SATURDAY 18 MAY 2002
by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall - http://www.equestriancornwall.co.uk)
We have a full load this week for the trip to Bratton Down,
grand-daughter and friend, Sophie so the gas stove will have to remain
behind but we are off Point to Pointing again so everyone is happy.
With three females in the car we have to make more stops than
usual so we are not first on the course and I am questioned by many as why
I am so late. The first reply
was quite polite but by the time I got around to the horse boxes I am
afraid they were not so polite - all in good fun I am sure!
The weather is not up to much but an improvement on the last
two days and the course is reported as good to firm with plenty of grass
covering. At Bratton Down we
usually have to ask the sheep to move over so we can race so to see a good
covering of grass will make a change and after heavy showers the water can
soon puddle up so the prediction of ‘good to firm’ remains to be seen.
Large list of entries and for sure there will be some splits so the
likelihood of ten or more races is ‘on the cards’.
The course was as predicted and yes there was grass but no
sign of silage being made and no sign of sheep either.
When I walked the course I found that on the up straight I only had
to take a step or two to the left and I was standing in surface water but
the actual course was good to firm. The fences were good and bold in particular, the open ditch;
they would have to jump this one, no hurdling or stepping over this.
All is well and a good days racing is envisaged.
The weather is not on our side but the forecast is for it to
improve. It CANNOT get any
One more declaration in the Open Maiden Race Division Two and
we would have had 12 races but we will have to be content with eleven, the
Open Maiden Race Division One being split into two parts.
Race one with 6 entrants went to the favourite Mr Rawle’s
LONGSTONE LAD ridden today by Darren Edwards.
He led for some time in the first circuit before settling down to
watch the others in front battling it out.
There was some dolling off of fences on the up straight which was
never clear to me and to be quite truthful, at no time during the
afternoon was I or anyone else clear as to which fence/s were dolled off
or for what reason. It even
appeared that fences were taken out during a race as being unfit to race
over on the second circuit without an explanation or at least, try as I
might, I could not get an explanation. Steward’s decision!
Mr Cottle’s ESKIMO GOLD decided Jennifer (Congdon) was an
encumbrance to his life style and got rid of her before the start of the
final circuit and left the best turned out Mr Oliver’s JOY STREET (A
Middleton) in the lead with the favourite nicely positioned in second
place with Hugh Thomas bringing up CHOCOLATE BUTTONS quietly in third
place. Mrs Brooks’s FUN FOR
NOTHING is providing her with just that, plenty of fun but not a lot of
reward as a letter ‘p’ was added to his form book which can be read in
letters rather than figures but then JOY STREET’S form is the same and
at the moment she is out in front. A
horse with some form which was also pulled up was C de P Berry’s ALL
MONTY (L Jefford). LONGSTONE
LAD went on to win easily by a distance from JOY STREET and another
distance away was CHOCOLATE BUTTONS.
Jennifer (Congdon) was nastily bruised but smiling whilst adding
some more adjectives to my ever-increasing vocabulary!
Father Andrew passed off my enquiry about his daughter’s health
and tried to sell me a horse that will win everything!
He achieved the same amount of success as did his unfortunate
The Mixed Open Race is to be a well-contested race with ten
runners of class. The bookies
made the jointly owned WELL TED (G Barfoot Saunt) favourite at very skinny
odds for such a class race with POLAR FLIGHT taking enough money to be
second favourite. It was won
by J Kinnear’s POLAR FLIGHT (L Jefford).
The last time I witnessed the well fancied horse was at Jays and he
managed to get Les off on that occasion when he appeared to ‘jink out’
but today he kept to the straight and narrow and came home by 12 lengths
from the favourite and Mrs Hooper’s CHASING THE BRIDE (A Goshen) a
further four lengths back in third.
Next came three divisions of Open Maiden Races with division
one being further split. There
are no doubt separate stories to be told in all of them but with one/two
fences omitted in some of them the form may not necessarily be repeated.
A horse that really impressed me both by looks and performance was
S Luxton’s grey ‘best turned out’ STONE MOUNTAIN (M Miller).
This big striding beautiful looking grey would surely have won had
he not decided to ‘take a turn’ when well in command, on landing after
the final open ditch but that he did and the partnership horse DANNY
DOLITTLE (M Sweetland) came home a distance to the good of him with Mrs
White’s NICK’S WAY(C Heard) eight lengths back in third.
The Newton Abbot Racecourse Intermediate Championship ‘Q’
Race brought 11 runners to the start.
The best turned out G Keirle’s EVEN MORE (R Young) with
good form was made favourite for a while but M Pipe’s JUVANTIQUE now to
be ridden by Ollie Green as Les Jefford is out with some bruising to his
shoulder. Les doesn’t carry
a lot of colour to his face when one hundred per cent fit but he looks as
though a coat of whitewash has been applied now!
If that’s what bruising does I will stick to walking and pick up
the odd bit of Newquay suntan and do without the flying through the air
act which appears necessary sometimes when riding at point to points!
Very unfortunately JUVANTIQUE came to grief in this race and will
not be seen again which is a real pity because this five year old had a
really exciting future and was one of the fastest finishers I have seen.
You may have noticed I have not as yet mentioned any
investing by me. This is not
because I have three females nagging me today but just because I
have invested and have not had one positive return.
Not one place or winner as yet!
This happens at this time of the year because all the good
things you know meet up, and it really does take a bit of working out.
A task I have not yet mastered today.
I have taken the Pudd’s COOL WAGER (M Miller) to reward me in
this race and at eight to one the return will be more than appreciated.
After one complete circuit my investment carrier was holding a
sensible position just behind those making the pace.
Mrs Brake’s FATHER JIM (N Harris), RYDER CUP the Maundrell’s
and JUVANTIQUE were all up front and taking turns at leading.
On passing the judges for the final time two more had taken a hand
in leading, the jointly owned BUTTERWICK KING (D Alers-Hankey) and EVEN
MORE. My horse is in a very good position but will need to keep it
up against these proven pointers. With
EVEN MORE deciding the direction he was heading was not what he wanted and
ran out after the bend in the top straight allowed Mrs Seage’s BORDER
ROSE (Sue Young) to take a hand up front.
This horse running better on this course and is in with a chance
but some way to go yet. By
the time the leaders reached the open ditch for the final time, my pilot
had decided to take his charge to the front and cleared the ditch in
company with K Nicholas’s HAPPY TEAM (D Edwards) and BORDER ROSE.
At the next COOL WAGER decided to worry me sick by hitting it hard
– Michael Miller sat tight, spoke nicely to the brown ten year old
gelding, son of Artic Lord, offspring of GamblingWay , carrier of Fred’s
investment and told him to do better – or words to that effect!! The
remainder of the race is a little blurred as COOL WAGER continued to
progress and some other horses were following.
He won by 20 lengths from Mrs Tucker & Mrs Mein’s STRONG TEA
(A Charles Jones) – who
must have made up a lot of ground and BORDER ROSE who Ruth collected on,
back in third place. A very
profitable and eventful race.
The Confined Hunts’ Race was fought out between five
rivals. The Martin Pipe
Racing Club’s DARAYDAN (has this horse changed hands?) (now to be ridden
by R Young) challenging the best turned out P Clarke’s FRIAR
WADDON (D Edward) with Richard (Woollacott) riding Andrew Congdon’s O SO
BOSSY and Dominic Harvey of MR MAGNETIC fame riding Mrs Ashburner’s
BELARUS and Ben Hickey on Sally Messer-Bennett’s GARNWIN.
The Pipe’s horse was made favourite but closely followed by FRIAR
WADDON and then O SO BOSSY with big prices available for GARNWIN and
BELARUS (25 to 1 in places). Mr
Trickey took the furthest obstacle away from the changing tent to jump off
– the first open ditch! Maybe
he’ll get a lift back – I would charge for the petrol!!
Now only four left and DARAYDAN is taking on the front runner – O
SO BOSSY, not a wise thing to do as you may use up all your vital energy
and have nothing left when FRIAR WADDON picks up the pace.
BELARUS was whipping-in! FRIAR
WHADDON gradually made his move and relegated O SO BOSSY to third with
BELARUS bringing up the rear. DARAYDAN
still leading just, over the final open ditch and O SO BOSSY has been
overtaken by BELARUS. With
only one plain fence left to jump and it being a long way off as others
were dolled off, only one horse was going to win this race.
Looking good, gradually increasing the pace and taking advantage of
the tow by others BELARUS came into his own and did it well!
Comfortably guided by Mr Harvey this horse won his first race for
seven outings and was eight lengths to the good of DARAYDAN on the line in
the second fastest time of the day. Darren
Edwards brought FRIAR WADDON into third place a couple of lengths back. To me this was the best performance of the day!
The Mares Only race caused a bit of whispering in the jungle.
Five runners and the arrival of M Parr’s GLACIAL TRIAL (G
Barfoot-Saunt) with form of ‘Won 3 PTPs but a couple of seasons ago
hanging around her caused some consternation.
The favourite was Elliewelliewoo Club’s ELLIEWELLIEWOO (N
Harris), well and truly odds-on (five to two). The
bookie with the forecast prediction would, again, only give you odds on
who would be second to the favourite, there was no chance of you choosing
who would be first! There is
no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the winner WOULD have been Sue Young
on their FOSSYBEAR, and unknown to Kate I was standing behind you during
this race and if you haven’t taken up aerobics, you certainly should do!
FOSSY BEAR was five lengths to the good of the remaining field
being led by GLACIAL TRIAL when in the deteriorating final bend FOSSY got
stuck in the mud and slipped. GLACIAL
TRIAL went on to win by 15 lengths from ELLIEWELLIEWOO and TICKET TO
THEMOON (T Cave) a further two and half lengths back in third.
A young lady who was obviously one of the connections of GLACIAL
TRIAL immediately rang up her friend and reported how the horse ‘sluiced
up – never threatened’ – Ducky ! - may I tell you that there is no
way FOSSY would give you the chance to make up five lengths, no matter how
long the run in. My turn now
to repeat the necessities of winning a race to myself.
Jump all, run fast and pass the winning post first!
Two divisions of restricted races finished the meeting off
well. In Division one, Lucy
Gardner (who incidentally, is very keen to pick up any spare rides) had
another great race and this time BALDHU JAY ARR although possibly taking a
look at his horse box as he went by, did not try to run out and may prefer
a track this way round. He
won by 12 lengths from P Hobbs’s BROWN BUZZARD (J Hobbs) and the much
fancied and best turned out R Westacott’s SIR WILLIAM in third.
In Division two, Neil Harris brought home, the best turned out
THE MASTER’S CHOICE in a well-fought finish to beat Alex Charles-Jones
on MONTY’S LASS and third was the promising VALMAN (R Darke).
So ended a long and enjoyable days racing.
I inspected the take-off and landing areas about the jumps before
leaving for home and although classified as good to firm, prints were
going in anything up to five inches on the landing side of some of the
jumps and the two critical bends at the top of the course were torn up
badly. The angle of turn
needs increasing (or decreasing, depending on how you view the rail)
considerably. Its so easy to
sit here and comment but to the band of volunteers that do so much, rest
assured it is much appreciate.
I have been assured that the road to Dulverton Mounsey Hill
Gate has been re-surfaced recently in preparation for the thousands who
will visit their point to point next week; Mr Farrant - who doesn’t only
prepare race courses - told me! So
I will see you all at The Dulverton Farmer’s meeting.
Ruth will be one end taking notes and I will listen to the second
commentator. We will compare
notes before going to print as it has been known for a grey horse to lead
in one field and lo and behold, a colour change and it’s a bay mare in
the second field. Lovely!
Two farmers (who else!) talking during the brilliant stallion
parade at the meeting: Nothing
to do with stallions – or is it?
Well Bill! What do you do first thing in the morning?
Cheers Fred & Ruth