by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

Most racecourses have a meeting where one of the days are classified ‘Ladies Day’.  This was to be Ladies Day here at Cherrybrook (the programme says Cherry Brook, the map says Cherrybrook so I’ll share it around a little!) but it had nothing to do with fancy clothes and sling back shoes, this was to do with those gallant females who climb onto the back of Point to Pointers and race them around a 3 miles track, jumping obstacles en-route and finishing in the fastest time possible.  Eight races the ladies could have won and they only managed to claim seven!  They beat the best of the male jockeys throughout the afternoon in fine style.

The weather was perfect, the going was good, the declarations were adequate and all in all this was Pointing at its best!  I had come out of the three days of Aintree quite well off but looked to this afternoon to increase the bank.  I was to be disappointed, as luck did not favour me too well today.

With only two entries in The Ward & Chowen Hunt Race and the winner being a forgone conclusion, it was amazing how many different type of bets the ‘bookies’ came up with to temp the ‘must have a bet’ punter.  I do not fancy staking any money on distances between horses at point-to-point meetings as I find the judge normally has a horse length three times greater than mine or even half the length of mine.  How do you work out a distance between galloping horses when your main concern is to read the number cloth of the first four home, which is sometimes covered in mud and, on the other side of the one that could be in front!  They do a darn good job and thankfully their voice is Final.  In this case it was the best turned out Mr Kelvin-Hughes’s HOBBYCYR ridden by Polly Gundry who came in first by a distance of 15 lengths with M Wilkins’s WOLLY, (Trevor Cole) second.  A lot of people were surprised at the good performance put up by WOLLY and there is no doubt we will see the dark bay seven year old again.  Ladies One Men Nil!

The Warm Welcome Group Restricted Race Division One attracted 12 entries and some keen interest in the betting ring!  The ‘best turned out’ Mr R Wilkins’s SKI SEAL (Miss R Green) took a great deal of the money but unfortunately his fate was to fall.  Mrs C Lawrence’s WINDYEDGE (A Middleton) set off at a good pace and was to be joined by D Hooper’s blinkered, CASTLEHALE (J Congdon) and these two stretched the field out considerably.  Mrs Brake’s FRANKLY FEAR (Neil Harris) and Mrs Doyne-Ditmas’s BRIDGE HOUSE BOY (A Oliver) followed at least 15 lengths behind.  With a circuit left to run CASTLEHALE pushed on clear of FRANKLY FEAR now with WINDYEDGE having been pulled up.  With three left to jump it was still CASTLEHALE out in front with a four-length advantage over FRANKLY FEAR being pursued by a group of others – BRIDGE HOUSE BOY, MYSTIC WARRIOR(R Darke) and Miss P Mitchell’s MOORLAND ROSE (S Young).  From here on in all things changed and they were overtaken by the fast finishing (as is her game plan) MOORLAND ROSE, with BRIDGE HOUSE BOY taking second place and FRANKLY FEAR in third spot.  A decent time of 6 minutes 18 seconds was recorded.  It was good to see Ian Hambley back on track racing again after his helicopter ride last weekend but the stewards wanted to see more of him after his horse was pulled up and they accepted the fact that his horse MISTER CONE was skipping and not galloping as was requested.  Why did he want to change legs so many times I ask myself?  Ladies Two Men Nil!

The second division of the restricted race sponsored by KVN Stockdale also had 12 runners and after the success Mr Rawle had last weekend I chose his YOUMEANDHIM (G Edwards) to boost the account somewhat!  Lucy Gardner would be riding her home-trained CADES BAY who has been seen attempting Hunter Chases without much success and Miss K Langdell’s DEDALUS is here, to be ridden by the trainer – A Farrant.  Polly has the ride on her boss’s DUKE OF ALBANY and Les Jefford is on the Atherton’s JONNY GARRISON but I am sticking with my first choice!  I enjoyed this race as my interest was proving a sensible one as CADES BAY and YOUMEANDHIM were making the running and doing it with quite a gap between them and the following pack.  With four left to jump my horse was leading but only just.  After jumping the second last fence, CADES BAY picked up the inside line and with it its advantages and the two were racing together for the final fence.  After the final fence it was CADES BAY that went away and took the race by a distance of five lengths with DEDALUS 20 lengths further back in third place.  A good race and it eases the pain when you see your investment, at least, being fought for!! Ladies Three Men Nil!!

A man will not win the Ladies Open so it will be Ladies Four Men Nil on the completion of this well contested Unique Building Contractors sponsored race.  R Kelvin-Hughes’ SAILORS FOLLY (P Gundry) hasn’t lost a race yet other than when unshipping Polly at Chipley Park, Caroline Stuckley is aboard the consistent PHOENIX PHYLER, Mandy Hand is on T Stevens’ BARDON HILL BOY, previously a consistent type but weakened in first attempt this season, Sally Alford’s JUST BERT in the hands of Tabitha Cave is on the way back and looked good last week.  So off we go for The Ladies Open!  First past the judge and at the open ditch the field was led by PHOENIX PHYLER followed closely by SAILORS FOLLY, JUST BERT, BARDON HILL LAD and LADY LIR (S Young) with ANOTHER BULA (Miss S Robinson) bringing up the rear.   This situation did not change very much and that order was still in place as they passed the judge for the final time and went off out into the country.  SAILORS FOLLY decided on this circuit to jump right at a couple of the fences and lose ground and when pushed to catch up apparently jumped further right and lost more ground ceasing to be a threat to PHOENIX PHYLER who had increased his lead and pulled away from JUST BERT with BARDON HILL BOY now making a great effort to get on terms; BITRAN also began to look a little more interested.  At the last Caroline kept her horse going well and did not let BARDON HILL BOY get the better of her and won by four lengths with Ollie Green on BITAN third, 12 lengths further adrift.  That’s it - Ladies Four Men Nil.

The Pippa Langston Memorial Confined Hunts Race brought out 10 runners and as at Buckfastleigh we had a ‘Dead-Heat’ in a race, here we had a ‘Dead-Heat’ in The Best Turned Out, most unusual but both Mrs Prouse’s HENSUE and Miss Smale’s JAMESWICK both looked a credit to their connections.  I chose Mrs Chanin’s CERTAIN ANGLE (D Edwards) to fill my coffers but it was that Lucy Gardner onboard G Brown’s GREY CISEAUX who took the first prize with my interest running an excellent race only two lengths behind with the Froud’s AMTRACK EXPRESS back in third.  Young Mr Edwards must be getting fed up of seeing the slim rear end of Lucy (and horse!) up in front of him by now as this is the second occasion this afternoon where this has happened but he is getting closer!  Ladies Five (Lucy Gardner 2) Men Nil

The Newton Abbot Racecourse Intermediate Race brought out nine runners and as usual ALL runners qualify for the Newton Abbot Racecourse Hunter Chase final at Newton Abbot on Saturday 25th May 2002 over three miles two furlongs 100 yards (and probably three inches as that is the width of the finishing line!!).  Nick Mitchell will be on the Faulks’s PENDRAGON, the horse with good form and the consistent Polly Curling trained POSHASYOULIKE will be a threat and Mrs Ackner’s HORRIFIED (D Edwards) is getting better but his antics in the parade ring when he disappeared back to his box without his handler has not impressed me but there is also the Eliott’s SUPREME FIONA (R Darke) who was well backed in a South Devon maiden.  I chose POSHASYOULIKE to carry my investment but I did not get a very good price.  I should talk less and invest quicker!!  On passing the judge for the first time, my investment was travelling well in first place, SUPREME FIONA took the ditch a bit flat and pecked on landing but Richard Darke remained onboard but Mark Heuff on J Greatrex’s CHORAL EVEING was not so lucky and landed up on the deck but no injuries to either.  TRUE HUSTLER, LEE JAY LUCKI and FOSSY BEAR were close up behind.  Noticeably in the final rank was PENDRAGON who had gone off favourite but was giving them all a good start so far.  At the ditch for the final time it was Sue Young on FOSSY BEAR who jumped really well and took up the lead from POSHASYOULIKE followed by SUPREME FIONA and TRUE HUSTLER.  PENDRAGON was not up with the leaders and leaving everything very late.  At three out FOSSY BEAR was over clear and one could see PENDRAGON now making a determined effort to come up the inside.  SUPREME FIONA was still second and POSHASYOULIKE was still available.  Over the last FOSSY BEAR was out in front being chased by PENDRAGON with SUPREME FIONA, THE CRIOSRA (Miss T Newman) and POSHASYOULIKE.  That is exactly how they finished with five lengths between FOSSY BEAR and PENDRAGON and six lengths away was SUPREME FIONA in third.  Yes maybe PENDRAGON was held up too long but no one told FOSSY BEAR that that would be so!!  Horse to watch – SUPREME FIONA – it will win next time!  On the back of the winner, another lady - Ladies Six (Sue Young Two Lucy Gardner Two) Men Nil!

Here comes a more definite chance for the men to win a race.  Is this what they have to do to get in the winners enclosure?  Have a race to themselves!! The Roger Young Landrover Men’s Open Race.  Seven runners to post.  I will support ‘the best turned out’, Simon White’s FRYS LANE, as usual but the class form horse in the race is definitely The Lets Get It On Club’s DARAYDAN (A Farrant) who impressed me immensely when winning the four mile race and other open races.  Mr G Johnson’s HERMINIUS (C Heard) is being touted as the one to be on but he will have had to improve considerably from his last run when he didn’t finish in the race won by R Rawle’s LONGSTONE LAD.  The other horse with form but not quite at this grade is B Evans’ & Mrs P Wilkins’ JOLITAN who has won his last two.  Then did you remember Mrs Rising’s YOUNICO (A Charles-Jones) making ELLIEWELLIEWOO change gear from bottom to second to climb the finishing hill at Kilworthy; deserves some respect!  Off they go!  DARAYDAN lost quite a few lengths over the ditch on the first circuit but all others jumped well and were grouped up.  I had a whisper in my ear at this stage, which stated that DARAYDAN nearly ‘ran out’.  Oh dear! I feel sorry for favourite backers – or do I, FRYS LANE I in the leading group!  At the judge with a full circuit to run it was my investment, FRYS LAND leading the field with HERMINIUS in second place and the remainder following all in with a chance.  On reaching the far end of the course my choice faded, dropped back to fifth place and I know not why!  HERMINIUS now led with LONGSTONE LAD taking a much closer order and DARAYDAN still close up.  Four from home and then three from home it was LONGSTONE LAD and HERMINIUS who fought it out with DARAYDAN waiting in the wings.  HERMINIUS faded and the other two were left to race to the line.  A good race with DARAYDAN getting up to win by half a length from LONGSTONE LAD with HERMINIUS a further eight lengths back in third place.  The men have won a race.  The unusual sight this afternoon to see a male in the winner’s enclosure.  Ladies Six Men One

Two divisions of Confined Hunts Maiden were now on the cards and I needed money and I knew exactly where to get it.  The horse I am going to invest heavily on ran extremely well at Kilworthy.  His owner/trainer has not had him long and is putting the finishing touches to his training to bring him here 100% fit.  A very important factor today also is that he will have a lady on his back!  I will have to be careful of Lucy Gardner on G Brown’s CAPTAIN RANDOM because he is definitely here with a small chance, as is E Retter’s IRIS D’ESTRUVAL (A Charles-Jones) but the car tax money which is now due, has been ‘borrowed’ and will duly be placed on Andrew Congdon’s WILD BAVARD to be ridden by his daughter, Jennifer.  On passing the judge for the first time, it was Mandy on her JO’S WEDDING who was having his normal mad dash before hopefully settling down, followed by Lucy on CAPTAIN RANDOM with WILD BAVARD and IRIS D’ESTRUVAL following close up.  On reaching the cross fence IRIS D’ESTRUVAL made a mistake and paid the penalty which means the form will now carry a little letter ‘f’ after the previous figure ‘2’.  My horse jumped it really well.  With a circuit to run my ‘money carrier’ was going well now in the lead with Lucy not getting the message on CAPTAIN RANDOM and still following very close.  In third place and still going well was Darren Edwards on the Heywood’s IMPREVU, a newcomer I believe to the P-to-P circuit.  At the third last it was definitely going to be another win for a Lady but which one I ask myself.  Not really in doubt – WILD BRAVARD continue to increase his lead and came home with out a hitch to land me my spoils and win by 15 lengths from CAPTAIN RANDOM who was 25 lengths in front of the mare SUPER SAFFRON.  Ladies Seven Men One (The Men’s Open).

Final race and great discussions were afoot to find a male jockey who could dispense with this female monopoly of the racecourse.  Mr Retter has a horse here called MAD JACK with Alex Charles-Jones on his back, very little form but then its not so new for Mr Retter to bring one out of the blue, remember SBS BY JOVE at Wadebridge some time back.  Surely Richard on ROYAL RUMOUR for the Chanin supporters can pull it off.  They have to beat Sue Young who is after a treble and Amanda Barnett who is after a winner here.  The grey mare R Oliver’s GOLDEN JESTER took Amanda Barnett off as though five furlongs would be too far!  Fifteen length advantage over the fourth and still going strong!  At the eight fence the ladies chances had improved when Mrs England’s DERRITON MILLER encouraged Colin Heard to jump off leaving two ladies to beat four men!  GOLDEN JESTER did not simmer down and unfortunately gave Amanda Barnett a nasty fall but she came to no harm and was back riding out again this morning (Monday).  Well the race developed into a two-horse affair and eventually after a very good race by both jockeys, Richard brought home ROYAL RUMOUR to win by two and half-lengths from Alex on MAD JACK.  Not this time Mr Retter but no doubt soon!  The third horse to come home was K Redwood’s BUTLER DID IT a long way back.  Our young grand-daughter Jade was with us today and this was her first winner but the shrieks of delight as the green & pink colours of the Chanins flashed past was well worth waiting for.  The men had won a race – well done, you are getting better!!

A good days racing in good company, lovely weather and money in the kitty.  Next week - Badbury Rings for the meeting of The Portman Hunt on Saturday and then back to Cornwall for the East Cornwall Foxhounds at Great Trethew on Sunday.  Its getting better every weekend so I will see you there. 

Cheers Fred