Black Forest Club
Photos by Alun Sedgemore
THE Devon & Cornwall Area launched the new British point-to-point season at Black Forest Lodge on Sunday (29 Nov). The nine races attracted a total of 108 runners from far and wide, and frequent showers saw the going get progressively softer.
The first race of the season went to the previously unraced four-year-old See You Jack, bred and owned by Cirencester based John Russell, and trained by Monique Pike. “He is a half brother to Junctiontwentyfour, Bally Blue and Castle Cazza, the latter of which won points from Monique’s yard. I tried to sell him at Ascot in June but he didn’t reach his reserve”, said the owner. Sam Allwood was in the saddle, fresh from winning the final race at Newbury on the day before.
Monique Pike’s Sidbury yard completed a double with Front Page, who won the first division of the Restricted which had to be divided on the day. This was a significant triumph for Charlotte Tizzard, who was completing her century of winners, having notched up 75 between the flags to add to her 25 successes under rules. Front Page was bred by Stewart and Monique Pike and is now owned by Roger and Linda Newton who keep the Blue Ball pub at Sidford. “I knew she would stay and like the ground, everything went wrong last year and it took her a while to gain her confidence,” said Pike.
Jockey Matt Griffiths was also in double form. Last year’s Novice Rider champion, Matt won the other Restricted division on Moncada Way, and one of the two and a half miles Maiden sections on Silver Token. Twelve lengths winner Moncada Way was bought by his trainer James White on behalf of owners Sukhbir Grewal, Graham Darby and Chris Higgins, who were enjoying their first success.
Bridgend based owner/trainer David Brace struck with the useful looking four-year-old newcomer Silver Token, who had to be pushed out by Matt Griffiths to hold the late challenge of Orvita in his Maiden section. “I bought his dam as a foal at Fairyhouse and she has now bred me three winners,” said the owner.
Luke Price, 20, added another winner for the Welsh raiders with a very easy win on seven-year-old Red Watch in the first three miles Maiden. “I train ten pointers at Pontypridd and this one runs in the colours of my sister Kelly,” said the trainer who also rode the gelding.
Fred Hutsby saddled four-year-old Mister Teddy to win the slightly faster of the three young horse Maiden divisions under Tom Ellis.
The Mixed Open attracted the biggest field of the day with 16 starters, but 10-1 chance Cowboyboots proved to be a worthy winner for owner/trainer Charlie Cox. Jockey Shaun Parish, who shapes like another successful Philip Hobbs protege, sent his mount ahead of runner up Armoury House after the second last and the gelding stayed on strongly despite fiddling the last fence.
The Club Novice Riders’ race provided a winner on her first ride for 20-year-old Plymouth University student Emma Pugsley, who steered Fully Loaded to a 15 lengths success. This was a real family occasion since Fully Loaded is now owned by Emma’s parents Andrew and Linda, and trained by her grandfather Gerald Greenway. “We bought the horse from the Tizzards for Emma and her sister Lucy to ride”, said the trainer, whose only other pointer in training is the useful El Hombre Del Rio.
The lengthy card meant fading light for the last race which turned out to be a most bizarre contest. Five-year-old Gunna Be A Devil was installed as hot favourite to win this Maiden and all seemed under control as Neil Harris stalked Crack at Dawn and Johny England from the cross fence. “The Devil” had other ideas however and promptly put his brakes on coming off the top bend, actually pulling himself up. Somehow Neil persuaded his mount to get going again, and made up over 30 lengths to head the tiring Crack at Dawn near the post.
Open Maiden 4-7 year olds, 2m 4f
Club Members’ Novice Riders
Open Maiden 3 miles