by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

We were both quite excited as we left home where visitors were streaming into Newquay at a fair old rate of knots and we were off out into the country for three days of Point to Pointing.  There was no wind so no kite flying, there was no surf so “Surfs Up” would not be the cry but where we are going there will be sunshine, relaxation and good racing for sure!  Flete Park first stop. 

I need a few extras this long weekend so dedicated punting is a necessity and I have chosen Dr Shenkin’s SUSEJEBHA (T Eades) who has been made favourite, to carry my investment in the first race but I also know that the blinkered R Farrant’s TRUE HUSTLER (K Rixon) second favourite, could be a threat.  These two are ridden by young men out to make their names known and what better way to increase your popularity than to get a meeting off with a win. I have switched my allegiance from Simon White on his FRY’S LANE as I have paid back to the bookies all I won on him at Chipley Park so until his form improves a little I will be seeking income elsewhere.  The ‘best turned out’ D Ferguson’s blinkered CUCKLINGTON (J Ferguson) could also go well and Miss L Guilfoyle on her UNCLE JAMES is also a consistent performer.  I’ve mentioned them all now so off to watch my money come home. As expected the two main contenders made a race of it and at a good pace. FRYS LANE nearly came down and was found lame on completion so he will probably be out for a while – pity!  I thought I would be on my way to the bank but TRUE HUSTLER was remaining very close and sometimes in front of my selection.  The true test will be coming down the hill on the final circuit – it was a true test and unfortunately for me, my investment did not do it as well as TRUE HUSTLER and over the last it became quite clear that I would not be picking up anything, the favourite was going to be second.  The time of six minutes 43 seconds was good but the four lengths between first and second was not good for me. UNCLES JAMES was a length back in third.  Ah! well – not to worry just yet!

I was having to share my race card now with about four other people as it seems there was an inadequate supply available.  If my luck continues in the starting vein I will probably end up re-selling mine and then share with Ruth!  In fact it’s not such a bad idea!  I will check with the Stewards, of course, before venturing on to such a project!

The Pegasus Club Race brought out another “cannot be beaten” favourite in the form of a previous course winner, Rebecca Welch’s BOMBA CHARGER to be ridden by George Welch so this time I will just enjoy the spectacle and will not invest.  A very sensible ‘club’ race with the winner, as expected, BOMBA CHARGER crossing the line four lengths ahead of the best turned out, Miss McCarthy riding her NIMBUS STRATUS and Sir M Connell’s SECOND AMENDMENT ridden by S Brodie a few lengths back in third place.  I must just mention that FLYING IMP, second favourite, ridden by Miss M Maher and owned by half of Lincolns Inn, unseated his rider. Seldom do I put such things in my write up but I was asked to on this occasion and threatened to be reported to CPS if I failed.  I just cannot afford legal fees these days so I oblige!

Five went to post in The Stanley Carpets Restricted Race and only three finished.  Again the favourite was ‘odds-on’ but I will invest as the horse Tim Dennis is about to ride looks fine and has had a rest for a while, so my investment is chosen to be eight to one outsider, Mr G Tanner’s VERCHENY.  If she can win this half as well as she did her Larkhill maiden I will be well pleased.  Not so!  Little VERCHENY had to be pulled up as she spread a plate (or at least twisted it out).  Not to worry, I will be watching closely for this one!  The other one who did not manage to finish (u/r) was the best turned out Mr & Mrs Elliot’s MISTIC WARRIOR ridden by Richard Darke.  The result was A Geering’s BROWN CHIEFTAIN, favourite, beat Mrs S Trump’s NEARLY FAIR (T Newman) by five lengths and Sir M Connell’s COURT ALERT a further five lengths back in third place.  I have to rush back now to check ‘the tin’ to see how much remains and if possible – increase it!

Six to post for The George Baskerville Memorial Ladies Open Four Mile Race.  Oh dear!  Odds-on favourite and a very worthy one in TLGIO Club’s DARAYDAN (O Green).  This horse carries form and I have seen how well it has coped with four miles in the past and one cannot sensibly bet against it winning this race. So lets go for the forecast, that is basically, who will be second?  All these horses have form but the one that is going well and clocking up ‘ones’ in the formbook is Roma Cook’s COUNTY BASH and as for the rider, Lucy Gardner, well she is certainly clocking up the wins and in terrific form.  This is COUNTY BASH’S first attempt at four miles so it is a bit of a gamble.  Off they go and Ollie Green gave DARAYDAN a peach of a ride and brought her charge home by 15 lengths without problems, but coming to the last it was my interest that was second and it looked as though I could ‘pick up’ but P Southcombe’s ALSKA was closing and managed to get the better of COUNTY BASH on the run to the line and took second place by a couple of lengths.  I lost the forecast bet but was extremely pleased with the way my investment had run.  This placing also gave Lucy the trophy, presented by the Totnes and Bridgetown Races Co Ltd for the Leading Novice Rider at Flete Park for the two meetings here this year.  Will there be room on the shelf because she will be picking up another such trophy for her performance at the two Great Trethew meetings.  Well done Lucy, long may your success continue.

For someone who is supposed to be involved in ‘dedicated punting’ there seems to be very little success and there also seems to be very little left in the tin!  I am convinced that The Roger Young Land Rover Men’s Open Race with only three runners, will bring in the dividends I so richly deserve and fill the little tin quite nicely.  If ever a horse has given Dennis Williams a great deal of pleasure, it must be WELL ARMED.  This time to be ridden by Richard Young.  He is not favourite to win this race but I have to go against my friend Tim Winzer (was - perhaps!) this time and back against his horse PROVINCE (R Darke) which is odds-on favourite and choose the second favourite WELL ARMED.  The other runner, although best turned out, C White’s BELLSWOOD (L Heard) is a good horse, I don’t think he will worry the two main contenders.  On goes everything, tin and contents – this is it!  I can talk easily about it now but I was more than worried on several occasions, in particular with a little trait showing up in WELL ARMED quote jumped away to the right that time! unquote and then quote dived out to the right unquote but coming down the hill for the final time, both together I was sure my horse was going to pull it off.  I lost sight of them for a while but to my great delight when I viewed them again it was number ten coming home in front followed by number nine three lengths behind.  Incidentally – number ten was WELL ARMED and number nine was PROVINCE.  Sorry about that Tim but I did need the money!  BELLSWOOD completed a further ten lengths back! 

The sun is shining, ‘Oh! What a Wonderful World! is being whistled, the size thirteen boots feel like slippers and guess what! There is money in the tin at last!  I’ll take a little and invest it on the second favourite again in The Gerrard Confined Hunts Race. Eight will go to post and Richard Darke riding R Oliver’s PALLINGHAM LAD will be trusted to make the tin overflow (Ruth’s handbag is lodged next to the tin I see!)  Mrs P Griffin & A&J Cleeve’s NEWMAN’S CONQUEST (2nd) and Sally Messer-Bennetts ITSNOTSIMPLE (3rd) ran good races and there was only a length between them on the line but they were no match for my concern – home and hosed by 15 lengths in a good time of 6 minutes and 39 seconds.  Excellent!

This is the world I was born to live in – I don’t want to die a millionaire but living like one I can accommodate!! One more race but I spent so much time chatting about how good life is and ‘isn’t it a lovely day’ and many other ‘hellos’ and ‘how are you?  and ‘did you have that one?’ that I missed the off without having at least a small wager!  Not to worry there is always tomorrow at Barbury Castle.  The Francis Clark Maiden was contested by 10 runners and Les Jefford brought home the best turned out Mrs Kessler’s DRUID MERILL by three lengths from Mike Weir’s PHAR AFIELD (S Gaisford) and J Ferguson’s SPRING GOLD was third.  The winner was the third horse from Gordon Chamber’s stable to win ‘best turned out’ today – quite an achievement and well done to all concerned!

A very enjoyable meeting and a prosperous one and now off to B & B and then onto Barbury Castle for the meeting of The Tedworth Hunt tomorrow Sunday 5th May ’02.

Be there and I might be able to give you a tip!  Cheers  Fred & Ruth