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DART VALE & HALDON HARRIERS
SUNDAY 17 MARCH 2002
by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall - http://www.equestriancornwall.co.uk)
A few drops of rain on the windscreen just like yesterday
when we left Newquay soon turned into a shower progressing slowly to a
continuous down pour and then the odd remark crept out like “We are
going to get wet today Darling!” but Ruth was as determined as I was to
go Point to Pointing so on we went. I rang frequently to check if there
was any change in the going or even an abandonment but up until 1030 am
all I got was what it was like yesterday at half past six, not a lot of
use really! Whilst I
appreciate that overworked secretaries do not have much time on their
hands on ‘the day’, a message on the line at 8.30 am to
state that ‘no messages from P to P Secretaries has been received
therefore there has not been any changes’ would have been encouraging.
I would have hated it if I had paid to get out of Cornwall and then
found the situation had changed. At
least they would not have charged me to get back in!
I must first say that the riding of FRYS LANE in The Newton
Abbot Racecourse Intermediate Championship Qualifying Race was superb!!
Simon brought this Pragmatic Grey home into fourth place in fine
style. Simon’s Aunty was in
a red Volvo in the lay-by on the main road but he did not let that put him
off – he just waved to her as he cleared the fences along that straight
and rode on into a worthy fourth place against some other good horses. If
FRYS LANE goes to Newton Abbot I will make sure that Aunty doesn’t
journey by train that day! (That
little bit should get me out of trouble as I was threatened with a
‘virus’ if I didn’t write something favourable!). Mr E Evans &
Mrs P Wilkins’s JOLITAN ridden by Mr B Evans got up to win by ¾ of a
length with Mrs J Purdie’s KING OF THE NAUL (R Young) second three
lengths ahead of Mrs F Bishop’s, best turned out, LEON GARCIA
with Simon in fourth place.
The South Devon Farmers’ Members’ and Subscribers’ Race
brought up four runners and I had decided to punt my money on Mr
Lethbridge’s BY MY SIDE with Amanda Barnett riding.
If the Clerk of the Course who has trained this horse and is the
starter to boot cannot arrange this one to pass the winning post first
then I will definitely refrain from taking any of these jobs. Mr Williams’s WELL ARMED also has a lady jockey aboard,
Tabitha Cave who is riding this good pointer for the first time, so no
doubt with its form it will be well supported and the best turned out
Mrs Darke’s BOLD LEAP (D McKenna) and Mrs Treneers’s WISE FLORIZEL (M Treneer) make up the foursome. We had walked the course in fine weather but now some more
rain decided to fall but I don’t think this will have any bearing on the
condition, which I would say is ‘good’.
BY MY SIDE led for a considerable time, in fact this race of two
and three-quarter circuits jumping 19 fences saw my investment in front
for two and a quarter circuits and 16 fences but I have found out many
times, that does not pay the bills! WELL
ARMED came home a worthy winner by one length from BY MY SIDE who rallied
well but not well enough, followed by BOLD LEAP and WISE FLORIZEL a little
further back. That’s me
being polite, for the form book it was a good 25 lengths further back.
Six are off to the start for The Carter Jonas London Link/Luscombe
Maye Confined Hunts Race and the handlers of Mr Graham Roach’s LAMOLA
SUN were pleased to see their charge leave the paddock as he was a little
lively to say the least and their arms which would normally reach the bar
will now reach the optics behind the bar.
Some advantage I suppose! I
watched him go to the start very closely as I had to decide which of two I
was going to trust with my investment the other being Mrs K Nicholas’s
HAPPY TEAM with Les Jefford aboard and this pair are consistency itself.
Tim Dennis settled LAMOLA SUN very well on the run down and
didn’t seem to have any problems so the chances are he will do the same
in the race and bring him home in first position BUT Les probably has
different ideas. Decision
time is ‘ere! A quick check on the form of the other runners and I think
Mr Oliver’s AGENT is knocking on the door but the chances of it being
opened here I fear are a little slight.
Has Mr Turner’s NO MORE NICE GUY improved enough to win this –
I don’t think so! When the
dulcet tones of Peter (Wakeham) announced they were lining up I plonked
all (almost!) on LAMOLA SUN at the skinny price of two to one but then
HAPPY TEAM was eleven to ten ON. Mr
Hoskins’s CLANDON LAD (H Froud) passed me the first time with a glint in
his eye and led the field by about five lengths, a situation he chose to
keep for a good deal of the race with three others closely attending.
It was unfortunate that in the back straight for the final time he
came unstuck (fell) and left LAMOLA SUN and HAPPY TEAM to race on
together. Both jumping well,
both being ridden well but I think mine will win!
But why are 64 people around me shouting for HAPPY TEAM – Come on
Les, if only they knew! At the second last HAPPY TEAM was reported as
having ‘got a little close to it’ Ah! say I – tiring?
Going up the hill for the final time I was delighted to see my
investment a length in front of HAPPY TEAM with NO MORE NICE GUY back in
third by about ten lengths. I
was standing between the last jump and the flags and as these two
contestants passed me my horse was in front but they were racing hard for
the line and I would have to wait for the Judges decision.
I dashed to the winners enclosure as one does when finances are
involved and I was delighted to see Les go into second place and Tim,
without hesitation go into the coveted slot, First.
I remained at the parade ring looking quite proud of myself and was
there when the announcement was made – DEAD HEAT.
What do I hear – yes! DEAD HEAT.
Well, being sporting I decided that was a fair conclusion to a good
race by two good horses. My 64 supporters of HAPPY TEAM were now not so happy because
they bet ODDS-ON and would not be coming out of it in pocket where as I
bet two to one AGAINST and would be picking up a little.
Half as much as I would have had LAMOLA SUN stuck his head out once
more! NO MORE NICE GUY was
ten lengths back in third.
The next race was for a little more than the usual reward and
is sponsored by The Totnes & Bridgetown Races Co Ltd, a Mixed Open
Race known as “The Westcountry Champion ‘Chase”. Nine good horses
went to post and the ‘bookies’ were not sure whom to make favourite. Mrs Hutchinson’s RIMPTON BOY to be ridden by Polly Gundry
and Tim Winzer’s PROVINCE ridden by Les Jefford were the two main
contenders for the position but the Susan Young ridden TRACK O’PROFIT
was in close contention and some money for Mrs Willcock’s COMEDY GAYLE
to be ridden by Neil Harris was also in the money.
I chose on the basis of Polly Gundry is the best, she is really
riding extremely well, fit and lovely looking I will invest on those good
points. Joint favourites at
7/4 I will search for 2 to 1 – yes - that’s what I got - and so to
watch The Westcountry Champion Chase. TRACK O’PROFIT made the running and set up a good pace with
many of the others in turn in second and third places but not out of the
leading picture by very much. The leader got a bit close to the thirteenth
but got away with it but it set him back a length allowing Mr J
Boulter’s CAHORS (M Miller) to join him in the lead.
RIMPTON BOY now also getting into it and rounding the turn for the
back straight for the last time went into the lead.
Polly then went on to a 3-length lead with the nearest pursuer
being CAHORS followed by TRACK O’PROFIT and PROVINCE.
Not quite time yet to make too much noise but things are looking
good. Up the hill for the
final time and my investment was about 4 lengths in front BUT noticeably
tiring. Maybe now a little
bit of noise would encourage this grey gelding into a final burst of
speed. TRACK O’PROFIT is
definitely getting closer and maybe was only taking a breather.
Shouting begins - real shouting now and over the last in front
comes RIMPTON BOY. Polly of
course rode this one out with gusto and managed to win by one and
half-lengths with a well-ridden TRACK O’PROFIT second and PROVINCE in
third place. It was a good
race in the fastest time of the day with the rain continuing to pour down
and going being affected but horses getting through it alright.
An Open Maiden and two divisions of the Restricted Races
followed in conditions that were very wet to say the least!
The Open Maiden for 5,6 and 7 year olds saw a close finish between
very muddy horses, so muddy I could not see the numbers of those racing
for the finish but it was the best turned out Mr Lissack’s SIR
CUMFERENCE ridden by J Barnes who had been in a challenging position
throughout, who was there when it really mattered, followed by J
Squire’s JOESOFINE (probably pronounced Josephine and not Joe So Fine
– someone let me know!) and
Christian Williams on Mr Maltby’s RED NATIVE in third place.
It was the horse that won its maiden here that came through a
tight finish fight to take the Division One of the Restricted, Miss L
Cole’s FROG STREET (L Jefford) by a length from an Ottery winner, The
Partridge Partnerships’ TH’MOONS A BALLOON with a Great Trethew winner
in third place Mr R Barber’s SPUDDLER’S DREAM (C Williams) just half
length back. I had chosen
Count Goess-Saurau’s NONPLUSSED who was the best turned out and
to be ridden by Polly Gundry. On
this race I lost money but I will get it back and from this horse in the
very near future.
Finally I went mad and put more than I should have done on
the favourite but not too bad a price.
I enjoyed this race immensely.
Neil Harris riding Mrs Brake’s FATHER JIM never gave me a
minute’s worry and came home to win by four lengths with the best turned
out Mr J Squire’s RICE POINT (C Heard) in second and quite some way
behind was the jointly owned HENRY’S SON.
Off to pick up!
Not a bad day and the rain has gone and I’m off to eat my
lovely piece of Coffee Cream Sponge which I spied earlier in the back of a
car and begged a piece from the owner.
Now Mr & Mrs Owner, we’ll move our car anywhere if you keep
the Coffee Cream Sponge coming – it was delicious!
All right! So was the cake and shortbread out of the other car!
A bit of cleaning up to do, that Devon mud sticks, but I will
be ready for next weekend, Lamerton Foxhounds at Kilworthy followed by our
first visit to Ston Easton near Bath for the meeting of The Mendip Farmers
Hunt. We will be staying in
the Taunton area for the night so don’t all rush!
See you there. Cheers and good pointing! Fred