TESTING conditions meant victories were hard earned at the Tiverton Point-to-Point yesterday but there was none more impressive than Exiles Return who skipped through the rain softened ground to earn a wide margin victory in the second maiden.
It was the second leg of a double for owner/trainer/rider Luke Price, 19, who had also scored in the first division of the maiden on On The Mark. Price, who works in South Wales for Tim Vaughan, was recording the first double of his career on the half brothers who are both out of the same mare Moore’s Girl and were bought as youngsters in Ireland.
There was a bitter sweet victory for Sarah West who trained Ask Again to win the competitive mixed open. Sarah normally rides the ten-year-old but is now out of action for several weeks having broken her elbow at Larkhill the day before and gave the ride to her good friend Mike Miller who commented after the race: “Riding a horse like this is what it’s all about.”
Ask Again fought like a lion to take the race for the second year in a row after he jumped upsides McSolo over the last and pulled away on the run in to record a two length victory. The win was all the more impressive as he shouldering top weight of 12st7lbs and was giving seven pounds to the three horses who followed him home for place money.
“Mike gave him a lovely quiet ride. He had to run here as this is his track and his ground and he has now won first time out three times here,” said Sarah.
Senor Cid was another horse winning at the course for the second year in a row after he scored in the intermediate for owner Jo Cobden and trainer Jane Reed . His rider Will White said “I thought I was beaten going down to the bottom corner but he tried and tried. He’s a lovely horse to ride.”
Lord of Illusion took a step closer to being a live prospect for the Christie Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival in six weeks time after he found winning the novice riders race a cinch. This grand old handicapper was giving a peach of a ride by Matt Griffiths to win by an easy 11 lengths, always travelling well in front and jumping fluently. His trainer Sue Popham said: “He’s a big strong horse so I said to Matt not to try any heroics. We bought him with the Foxhunters in mind and that’s the plan and he may have a run in a hunter chase before Cheltenham.”
There was a thrilling finish to the restricted with Duxy Hill Lady getting up in the closing stages to win by three quarters of a length from Classic Chance and Ansa The Question. “That was a classic Gundry ride,” commented Ed Walker of his partner Polly with whom he trains the horse.
Another experienced jockey seen at his best was Richard Woollacott who won the members’ race on Bill Westacott’s Come What Augustus beating Gundry on the odds-on favourite Rockwithacaveman who finished third.
The Stags Members: Come What Augustus (Richard Woollacott) 1: Hollandia (Danny Cook) 2: Rockwithacaveman (Polly Gundry) 3. Richard Woollacott 3l, 4l; 7.06.
The Matford Land Rover and John Pearcey Mixed Open: Ask Again (Michael Miller) 1: McSolo (Ian Chanin) 2: Nobody Temms Me (Polly Gundry) 3. Sarah West. 2l, 10l; 6m46.
The Exeter Racecourse Intermediate: Senor Cid (Will White) 1; Crofton (Jack Harris) 2: Thoor Ballylee (Will Biddick) 3. Jane Reed.
The Dodson &Horrell PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders: Lord of Illusion (Matt Griffiths) 1: El Hombre Del Rio (Giles Hawkins) 2: Little Ed (D Pritchard) 3. Sue Popham. 12l; 25l; 6m58.
Masstock Restricted Race: Duxy Hill Lady (Polly Gundry) 1: Classic Chance (K Yates) 2; Ansa The Questions (Will White) 3. Polly Gundry. 3/4l, 1l; 7.09.
The Mountpleasant Inn Open Maiden Div 1: On The Mark (Luke Price) 1: Jaunty (Nick Williams) 2: Hilton Hall (Giles Hawkins) 3. Only 3 finished. Trainer: Luke Price. Time: 7.09. Distances: 5l, 10l.
The Robin Barwell Memorial Open Maiden Race Div 2: Exiles Return (Luke Price) 2; Madam Noso (Ian Chanin) 2; Red Mimi (Alice Mills) 3. Luke Price; 10l, distance. 6.57.