THE British point-to-point season comes to a close on Saturday (17 June) after six and a half months with the traditional Torrington Farmers meeting at Umberleigh, North Devon.
The final six point-to-point races of the season are followed by three well-filled pony race area finals sponsored by Hatchmoor Vets and R & S Ware Butchers.
The opening point-to-point race is the Hunt Club Members' race, sponsored by Tattersalls Ireland, which has attracted nine entries and starts proceedings at 2pm.
There is not much between Swansbrook and Bathwick Scanno on their Holnicote running on good to firm ground last month. Air Glider (also engaged in the Intermediate) has been very consistent and would be a worthy winner for the Summersby team. Honourable Exit brushed aside last week's Bratton Down winner The Lizard King at the Eggesford, and Too Scoops and Le Clo De La Londe have to enter calculations.
The Kivells Restricted features plenty with winning form amongst the eleven entries. Thyne For Ruda had been running in Irish points this year until opening his English account at Kingston Blount last month. Cothelstone winner She's A Gangster was not disgraced in a better race at Fontwell recently. Captain Kennit finally broke his runner-up habit by scoring at Lower Machen for the Gibbs family, but the six-year-old Wild Ginger may prove best. He won well at the Grafton and was running a decent race when falling at the last at Chaddesley Corbett.
Davisons Accountants sponsor the Men's Open. .Lough Inch is already assured of the Connolly's Red Mills award for the National Champion Horse with his eight wins. and seems unlikely to make the trip to Devon. Really Unique would be looking for his fourth win of the season for Kieran Price, but was below par at Lower Machen on his latest outing. Mr Sawyer is held by Really Unique on Ystradown form in April but won the Intermediate on this card last year and was well backed when unplaced in the two miles hunter chase at Cheltenham last month. It may be worth taking a chance with Forrardon Xmoor who has been plying his trade in hunter chases recently and has been unlucky on occasions since scoring at Buckfastleigh in February..
The Ladies' Open is sponsored by Nancekivell & Co and has 16 entries. In the likely absence of Lough Inch, the Michael Bowen yard holds the aces with Flying Eagle and Deadly Move. Start Royal cannot be left out, whist Bound For Glory, Forget Bob and There's No Panic have winning form this year.
The Barum Stud Intermediate looks a tricky contest. The Welsh trained Robin's Wager acts well on quick ground and has fair late season form. The lightly raced Seenigora is capable of springing a surprise. Knockedoutloaded and St Denys also hold chances here. The veteran Fourstar River has not won for some time but a market move for him would be significant. She's A Gangster and Air Glider can go well here but hold other engagements on the card.
The season's finale is the Smallridge Bros sponsored Open Maiden. Sullivans John is no rock star but his game second behind Chanceanotherfive at Trebudannon was a sparkling effort. Heaven's Choice showed much improvement at Bratton Down whilst Fry's Delight is in a good yard and surely capable of better.
This fixture attracts enthusiasts from far and wide against the background of a real auld lang syne party atmosphere. The course is located at Chapelton Barton off the A377 about 2 miles from Umberleigh and 5 miles SE of Barnstaple EX37 9 EB. Hot food and refreshments together with a bar, bookies and many trade stands make it a real family day out. Entrance is £10 per person to a maximum of £40 per car. Children under 16 are free and dogs on leads are welcome.