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Farmers Bloodhounds
Sunday 14th December 2008

by Geoff Handley

Despite all the rain the previous day, the course looked in great condition, the official going was good, good to soft in places, though on the day many runners were finishing tired and there were many pulled up suggesting it may have been testing in places.

With so many declarations both divisions of the Maiden were split and each race was run every 30 minutes instead of the publicised 35 minutes

Open Maiden Division 1 (Part 1)
Ten went to post to open proceedings for the Farmers Bloodhounds meeting and victory went to Manta King given a fine ride by Rachel King.

Always up with the pace this 5 year old mare jumped really well, and came home clear by ten lengths from Astormydayiscoming for Kelda Wood; this ten year old should find a maiden, jumped well in the main. This was his first race for two years and should come on for the run.

One to note was Lushes Run back in third who was finishing for the first time for Phillip York. This seven year old grey is another to benefit for the run.

Nearly Dark was fourth Cynita Barbada was nibbled in the market at around 4/1 for the yard of Marie Mcguinness but on his debut never showed until pulling up. Loiuse’s Princess pulled up at the seventh, Happy Flyer pulled up and Imtheluckoneone and Owsten Ferry ran reasonable races before weakening and pulling up.

Open Maiden Division 1 (Part 2)
An impressive victory for Top Benefit. Held up on the first circuit, David Mansell took it up second time round and came home a distance clear in a time of 7/14, fourteen seconds quicker than the opening division. Trained by Julie Houldey at Sandfield Park Stables, Top Benefit pulled up on his only starts in Irish points but showed a little promise under rules in Ireland.

Touchdown Kid was runner up and Drom third. Ardeotis on his debut was weak in the market but ran well for a long way before pulling up.

Open Maiden Division 2 (Part 1)
Glen Tulloch and Glen Mill went off at a fast pace and Glen Tulloch stayed there leading all the way and jumping well for Nolan Byrne, he tired somewhat up the hill after the last but was always holding Cracking Cliché and Adrian Wintle (u/r leaving the paddock). Rash Oak was eyecatching in third and Supreme Henry in fourth

Open Maiden Division 2 (Part 2)
The final maiden with nine going to post and a good finish with Definite Article just getting the better of the fav Port Talbot; these two were up with pace for most of the way and Port Talbot looked like prevailing but Jeremy Mahot got the better on the run in. Port Talbot has been second four times on the run now and can surely find a win before long for the Mason’s. God Gordon was four lengths back in third Redskyatnight one of the market leaders never got competitive for Tom Ellis before pulling up.

PPORA Club Members
The form should work out well and it's worth following the winner Turthen and runner up Grenfell.
Turthen was most impressive, basically winning on the bit for Charlotte Tizzard and had the option of running in the Open. He ran twice over the National fences and finished second in the Grand Military when trained by Paul Nicholls and is now trained by Charlie Fox (of Red Brook Lad fame) . Turthen looks an exciting recruit to Pointing and must be followed.

Heavily backed in the ring and starting around 5/4, Sam Twiston-Davies had a dream ride on Grenfell but was no match for the winner. Olivier never got into the race and was disappointing for Claire Allen.

Mixed Open
Kingscliff was probably the most impressive Points winner I have seen, he looked well in the paddock, led from start to finish jumping in fine style and coming home in splendid isolation with the rest of this competitive field strung out across Oxfordshire. This was a sparkling return to Pointing and he was given a fine ride by Ian Chanin. Now trained by Marie McGuineess, Kingscliff is on the shortlist for the Foxhunters on this performance, a race he last won back in 2003 when a heavily backed favourite. He started around 3/1 but better prices were available and it will be interesting to see where he goes next but certainly won't be that price next time.

The rest of this field never got near him. The favourite Cottage River to his credit tried to go with him but paid the price and pulled up four out. Irilut was second, Heavy Weather ran a fine race in third with well touted Worship The Stars and Little Ed finishing fourth and fifth.

A total of nineteen went to post for the Restricted and a quick fire double for trainer Marie McGuiness with Shady Hollow (the fav) with Ryan Bliss on board. Shady Hollow was never far off the pace and always jumping well he won by a comfortable ten lengths from Pretty Lady Rose, running an eyecatching run in second for Mark Wall and is one to note next time. One For The Lads was third and Scatterred Scarlet was fourth (looked well in the paddock and made some late headway).

A double for trainer Julie Houldey and jockey David Mansell with the odds on We're Confused gradually warming to the task and running on strongly to hold the determined challenge of Absolutely Barking. A winner at Maisemore and Woodford last season, he's said to being aiming for the Red Mills Final.

It was now getting rather cold and had been a long day but those brave souls left probably saw the closest finish of the day with Josephine Banks on Haggle Twins just getting the better of the fav Sudden Arrival and Will Telfer. Both landed over the last together but Haggle Twins got up near the line. The winner is trained by Fergal O’Brien.

Overall, a cracking days racing and this is what Point To Point is all about. Ninety Four runners went to post and at £10 admission, excellent value for money, though just to see Kingscliff jump from pillar to post was well worth the entrance fee!

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