by Lee Glanville

TOP class racing, fantastic weather and a huge crowd made the Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers point to point one of the best seen in the area this season. 

Highlight of the card was the £300-to-the-winner West Country champion chase mixed open race which saw a protracted duel between Lord Atterbury, trained by David Pipe and Mister Benjamin, trained by Paul Nicholls.once the pair had drawn clear of a quality field. 

Both horses put in a spectacular display of jumping, especially down the back straight, and Mister Benjamin, ridden by Chloe Roddick, pulled away up the final hill to win by a comfortable four lengths. The prize was presented by Peter Wakeham, course inspector and steward who has just retired from commentating after 34 years. He was subsequently presented with a bronze, the jockey painted in his racing colours, a painting and magazine subscription by the organising committee. 

Good horses will come out of the maiden race which was run in three divisions. Richard Down, from Cullompton, trained his first winner when Elverlena (Darren Edwards), owned by his mother Faye and aunt Shirley Cork won division three by 10 lengths from Cargo Flight and Ebony Jack. Edwards picked up the ride as Leslie Jefford took the day off after a heavy fall at Wadebridge the previous day. 

Division One went to Brian Kilpatrick’s Henrietta, ridden by Olivia Jackson and trained by David Pipe, the horse staying on well after blundering five from home. Mr Kilpatrick, more often seen National Hunt racing was there to watch, sporting a tie in his colours which were made famous by Sabin Du Loir. More will be seen of the second and third horse home in this race Go Boy, (Michael Holmes) and It Worked (Mark Treneer).

Division two went to Red Native trained by Richard Barber and ridden by Christian Williams but the same pairing were out of luck in the Restricted where favourite Manly Money couldn’t make up ground quick enough to get ahead of the confidently-ridden Bardon Boy (R Tory).

Folklore says back horses for courses and that was certainly true in the Confined Hunts race where the 12-year-old Bomba Charger, a regular winner at Buckfastleigh, hacked up under Colin Heard, the favourite Khayal having fallen. The winner of the last race, the Restricted, had won at the previous meeting on the track. Henry Wakeham”s Carefree Love (Sarah Gaisford) stayed on strongly to beat Henwyn.

Former jockey Liam Corcoran trained the winner of the members’ race, Edgar Gink (Robin McCarthy) seeing off the challenge of his rival in the betting market Sea Spirit (Tabitha Cave).

Many of the volunteers who stage the point-to-point meetings have been helping for years. There was a presentation to Paul Caunter at this meeting for having been on Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers’ gate duty every season for 36 years!

Members: 1, EDGAR GINK, R McCarthy; 2, Sea Spirit, Miss T Cave; 3,Incbrush, S Partridge. Four ran, 8l, 25l, 6.28.

Open Maiden Div 1: 1, Henrietta, Mrs O Jackson; 2, Go Boy, M Holmes; 3, It Worked, M Treneer.12 ran, 1l, nk, 6.13.

Maiden Div 2: 1, Red Native, C Williams; 2, Kijimmy, A Goschen; 3, Beau Supreme, D Edwards.  15 ran, 1l, 3l, 6.09.

Maiden Div 3: 1, Elverlena, D Edwards; 2, Cargo Flight, D Summersby; 3, Ebony Jack, G Barfoot Saunt. 13 ran, 10l, 1l 6.15.

Newton Abbot Racecourse Intermediate: 1, Bardon Boy, R Tory; 2, Manly money, C Williams; 3, Song of Kenda, D Edwards.  Eight ran, 2l, 2l, 6.11.

Westcountry Champion Chase Mixed Open: 1, Mister Benjamin, Miss C Roddick; 2, Lord Atterbury, M Fowler; 3, Just The Job Too, R McCarthy. Nine ran, 4l, 15l. 6.05.

Confined Hunts: 1, Bomba Charger, C Heard; 2, Defendtherealm, D McKenna; 3, Welsh Lad, M Shears. 7 ran, 8l, dist, 6.05.

Restricted: 1,  Carefree Love, Miss S Gaisford; 2, Henwyn, R Darke; 3, Alexanderthegreat, N Williams. 14 ran, 12l, 6l, 6.06.