by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

There were a few spots of rain on the windscreen as we made our way to The Showground at Wadebridge for The Western Hunts’ P to P but nothing became of it and despite the weather forecast we all had a wonderful afternoon in glorious sunshine.  Super P-to-P weather and atmosphere here with the going I decided after walking the course was ‘Good’ with ‘Good to Soft in places’.

I didn’t get to Cheltenham this year so it was ‘in front of the box’ for me with a dash to William Hill shop for the last two races.  Channel Four managed to disgust me with a great build up for the race, horses parading and then out onto the course and then off to anther programme to watch a man in a stupid coloured jacket who is on most days earning money for doing very little.  I had a marvellous three days.  Finished up with a good deal more than I started with but also saw some excellent racing.  Didn’t Miss Gundry ride well! My ‘man of the match’ for the whole of the meeting was FRENCHMANS CREEK, what a wonderful win and how lovely he looked doing it.  Really great stuff!

Back to today – The first race was the Confined Race which was sponsored by Anthony Williams & Company and 9 runners went to post.  This was a closely contested affair with a few of the entrants having won this season and a few more having been in the frame.  Favouritism flip flopped but I think Mrs G Roberts’, ‘best turned out’ WELL TIMED (D McKenna) finished up at about two to one with Mr J Weldhen’s DARK CHALLENGER (R Woollacott) very close in the betting.  I took Mrs Welsh’s BOMBA CHARGER (A Holdsworth) to win this as he has won here before this year and who did he beat that time – Yes! WELL TIMED albeit by only one length.  I got a good price for my investment and watched the race very closely.  Mr Mark Dennis was reported to be having his first outing as a P-to-P jockey but being as he is from a riding family I didn’t expect him to have too much trouble – well Mrs Brooks’ FUN FOR NOTHING did nothing to help him and after performing at the start was the first to be pulled up.  The remainder took turns in leading except Mr Bowen & Linda Wonnacott’s WHERE’S SAM (S Craddock) who preferred to whip-in for most of the race.   With a full circuit left to run it was WELL TIMED who had a six length advantage over my horse with Lucy Gardner bringing Mr R Bostich-Smith’s TOP SKIPPER along in third place followed by BROTHER NERO and IT’S NOT SIMPLE.  My ‘investment’ was reported to have ‘pecked’ at the open ditch on the final circuit and WELL TIMED managed to increase his lead a little.  There followed a little challenge by Susie Messer-Bennetts on her Mum’s IT’S NOT SIMPLE but it faded rather quickly.  Four out and my horse took up the challenge and headed WELL TIMED and it looked as though my money was safe – not so!  They raced one another all the way home, first WELL TIMED led then BOMBA CHARGER, in the air together at the second last, in the air together at the last and then the race for the line and guess what!  My horse was beaten by a very small half a neck!  I had value for money but did not win!  The penalty for winning last time they met (3lbs) was the deciding factor and I had witnessed a very good race in a faster time. This is good racing and I hope it continues for the remainder of the afternoon as long as it’s mine that is the one in front from here on in.  DARK CHALLENGER was third followed home by IT’S NOT SIMPLE.

The Ladies Open Race was sponsored by Kazbah of Truro and with this race goes The Duke of Cornwall Challenge Trophy and five runners went to post.  Five experienced runners and closely matched.  The two market leaders were Miss Natalie Cornah’s IRANOS (O Green) and Mrs Hughes’ PALACE PARADE (M Hand).  Young Lucy Gardner is picking up a name as a ‘front-runner’ but I am sure she does nothing but carry out the owners/trainers instructions and it wasn’t long before she brought Terry Long’s BALDHU CHANCE up to challenge and then go on in first place. Others had a go at her, Mr J Weldhens GEALAINBAN (S Gaisford) took it up for a while and led down the hill on the final circuit with PALACE PARADE a couple of lengths back in third with IRANOS not very interested at all. At four out Lucy had pushed her charge back into the lead again and remained there until crossing the line three lengths in front of GEALAINBAN and PALACE PARADE who were separated by a head - or so the judge said, with visored IRANOS finishing a tired horse in fourth place.  A popular win for a local long time supporter of P to P’ing.  Two races and I have lost on both as PALACE PARADE was my choice in that race!

There was a very poor start in the Restricted Race which was kindly sponsored by The Penwith Farriers.  There were only six runners so not too difficult for the starter or at least it should not have been but I am not going to cast an opinion as I, like most of the audience was several hundred yards away, but I believe five experienced jockeys could have at least assisted Miss McCarthy on her NIMBUS STRATUS a little more than they did.  End of story!  I will invest, rather heavily I think (Cheltenham money!) on Mr Farrant’s visored TRUE HUSTLER ridden by no less than the top man himself – Mr Ashley Farrant but hang on! Here’s Mr Johnson’s grey gelding, BERMUDA BLUE with Ollie Green onboard and trained by David Pipe – should I not be on that one?  No, I’ll stick to my first choice, but then Ollie Green won the maiden here on BERMUDA BLUE in early February beating a good horse in KESTICK.  BERMUDA BLUE was favourite at the off and I was on TRUE HUSTLER.  The favourite had been in the tangle of the poor start so a little was taken out of him whilst trying to get back in the race but it was soon back on terms.  The entire, Mr Long’s BALDHU JACK (A Barnett) led for most of the first circuit with the remainder except for NIMBUS STRATUS (pu) in close contention.  After the ditch on the final circuit it was BERMUDA BLUE and TRUE HUSTLER who took them away around the top bend.  On reaching the downhill slope these leading two were joined by Lucy Gardner riding Auntie’s (Mrs R Cook) AMAZING HILL and the race looked between just these three as the others faltered.  At three out my beauty TRUE HUSTLER had gained a three-length lead over AMAZING HILL and was pulling away with BERMUDA BLUE back in third place, no longer a threat!  Surely I am in the money now? A lot of cheering, cap waving and jumping up and down brought TRUE HUSTLER home in first place by four lengths over AMAZING HILL and BERMUDA BLUE.  The form against this horse back in February when it won its maiden here was –“runner three times in maiden, error prone but may break his duck one day”- Well it did that day and am I glad it has continued in that vein.  Off now to the very big shed to visit my financial manager, he has good news for me.

Only two finished in The Mens Open Race and no investment was possible as the prices were very short but nevertheless I had another chance to see a lovely horse run again.  The same horse benefited my wallet up at Larkhill when he won the four mile open race in grand style and I had no doubt he would win this race.  He did – by a distance; Ashley Farrant brought the blinkered DARYDAN very comfortably home from Mr Weldhen’s TOTAL JOY (R Woollacott).  A lovely one this and will no doubt carrying on winning for some time.  Good luck to The Lets Get It On Club who I believe are from the stables of David Pipe.

Two divisions of Open Maidens followed and in Division One Mr & Mrs Alfords KESTICK cleverly ridden by Tabitha Cave came home an easy winner by some ten lengths over another local horse, Mr Oliver’s ACTING TOUGH (C Dalley) who was only half a length to the good of Mr Sweetland’s DANNYDOLITTLE. The second division was about to be won by The Ansell Partnership’s MISTER CONE (I Hambly) who entered the home straight in full command and leading by several lengths with the commentator, like us, sure that being in front over the last by a couple of lengths he would surely win but no one told Sue Young that – she in the meantime was very busy on Miss P Mitchell’s MOORLAND ROSE and was finishing like a train!  Well maybe nowadays that is not such a good description but this little mare was travelling very fast indeed and over the last 100 yards she managed to peg back MISTER CONE and take him on the line by a short head.  Whew! What a finish that was and full marks to the lady jockey for giving her horse a super ride.

Finally we had five to start in The Godolphin Arms sponsored Intermediate Race and the winner was the odds-on favourite, Mrs C Egalton’s PHILSON RIVER ridden by Les Jefford.  This horse owes me but there is no way I will get my money back today as the price is out of my reach.  He won by 15 lengths with Lucy Gardner on Auntie’s (Mrs R Cook) COUNTY BASH in second place and Mrs S Berwick’s YOUNG GENERAL (A Holdsworth) a long way back in third. 

As always we have really enjoyed today’s meeting.  We have met lots of our friends from down West and promised, as always, not to let a year go bye without seeing them again but then when there is Point to Pointing every weekend how can we find the time. 

Tomorrow (Sunday) it’s the turn of The Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers at Buckfastleigh, see you all there.  Cheers   Fred