SATURDAY 23 MARCH 2002
by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall - http://www.equestriancornwall.co.uk)
Early start, good drive up and we are on a Point-to-Point course we have never visited before. Good viewing is assured as we park up, kettle on and sit back to survey our surroundings. This is big country up here and you can see for miles but the immediate view is one we are now off to strut around. We are on chalk, which is evident, when you see fallen trees beside the course, the roots and the surround make it more than obvious and old-fashioned teachers would be in their heaven picking up these lumps, no doubt some for black board use and others destined as life as a missile, at least they were in my school. The going is good to firm in my opinion and for those wishing a left handed course with guaranteed good going, this is the place for you.
We started off with a three runner Wilton Hunt Members Race
and although the winner was a little obvious, to gamble on a forecast was
the ploy. My ploy!
Mrs Syckelmoore’s THE FROSTY FOX was previously a good second so
out of the remaining two I only had to pick a horse to come second.
Dr Jowetts IMPERATIVE (A Charles-Jones) was the better of the other
two in the betting ring but joining these two up didn’t give a very good
price so I opted for Mr J Kwiatkowski DRUMAGOLANDS GOLDEN ENVOY (sounds
like the Golden Retriever who came second at Crufts!) who was to be ridden
by his owner. I chose him as
my selection to come second to THE FROSTY FOX and the reliable man in
charge of my investment was prepared to bet me 6 to 1 that he didn’t.
Well he was wrong and I was right, so right that the expenses for
the journey have been returned already and a little more, to allow me to
enjoy the remainder of the afternoon in great style.
Always better when one is using someone else’s money!
The result was that the best turned out THE FROSTY FOX beat
DRUMAGOLANDS GOLDEN ENVOY (nothing to do with Crufts now!) by a distance
and IMPERATIVE was another distance away, third in a good time of 6
minutes 8 seconds.
A good idea by the committee is to get the commentator to
call the fences both by number and sponsors name but it was a while before
I got used to the fact that fence 3 and 13 was sponsored by Symonds & Sampson
and that it was not a broadcast for me to return my hard earned reward
from the first race to the ‘poor’ bookie man or some such bad news!
The South Wilts NFU Open Maiden Race for 5, 6 & 7 year
olds brought out 13 runners and the one that caught my eye was the best
turned out 7 year old Be My Native gelding owned by Mr A Wardal -
NATIONAL DEBT (J Barnes) but with no known form and others with form, I
had better choose again! It
is reported to me that Mr Pike & L Webb’s KJ JIMMY (M Miller) was
doing well in poorer conditions at Barbury before coming to grief but I
see Mr & Mrs Monck’s GALAXY MINSTREL (M Baldock) has a tongue strap
so this somewhat ‘cool’ air will go down well into his lungs and could
make a difference. I will
settle for a bold jumping front-runner with practically no form to date to
carry my investment as I think this course will suit.
The Froud family’s MAYFAIR MONARCH will carry my investment –
NO! late change! I checked my little book again and the horse that did run
well at Larkhill and also likes to front run and is recorded as ‘will
improve’ will be trusted to pay for the evening meal is now N Freak,
C Kendally & Mrs Wadey’s THUNDER THIGHS (R Young).
Exciting! – with a complete circuit to race my concern is and has
been always – out in front! Well
that is where I would expect a front runner to be but mine is out in front
of the front-runners – leading the way! At the final open ditch – the
Symonds & Sampson open ditch – THUNDER THIGHS had GALAXY MINSTREL up
sides practically followed by Mrs Jowett’s RUBY FLARE (S Hayes) and now
Mrs Rees EMALI (Tabitha Cave) beginning to close up a bit and R & Dr C
Fry’s SIMPLY SAM (N Williams) not out of it.
They are now at the far end of the course and it is here you can
judge the distance between horses quite well as they cross to commence the
race up hill towards the final bend and home straight.
There are eight runners in the leading bunch but my concern is the
leading one. MAYFAIR MONARCH has been pulled up! At fence 15 RUBY FLARE fell and in doing so interfered with
EMALI. On to fence 16 with my
horse making a really bold effort to lead for the entire race when I heard
the devastating news that no one with any interest at all wants to hear
and that is ‘THUNDER THIGHS has fallen at that one’ leaving GALAXY
MINSTREL out in front with SIMPLY SAM under Nick Williams making a good
effort to get on terms. At
the 18th fence three horses were in line as Marc Miller brought
KJ JIMMY on the scene. Over the last and KJ JIMMY decided he had had
enough and was very tired and got rid of Marc Miller and the race was left
leaving GALAXY MINSTREL to cross the line a head to the good over SIMPLY
SAM with a very tired Mrs P Strawbridge’s FORGLORI (O Nelmes) coming
into third place a distance back. I
enjoyed this race even though the benefit to me was little but I know a
lady who did. Well done Ruth!
I should have relied even more on Ruth for the winner of the
next race as she predicted that Alex (Charles-Jones) would not have come
to this meeting to ride three horses and then dash to Fontwell for the
ride on Caldamus if he was not sure of at least one winner. Well he has ridden two and was not placed in one and picked
up a third place in a three horse race in the first, so this next ride
must be the one he will win on!! It
is The Southern Counties Auctioneers Gentleman’s Open Race with 14 going
to post. The early leader was the head strong Oliver Carter owned, Phillip
York ridden VENN OTTERY. This
is a head strong animal and it was quite some time before he
settled but when he did it was him that led the field over the 14th
by a couple of lengths with HALLS MILL in second and Mr J Richardson’s
BIT ‘O’ SPEED close up in third.
At the 15th VENN OTTERY made a bad mistake and was
passed by HALLS MILL and BIT ‘O’ SPEED. Mr P Clarke’s FRIAR WADDON
now took up third place with some of the others in with a chance. At the
19th HALLS MILL although obviously tired came away from the
field leaving the best turned out FRIAR WADDON (D Edwards) to take
second place and BIT OF SPEED beaten into third. Well done Ruth – it
could be a meal from the other purse this evening!
The horse to watch from this race VENN OTTERY!
Mrs C Tuffin must be very proud of Miss C Tuffin after the
way she (Miss C Tuffin) rode OUT’N’ABOUT in The Countryside Alliance
Club Members Race for Novice Riders.
Twelve went to post and it was J Boulter & Miss F Wilkins’s
WHISPERING PINES (J Jenkins) who was popular at the bookies because this
was the horse with some form but I invested on Mr S Redwood’s MASTER
BUCKLEY who I saw run well at Black Forest Lodge.
All these horses are established campaigners at this game and very
sensible rides for the novices, the oldest being Mr Green’s INDIAN
KNIGHT who has given a lot of fun to his owners in the past.
OUT’N’ABOUT and WHISPERING PINES were in the van for most of
the first circuit with Miss Cowe’s blinkered RED LIGHTER also well in
touch and the Froud’s AMTRAK EXPRESS also going well.
At the second open ditch, remember, the Symonds & Sampson
Open ditch; it was WHISPERING PINES and AMTRAK EXPRESS who led with
OUT’N’ABOUT being reported as beginning to ‘beat a retreat’ – no
one told Miss C Tuffin this bit. At
the 15th it was still the 15 year old AMTRAK EXPRESS leading
and the younger by five years, WHISPERING PINES in second place with the
‘hanging on grimly’ OUT’N’ABOUT in third and Mr Green’s WIN THE
TOSS now closing a little, in fourth place.
At the 18th WHISPERING PINES regained the lead from
AMTRAK EXPRESS, but age began to tell and it was the supposedly tiring
OUT’N’ABOUT who now came into second place and the look of
determination was extremely clear on Miss C Tuffin’s face as she rode
for the line, it was going to be her race if she had anything to do with
it. I will wager (again!)
that Miss C Tuffin will never forget that ride for the line and credit to
her – she won by a short head in a very sensible time of 6 minutes 25
seconds. It was thrilling to
watch and for sure a lot more thrilling to have taken part in and the
video will be shown and the champagne drunk and toasts made to a very
worthy win. Well done!
A Ladies Open qualifier for the 2002 Gerrard Championship at
Exeter was to follow with only 7 going to post. I noticed that Ms Sweeting’s MR CUSTARD qualified with the
Cury Hunt which hunt The Lizard peninsula near my home so I think that is
just enough information for me to follow the investing on this one very
closely. (Amazing what one finds as ‘form’ when desperate!!)
Incidentally this is one of the few hunts here in the Westcountry
that doesn’t have a point-to-point meeting, which is a pity!
Mr Cullen’s LORD BARGY (Miss R Green) fell at the first and after
that the field began to string out being led by L Borradaile’s POLDEN
PRIDE (later to unseat when going well!) with Mandy Hand on T Stevens
& P Browne’s BARDON HILL BOY, Tabitha Cave on Mrs Goody’s FRANK
BYRNE and Mr I & Mrs T Rogers’s NODDADANTE all close up.
It was not too long before MR CUSTARD came into his own and took a
commanding lead and went on to win by 10 lengths and then a distance
between Oliver Carter’s VAGUE IDEA (O Green) who made up ground well,
and FRANK BYRNE. There were
words sounding like ‘Liverpool next’ as the connections left the
paddock with well earned silver but by the look on Mummy’s face, some
convincing will have to be done.
In the Restricted Race I again managed to pick the winner and
get a really sensible price about him.
Mr G Foot’s FRANKLIN’S BEST with Nick Mitchell aboard looked
the part for me. His form of ‘run
17 w2’ might not seem very good but when one of the ‘2’
was his last race then what more could you ask for?
It was only a ‘Farmers’ race he won and only by half a length
but he did beat WILD NATIVE who has form and who will be running at Ston
Easton tomorrow. All added up
– on it goes, not all but most! Not
a lot to worry about, only six to beat and this he did quite nicely. Mr Young’s MAKHPIYA PATAHN (D Turner) was second and
BUTTERWICK KING owned by half the ladies in the Somerset Vale came in
third, well at least four of them anyway!
Two divisions of Open Maidens both sponsored by The Hall
Insurance Services followed, the first being taken most convincingly by
Mrs Burgess’s BALEE BETTY (J Snowden) by 15 lengths from THE WEE GENERAL
(R Young) whose owners look as though they decided on a ‘pointer’ at
the WI Ladies Committee meeting, the charming Madame’s H Robinson, B
Tarr, K Buckett and then – whoops! Mister Reeve, with Mr Froud’s THE
CHAIN GANG (J Jenkins) in third place.
Finally, having recovered from his exertions in winning the
first race, Mr Miller went out onboard Mr R McKenzie Johnston’s
MILLCROFT REGATTA and promptly won the last race with a good fight for
second place between L Sweetings FORTLANDER and Nick Mitchell onboard Mrs
King’s GET A MAN. Lucinda won the battle and got her man by a neck!
Off we go now to travel overland to stay at a farm near Ston Easton ready for tomorrows meeting of the Mendip Farmers’ and there will be no arguments tonight who pays for the meal – we both have a little of ‘their money’ but I am sure its only loaned! Fred