by Brian & Gill Armstrong

A huge crowd enjoyed fine racing on a glorious afternoon when the Cattistock staged their point-to-point at Littlewindsor on Sunday. Enormous credit is due to Robert Atkinson who watered the course to produce perfect going which was praised by owners, trainers and jockeys alike.

There was a family success in the opening Hunt race when Blackwater Brave caught long-time leader Highway Oak in the straight for a 3½ length win. Blackwater Brave is owned and trained at Halstock by Caroline and Richard Fry and was ridden by their 16-year-old son Harry. The Frys bought the strong-staying Blackwater Brave privately from Paul Nicholls as a schoolmaster for Harry and may aim the horse at a four mile race later in the season.

Poppy Maroon was an impressive 15 length winner of the 2½ mile Open Maiden race under Michael Miller. Poppy Maroon is trained at Woolland by Michael’s father, Richard, who bought the horse at the May 2002 Doncaster Sales for Alton Pancras owner Sally Dangerfield and her son Roland. Poppy Maroon was an unlucky loser at Didmarton earlier in the season and is one for the notebooks.

The Restricted went to Onmywayhome and Polly Gundry who made most of the running and were left clear when the challenging Earls Toy under Harry Fry crashed through the wing at the last. Onmywayhome is the only point-to-pointer trained at Lewdown near Launceston by Sue Smith who bought the horse at Ascot Sales in June 2001. The winner could have run at Great Trethew but Sue decided to make her first visit to Littlewindsor after hearing reports of the anticipated good going.

The Ladies’ Open went to Jolitan who benefited from the application of blinkers for a comfortable success. Forton trainer Philip Greenwood was especially keen to credit rider Rilly Goschen for a “great ride” on the winner, who is jointly owned by Pat Wilkins and Bruce Evans.

Tony’s Time led three out under Nick Mitchell and had the Men’s Open in safekeeping when market rival Fair Wind refused at the last. Tony’s Time is one of four horses owned and trained by Tiverton solicitors Sarah and Nigel Faulks at their South Molton home. Sarah and Nigel bought both Tony’s Time and his dam, Time Warp, seven years ago.

Alex Charles-Jones got on the scoresheet when taking the six-runner Intermediate race on Shock’s Pride, who led three out and held the challenge of Barton Rose. Shock’s Pride is trained at Milton Abbas by Sarah Clarke for Compton Valence owner Charlie Sclater, a property consultant with FPDSavills. Charlie bought the horse privately in Ireland 2 years ago and may aim him at the Intermediate Hunter Chase Final at Newton Abbot on 29th April.

The closing Open Maiden race went to Calfstown Lord and Richard Young, who just held the challenge of Restless Native and Polly Gundry by a short head. This was a first-ever winner for owner Sarah Lane, 24, and her mother Alison who trains Calfstown Lord at their Hazelbury Bryan home. Sarah, who bought the horse privately out of Carroll Gray’s yard, had been ‘under the weather’ for a few days so did not ride the horse herself, but found an able deputy in Richard, winner of this year’s Cheltenham Foxhunters on Kingscliff.