by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

A much shorter journey this week but although we arrived early we were definitely not the first to get the table and chairs out in beautiful weather. The very nice new Union flag was already hoisted at the winning line but again, unfortunately upside down.  I viewed it with the idea that I could hoist it the proper way up but it ‘was nailed to the mast’.  You NEVER see other national flags upside down, why ours? The race card was only £1.50 so I was happy about that.  It is not that I mind paying £2.00 for a decent race card but why agree at a pre-season meeting of P-to-P secretaries that it will be £1.50 then charge different?  Great weather, good friends arriving and plenty of first class entries point to a good day.

It is obvious that we are very near the end of the month as we can see half of Dartmoor is now beginning to burn.  Mixed feelings around us about that!  I remember being told when the Goss Moor was ‘burnt off’ that it would take thirty years before it returned to normal but I see its in need of a match again, one year later, as the wild life cannot manage the dead undergrowth!  So be it!

Race one – easy to pick the winner in The Lamerton Foxhounds Members’, Subscribers’ and Farmers’ Race? well not quite.  Six entries went to post and after flip-flopping between Mrs Edwards, Mr & Mrs Fisher and T Geering’s GROOVING (R Darke) and Mr Hughes’s PALACE PARADE (M Munrowd), the eventual favourite I think was PALACE PARADE but only by a whisper.  I settled for PALACE PARADE to pay for my day whilst Ruth settled for Mrs Batchelor’s BROWN ROBBER (T Dennis).  It was Ruth’s investment that went on first as expected as this 14 year-old grey has been known to front run with GROOVING following up with my ‘concern’ coming on into third place.  This was how it was after reaching the open ditch for the final time with possibly BROWN ROBBER showing some signs of weakness but the other two were looking fine. By the time they reached the 14th fence all three were together and disappeared out of sight leaving us to await with bated breath the order in which they would reappear.  Here they come back into view with very little to choose between the two leaders BROWN ROBBER and GROOVING with PALACE PARADE sitting on their tales.  At the second last there was nothing between the two punted on horses with BROWN ROBBER now dropping back a little.  At the last fence GROOVING probably had a very slight advantage and this he took to the winning line and was adjudged to have won by a length from PALACE PARADE with BROWN ROBBER ten lengths back in third place.  A good race - but I always say that when I lose and much better things when I win!

The Langdon Transport sponsored Confined Hunts’ Maiden Division One saw 14 go to post.  There were 15 names on the board but unfortunately Dawn Power’s DRUMDARI was found to be lame in the paddock so it left Tabitha Cave without a ride.  Full credit to the connections and jockey, Richard Woollacott, in getting Mr Bond’s CHARMINSKY settled in the paddock.  It was some time before this bay gelding would allow anyone near his back but consistent patience and good horsemanship prevailed and although possibly one steward was upset that the horse didn’t complete a parade with a jockey mounted, he went sensibly to the start and went off with the rest. I picked Mr Retter’s IRIS D’ESTRUVAL to carry some of last week’s money and I thought Alex Charles- Jones could bring this one home without too much trouble.  An eventful race this turned out to be with several horses not completing the course; one had a nasty fall and unfortunately is not with us any longer and one jockey who we think went through the wings of a fence was helicoptered off to be repaired.  I am at present making ‘phone calls to determine the state of repairs but have not successfully made any contacts as yet.  On reading this perhaps someone would email me with any news of Ian Hambly please. (News just in that Ian is home and OK – Thank you for that MJB).  On coming into view for the final time with now only one fence left to jump as two were dolled off, was a sight I wanted – the field was being led by none other than IRIS D’ESTRUVAL followed by ROSS POLDARK and three lengths back was Mr Geering’s BROWN CHIEFTAIN (Les Jefford), followed by D Bluett’s THORNBIRD (C Heard) and MASKED MARTIN (S Craddock).  Over the last together, (not really! ROSS POLDARK had a slight advantage but not much!) and then for the uphill run for the line where I am sad to say ROSS POLDARK managed to get there first, one and half lengths better than my choice and BROWN CHIEFTAIN was five lengths away in third.  Two losers so far – check out the finances! – Luck is not within! – Be careful! – Cut down on the investing until luck changes! – All sorts of ideas, but I can surely pick the winner of the next race!

The Ward and Chowen Confined Hunts’ Maiden Division Two sent 11 to post.  The Ansell Partnership’s MISTER CONE was withdrawn as the jockey is away having a scenic tour in a helicopter en route to being repaired.  He probably will not be back in time for the ‘off’.  There is a slightly unfamiliar name in this line up and one I have not seen before – J Phillips’s SAUCY ARETH to be ridden by Dominic Alers-Hankey.  I will just give a quick telephone call to the US of A to find out from my yankee cousins if they are aware of any form for SAUCY ARETH (USA) because this jockey is riding really well and I could recoupe some losses here.  The reply came back very quickly (middle of the night over there!)  They had no knowledge of one SAUCY ARETH but they had some details of a horse running at The Lamerton Hunt Point to Point at Kilworthy Devon England United Kingdom called SAUCY ARETHUSA and would I like it – I replied with adjectives unprintable here but did remember to thank them and continued to search the race card for a winner.  I eventually went for Mr Wakeham’s CAREFREE LOVE (D McKenna) who has been knocking at the door but has yet to put a ‘1’ in his form and this horse has a father with USA behind his name also.  Richard Woollacott had his hands full from the off in this race with Mr John Weldhen’s WONDERFUL WORLD who did not like being held up in the paddock whilst the helicopter visited and was quite fed up and decided he would go back to the horse box as soon as possible without Richard.  No harm done to either!   Ruben Chapman’s NATIVE CHRISTY (T Cole) ( I thought he might have been number eight on the race card but perhaps he has returned the No.8 armband he wore at Black Forest Lodge) was running very well leading the field for a considerable time and was looking good on going out of sight for the final time.  On coming into view NATIVE CHRISTY was still there in the leading group with Andrew Congdon’s WILD BAZARD (Jennifer Congdon), SAUCY ARETHUSA and Mrs Prouse’s MONTYS LASS (A Charles Jones) all close up.  My CAREFREE LOVE is not out of it but I would be a little happier to hear the name mentioned a little more often.  When there is silence about a ‘name’ it normally indicates, to me at least, that my money is about to join other ‘names’ at Lloyds.  At the second last when the leading group was joined by John Squires’ JOE SO FINE (C Heard), NATIVE CHRISTY decided it was far too crowded and bowed out and left room for MONTY’S LASS to power forward and go on and win by one and half lengths from JOE SO FINE with the very much improved WILD BAZARD one and a half lengths further back in third place.  SAUCY ARETHUSA was fourth and CAREFREE LOVE was fifth. The front seats of the 4 x 4 are now full of debating punters, (Ruth and I!), who have not had a winner yet and with the cash box looking decidedly sick, amendments to plans are necessary!

The Ladies Open sponsored by MS Quality Meats has only six contestants so surely this is our chance!  Ruth will definitely go for Mrs Alford’s JUST BERT (T Cave) so that leaves only five for me from which to choose.  I chose my horse and by the time I had returned to the investing centre the price was a little poor and by the time I attempted to get a better one, it had dropped too low for me to invest.  Pure greed!  The horse went on to win and I picked up nothing!  More debate necessary!   The pace of the race was a good one and J du Plessis’s JAZZMAN (A Barnett) and JUST BERT shared the leading position on the completion of a circuit, with David Rogers, best turned out, SPARTANS WINNEY (S Gaisford) close up in third.  Mr Weldhen’s GEALLAINBAN was the first to find the pace too hot and was pulled up leaving the remainder to proceed out into the country.  On coming back into view for the final time with just four fences left to jump it was JAZZMAN leading with JUST BERT very close on his heels and now The Young Family’s ST JOSEPH, the favourite on the bookies board, being driven into the equation with GARNWIN and SPARTANS WINNEY finding this pace a little too hot for them.  Over the last saw JUST BERT a couple of lengths in front but JAZZMAN and ST JOSEPH still attacking this leader.  On the run up for the line the situation altered as JUST BERT tired and JAZZMAN went on to win by four lengths from ST JOSEPH, with JUST BERT, third and SPARTANS WINNEY in fourth place.

Race five and the situation here at Kilworthy is desperate – more needs to be done!  The West Devon Meat Ltd sponsored Confined Hunt’s race must be the one to do it!  After seeing Graham Roach’s LA MOLA SUN (Time Dennis) dead heat with my money on him at Buckfastleigh last week, it would be foolhardy of me to back against him – wouldn’t it?  There are ten others in the race but at the moment I am only interested in ‘the winner’.  This is a strong confined race, with the likes of Andrew Congdon’s OH SO BOSSY ridden by Jennifer, Sarah Gaisford’s CONTRADICT who is due his annual win, the Partridge’s TH’MOONS A BALLOON is improving and carries form but LA MOLA SUN is good and improving and will win!  After one complete circuit the order was CONTRADICT setting the pace followed by DARK CHALLENGER, TH’MOONS A BALLON, and LA MOLA SUN with the remainder strung out behind, ITSNOTSIMPLE and DRUMBANES PET bringing up the rear.  Just nice I thought!  As they made the final turn at the far end of the course it was my horse challenging OH SO BOSSY for the lead and had gone a few lengths in front of the remainder.  Coming into view and with four fences left to jump, these two contenders were now set to race out the homeward stretch.  Now it appears that TH’MOONS A BALLOON had been requested to go a little faster, DARK CHALLENGER had also decided to go a little quicker and by the penultimate fence there were four left to fight out the finish.  At the last it was Jennifer who took OH SO BOSSY into the lead with Tim Dennis trying to get back on terms but to no avail.  A brilliant ride by ‘Smiler’ Congdon who managed to stay on ‘Bossy’ this time and came home in first place some ten lengths ahead of Tim Dennis with Richard Woolacott third and Simon Partridge back in fourth place.  A good race, very competitive and in a sensible time of six minutes seventeen seconds.  Ruth’s comment – ‘Another loser!’

We will not be investing in The K J Pike and Sons Wincanton Racecourse West Country Hunter Chase Series Men’s Open Race as the outcome is a forgone conclusion.  The above average bay mare, Mrs Egalton’s ELLIEWELLIEWOO with Les Jefford up cannot be beaten by this field.  The bookies are saying ‘You give me four pounds of your money and I will give you one pound of mine if your choice gets around the three miles, over ALL the fences including open ditches, doesn’t get brought down by any other horse and she must finish with a jockey on her back AND in front of every other horse in the field!!  I like a gamble but that is stretching it a bit too far for me!  We will just watch.  Four went to post and the race was run in a good time of 6m 14 secs, second fastest time of the day.  The best turned out, S Rising’s YOUNICO (Alec Charles Jones) gave ‘Ellie’ a challenge on the homeward leg and Tim Winzer’s PROVINCE (G Richards) was not far behind but the honours definitely went to ELLIEWELLIEWOO who was not unduly troubled.

Two divisions of the restricted race were to follow.  I did not pick a winner and if it were not for Ruth we would have had to borrow for the Sunday papers.  She chose Mrs Seage’s BORDER ROSE (S Young) to win the first division and she did it in fine style by twenty-five lengths, at 10 to 1 as well!  Young Liam Heard on J Squire’s RICE POINT won the second division.  This was a well-deserved win but it was only afforded to this promising young jockey when my selection decided to pass a fence instead of going over it.  I know!  They are there to be jumped and I have told Lady Earle’s BREEZY BETSY (L Gardner) to stick to the rules next time and if ever the rules are altered to ‘going around fences’ I will inform her long before she gets to a fence.  Well-done Liam!

The final race looks like being a cracker and it’s The Newton Abbot Racecourse Intermediate Championship ‘Q’ Race.  This race was run in the fastest time of the day – 6 minutes 12 seconds.  All contestants have obtained good form with a capital ‘G’.  Tabitha Cave rides T Whitley’s SWINCOMBE who has not yet experienced any other place except ‘First’ in his last four runs.   Richard Woollacott rides Mrs Sanderson’s JABIRU who has won three out of his last four runs.  Mrs Andrews BUCK LOCH (G Richards) has won a couple and landed that gamble the other day, remember, the one I wasn’t on.  A good quality race to finish up the day.  I have chosen P  Pengelly and H Stoneman’s SPREAD THE WORD (Alex Charles-Jones), his correct price was 2 to 1 but the ‘bookie’ made a mistake and put up 12 to 1, so I grabbed it before he managed to change it and left to watch the race quite happy knowing that when my horse won I would be picking up about five or six times more than others who had chosen the same horse.  At the commencement of the second circuit SWINCOMBE was travelling well, in the lead followed by SEA URCHIN, BUCK LUCK, JABIRU, DAMIENS PRIDE, BROTHER NERO but not a mention of SPREAD THE WORD - plenty of time yet!  At the open ditch for the final time I heard a mention of my horse, he was in sixth place or thereabouts.  As they passed out of view for the final time it was JABIRU who had made headway and took them on towards the fifteenth fence.  Here they come again – JABIRU, BUCK LOCH and SWINCOMBE pretty much together with SPREAD THE WORD close up!  At the second last it was JABIRU who went on by a couple of lengths from SWINCOME with BUCK LOCH in third place.  At the final fence it was JABIRU by a length from SWINCOMBE with SPREAD THE WORD now in third place.  SWINCOMBE tried hard to get at JABIRU but to no avail and the distance at the line was a length with my choice a further four lengths back.  A really good race by quality horses. 

That brought our day to the end – not one winner for me but saved by Ruth.  Never mind it was great sport and there is always Monday at Trebudannon where the Four Burrow Hounds hold their P to P and the Taunton Vale at Cothelstone also promises to be a good meeting.  I will be at one of them and I have to bring Ruth because with a ten to one winner she is a very very valuable commodity!