by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

Despite the negatives being thrown around by some followers of Point to Point, we found the course at Flete quite raceable with a good covering of grass in most places and although the rabbits had tried hard to ruin some patches, the overall state was that racing here would be on the fast side.  A shower threatened but did not arrive and a good day’s racing was envisaged and sure enough that is exactly what we got.  I managed to win a fiver before racing started but then I promised not to mention that, but it was YOUNICO who came second to ELLIEWELLIEWOO at Kilworthy Mr – darn it! I cannot remember the loser’s name!

In The Bill Goodman Memorial Dartmoor Hunt and Modbury Harriers’ Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race, sponsored by Mrs Sally Goodman six went to post.  A couple of false starts got the excitement up and. I had chosen Mrs Fell’s MR THURLESTONE (C Heard) who has been running up on the Borders with her daughter and collected a couple of seconds whilst up there to carry my investment, but favouritism on the bookies’ boards flipped between Mrs Welch’s and Mrs Treneers’s BOMBA CHARGER and The Elliott’s MYSTIC WARRIOR (R Darke).  On passing the Judge on the first occasion it was ROSETA (S Gaisford) that was leading the field with the remainder very close up with the best turned out – NIMBUS STRATUS (Miss M McCarthy) bringing up the rear.  The minor places changed a little but the leader remained ROSETA who was jumping well and at a steady pace and continued to hold a couple of lengths advantage for a complete circuit and went out into the country in the lead for the final time.  At the final open ditch ROSETA was just holding a slight lead over George on BOMBA CHARGER and my interest was going quite well in third place.  The remainder were not going to be a threat.    This was the position as they went down the hill and out of sight for a little while.  This little dip at Flete makes exciting things even more exciting and the little prayers that go up whilst waiting for the contenders to come into sight are sometimes answered but not always.  This time I didn’t do something right as it was George Welch on BOMBA CHARGER that came into view first, closely followed by ROSETA and my ‘worry’ was still third.  A good race to the line for the first and second but the third place was obvious and I would not be taking a walk to the investor’s office this time.  Two years ago George did something I would never do; but it was him on HOLD YOUR RANKS who beat his wife riding BOMBA CHARGER in The Pegasus Club Members race.  Today he beat another lady, Sarah Gaisford on Mrs Pat Shaw’s ROSETA, by a short head.

A good class field of 13 runners went to post for The Totnes & Bridgetown Races Co Restricted Race.  Ashley Farrant riding Dr Shenkin’s SUSEJEBHA was made favourite at prices which were sometimes ‘odds-on’ so I went for the ‘next best’ and took Tim Dennis to bring home Mrs Batchelor’s DAMIENS PRIDE first with the remainder in any position they choose, but first was to be the consistent but not winning very often –DAMIENS PRIDE- a horse I mentioned sometime back as one to watch as he would be winning soon!  Well ‘soon’ could be today but it’s the mare SUSEJEBHA with three pounds overweight that he has to beat!  BRIDGE HOUSE BOY, JOLIE ROSLIN, UNCLE JAMES and ROYAL RUMOUR took a little of the remaining investors’ money from a very knowledgeable crowd of punters.  DAMIENS PRIDE led them away towards the first followed by SPRUCE and SUSEJEBHA and the remainder close up.  On passing the judge and leading out into the country it was DAMIENS PRIDE with about a three-length lead over ROYAL RUMOUR, SPRUCE and KNOCK STAR in the following group.  On passing the judge for the final time it was still DAMIENS PRIDE going well out in front with Tim Dennis looking very determined to keep in this position.  SUSEJEBHA has closed up a little and is arguing for second with ROYAL RUMOUR and KNOCK STAR.  The open ditch had been dolled off for the final circuit so on passing it and making headway to the next, it was still DAMIENS PRIDE, but SUSEJEBHA was now making a distinctive move towards the front with ROYAL RUMOUR and KNOCK STAR still in with a chance.  Going down the hill for the final time, the two leaders had the race between them with KNOCK STAR in third and ROYAL RUMOUR close up!  I don’t know quite what happened in the ‘out of sight’ ditch but Ashley on SUSEJEBHA did not reappear and DAMIENS PRIDE came home to win by eight lengths from KNOCK STAR and ROYAL RUMOUR in third place.  Would he have won IF SUSEJEBHA had not unseated his jockey? That word IF again; it doesn’t really matter what would have happened, what did happen affected me and it also affected my ‘financial advisor’ who ended up giving me a little money to play with!  Tim had come home in second place in this race before but it was easy to see he preferred ‘First Place’ position in the paddock.  You smile more, you explain it much better and even more photographs and more silver to clean.  Then there is the champagne to drink whilst watching the video.  Second place – you get nothing!

Now the Four Miler.  The Lord Mildmay of Flete Memorial Men’s Open Four-Mile Race.  Seven run, the best-turned out BROTHER NERO, CERTAIN ANGLE, BABBLING BROOK, BELARUS, DARAYDAN, ESERIE DE CORES, PROVINCE.  A classy field of stayers.  The very successful and prolific winner, The Lets Get It On Club and Mr D Pipe’s DARAYDAN (A Farrant) was odds-on to win with Tim Winzer’s PROVINCE (R Woollacott) just a little further out in the betting, but not a lot of money for the remainder.  They settled, as good pointers do, and on reaching the top of the hill and racing down to fence 3, it was DARAYDAN with a slight advantage over PROVINCE followed by BELARUS and BROTHER NERO.  The pace livened up a little but the positions up front did not change.  On the final circuit PROVINCE had taken a couple of lengths lead over DARAYDAN but unfortunately made a blunder at a fence on the far side and this was just enough to take a little out of him and he never managed to get back at the winner again but completed nine lengths behind with BELARUS 12 lengths back in third place.

The Gerrard Ladies’ Open Championship Qualifying Race was to be contested by ten runners and real good quality stuff.  I will mention most of them otherwise you will not know how good the placed horses were and what they beat.  The best turned out, the Southcombe’s ALSKA looked a picture in the afternoon sunlight but the money was going for R Kelvin-Hughes’s SAILORS FOLLY (P Gundry), with a little on Dennis Williams’s WELL ARMED (T Cave), Mr Brown’s GREY CISEAUX (Lucy Gardner) and the Young’s ST JOSEPH.  Sarah Gaisford will be on E Retter’s BE THE DREAM and Ollie Green will be the pilot aboard LADY LIR.  A frightening experience occurred when a biggish black dog ran onto the course during the first circuit but fortunately no damage was done to horse, dog or jockeys, (not visible anyway!)  ALSKA , LADY LIR and ST JOSEPH had a go at taking the lead with WELL ARMED and NO MORE NICE GUY well up.  We lost BE THE DREAM before coming to the top of the hill for the second time and I know not why, because I was concentrating on the running of GREY CISEAUX as ‘I need a new printer!’ money was riding on in-form Lucy in about fifth place.  The cheering and shouting was really great as they went out into the country with one full circuit to go.  Mr D Stephens’s SPACE CAPPA was pulled up before the next having found the going not to his liking and possibly the pace too hot.  On approaching the sixteenth there were six horses in with a chance and still ALSKA leads but SAILORS FOLLY was about to give her some company (as if she needed company at this stage of the race?) and these two raced about three lengths clear with GREY CISEAUX now taking closer order and ST JOSEPH threatening in fourth place.  These four were ten lengths clear of LADY LIR and WELL ARMED.  As they rounded the turn to race down hill it could be any one of four who would come out of the ditch on top.  Here we have four of the best lady jockeys riding point to point today, racing for the line!  As I said before – this ditch increases the excitement for a lot of the viewers and we were not to be let down.  At the second last it looked to all of us on the winning line as though they were in the air together.  At the last they WERE in the air together and sheer guts and determination saw them all ride out a finish.  Lucy on GREY CISEAUX three quarters of a length to the good of Sue on ST JOSEPH with ALSKA who had run the race of her life, a neck away in third in the fastest time of the day.  SAILORS FOLLY in fourth place.  Great stuff – the new printer might even be a laser now!!

The confined race sponsored by Rodgers of Plymouth was another contest of well-qualified horses.  Seven went to post and it was the ‘The Club’ and D Pipe’s COUNT KARMUSKI (A Farrant) that went on at a decent pace and soon established a few lengths lead.  GROOVING and SWINCOMBE followed with the remainder in a group behind them.  Before reaching the open ditch for the first time BORDER ROSE had fallen but COUNT KARMUSKI continued to lead but about eight lengths would cover the remaining field.  HAPPY TEAM (D Edwards) closed up a bit; BLAZING MIRACLE (R Woollacott) was suitably placed if good enough.  After the fourteenth SWINCOMBE was missing but ‘THE COUNT’ kept up the pace and although resolutely chased by the ‘best turned out’ HAPPY TEAM and GROOVING he did not look like being caught.  He raced further ahead and on the line the distance was judged that he won by 15 lengths from HAPPY TEAM and GROOVING almost a distance away in third.  BLAZING MIRACLE came in fourth.  Whew! This is one to watch – a much-improved horse and a decent price, as it was SWINCOMBE that was made the odds-on favourite.

The final race was a 15-runner event being The Nash & Co Maiden Race.  Lots of whispers about who should win and why, so and so will not win but considerable money went on Mrs Edwards and Mr Warren’s VALMAN (R Darke), but I remember JO’S WEDDING running here and going 30 lengths in front, and would never have been caught IF he didn’t fall at the fifteenth some two seasons ago.  The Geering’s BROWN CHIEFTAIN (R Woolacott) is also being whispered as the winner and is now being backed.  I decide to go for Miss Kelly’s BOWLING ON (Tabitha Cave) to complete my wallet filling.  JO’S WEDDING did her bit and kept a good pace going and on pushing out into the country for the final time it was Mandy going for the big one, closely watched by Richard on BROWN CHIEFTAIN with ALICE SUNRISE (Ollie Green) and BOWLING ON keeping in touch.  Before the final circuit the ’best turned out’ BOLD LEAP was pulled up and Mike Biddick’s LANDING STAR cruised by minus Ken Rixon so he had definitely decided not to play any more.  JOS WEDDING was fairly stringing them out now but one consistent pursuer who would not let her go was BROWN CHIEFTAIN.  My BOWLING ON was still in the rear view mirror and could possibly get me a place.  On the top of the hill for the final time it was BROWN CHIEFTAIN with the advantage followed by BOWLING ON and JO’S WEDDING followed by Mr Doyne-Ditmus’s NEWT.  At the final fence and to the line it was the navy and white quarters of Richard who came out on top and won by 12 lengths from my selection with Mandy back in third.  A good maiden and please don’t give up yet Mandy, next time could be ‘the big one’!

An excellent day’s racing and thank you very much for the parade of hounds, I know Commander Crawford RN (Clerk of the Course) likes to see them as much as we all do.  Off to Lifton for the Eggesford Hunt meeting tomorrow.  A check up with the wallet says I cannot afford a new printer and B & B so we’ll drive home for the night and reappear at Lifton tomorrow.  Fred & Ruth