THE first Cornish point-to-point of the season drew plenty of runners and a good sized crowd to the Royal Cornwall Showground at Wadebridge. "All race cards sold out," reported secretary Linda Matthews.
Premier Portrait defied a 7lbs penalty to take the Men's Open from 11 useful opponents. This prolific pointing and hunter chase winner stayed on strongly when faced with a very stiff wind up the final climb to hold the fast finishing The Dapper Fox, with Robin de Souza running his usual solid race in third. "You never know how fit he is for his first run, but he picked up for the whip as soon as I asked him," said jockey Gus Levinson, who has been riding out for the Paul Nicholls yard before a University stint beckons in due course
Premier Portrait was scoring his fourth win on the showground, but Ladies' Open winner Sobre Tresor virtually qualifies for the freedom of Wadebridge, as the gelding has now won seven races on this undulating track to underline the horses for courses theory.
Chloe Emsley was partnering Sobre Tresor for the first time for Woolminstone, Somerset trainer Chloe Newman. "He stays all day. He dived at the first but outpaced the others down the hill. I looked behind and there was nothing there," exclaimed the 21-year-old rider who is based with the Anthony Honeyball yard and was achieving her second pointing winner.
Millie Wonnacott also achieved her second career success when steering the veteran Mic's Delight to a resounding win in the Conditions event for Novice and Veteran riders. "His owner/trainer Jennifer Davenport is a vet and had to work today so she kindly let me have the ride," said the 20-year-old jockey who works for the Neil Mulholland stable.
Mic's Delight had caught the eye on his seasonal debut at Bishops Court last month, and a similar remark applies to It Has To Be. This ex-Irish six-year-old also showed the benefit of his Ottery outing to win his section of the Open Maiden which had to be split on the day. Ed Henderson's mount just held on by a diminishing short head to deny the late thrust of Earthly Reason (Josh Newman). The 20-year-old winning rider, who rides out for Paul Nicholls as much as he can, is a law student at Exeter University. The winner runs in the colours of Ed's parents Guy and Sophie. "Father has missed this as he is in Hong Kong in his role as Ascot racecourse chief executive," remarked Ed, who was also doubling his winning total in the saddle.
Broadclyst was making only his second racecourse appearance when striding clear up the stiff finishing hill to take the other split division. This promising five-year-old, who relished the soft ground, is trained by Robert Chanin for owner Sue Trump. "He jumped his way to the front," reported jockey Tom Chanin, adding, "He is 17 hands and a big, backward type. He nearly bucked me off in the parade ring," smiled the rider.
The second division of the maiden just avoided being split. Noble Promise was a well backed favourite under champion jockey Will Biddick, but the four-year-old had no answer to the strong galloping Acadian who sauntered home under Lee Drowne as only three of the 13 completed. "He loved the ground and the track and was pulling my arms out all the way," reported the winning rider, who commented "My partner Heidi (Lewis) and myself have seven horses to run and this is a good start."
Belharbour Two had earlier run creditably for the Lewis yard in the Restricted, but had to settle for the runner-up spot behind a very fit looking The Two Amigos who was sent ahead by Nick Lawton four out and drew right away . This winner is a Midnight Legend five-year-old owned by The Bradley Partnership of Nicky Martin and John Simpson. "John bought him at Punchestown sales after he had a lot to drink," laughed Nicky, whose regular rider Darren Edwards is still recovering from rib injuries sustained at Barbury Castle.
Josh Newman partnered his third winner of the season when The Kings Writ followed up his Ottery win in the Intermediate. The Woollacott yard is in good form, and this six-year-old, in Kayley Woollacott's care, drew clear up the finishing hill after taking over from runner-up Applesolutely at the final fence.