PPORC (Day One)
Saturday 17th January 2009
photos by Graham Fisher
The two day Point-to-Point Owners and Riders
(PPORA) meeting at Barbury Castle attracted a massive 501 entries.
Frozen off the previous weekend, the course looked in great
condition. Set in a natural amphitheatre high on the Marlborough
Downs, it’s a delightful setting, the drive up from Wroughton
over the Ridgeway gives a spectacular view of the whole course and
for those racegoers who have never been its well worth a visit.
There were some new sponsors for the two day
meeting including Jockey Club Estates who took over managing the
500 acres of training grounds in Lambourn with responsibility for
the complete relaying of two artificial gallops on Mandown.
John Beasley, photographer and editor of the Big Green Annual had
teamed up with the new Racehorse PtP Sponsorship scheme to give
their support to the Club Conditions race. The Annual is well worth
purchasing each year for its brilliant photographs capturing all
that’s good about racing between the flags.
The sun was shining at Barbury on Saturday
morning. Alan King’s powerful string had just come back from
the vast gallops and everything was set fair for a cracking
Following the overnight rain, the official
going was soft though on the day not that many got home and the
conditions appeared to suit the stayers
The maximum number of twenty had
been declared for the opening race of the two day fixture starting
at 11 am.
Victory went to Gentle George from Steve
Flook’s yard. Always up with pace he soon fought off the
challenge of Flax Hill (Peter Mann) and stormed home to win going
away by 8L. Ridden by Richard Burton, this giant long striding type
has now won three of his four races following two victories last
season at Eyton-On-Severn (unseated on his other run). Bought
unbroken at the November 2007 sales for just £2,200 (stands
eighteen hands) he looks progressive and can win again.
Richard Burton returns on Gentle
George following a comfortable Intermediate win
Flax Hill is a very consistent mare and she
deserves to win a race on this running, finished a gallant fourth
last time in the Connolly’s Red Mills Ptp Final at
Cheltenham, a race she will no doubt be aimed for again (the first
four qualify in this sponsors race for the £7,500 final).
Mr Goofy was third at a big price for Jeremy
The big eyecatcher in this race was Fox John.
Given a considerate ride in fourth by David Bass following his
similar run last time at Dunthrop when third behind impressive
winner Turthen, the John Manners gelding prior to Dunthrop had not
been out since finishing lame in a beginners chase at Worcester in
2006 but had won two points at Siddington and Andoversford. The two
runs will have brought him on and should be spot on next time and
will be interesting if he reappears on Sunday at Dunthrop.
The favourite was Grenfell following her
victory at Cottenham. She was also up with the pace but struggled
to get home in the prevailing conditions.
Others to note - Absolutely Barking was still
going well when unseating Ally Stirling at the eleventh, newcomer U
B Careful had not been asked a question when unseating Joel Thomas
at the tenth, Shady Hollow, a winner at Dunthrop, also ran well for
a long way for Ryan Bliss.
Just like the first race, the maximum number of twenty runners were
declared and it saw a victory for the ex Irish trained Wickford,
now trained by Caroline Griffiths a winner of four races in Ireland
including a beginners chase at Fairyhouse. This ten year old
gelding was purchased for £15,000 and it looks like money well
spent. Wickford was always up with pace on the first circuit behind
the pacesetters of Frosty Jak, Honest Endeavour and Armoury House.
Taken up to join the leaders by Adrian Wintle, Wickford stayed on
well to win by 2l and hold off the persistent challenge of Man From
Highworth on the rails. Just like Fox John, this was another
encouraging runner from the yard of John Manners, given better
ground he is one to watch next time.
Wickford and Adrian Wintle return with
trainer Caroline Griffiths after their battling victory in the
Rockwithacaveman was a gallant third giving
the impression he is one very much to follow. This progressive
seven year old was the first horse to win five races last season
and subsequently won six of his seven races, his only defeat came
when favourite for a Novices Hunter Chase at Exeter.
The form of this race was further enhanced by
Who Else Knew finishing fourth, a winner of eight races.
The favourite was Distant Thunder for Guy
Landau/Richard Burton is this useful ex chaser ran well before
weakening and will come on for the run.
Club Members Condition Race (Div
The first race to be divided with twelve runners
declared. Lord Attica became the fourth winner to come out of
Turthen’s Dunthrop race (Turthen easy winner of the Ladies
Open on the second day, Grenfell & Moscow Court). Held up on
the first circuit, Lord Attica took it up at the open ditch and
came clear for Richard Woollacott by twelve lengths with Alroyal
and Lord Anner battling it out form the runners up spot. The winner
is trained by Bradley Clarke and this was the ten year old
gelding’s third victory (weak in the market (3/1 from
Lord Attica and Richard Woollacott are
clear at the last in the Club Conditions Race Div 2
Karinga Lane was nibbled at in the ring
(5’s from 3’s) and ran a reasonable race to be last of
the four finishers, however David Mansell failed to weigh in, was
fined £60 and Karinga Lane was disqualified.
Selassie for the yard of Maz Scudamore ran
well for a long way and is another to benefit for the run.
Club Members Condition
Race (Div 2)
A fifth victory for Braeroy and owner Bill
Dupont, trained by Louise Alner and ridden by Sam Allwood. This
eight year old gelding is improving all the time and can go on from
this. Always up with the leaders throughout, he took it up on the
second circuit from Travellers Lad to win by 6l from Knighton Combe
and Sudden Arrival
Braeroy and Sam Allwood (left) hold
off Knighton Combe and Michael Miller in the Club Conditions Race
Maiden for 4,5,6, and
7 year olds over 2m 4f (Div 1)
A newcomer to Pointing
won the first division of the short maiden in Pimbury. This nicely
bred seven year old was trained by Robert Alner under rules but is
now trained by Jane Western for her yard at Forde Abbey in
Somerset. Ridden by Ian Popham who has just started as amateur
jockey with Paul Nicholls stable having moved from Phillip Hobbs
yard. Pimbury was held up for much of the journey as Ashclyst,
Astrop Road and the hard puller Matako setting the running for most
of the way, Pimbury gradually warmed to the test and went clear two
out but somewhat wandered around approaching the last as Orient
Legend and Buckingham Boys came with promising runs, however a
loose horse alongside Pimbury seemed to assist him and he stayed on
again. There was a big racecourse whisper for Orient Legend who had
pulled up on his two other runs for Jenny Pidgeon, he had obviously
been showing better form at home and should find a maiden.
Ian Popham and Pimbury
return following their win in the 2 1/2 mile Maiden Div
As for some of the others, Quintero looks a
nice prospect for Feargal O’Brien, looked well in the paddock
and was still travelling strongly when falling at the eight
bringing down another well fancied newcomer in Elevenses from
Richard Barber’s yard giving Rachel Green no chance.
Doug departed at the first, Ashclyst ran well
for a long way.
Mendip trainer Patrick Bryant was successful in the
second division with newcomer Cannington Brook for jockey James
Tudor, taking it up on the second circuit and staying on well from
the favourite New Series, this ex Irish pointer is now with Alison
Dare and losses should be recouped next time.
Cannington Brook and
James Tudor land the 2 1/2 mile Maiden Div 2 from New Series
Wizard Roc ran well for a long way, Lord
Bellamy fell at the seventh bringing down Stormhill Armour.
The two Restricted races were the most interesting
races on the card and should throw up several winners, the ground
had become very testing by the end of the day and many of the
runners were struggling to get home.
The first division attracted fifteen runners
including five who had won their last race, Dr Flight, Ellies
Horse, Il Mariano (fav), Tango With a Mango and The Chisholm.
Victory went to Overbury Pearl for Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill
and giving James Tudor a notable double. A winner of his maiden at
Eyton when with owner trainer Patrick Johnson, he came late that
day and the stewards had a word with connections following his
disappointing run at Garnons (lost a shoe that day). Overbury Pearl
was always front rank alongside Jolly Boys Outing and All Thyme
Greats, they gradually pulled clear ahead of The Chisholm and Il
Mariano who faltered in the testing going, they will be seen in a
better light given better conditions.
James Tudor doubles up
aboard Overbury Pearl in the Restricted Div 1
It had gone distinctly chilly with the breeze
sweeping down off the Downs but this was arguably the best looking
race with no less than four runners in the line up who had all won
at Dunthrop shortly before Christmas - Definite Approach, Glen
Tulloch, Manta Point and the hot favourite Top Benefit.
It turned out to be a war of attrition with
only two finishing, the others all pulling up.
The punters went home happy though as Top Benefit came home well
clear though the even money chance made a dreadful mistake at the
last and David Mansell did well to stay on board.
Restricted Div 2 winner
Top Benefit has Dave Mansell at full stretch
Up The Boreen was the only other finisher
some thirty lengths behind the winner.
The North Nibley yard of Julie Houldey have been in fine form all
season with Were Confused winning the Mens Open on the second day
of the meeting and Top Benefit can win an Open on this showing.
Glen Tulloch was one to note, made most of
the running until being outjumped by the winner at the fourteenth,
he was tired when pulling up two out,
A really interesting day and with admission
of £10, excellent value of money.