the rear and the grey seemed ill at ease before Bryony Frost pulled him up at the 15th fence.  Nothing could stop record seeking Will Biddick, who would not be denied on course winner Bernshaw (9-2 touched 5’s), locally trained by Claire Hitch. Golden Squirrel (10-1) has been knocking at the door in this class recently and ran on really well to finish second.

There was a very tight finish to the first section of the Bob Pittard Memorial Maiden. Bob would have relished the result as Highland Thistle in first time blinkers became the longest price winner of the season in the area. His previous form figures of ppppp did not exactly inspire confidence and resulted in a 66-1 SP return. Nevertheless the sturdy chestnut won on merit and battled on gamely up the hill to hold the promising Looking For Mick (20s to 16’s) and the well fancied Barber debutant Drift Wood (6-4 to 5-4).

Bugsie Malone (5-4 to evens) retrieved £170 of his 80,000 euros purchase price in the second Maiden division after a spirited battle with The Mystro (9-2 touched 5’s). Biddick needed all of his guile to get Bugsie Malone home in front, but the Mahler youngster was very green and we can expect significant improvement.

Bellflower Boy was solid at 13-2 / 7-1 in the four miles Mixed Open. Bryony Frost timed her challenge to perfection, coming from fourth to first in a sweeping run up the hill to gain a head verdict over Cecile De Volanges (5-2 from 3’s). Both had good recent winning form over four miles. Connections have left the headgear off the winner in his recent races and this tough old campaigner can never be dismissed. Third placed Right Enough (16-1) seems to be running into form and might pick up a race before the end of the season.

Otis Tarda was given a vintage Biddick ride to win the Intermediate. Despite drifting out to 10-1 the winner cruised to the front on a tight rein approaching the final fence. He eventually held on by a neck in a driving finish with Fourstar River (4-1), after carrying his rival to the right inside the last 150 yards.

I thought that Queens Bay (Will Biddick) would be my bet of the day in the last race. Despite being absent from the track for nearly a year this classy mare opened at only 5-4 before closing in to evens. I cannot run fast enough these days so missed the cream of the odds. She won of course so well done Will Biddick – what a day.


Results of the Dulverton West meeting


Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk


The following photographers were at the meeting: Sportography (Mark Johnston), Baths Photographic (Marcus Bath), Tim Holt, Brian Armstrong, Stephen Wensley, and Roger Peaple


Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May 2015, South Tetcott Point-To-Point, Upcott Cross, nr Halwill Junction, EX21 5AE.

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THE first of three late season fixtures at Bratton Down proved quite an occasion.for the British point-to-point world.

Will Biddick has held the National point to point title for the past three seasons. After beating his previous best seasonal total of 42 winners this year, the next natural objective was to better the previous British record of 56 winners in a season held jointly by brothers Tom and Oliver Greenall.

Will Biddick returns to the paddock at Bratton Down on the Claire Hitch trained Bernshaw, having broken the record for wins in a British point-to-point season.

The Cornish rider lost little time in breaking the record on Sunday by winning the opener on Bernshaw, but why stop there? Biddick went on to partner four more winners as the pressure came off during a memorable afternoon.

“My aim this year was to hold on to the National title but I soon picked up more winners (22 since Easter) and the record became a reality. Ollie and Tom went all the way to Umberleigh when they did it (last meeting of the season in June), but I have done it with four weeks to go at one of my favourite tracks,” said a clearly relieved jockey.

Bernshaw took the 13-runner Restricted in good style for the local yard of Claire Hitch, as a prelude to a trio of successes saddled by Jack Barber, who has supplied the majority of the champion jockey’s winners this year.

Will Biddick on Bugsie Malone holds off The Mystro to win the second division of the Bob Pittard Memorial maiden race

Bugsie Malone was the first of these in a 16 strong Maiden . This promising five-year-old, owned by Graham Roach, was making his racecourse debut and held on well when challenged by The Mystro up the final climb. “He came in late and we have had to do a lot of jumping with him. He is green and will improve,” reported the young trainer.

Will Biddick returns to the winners enclosure on Whataknight with Jack Barber

Six-year-old Whataknight is more the finished article and after opening his account on this course last year has now added a hat trick of wins this season. The Midnight Legend gelding looks a fine prospect and took the Members’ Conditions race for his owners Terry Hamlin, Martin Dare and John Snook.

The Barber stables tally was completed when Queens Bay was given a typically patient Biddick ride to win the Mares and Fillies race. “She has had time off and didn’t come in until February,” said Barber who trains this former bumper and hurdles winner for owners Lucy and Robert Dickinson.

Suzy Berry saddled the other leg of the five-timer when her father’s nine-year-old Otis Tarda just got the better of a spirited battle with Fourstar River in the Intermediate.

The Bob Pittard Memorial Maiden provided a major shock when the unconsidered outsider Highland Thistle prevailed in a tight finish under Merv Woodward. Bought as an unbroken four-year-old, the sturdy gelding is trained for owner Andrew Pope by Julie Pocock at Stolford on the edge of the Quantocks. “First time blinkers have made all the difference,” said the trainer as her charge finally put a string of disappointing efforts behind him.

Bryony Frost driving for the line on Bellflower Boy to win the mixed open from Cecile De Volanges

It was a case of dispensing with headgear which has rejuvenated the four miles Mixed Open winner Bellflower Boy. Bryony Frost conjured a storming late run out of this multiple winning chaser who stayed on up the hill to hold the equally strong finishing Cecile De Volanges. “He loves galloping and is as tough as old boots,” exclaimed Culmstock based trainer Stuart Sampson who handles the 12-year-old for owner Ben Robarts, and was completing his first training double as he greeted his fourth winner of the season.

Top Chief was the first leg of the stable double in the PPORA race limited to riders who have won less than 10 races. Jake Bament, who was partnering his fifth winner of the season, works for the Harry Fry yard, and had his mount out in front from half way before shaking off Barneys Mate up the gruelling final hill. John Gardener and Terry Hamlin share ownership of Top Chief who was bought at Doncaster last September after winning twice for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.

19-year-old Bryony Frost was awarded the newly installed Mike Trickey Memorial Cup for the best ride of the day on Bellflower Boy in the four miles Mixed Open.

After such jubilance, spare a thought for popular local point-to-point jockey Ed Barrett who has recently been transferred to the spinal injuries unit at Oswestry hospital. Ed is improving slowly from serious injuries sustained in a fall at the Eggesford meeting last month.


Results of the Dulverton West meeting


Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk


The following photographers were at the meeting: Sportography (Mark Johnston), Baths Photographic (Marcus Bath), Tim Holt, Brian Armstrong, Stephen Wensley, and Roger Peaple


Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May 2015, South Tetcott Point-To-Point, Upcott Cross, nr Halwill Junction, EX21 5AE.

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Point-To-Point Races

Going: Good

Restricted (Sponsor – Hayes Garden Machinery)

1 Bernshaw (Will Biddick) 9-2 clear from 14th, ran on strongly

2 Golden Squirrel (Robb Hawker) 10-1 good headway three out, kept on well

3 Just Seven (Vicky Wade) 9-2 led 9th to 13th, no extra from two out

13 ran; 2l; 2 1/2l;  5m 47s

Owner: Mr & Mrs RME Wright; Trainer; Claire Hitch

Open Maiden – Bob Pittard Memorial

Division 1 (The Pittard Family)

1 Highland Thistle (Merv Woodward) 66-1 left in lead 15th, stayed on gamely

2 Looking For Mick (Rob Hawker) 16-1 good late progress, nearest at finish

3 Driftwood (Will Biddick) 5-4 fav late headway, finished well

15 ran; 1/2l; 1/2l;  5m 54s

Owner; Andrew Pope; Trainer; Julie Pocock

Division 2 (Brewer Harding & Rowe – solicitors)

1 Bugsie Malone (Will Biddick) evens fav headway three out, left in lead last

2 The Mystro (Matt Hampton) 9-2 headway two out, strong chall flat, just failed

3 Don’t Doittome (J Hepburn) 20-1 chased leaders, left 3rd at last

16 ran’ neck; 7l;  5m 55s

Owner; Graham Roach; Trainer; Jack  Barber

Members Conditions (Philip & Sarah Hobbs)

1 Whataknight (Will Biddick) 4-7fav led/ disputed til asserted apprg last

2 Fiulin (Robbie Henderson) 11-4 not reach leaders, took 2nd flat

3 Swansbrook (Leanda Tickle) 16-1 tracked leaders, no extra from two out

5 ran; 20l; 6l;  5m 46s

Owner; T Hamlin; M Dare; J Snook; Trainer; Jack Barber

PPORA Club Members Riders Conditions (AP & VA Maddox Ltd)

1 Top Chief (Jake Bament) 4-1 made most from 6th, ran on well under pressure flat

2 Barneys Mate (Christopher Barber) 9-2 chased winner from 16th, no extra flat

3 Overclear (Vicky Gravite) 20-1 went 3rd three out, not reach leaders

7 ran; 7l; 6l;  5m 49s

Owner; J Gardener & T Hamlin; Trainer; Stuart Sampson

Mixed Open 4 m 1f (Brend Hotel Group)

1 Bellflower Boy (Bryony Frost) 7-1 held up, 4th at last, strong run flat to lead 75 yards out

2 Cecile De Volanges (Charlie Dando) 5-2 held up, 3rd at last, strong run flat, just failed

3 Right Enough (Matt Hampton) 16-1 led til 8th & agn 21st til after last, kept on

13 ran; head; 3l;  8m 19s

Owner; Ben Robarts; Trainer; Stuart Sampson

Intermediate  (James Pryce Tractors)

1 Otis Tarda (Will Biddick) 10-1 held up, led last, just held on

2 Fourstar River (Ian Chanin) 4-1 prominent, sustained chall flat, just failed

3 According To Harry (Darren Edwards) 11-8 fav led two out til last, no extra flat

12 ran; neck; 2 1/2l;  5m 48s

Owner; Tony Berry; Trainer; Suzy Berry

Mares & Fillies TBA (Thoroughbred Breeders Association)

1 Queens Bay (Will Biddick) evens fav tracked leader til led apprg last, comfortably

2 Marlpit Oak (Daniel Sansom) 12-1 chased leaders, stayed on to take 2nd flat

3 Whenharrymetsally (Matt Hampton) 7-2 not reach leaders, snatched 3rd near line

7 ran; 5l; 4l;  5m 47s

Owner; Robert & Lucy Dickinson; Trainer; Jack Barber

Pony Racing


138cm & Under Race

1. CHURCHILL – Tamby Welch
3. MOLLY – Connor Brace
4. GINGER WIZARD – Chad Bament
5. MAYDAY BLACK MINK – Charlie Sprake
6. MAGIC – Honor Weatherlake
7. CLONAMULLY DANNY BOY – Archie Woollacott
8. CHINKWELL FELIX – Taylor Fisher


148cm & under

1. PEATEAOH – Connor Brace
2. VADLAWALKOVER – Tamby Welch
3. IGO ZUMINOV – James Armstrong
4. GOODNIGHT – Bruce Young
5. SPRINGS – Thomasina Eyston
6. SHOTGUN MINNIE – Tyler Heard
7. NUALA – Michael Treneer


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Report: Dulverton West Point-To-Point, Bratton Down, Sunday 18th May 2014

THE Westcountry point-to-point season entered its final few weeks on Sunday (May 18th) when the Dulverton West fixture became the first of three meetings to be held in late May and June at Bratton Down.

The scenic views across Exmoor are worth the trip alone, and this time there was the bonus of warm weather. The continuing dry spell also proved a bonus for horses with a preference for fast ground.

This was certainly the case in the 12-runner Restricted with five-year-old Minella Web finishing best of all up the final climb to snatch the race from Carheney River. The winner is a useful looking gelding, trained for Withypool based owner Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey by Kayley Woollacott, who said, “We bought him privately in Ireland where he had run a few times last year and gave him a break. He won at Badbury in February but disappointed since in the soft and he definitely needs this better ground.”

Robbie Henderson had cut the deficit in the race for the Men’s National Championship to five when winning on Minella Web, but title holder Will Biddick was soon in full stride. He restored his lead to six with a hard fought success on Sandra Maltby’s Willow Bird in the Open Maiden which attracted 14 runners. Biddick was content to wait on the Richard Barber trained mare before galvanising his mount for a strong run up the final hill to catch the unlucky O’Flo in the dying strides. A sturdy mare by Midnight Legend whose dam won four chases, Willow Bird was bought at Doncaster sales last May for £6,000 and was having only her third outing.

Gorteenwood was another to relish the drying ground, and was well backed before making virtually all the running to beat his 11 rivals in the Intermediate. His owners Tim and Sue Winzer were given the news as they landed back from holiday at Heathrow airport. “He must have top of the ground,” emphasised the gelding’s trainer Gordon Chambers. Michael Heard gave the winner a positive ride and just had enough in reserve to hold the strong finishing Dancing Olga. Gorteenwood is a tough sort. “He had a suspicion of a leg and missed last year,” reported the trainer.

Reliable Richie is developing into a useful stayer, and the six-year-old followed up his Cornish National win when just outstaying Right Enough in the Mixed Open over the extended four miles. “He could have gone round again. All he does is gallop,” reported jockey Darren Edwards to the winner’s owner/trainer Reuben Chapman.

Aiteen Thirtythree retained his unbeaten record this season with his fourth consecutive success under his young jockey Natalie Parker in the Bob Pittard Memorial PPORA Conditions race. The winner was chased home by another classy performer in Gone to Lunch (Laura Scott) – an excellent advert for keeping former National Hunt horses going in a second career. Owner Tracey Parker has obvious pride in her gift horse Aiteen Thirtythree. “He has been in training since last June and will have his shoes off and go in the field now,” she reported.

Another young rider to shine was Chester Williams, who strengthened his hand for the Devon & Cornwall area novice riders’ title when getting Babeny Bridge home in the Confined. The winner had stalked leader Ned White until the last and had to be ridden out to hold the late flourish of What Er Say (Josh Guerriero). “I am in the middle of my A/S exams at West Buckland School and have another exam tomorrow,” said the 16-year-old who certainly passed his race riding test here on Babeny Bridge.


Results of the Dulverton West meeting


Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk


The following (professional and amateur) photographers were at the meeting: Baths Photographic (Marcus Bath), Brian Armstrong, David Strange, Fox Photography, Helen Stoneman, Sportography (Mark Johnson), Tim Holt, Turfpix (Tracy Roberts)


Monday 26th March, South Tetcott Point-To-Point, Upcott Cross (Halwill Junction).

Preview: Dulverton West – Bratton Down, Sunday May 18th

A fantastic day out for all the family is in store this weekend, where the Dulverton West host their Point-to-Point at Bratton Down on Sunday 18th May. The first of three meetings to be held at the course this season. Over 110 entries have been received for the six race card.

With a stunning backdrop view of Exmoor, the picnics will be brimming full of goodies as Pony racing heads up the action at 11.45am. Then follows the main six race card, which starts with the UK Garden Powers James Hayes sponsored Restricted race at 1pm. Of the 25 entered, Carheney River from the Karyn Heard team is fresh from an easy win at Vauterhill, when coming home 30 lengths ahead of his nearest rival O’flo. Also entered is the Richard Barber-trained Its A Close Call, another to have won easily when winning his maiden at Woodford by 20 lengths. Ladfromhighworth is another suggestion, having clocked up a second here last season, and his recent four lengths third at Ston Eston behind the winner Mythologist could see him go close for the Camilla Scott team.

Brewer, Harding & Rowe Solicitors sponsor the Open Maiden, in which Golden Squirell has shown ability in his runs at Larkhill, when third behind Midnight Jade, and Stafford Cross having led until weakening approaching the last fence, in a race won by The Eaglehaslanded. My Rosie B ran a good second at Flete Park behind The Will Biddick-trained and ridden The Doom Bar.

The Brends Hotel sponsored Mixed Open has attracted 14 entries, of which Aiteen Thirtythree, Bellsinni Ron, Lucette Annie and Gone To Lunch are just some to mention with outstanding form this season. This is sure to be the feature race of the day, set over a distance of four miles and one furlong, it will be a true test of stamina and could stage a thrilling battle.

Midnight Breeze, Shanann Star and previous course winner My Rebel are suggestions for the Intermediate race. My Rebel trained by Becky Kennen, was only four and a half lengths third at the recent Vauterhill meeting, having won his restricted at Upcott Cross,he won his maiden here last season and goes well for jockey Leanda Tickle. This race is sponsored by Red Mills.

The PPORA Club Members race is run in memorial of Bob Pittard and sponsored by his family. Both Aiteen Thirtythree and Gone To Lunch hold entries if connections decide to bypass the Mixed Open, but it is worth taking a look at the newcomer Ambitous Pursuit This six year old gelding looks to be full of ability under jockey Pippa Glanville, having won both of their starts at the Flete meetings for the Glanville family, and may score their hat-trick here.

Concluding the days events is the James Pryce Tractors-sponsored Confined race. Robbie Henderson who is currently leading the area jockey’s title, could take the ride on either of the Ed Walker-trained entries Before The War with wins at both Flete meetings, or Blazing Whale having already scored his hat-trick of wins, including the Intermediate at Chipley Park and Mixed Open at Great Trethew. Will Biddick who is currently leading the national jockey’s title may get the leg-up on Minella Fifty,the combination is another already with a hat-trick when winning at Charlton Horethorne, Cothelstone and Stafford Cross, and would be a popular local winner here for the Claire Hitch team

On course facilities include bar, bookies, hot refreshments and a number of trade stands.

Entrance to the course is £10 per car & driver, £20 car and occupants. The course is located at Bratton Fleming, 9m NEof Barnstaple on A399, 11m N of South Molton EX31 4SG.

Useful Information

Met Office 5 day forecast: Arlington Court (3.5 miles)

BBC Travel News: DevonCornwallSomerset;

Related Articles:
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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.