Saturday 3rd June 2006
by Lucy Johnson
photos by Graham Fisher
GLORIOUS Exmoor drew a near record breaking crowd on Saturday where point-to-point racing, hosted by the Exmoor Foxhounds, was straight out of the top draw.
Close finishes were the order of the day at Bratton Down where the good going attracted large fields of runners.
Lucy Gardner, who heads the Devon and Cornwall area championship, earned a special trophy, judged by starter Richard Clarke, for her superb tactical ride on Graham Brown’s Grey Ciseaux in the ladies’ open. Lucy asked the gelding, who she rates as one of her favourite horses, to take up the lead after the open ditch and went on to score a length victory with the well backed Spuddlers Dream and Watchyourback in hot pursuit.
Grey Ciseaux and Lucy Gardner return after their victory in the Ladies Open
Brown, who comes from Ottery St Mary in East Devon, usually misses Grey Ciseaux running and said: “They give me a bottle of whisky not to come.” But this time his presence did not prove a bad omen as the gelding gave one of the best performances of his career.
The Jeremy Scott-trained Gone To Lunch looked a picture in the paddock and was well backed to land the men’s open but jockey Neil Harris had to work hard for the win, holding of the strong challenge of the brilliant veteran Springford, who was giving the winner 7lbs, under Dominic Alers-Hankey.
Gone To Lunch and Neil Harris (far side) just get the better of Springford in a driving finish to the Mens Open
Harris later just failed to land a double after odds on favourite Tomsk failed by a head to reel in Oh Vlo who was well ridden by Guy Weatherly to win the third of three maidens. The French-bred seven-year-old is owned and trained by Ray Alford, who is connected to the Pipe’s Culmstock operation and often transports horses for the record breaking yard. The gelding was acquired through Kent-based Fergus Wilson who keeps horses with Alford.
Fastest maiden was Mary Trueman’s well-bred Miramar who was bought from Doncaster two years ago. The seven-year-old is trained at Buckfastleigh by Gordon Chambers who said: “The only reason we could afford him is because he has such poor confirmation behind.” Winning jockey Tabitha Cave has had a long and successful association with Mrs Trueman having won several times on Lead Story.
Miramar and Tabitha Cave (mauve) just hold Range Rover and Rachel Green in the Open Maiden
The 11-year-old Billy Whitelies finally rid himself of his maiden tag after winning division two and the members went Opal’Lou ridden by Richard Pyman.
Opal’lou and Richard Pyman go clear on the run in to take the Members race
Rachel Green was seen at her best on Nebraska in the restricted when she threw the works at the Richard Barber-trained five-year-old on the run in to win by two lengths. Green and Barber doubled up in the following intermediate with Willyanwoody who was well backed to follow up on his maiden success.
Nebraska and Rachel Green score a hard fought victory in the Restricted
Willyanwoody (Rachel Green) is an impressive winner of the Intermediate from Magnemite
Hunt Members: Opal’Lou 1; Colonial Sunset (Mr C Heard) 2; Master Kevin (Hugh Thomas) 3.
Restricted: Nebraska (Miss R Green) 1; Maria Gigi (Mr J Snowden) 2; What’s Up Maid (Mr M Munrowd) 3. 2l, 4l; 6.06.
Intermediate: Willyanwoody (Miss R Green) 1; Magnemite (Mr D Edwards) 2; Off Broadway (Mr D Alers-Hankey) 3. 5l, ½ l; 6.02.
Ladies’ Open: Grey Ciseaux (Miss L Gardner) 1; Spuddler’s Dream ( Miss R Green) 2; Watchyourback (Miss C Allen) 3. 1l, nk; 5.59.
Men’s Open: Gone To Lunch (Mr N Harris) 1; Springford (Mr D Alers-Hanky) 2; Itzacliche (Mr P Mason) 3. nk, 1 12l, 6.01.
Maiden Divison I: Miramar ( Miss T Cave) 1; Range Rover (Miss R Green) 2; Sharp Hand (M Harris) 3. nk, 2l, 6.05.
Maiden Division II: Billy Whitelies (M Carter) 1; Hotfoot Harry (D Turner) 2; Lord Fitzroy (Miss A Bush) 3. 6l, 25l; 6.14.
Maiden Division III: Oh Vlo (Mr G Weatherly) 1; Tomsk (Mr N Harris) 2; Big Daves Legend (Mr A Charles-Jones) 3. hd, nk; 6.12.