by Lee Glanville

The point to point season was back in business at Bratton Down. Top class sport was on offer after a spell in the firm ground doldrums ­ but only for those who could brave the elements and forego the FA Cup final and the Devon County Show.

And trainers brought their horses in droves. Both maiden races ­ divided on entry ­ were divided on declaration giving an eventual nine race card.

Highlights of the meeting were a treble for reigning champion rider Polly Gundry, a double for trainer Ollie Bush and the finishes of the mixed open and part two division two of the maiden.

Gundry got off the mark for the meeting on Maori Chief in the first of the four maidens, and followed up in the first part of division two on What A Mover and Mrs Be in the Confined, both trained by Ollie Bush near Cullompton. What A Mover is partly owned by Terry Hamlin who had a previous engagement commentating in the main ring at the Devon County Show. What A Mover beat fellow East Devon-qualified horse Beau Supreme (Les Jefford) who
was finishing second for the third time this season.

Jefford was also runner up to Gundry in the Confined on Alan Walter's Parte Prima who was running without blinkers for the first time this season, and ran well. If it had all gone wrong Walter, who runs a racehorse transport
business, would have had to take the rap from his wife Jane who was on duty at Doncaster Sales. The last two fences in this race were dolled off due to injured riders and the already length run-in was from the third last fence.

Former national champion Jefford must wonder what else he has to do to get back in the winner's enclosure as he was also second in the opening members' race on Happy Team. There were no complaints here as it was great to see Robbie Rawle's Longstone Lad (Richard Woollacott) back in front after what has been, for him, a disappointing season. 

Another horse good to see back in the limelight was the previously top class The Bounder who was third in
the mixed open. The finish in that race was battled out between eventual winner Dan Drake on the Sally Alner trained Oscar Wilde and Track O Profit (Sue Young), interestingly the only horse not by the Young family's stallion Lir they have ever run at Bratton Down.

Burley Don Carlos showed a great deal of spirit battling with Panhandle (Nick Mitchell) in the last division of the maiden as Charlotte Stucley lost her whip half way up the run-in. He was briefly headed but ran on well, the judge having to split the two, as even the riders weren't sure who had won.

Electronic scales were in operation for the first five races, and worked well to begin with, but the manual variety were brought back into action before a spell of odd readouts on the display panel were able to cause chaos.

Results: Members: 1, Longstone Lad, R Woollacott; 2, Happy Team, L Jefford; 3, Zatopek, L Heard. Seven ran, 5l, 10l, 6.27.

Mixed Open: 1, Oscar Wilde, D Drake; 2, Track O Profit, Miss S Young; 3, The Bounder, Miss C Tizzard. Eight ran, 1l, 4l, 6.20.

Open maiden division one part one: 1, Maori Chief, Miss P Gundry; 2, Pharsu, J Snowden; 3, Son of Courage, N Harris. Nine ran, 20l, 20l, 6.38.

Part two: 1, The Grey Shadow, G Barfoot Saunt; 2, Zakley, C Heard; 3, Pipersland, N Harris. Nine ran, 6l, 12l, 6.52.

Division Two part one: 1, What A Mover, Miss P Gundry; 2, Beau Supreme, L Jefford; 3, Martby, M Atkinson. 11 ran, 5l, 6l, 6.38.

Part two: 1, Burley Don Carlos, Miss C Stucley; 2, Panhandle, N Mitchell; 3, General Ajwaad, L Tibbatts. Nine ran, nk, 15l, 6.38.

Intermediate: 1, Keitho, N Williams; 2, The King's Fling, Miss P Gundry; 3, Le Cure, J Barnes. 4l, 7l, 6.36

Confined: 1, Mrs Be, Miss P Gundry; 2, Parte Prima, L Jefford; 3, Cool Wager, M Miller. 12 ran, 5l, 8l, 6.26.

Restricted: 1, Mr Banker, Miss K Clift; 2, Uncle James, Miss L Guillfoyle; 3, Eagle Hill, C heard. 13 ran, 2l, 6l, 6.34.