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26th February 2005
by Lee Glanville

Those who missed the Mid Devon Hunt point to point at Blackforest Lodge missed some good racing - and the chance to support a small hunt at a time when funds are much needed.

Highlight of the card was a competitive ladies' open race. Ladies' races used to be renowned for their lickety split pace but fell out of favour with organising hunts in the 90s as they were poorly supported and many featured Mixed Opens instead, in a bid to gain more runners. Now, once again, there is a resurgence of lady riders and trainers are keen to run good horses under a lighter weight and there will be none more competitive than the Mid Devon.

Charlotte Stucley set out in front on her game multiple winner Phoenix Phlyer and soon had the field spread eagled as they tried to keep on early terms. As the race progressed four horses, Phoenix Phlyer, Hasten Bak (Lucy Gardner), Colquhoun (Ollie Jackson) and Sailors Folly (Polly Gundry) - all smart performers - broke almost two fences clear from the other runners.

Ollie Jackson gradually crept closer on Colquhoun and pounced to win close home in a time of five minutes, 47 seconds.

Jackson had earlier trained the winner of the men's open, Polar Champ who made light work of it under Guy Weatherley, winning by 25 lengths.

Firm ground specialists are currently making the most of conditions and Morris Piper skipped round a course he loves under Richard Woollacott to land the opening Confined race after a close finish with South Devon farrier John Berwick's Bruthuinne.

It is not only local horses on show at a point to point. All Eyez On Me ran well at the first meeting at Blackforest Lodge and made a return journey from the Albrighton Woodland Hunt - near Ludlow - to record a first winner for rider Zoe Hammond in the Restricted. Zoe has a young family who were all there cheering "Come on Mummy!" in the closing stages as fellow long distance traveller, Another Bit (Adrian Wintle) from the Berkeley Hunt, made a late challenge.

Highway Oak, who has shown form on much softer ground, looked a picture in the paddock and ran a great race under former national champion rider Leslie Jefford. The race which was a qualifier for the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate hunter chase final on May 11.

The Biddick family made the trip from Cornwall pay off with a win for Foxy Judas in the 10 runner maiden - a first winner of the season for up and coming rider, Will Biddick.

Confined: 1, Morris Piper, R Woollacott; 2, Bruthuinne ( D McKenna); 3, Wise Reflection, L Jefford. three ran, 1 1/2l, dist, 6.01.

Men's Open: 1, Polar Champ, G Weatherley; 2, Carbonado, R Shute; 3, Sol Music, L Jefford. Three ran, 25l, dist, 6.02.

Ladies' Open: 1, Colquhoun, Mrs O Jackson; 2, Phoenix Phlyer, Miss C Stucley; 3, Hasten Bak, Miss L Gardner. Seven ran, 1l, 25l, 5.47.

Intermediate: 1, Highway Oak, L Jefford; 2, Dante's Promise, G Maundrell; 3, Happy Team, Mrs O Jackson.Six ran, 4l, 15l, 6.05.

Restricted: 1, All Eyez On Restricted, Mrs Z Hammond; 2, Another Bit, A Wintle; 3, Frankly Fear, W Biddick. Five ran, 2l, 1/2l, 6.13.

Open Maiden: 1, Foxy Judas, W Biddick; 2, General Short, R Woollacott; 3, Can You Talk, L Rowe. 10 ran, 7l, 3l, 6.08.

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