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Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers
Sunday 8th March 2009
by Granville Taylor

THE Devon & Cornwall Area staged the richest ever point-to-point race at Buckfastleigh on Sunday. The Mixed Open, billed as an Area Classic Race, carried a first prize of £1060 as part of the new “Order of Excellence” series sponsored nationally by Brightwells Insurance.

In a quality race befitting its status, Polly Gundry’s textbook ride on Robin Pike’s Rockwithacaveman earned them the spoils. After a patient ride, the champion lady timed her challenge to perfection to catch runner up Whizzaar at the last, with El Hombre Del Rio finishing a creditable third. “He hated the soft ground since he is a very good actioned horse with a long stride,” said Polly, who trains the progressive seven-year-old alongside her partner Ed Walker.

Different tactics on thorough stayer Jean’s Joy saw Polly complete her double in the Intermediate. This time she had her mount in front from flag fall and had no difficulty in holding off the well fancied Pimbury in the closing stages. “She hung and jumped to the left because she got a bit lonely out in front,” remarked the champion. Owner John Burbridge is keen for Jean’s Joy to go to the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Final at Cheltenham in May.

Richard Woollacott partnered his eighth winner of the season when Tres Bien, despite idling on the run in, just held off the late challenge of Moment of Magic to win the Restricted. The winner is owned by Mike Tozer, who farms at Tideford near Totnes, and is trained at Woolminstone, Somerset, by Chloe Newman. “Tres Bien is small with a big heart,\\\\\” said Chloe afterwards.

Tom Chanin, 22, landed his first winner of the season when Stone Valley defied his 5lbs penalty to win the Confined in good style. “He was always travelling easily,” reported Tom, whose mount is trained by his father Robert on behalf of his mother Maureen and Sue Knox.

The two Open Maidens provided quite a stamina test in the rain softened ground. Super Lady relished the conditions to win the first section by a wide margin. Trained at Sampford Peverill, near Tiverton, for a small syndicate by Rosy Partridge, the ex- Jim Old trained mare was ridden by Josh Guerriero who works for Victor Dartnall. “She loved the soft and will be better for the experience,” said the 20 year old jockey. The second division went to the Lucy Gardner ridden Montenda, who quickened away from his rivals after the third last and just had enough in reserve to hold Lucette Annie. Montenda was contesting his first point-to-point having been off the track since sustaining an injury when last seen under rules nearly two years ago. He is owned by his rider and trained at Coombe, St Austell by her aunt Roma Cook. “I have been up all night poulticing his foot and then we only just got here in time having been held up in traffic,” said a relieved trainer.

It was a memorable day for Ian Hargreaves,18, who won the Hunt race on Resplendent Star with his first ever ride. The winner is trained by Ross Darke, and is owned by Ian’s parents. His father Simon was officiating as the course doctor. The young rider, who is working with Nikki Frost on a gap year, plans to study Equine Science at Cirencester later this year.


Kath Bond Memorial Hunt Race:
1 Resplendent Star (Ian Hargreaves); 2 Karinga Coin (Richard Darke); 3 Gunpark (Tom Chanin); 4 ran; 1 1/4lengths; 4 lengths; 7mins 16 secs

Winston Pincombe Open Maiden Division 1:
1 Super Lady (Josh Guerriero); 2 Harpurs Girl (Alice Mills); 3 Ridiculous Decision (Sally Randell); 11 ran; 20l; 2l; 6m 51s

Bartons Solicitors Open Maiden Division 2:
1 Montenda (Lucy Gardner); 2 Lucette Annie (Richard Woollacott); 3 Redworth Boy (Josh Guerriero); 9 ran; 5l; 4l; 6m 58s

Totnes & Bridgetown Mixed Open – Westcountry Champion Chase:
1 Rockwithacaveman (Polly Gundry); 2 Whizzaar (Richard Woollacott); 3 El Hombre Del Rio (Giles Hawkins); 11 ran; 2l; 8l; 6m 40s

Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate:
1 Jean’s Joy (Polly Gundry); 2 Pimbury (Matt Griffiths); 3 Greenhill Bramble (Josh Guerriero); 6 ran; 22l; 2l; 6m 53s

Luscombe Maye Confined:
1 Stone Valley (Tom Chanin); 2 Xila Fontenailles (Josh Guerriero); 3 First Thought (Richard Darke); 9 ran; 11l; 6l; 6m 57s

Howard Financial Services Restricted:
1 Tres Bien (Richard Woollacott); 2 Moment of Magic (Will Biddick); 3 Heezawizard (Tom Chanin); 13 ran; neck; 6l; 6m 57s

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