BLACK FOREST LODGE
23rd January 2005
by Lee Glanville
Racegoers were able to fend off the chilly weather with a feast of hot finishes at the opening point to point of the Devon and Cornwall season, the Silverton at Blackforest Lodge on Sunday. And while the open races were won by horses which have graced the winners' enclosure on many other occasions County Derry and Phoenix Phlyer - there was the chance to view future stars in the three divisions of the maiden race for horses which have not won before. While the hunting ban is imminent, the sport of point to pointing has never been so popular and attracts thousands of spectators every week.
All the horses, and riders, in the opening members' race were qualified to compete with the host hunt, the Silverton Foxhounds.
SBS By Jove (Alex Charles Jones) and Mighty Mack (Lucy Gardner) were neck and neck throughout but Ian Chanin on Barton Rose threw down a mighty challenge with two fences left to jump. He managed to edge into second place but could not dislodge SBS By Jove who provided trainer Linda Blackford, who was herself a formidable jockey, with a welcome win to start the season.
It took the judge to split the winner and runner up in the Novice Riders' Restricted, many thinking that Flying Fortress's (Jack O'Rourke) great leap at the last had sealed victory. But Slip The Net (D Green) got back up on the line to win. There was a stewards' enquiry into the running of joint favourite Ryders Hill who was never put in the race by rider Vanessa Shaw.
Her explanation that the mare didn't go on the ground - which was soft for the course - was noted.
Wahiba Sands, gifted to Lucy Bridges by top NH owner David Johnson, looked nailed on to take the ladies' open but Charlotte Stucley had other ideas and grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck to make the running on her own Phoenix Phlyer. Wahiba Sands could never quite get on terms and Emma Tory on Wink and Whisper very nearly got up to win, staying on well, but had to settle for second. Fourth placed Kali des Obeaux will improve greatly for the run.
Exmoor trained County Derry is a class act and jockey Neil Harris was on board for the pairs' 14th career win, taking the men's open with a late burst of speed. Leon Garcia ran well in second.
Sidford publicans Roger and Linda Newton were delighted with their Bally Blue who was given the perfect ride by Rilly Goschen to win the Intermediate, an Exeter Racecourse qualifier, by half a length from favourite Toon Society (N Harris).
Goschen went on to complete a double with Pink Lady in the second division of the maiden in which locally trained Tsars Twist (Lucy Gardner) was third and should soon be winning.
Results: Members: 1, SBS By Jove, A Charles Jones; 2, Barton Rose, I Chanin; 3, Mighty Mack, Miss L Gardner. Five ran, 3l, 4l, 6.45.
Novice Riders Restricted: 1, Slip The Net, D Green; 2, Flying Fortress, J O'Rourke; 3, All Eyez On Me, Miss Z Hammond. Nine ran, hd, 5l, 6.39.
Ladies Open: 1, Phoenix Phlyer, Miss C Stucley; 2, Wink and Whisper, Miss E Tory; 3, Wahiba Sands, Miss L Bridges. Eight ran, 1/2l, 5l, 6.21.
Men's Open: 1, County Derry, N Harris; 2, Leon Garcia, T Bishop; 3, Colquhoun, G Weatherley. 10 ran, 8l, 5l, 6.24.
Intermediate: 1, Bally Blue, Miss R Goschen; 2, Toon Society, N Harris; 3, Highway Oak, M Miller.Six ran, 1/2l, 1/2l, 6.29.
Maiden Div One: 1, Willoughby Flyer, J Price ; 2, Warren Hill, D Turner. 11 ran, only two finished, 15l 6.36.
Div Two: 1, Pink Lady, Miss R Goschen; 2, Belle's Last, T Vaughan; 3, Tsars Twist, Miss L Gardner. 11 ran, 2l, 2l, 6.41.
Div Three: 1, Minsgill Mans, T Vaughan; 2, Minted, R Woollacott; 3, The Sycophant, Mrs S Brown. 10 ran, 1 1/2l, dist, 6.35.