Duvets save the day as Black Forest committee battle the elements

THE Devon & Cornwall Area staged the first point-to-point meeting of the new British season at Black Forest Lodge on Sunday (Nov 28). Racing went ahead despite the grip of the icy cold weather, and the determination of the organisers was well rewarded with a fair sized crowd and 80 runners in the nine races.

The Black Forest Club organisers deserve much credit for defeating sub-zero temperatures, even to the innovation of placing duvets on the landing side of the fences during the past few frosty nights! Jockeys reported decent going on the racing line.

The customary Welsh invasion of the early Black Forest fixtures again paid off.

The Gelligaer Farmers qualified Surenaga was given a positive ride by Sally Randell to beat odds on favourite Le Duc in the Mixed Open. Sally also trains the eight-year-old gelding for owners Mr and Mrs Ken Price near Bridgend. “We got him from Ireland where he had got a bit stale in his previous yard”, she explained.

Twenty-two-year-old Josh Harris rode the first winner of the new season when five –year-old Snope, owned and trained by his mother Michelle at Chepstow, just got the better of the fast finishing Hard To Tell. The winner made most of the running despite jumping continually to the left, and Josh, who works for South Wales trainer Evan Williams, reported his mount as , “very game but will have to go left handed in future”.

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Harris was narrowly denied a double on Ace High Blue in one of the Open Maiden divisions, but fellow Welsh challenger Washed Out stayed on the better under Isabel Tompsett. “We got down to a temperature of minus eight early today when we left home. It was a three hour journey from Tonyrafail in the Rhonnda and my first visit to this course,” said a relieved owner/trainer Kim Thomas, who bought the Luso gelding privately in August.

Fully Loaded’s nine pointing wins last season earned him the National Leading Horse award, and this ultra game gelding carried on where he left off with a convincing win in the Novice Riders’ contest. Plymouth University student Emma Pugsley was in the saddle this time on the family horse trained by her grandfather Gerald Greenway. “He won’t go hunter chasing and may re-appear at Wadebridge next month,” said Gerald, intimating a challenge for the leading novice rider title with Emma.

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Richard Hawkins made a successful comeback from a recent injury sustained at Cheltenham to steer Son of Flame home in one of the two and a half miles Maiden races.

“He is a nice horse but pulled hard,” said the rider. Mr and Mrs Peter Clarke’s five-year-old is trained by Keith Cumings, who trained the dam Flame O’ Frensi, and said the youngster was “a bit weak last year and likely to improve”.

Lucy Gardner was relieved to get on the scoreboard when Diamond Supreme took the concluding Maiden. Lucy trains this ex-Henrietta Knight eight-year-old for Craig Brian and said, “I have been unlucky and missed the end of the past two seasons with injuries, but feel good now”.

Mendip based Chloe Roddick was another trainer/rider to find the winner’s enclosure when The Slug pulled clear of Warwickshire trained Tough Cookie in the other Maiden.

Travellers won both divisions of the Restricted. Busy Times, owned by Lorna Vaughan and trained by Glyn Watkins at Ross on Wye, ran on strongly to beat Furmagiatt.

The Tanatside gelding Timeshift was an impressive winner of the other Restricted division in the fastest time of the day. A heavily backed favourite, David Mansell’s mount was always going easily.

?The next point to point of the season will be held on December 12 at Wadebridge in Cornwall on the Royal Cornwall Showground and then, on December 28, festive racing action will be at Ideford Arch, just outside Kingsteignton, near Newton Abbot.

?Front Page, trained by Monique Pike, died following a hit and run accident in Sidbury on Monday. The horse’s rider thankfully suffered no major injury - see Friday’s Sidmouth Herald.

Open Maiden (2m 4f) Division 1:

1, Snope (Josh Harris)

2, Hard to Tell (James Banks)

3, Satisfied (Richie Barrett)

10 ran: 1/2l; 1l; 5m 28s

Open Maiden (2m 4f) Division 2:

1, Son of Flame (Richard Hawkins)

2, Don’t Look Bach (David Mansell)

3, Sweet Willow (Jamie Thomas)

6 ran: 10l; 30l; 5m 38s

Club Members’ Novice Riders:

1, Fully Loaded (Emma Pugsley)

2, Paddy the Piper (Michael Heard)

3, Pastek (Martin Peaty)

9 ran: 6l; 3l; 6m 3s

Restricted Division 1:

1, Timeshift (David Mansell)

2, Red Watch (Miss Jody Hughes)

3, Someothertime (Paul Tolman)

9 ran: 10l; 15l; 5m 59s

Mixed Open:

1, Surenaga (Miss Sally Randell)

2, Le Duc (Jack Barber)

3, Armoury House (Tom Ellis)

8 ran; 30l; 10l; 6m 0s

Open Maiden Division 1:

1, The Slug (Miss Chloe Roddick)

2,Tough Cookie (Jonny England)

3, Peyekashe (Miss Hannah L:ewis)

8 ran: 6l; 2l; 6m 5s

Open Maiden Division 2:

1, Washed Out (Miss Isobel Tompsett)

2, Ace High Blue (Josh Harris)

3, Tachbury (Evan David)11 ran; 10l; 5l; 6m 8s

Open Maiden Division 3:

1, Diamond Supreme (Miss Lucy Gardner)

2, Mister Cee Jay (Miss Emily Harbour)

3, King Dick (Tom Chanin)

11 ran; 6l; 1/2l; 6m 11s

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