Tag Archives: Steve Croft

Preview : Mid Devon, Black Forest Lodge Sunday February 2

A great family day out is on offer at the Mid Devon Point-to-Point meeting at Black Forest Lodge, Kenton this Sunday February 2nd.

Pony racing heads up the action at 11 am, where young jockey’s get their first chance this season to experience racing on a proper track. Sponsored again by Mole Avon, there are two pony races before the main seven race card which starts at 12 noon. 128 entries have been received.

With the addition of AGA sponsoring the Ladies’ race, with the first three past the post qualifying for the £10,000, 3m4f, AGA Final Hunter Chase, at Stratford in May, there are no surprises that this race has attracted a quality field. Byerley Bear from the Robert Chanin team will be looking for his fourth consecutive win, having come home seven lengths ahead of Mobaasher here, and goes well for either lady jockey’s Jo Buck or Leanda Tickle. Another entry, Rowdy Rampage, from the David Brace Welsh raiders could be the one to deny Byerley Bear, with seven Point wins and two Chase wins to his credit, unless connections choose to run him in the Men’s Open.

Another feature race is the Men’s Open, sponsored by J Edwards Sellars, which is a qualifying race for the Bonham Mens Open race at Cheltenham in April. This race could go to Bobs Law , a previous 12 length winner of a Hunter Chase at Ffos Lass, ahead of second place Tricky Trickster, and also ran a good second at Barbury Castle last season, when two and a half lengths behind Cottage Oak. The Shelia Crow-trained mare Fruit Fayre has won six out of eight, including a win here last February when six lengths ahead of Molland Gayle.

The Confined race is sponsored by The Farriers. Blazing Whale has to be respected after his win at Chipley Park when he won the Intermediate for the Edward Walker team. Ned White won here in January and has been consistently placed for owner Jaquie Elliott and from the current area leading trainers yard Robert Chanin’s. Iron Chancellor from the Sue Popham yard is another that cannot be left out of the equation, after his distance win in the Confined at Wadebridge

With the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate being another Cheltenham qualifying race, the first four past the post will be
eligible to run in the Hunter Chase final in April, Paddycards under jockey Claire Hart ran well in third behind Blazing Whale at Chipley Park, having weakened approaching the last fence. The Lee Power-trained Waddington Hero is another showing decent form when second here behind Tachbury in December. Welstonedruid and Ladfromhighworth are two other suggestions that have run well at this course.

Tozers Solicitors have sponsored the Restricted race in which Un Ami was only just denied a win at Chipley Park when a short head behind Romassor two weeks ago and has to be a leading factor here. The Camilla Scott-trained Honours Insight had a comfortable win here early in January under 22 year old Steve Croft and the partnership look set to build on that performance.

Two divisions of the Open Maiden wrap up the days events. In the first division Village Whispers kept on well in second here at the early January meeting, when coming home one and a half lengths behind Best Bide Quiet, and Bamboleo came an eye catching second at Chipley Park three lengths behind Big George. This division is sponsored by The Old Thatch, Cheriton Bishop.

In the second division which is jointly sponsored by B.J. Barkwell & Sons and Lyndridge Care Residential, the Matthew Barber-trained Canshetrain was unfortunate when falling having lead on the final circuit at Cockleburrow, and The Gunner Brady ran well at Larkhill finishing two lengths behind Un Ami.

Course is located five miles south of Exeter, near the B3381 and is signposted from A380. Postcode EX6 8HR.

Trade stands, hot refreshments, bar and bookies are all on course.

Entrance £20 per car, £10 car and driver.



This race was the first qualifier in a series of 20 races culminating in the final at Cheltenham in April.  It featured two of the best point-to-pointers in the country in the shape of the prolific nine-year-old Penmore Mill and the Cheshire based What A Laugh, who had finished runner up in last year’s prestigious Lady Dudley Cup before a hunter chase success at Aintree.

The Warwickshire gelding Penmore Mill stripped fit with the benefit of his course victory last month. He was always odds-on in the ring with What A Laugh trading at around 7-4. This classy duo dominated the final stages of the race. Tom Ellis had Penmore Mill in front at an early stage and was chased by What A Laugh coming down the hill for the final time. I had the impression that What A Laugh was travelling better crossing the third last, but Penmore Mill would not be denied and held the inside position as his rival had to be switched to challenge round the final bend. Both horses jumped the last well but it was Penmore Mill who just proved the stronger on the run to the line. “He had to prove he was a good horse to go to the (Cheltenham) Foxhunter and did so today,” said owner Ken Hutsby, who added that a Musselburgh hunter chase would be his next race providing the ground is good. The runner up ran a gallant race in defeat with jockey Josh Guerriero reporting that, “he will improve for the race.”

LADIES’ OPEN (Charles Stanley)

Byerley Bear justified favouritism to capture his third Ladies’ Open in four weeks, this time with Leanda Tickle in the saddle. This tough and consistent nine-year-old jumped well to hold the late challenge of last year’s winner Mobaasher and King of Alcatraz.. Byerley Bear’s trainer Robert Chanin enjoyed a treble on this card last season and went on to repeat the feat this time. “The original plan for Byerley Bear was a Newbury hunter chase but he was bucking and kicking after being turned out on Monday and Tuesday after his Wadebridge win and the owner (Roger Knowles) was keen to come here”, said the trainer.

HUNT RACE (Philip Saunders Building Contractors Ltd)

Welstonedruid had set the Chanin ball rolling in a match for the hunt race, ridden by Robert’s son Ian who is now assistant trainer to Nick Williams in North Devon. Owners Andrew and Sue Knox have a nice staying prospect in Welstonedruid, who had won his maiden on this track last year. “He is a progressive horse who doesn’t show much at home but is different in a horse race,” explained the trainer.

INTERMEDIATE (J Edward Sellars)

The rain which had set in during the afternoon was quite intensive during this event. It did not stop Thorverton trainer Robert Chanin from saddling his third winner of the afternoon and his sixth of the season from just seven runners. The tongue tied Ned White took up the running at the second fence and strode clear of his five rivals on the final circuit. This time it was Tom Chanin in the saddle, pushing his mount well clear to score by 20 lengths from Ladfromhighworth.


A field of 15 faced the starter in the first Open Maiden which saw Jo Buck ride her third winner of the season on Best Bide Quiet. Jo is edging towards her half century of pointing winners, and gave a confident ride to this improving six-year-old who appreciated every yard of this trip. “He was a bit weak last year but we always thought he was a nice horse,” said Lisa Jefford, who shares ownership with her trainer husband Leslie alongside Leslie’s father David and Stewart Bradley. Best Bide Quiet is by the Epsom Derby runner-up City Honours out of a winning Irish hurdler. He cost 4,500 euros at Goffs sales as a three-year-old.

OPEN MAIDEN DIVISION 2(Tincknell Devon Fuels)


The second division of the Maiden had to be split on the day with the times becoming progressively slower as the rain set in. Honours Insight gave 22-year-old Steve Croft his first winner. Steve gave a fine ride to this Milan gelding, trained by Camilla Scott for the aptly named Cash for Honours syndicate. The Liverpool born jockey said, “He blew up and galloped on. I have had 11 rides and worked for the Scott’s for four years. I look after Honours Insight as well as Melodic Rendezvous in the same ownership.


Cashwell put up an astonishing performance to win this division ridden by Stratford Upon Avon based Will Telfer.  This Steve Flook trained gelding had been off the track for 22 months after showing only modest form over hurdles for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The seven-year-old was a fence in front at half way and never looked like being caught despite a few sloppy jumps. Connections have a Leicester hunter chase in mind.

RESTRICTED (Simpkins Edwards)

It would not be Black Forest Lodge without a winner from Wales and the Llangeinor qualified Patricktom Boru  came from over the bridge to win the 14-runner Restricted. Evan David sent his mount to the front after the final ditch and held on well as Soul Native and The Crazy Crab gradually closed on him. “I bought him over the phone last July when he was withdrawn from the sales. “He was a naughty boy when he came but that has all changed and he loves his work now,” commented his Bridgend owner/trainer Roger Willcox., who was enjoying his first success at Black Forest Lodge.


The former Laura Young trained Patricktom Boru was one of the outsiders in the Restricted but still attracted good support at long odds. Bets of £50 each way at both 16-1 and 20-1 were recorded.In the same race the Glamorgan challenger Donttellmethat was gambled on from 8-1 into 9-2. He ran quite an eye catching race under Nick Williams before being pulled up and looks sure to regain the losses.There was minimal support for the favourite Mister Teddy, pushed out from 4-5 to 11-10. Tom Ellis pulled the Warwickshire horse up in the closing stages which prompted a stewards’ query. The jockey said the horse was never travelling and had lost his action coming down the hill.

Minella Web was the best backed runner in the first Maiden. This ex-Irish youngster was seen as high as 10-1 before being sent off at 4’s. The Kings Theatre gelding ran on well to finish third and will step up on this.

The bookmakers’ area resembled a swamp as the rain continued to pour down before the last race. The Cheshire gelding Mahfal started favourite in a light betting heat but was pulled up after half way.  His background is interesting. Although his current connections picked him up cheaply he had fetched 190,000 euros as a yearling which pales into insignificance when his half sister sold for 700,000 guineas last month.


Results of the Silverton 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: Brian Armstrong, David Strange, Equus Prints, and Tim Holt.


Sunday 19th January, Tiverton Point-To-Point, Chipley Park, between Milverton and Wellington. Now starting half an hour earlier than listed in the planner due to the volume of entries. The first race is now at 11:30


Going: Good, Good to soft in places


Hunt Race (Philip Saunders Building Contractors Ltd)

1 Welstonedruid (Ian Chanin) evens

2 Ashclyst (Tom Chanin) 4-6 fav

2 ran; 15l;  6m 24s


Restricted (Simpkins Edwards)

1 Patricktom Boru (Evan David) 20-1

2 Soul Native (Vicky Wade) 6-1

3 The Crazy Crab (Alice Mills) 10-1

14 ran; 3l; 4l;  6m 18s


Ladies’ Open (Charles Stanley)

1 Byerley Bear (Leanda Tickle) 5-4 fav

2 Mobaasher (Lucy Gardner) 8-1

3 King of Alcatraz (Vicky Wade) 7-4

10 ran; 7l; 10l;  6m 12s


Men’s Open (Bonhams)

1 Penmore Mill (Tom Ellis) 4-6 fav

2 What A Laugh (Josh Guerriero) 7-4

3 Bermuda Boy (Will Telfer) 9-1

9 ran; 1 1/4l; distance;  6m 22s


Open Maiden Division 1(Jewson)

1 Best Bide Quiet (Jo Buck) 8-1

2 Village Whispers (Michael Legg) 12-1

3 Minella Web (Jamie Thomas) 4-1

15 ran; 1 1/2l; 7l;  6m 33s


Open Maiden Division 2  (Tincknell Devon Fuels)

Part 1

1 Honours Insight (Steve Croft) evens fav

2 Russian Empire (C West) 20-1

3 Upto Ollie (Mervyn Woodward) 10-1

9 ran; 1 1/2l; 10l;  6m 34s

Part 2

1 Cashwell (Will Telfer) 4-1

2 Sparkling Miss (Michael Legg) 6-1

3 Thetalkinghorse (Matt Hampton) 2-1 fav

8 ran; distance; head;  6m 40s


Intermediate (J Edward Sellars)

1 Ned White (Tom Chanin) 4-1

2 Ladfromhighworth (Vicky Wade) 9-2

3 Hilda Wild (Suzy Berry) 12-1

6 ran; 20l; 15l;  6m 47s