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The Point-to-Point Owners & Riders Club
Barbury Castle
day one
15th January 2005
by Geoff Handley

Day one of the first ever two day Point to Point meeting was delayed for half an hour as the mist came rolling in across the Marlborough Downs.Visibility was poor for the first three races and only the two fences in the straight were visible. Clerk of the course John White described the Wiltshire venue as being in perfect condition with the going stated as  good with good to soft in places in the dips, though those brave souls who walked the course thought  it was quite testing.

1. Club Members Intermediate 
 Fifteen went to post,the market was dominated between Fertile Valley and Beauchamp Oracle.The race was run in silence apart from when the runners were in the home straight as even the commentator couldn't pick them out of the murk. Polly Gundry and Fertile Valley emerged from out of the gloom to win beating Glacial Pearl with Beauchamp Oracle staying on strongly  for third after being in arrears. The winner was unbeaten in both his races last season winning on the opening day of the season at Cottenham and at Chaddesley Corbett in February, wasn't seen again, this was only his eleventh race and if all is well with him he should progress further.
2. Club Members Maiden (Div 1) For 5 & 6yo 
A big gamble emerged in the first maiden of the day with the newcomer Murphy's Present being backed from 6/1 to 6/4 fav from the Caroline Keevil yard and ridden by Dominic Alers-Hankey.The original market fav Saint Reverein drifted in the betting however the market got it all wrong as Adrian Wintle made all to win on Saint Reverein .This French bred was placed five times at Auteil but was slightly disappointing last season for Ian Williams, now with Andrew Hobbs.The big gamble of the race Murphy's Present ran on well to finish second and should be watched next time.Nine of the twelve entries went to post
3. Mens Open 
The mist continued to swirl around the hills and very little could be seen of the Open which was a great shame. The same two stables dominated again though this time positions were reversed with victory going  to Kerstino Two and gaining quick compensation for Caroline Keevil/ Dominic Alers-Hankey (succesful in last weeks Open at Larkhill with Springford) who narrowly beat market rival Fane Counsel for Hobbs/Burton. Very little could be seen of the race but these two are progressive and should be followed.
4. Club Members Maiden (Div 2 ) For 5& 6yo 
All of a sudden the mist disappeared and Barbury Castle could be seen in its entirity, it really is a lovely course, set in a natural amphitheatre, the views of the course and surroundings are superb and is well worth a visit.
The same number of runners were declared as in the first division, giving these youngsters plenty of time and daylight at the fences.
The in form Somerset yard of Caroline Keevil had a quick double as Deep Pocket and Jamie Snowden beat Bronson F'Sure and Harry Dowty by seven lengths. Deep Pocket certainly cost the punters some empty pockets last season failing to complete on all four occasions despite being well backed a couple of times.Always up with the pace he merely had to be pushed out staying on strongly. The runner up travelled well for most of the way, only weakening approaching the last and should be capable of winning a maiden.
5. Club Members Restricted ( Div 1)
 The largest field of the day, 18 runners saw one of the easiest winners with the favourite Richard Barber's Dragon's Dream winning in splendid isolation with Nick Williams on board coming home a distance with the rest nowhere. Winner of his maiden at Larkhill back in 2003 for Barber, it was moved to the Paul Nicholls yard where it ran three times in the West Country including runner up in a Taunton bumper. Now back with the powerful Barber yard he looks to be going places.Only four finished as the testing going started to take its toil.
6. Club Members Restricted (Div 2) 
It was a case of deja vu for Richard Barber/Nick Williams as Spuddler's Dream was always travelling strongly, taking it up on the final circuit to win going away by a distance and giving a double for Axe Valley Racing. Not sure how strong the opposition were in both divisions but the two Barber representatives could not have been more impressive. Only three finished with the well backed Catch The Bus running an eye catching third.

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