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Torrington Farmers at Umberleigh
Saturday 17th June 2017
by Donna Harris

The final race meeting of the current Point-to-Point season took place last Saturday at Umberleigh, where the Torrington Farmers hosted their event.

A huge crowd turned up to enjoy a superb days racing, whilst soaking up the summer sun. Picnic parties were plenty, and the atmosphere was buzzing. Devon trainer Dean Summersby enjoyed saddling the winner of the first race with Air Glider, in the Tattersalls Ireland-sponsored Members race. With area champion jockey Darren Edwards on board, Air Glider was sent off the odds on favourite with seven runners lining up. Too Scoops under jockey Josh Newman had set a good pace and tried to make all, but it was a shrewd ride by Edwards producing Air Glider to take up the running over the last fence to score a victory here. Emma Watson riding Le Clo De La Londe stayed on to snatch second place and securing her Area Ladies Novice title, with Too Scoops back in third. Team Summersby have enjoyed a very successful season, having taken the title for National leading trainer with seven or fewer horses. The jubilant trainer commented " Air Glider is a lovely horse, always competitive, he also paraded the hounds at Royal Cornwall Show last week. He is up for sale, we would hope he could stay in the yard for next season."

The Kivells-sponsored Restricted race also attracted seven runners, with Wild Ginger being sent off the bookies favourite. This race was equally competitive with Wild Ginger unable to fend off the strong challenge from Give Us Peace under 19 year old jockey Lucy Mager. With Give Us Peace taking up the running over the second last and battled on to win the race by a length, pleasing his followers who had backed him at a generous price of 20-1. Trained by Teresa Clark for The Culverwell Racing Club, spokesman and club member Phil Browne explained " He is a very quirky horse and doesn't travel well at all, he has finally come good here after winning his maiden at Larkhill." Jockey Lucy Mager added " I ride him out every day at home, he is a bit quirky, Teresa has been really kind to give me the ride on him."

There were plenty more celebrations when Devon trainer Kayley Woollacott saddled the winner of the Davisons Accountants-sponsored Men's Open race with Churchfield Champ under jockey Daniel Cherriman. It had been another seven runner race with both Really Unique and Forrardon Xmoor heading the betting. The two market leaders set a strong pace, but it was Churchfield Champ who found an extra gear up the final hill to go on to score an impressive ten length win for his new owner and jockey Daniel Cherriman. The delighted trainer explained "Daniel bought Churchfield Champ over the phone last week and said he would love to ride at him at this meeting. Daniel is huntsman of the Pychley and Churchfield Champ gave him his first winner. " Daniel added "I held him up at the back but he pulled me to the front. He will go in training next season with Jo Messenger who is based in Northampton. We all made the trip down here today and it was worth it," he beamed

Another long journey had been made by jockey current National Champion Lady jockey Gina Andrews, who took the winning ride on There's No Panic in the Nancekivell & Co-sponsored Ladies Open race. Regular jockey Will Biddick had ushering duties at Ollie Greenall's wedding, and offered the ride to Gina. There's No Panic had made most of the running, having only been headed briefly by a challenge from Bound For Glory. Based in Warwickshire the 25 year-old jockey explained "They were going too slow, he jumped brilliantly and liked this ground. I have ridden 29 winners this season which has equalled my best ever record."

The Barum Stud-sponsored Intermediate race held the biggest field of the day with nine runners, and this went to another Devon based trainer Stewart Reddaway's Fourstar River, under jockey Matt Hampton. Fourstar River had displayed an excellent round of jumping and took up the running two fences from home, staying on to win by eight lengths. Stewart's son Robert Reddaway spoke on behalf of the team explaining " He has wanted hard ground all season, which we were never able to find. We shall retire him now and he will just go hunting." The Reddaway family run a sheep and crop farm at Sampford Courtney. Jockey Matt Hampton added " He has plenty of ability, the problem is we just couldn't find the ground he likes, also he prefers a left handed track."

Finally up was the Smallridge Bros-sponsored Open Maiden race which closed the Pointing season. Sullivans John was sent off the even money favourite and he did not disappoint his followers. Under jockey Lee Drowne, who kept the horse handy in the five runner race, and dominated on the final circuit going onto win by twelve lengths. It was a popular win for the Lewis family, with trainer Maria Lewis explaining "Sullivans John is owned by The Picnic Club which is made up by the Grandparents. Mel Smith Bloodstock Agent found him for us in Ireland, we plan that Heidi will ride him next season." Jockey Lee Drowne added " We all thought he had it in him, he has just taken time to strengthen."

The Pony racing finals then followed with Jack Teague winning the 138cm race on Trellech Blithe Spirit. The 138cm Open race was won by Freddie Gingel on The Jobs No Straight, and the 148cm final going to Joshua Brown riding She's A Lady. These races were kindly sponsored by Hatchmoor Veterinary Practice.

And that closes another action packed pointing season. The Devon & Cornwall Area Annual end of Season Dinner & Dance takes place on Saturday 1st July at the New Crowne Plaza, Plymouth. Tickets can be obtained through Katie Squire via email katiesquire980@btinternet.com.

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