The final Point-to-Point of the current season was held last Saturday where the stage was set for a dual between National Gentleman Champion jockey Will Biddick and reigning Area Gentleman Champion Darren Edwards at the Torrington Farmers meeting at Umberleigh. Will Biddick had three rides booked and at the start of the day and was only one point behind Darren, who only had one ride booked.
The going had been changed after heavy rainfall to Good but Holding in the maize field up the hill. This proved challenging for many of the entries, but a dry day was welcomed by the large crowd who gathered to support the finale.
Darren Edwards surged further ahead and sealed his Area Gentleman's title with a win when his mount Soul Kaliber won the opening Tattersalls Ireland-sponsored Members race for owners The Little Acres Racing Syndicate. Trainer Dean Summersby gave all credit to the jockey "He travels down from Leicester every weekend to ride for us. I'm pleased his wife alows it. We have also had a lot of help from our physio's Catherine Davis and Claire Morshead." Soul Kaliber was a bargain buy for team Summersby out of Gigginstown. Dean added " Eddy O'Leary, who works for Gigginstown said he thought the horse had an engine, but they had lost they keys."
Will Biddick was unable to bridge the gap. With his mount Tucks Bergin finding conditions too testing, was pulled up before the last in the following Kivells-sponsored Restricted Race. This went the way of locally based trainer Roy Smith's Baby Sherlock. Having only travelled a few miles could have been a factor for Baby Sherlock, along with a patient ride from young jockey Paul John, who managed to come home the three-length winner. Based at Chilhampton, Roy Smith quoted "He came out of David Pipe's yard on a recommendation by Vicky Wade, great ride by the jockey Paul who runs his own livery and breaking yard at Winkleigh."
Ruperra Tom did give Will Biddick a great run in the Barum Stud sponsored Intermediate race, to end his season with a win to compliment his regaining the National title, which he has now won for the seventh time. Trained by Mickey Bowen from Fishguard, the horse had survived a five and a half hour journey to compete on ground which wasn't ideal for him. Owner of Ruperra Tom, Tim Jones explained " We love this course, both Mickey and I have won here as jockey's, mine was back in 1988. The horse is my home bred which makes the win even nicer." Will added "He is a lovely straight forward horse, travelled and jumped well, he picked up after a good jump at the last."
The Pilton Auctions-sponsored Ladies Open race went to Devon based trainer Les Jefford with his ten-year-old gelding Purple N' Gold. An ex NH recruit out of David Pipe's yard, Purple N'Gold clocked up his impressive fifth straight win of the season under 22 year-old jockey Millie Wonnacott, who has now won the area Ladies and Novice Ladies title. She explained "I have many people to thank and these include Tom Scudamore who used to ride him and Jo Supple, who due to injury had to give up her rides on him." Purple N' Gold is leased to Lisa Jefford for the Here Comes The Girls Partnership who have had a tremendous season with him.
The Welsh raiders were out in force, with jockey Byron Moorcroft riding two winners on the day, his first in the Baldwins-sponsored Men's Open. Byron took up the running over the final ditch, on the long odds on favourite Ramble On for trainer Luke Price, to score by ten lengths ahead of Bay To Go. "They went too slow on the first circuit, I had to go on." explained Byron to owner Kevin Salter. Trainer Luke Price added "We may keep him Pointing, or go Hunter Chasing, it's difficult to keep him right and we have pre race bloods done on him regularly."
The second part of the Moorcroft double came in the Smallridge Bros-sponsored Open Maiden race, when Bryon partnered the Jason Warner trainer favourite Long Mile Road who came home the winner one and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Devon Redway with only two finishers, pleasing punters who had stolen the day from the bookies. Byron is another young jockey who runs his own yard, where he is based in Cowbridge. " I have to thank both Luke Price and Jason Warner, both whom have got me where I am." quoted Byron.