by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

After an uneventful visit to Wincanton Races on Saturday, Ruth and I found very good accommodation for the night and an excellent evening meal at the local pub and prepared for our visit to Barbury Castle. We have been to this course before and also to its neighbour, the renowned Marlborough Cup course, both of which provide excellent viewing under normal circumstances but as we were to find out, on this occasion it was not to be the case.

The forecast as we approached the area was of rain and wind and as this was with us already, it prompted us to pull into a lay-by and don all kinds of 'foul weather clothing' before reaching the course. This proved to be a very wise move!!

It blew, it rained, it blew harder and it rained more and then to cap it all - it rained even more and blew even harder for the whole of the meeting.

If there are any mistakes in my 'results' page it is due entirely to the near impossible task of trying to gain correct information in atrocious conditions. The 'bookies' wrote up prices, the rain-washed them away! The stewards wrote up jockeys' names, the rain washed them away! The piece of paper with the results, times and distances was almost unreadable by the time it took its journey from stewards to the announcer!! Our tape recording of each race gurgled after a rather hesitant start and made a great effort but finished up with a noisy recording of 'the wind'. The race card, although of super quality paper, soon disintegrated after absorbing vast quantities of water and then travelling 200 yards in 'heavy going' being blown the length of the car park, bouncing off every deep tyre mark and landing accurately in the largest puddle! That's enough about the weather now lets get down to the racing. Well details will be very short on the ground. I could not see any racing except the last fence and the winning post.

The safety factor at Barbury Castle is 18 - 20 and would you believe it, the Novice Riders Race for Six year Olds and Over had two divisions and both these were further split. There were a considerable number of fallers and all horses finished very tired but all credit to those that did complete the course and a to those that either won or were placed, you deserve medals of the highest value.

A classy list of runners, 14 in all, swam out for the Mixed Open, keen betting between Mr K Hutsby's Might Moss (F Hutsby) and S Wilshire and Mrs T Hill's Mr Snowman (R Cope) but it really was difficult to find a favourite as most bookies boards were blank or unreadable and you had to ask for a price of the horse you fancied but without knowledge of the remainder, sensible forecasting was really out of the question. Eventually, in a time close on seven minutes, G Lever's County Derry past the post first, with S Flook's Epsilo De La Ronce (A.Wadlow) about 3 lengths back in second, with Mighty Moss, third. The winner was tiring in the straight but Neil Harris forcibly kept him up to his work and celebrated this, his one-hundredth winner. Well Done!
Form is very difficult to attribute to any horse in these conditions but I make a claim now that the horse that came second will not next time out, but will undoubtedly be higher up the list.

I was attempting to obtain results from a Steward when the conversation went something like this -
-    Excuse me Sir could you give me the results of the last race!
-    Yes First was etc etc Second Was etc etc
-    Thank you very much!
-    (Then a voice from another collector of information)
-    And the next race please Sir!
The reply cannot be printed but only at a Point to Point can the atmosphere not be dampened by the elements.

We stayed to the very end in an attempt to collect as much information as regards ability of these Point to Pointers but I'm afraid it was all in vain. The conditions never relented and we left in the dark to travel back to the same lay by as previously used, in an effort to change into dry clothes for the journey home. Ruth hates driving in a lifejacket!!

Until next week at The Silverton Foxhounds meeting at Black Forest Lodge where the conditions can only be better!