MAY 2003
by Lee Glanville

In typical Bratton Down fashion suncream wasn’t quite the order of the day at the Exmoor point to point, but the quality of the racing was enough to keep anyone warm.

Despite runners making a cut in the ground, times were quick - the Ladies’ open taking just 5.51 minutes. Fossy Bear, by Basil Young’s Cornish based stallion Lir finished with a typically blistering run under Basil’s daughter Sue to beat Sarah Gaisford, who had galvanised Guru Rinpoche into producing his run of the season (at 50-1 in some places) and both beat Rimpton Boy (Chloe Roddick) home. Gaisford is proving as good a rider as anyone this season and has conjured up some great runs from her mounts. The victory was only slight compensation for the Young family losing Track O Profit after the horse broke a pastern in the Newton Abbot hunter chase the previous week.

Young had very nearly been in the winners’ enclosure in the second Restricted, Lirkimalong, also by Lir, finishing with a wet sail but just too late to encroach on Sporting Chance’s eight length lead and Highway Oak was a fast diminishing neck second.

The Men’s open was also out of the top drawer.  Virtually the entire field were bunched up, and really travelling, as they passed the crowd for the second time. Woodlands Beau (Nick Mitchell) forged ahead but was joined by Red Native (Nick Williams) who went on to overhaul the leader by just half a length, with Tony’s Time and Les Jefford making late ground to finish a further three parts of a length back  in third.

Jefford proved that with the right ammunition he is very difficult to beat when winning the Intermediate on Don Royal, Father Mansfield (Caroline Prouse) six lengths second. Don Royal is another horse returning to his early season form.

It was good to see Robbie Rawle’s lovely horse Doublet taking the Confined under Richard Woollacott as, after a bright start to the season, the horse hasn’t had the best luck in running.

In the first restricted ­ the race was divided on the day - Slaney Lass looked like she might overhaul Burley Don Carlos (Charlotte Stucley) at one point but the David Pipe trained favourite accelerated clear like a very good horse to win by 10 lengths.

Both maiden’s were typical end of season affairs but the first division provided another close finish for the hordes of spectators, after many of the runners had come to grief early on. 

Results: Countryside Alliance Members: 1, Doublet, R Woollacott; 2, Zatopek, L Heard; 3, Harnage, Miss C Prouse. Seven ran, 20l, 3l, 6.01.

Restricted Div One: 1, Burley Don Carlos, Miss C Stucley; 2, Slaney Lass, M Jackson; 3, Lord of the Mist, N Williams. 10 ran, 10l, 1 1/2l, 5.56.

Div Two: 1, Sporting Chance, M Munrowd; 2, Highway Oak, A Charles Jones; 3, Lirkimalong, Miss S Young. Nine ran, 8 ran nk, 5.55.

Intermediate: 1, Don Royal, L Jefford; 2, Father Mansfield, Miss C Prouse; 3, Vansell, N Williams. Seven ran, 6l, 3l, 5.55.

Ladies Open: 1, Fossy Bear, Miss S Young; 2, Guru Rinpoche, Miss S Gaisford; 3, Rimpton Boy, Miss C Roddick. Seven ran, 2l, 3l, 5.51.

Mens Open: 1, Red Native, N Williams; 2, Woodlands Beau, N Mitchell; 3, Tony’s time, L Jefford. 10 ran, 1/2l, 3/4l, 5.54.

Open maiden Div One: 1, Winsley Spirit, Miss T Cave; 2, Zakley, C Heard; 3, Game Endeavor, J White. Nine ran, nk, 1l, 6.12.

Div Two: 1, Erics Way, J Barnes; 2,Hold On Harry, L Heard; 3, Morchard Mill, M Woodward. 14 ran, 5l, 8l, 6.04.