A great way to end Cheltenham Festival week is to go along to the Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers meeting at Lower Dean, Buckfastleigh, when they host their meeting on Sunday 15th March. Pony racing, sponsored by Barton Sawmills, heads up the action at 11.00am, with the main seven-race card commencing at noon.
The feature race of the day is the £1000 West Country Men's Open, sponsored by Totnes & Bridgetown Races Co. Ltd. Entries include previous National Hunt winner Sausalito Sunrise for the Alexandra Dunn team. He won a Hunter Chase at Hexham last season, and started this season with an impressive ten-length win at Cocklebarrow in January. Fishy Story, for trainer Stuart Sampson, could figure and was impressive when she bounced back from a year's break when she battled on for a short head win ahead of Sixteen Letters at Milborne St Andrew last month. Three Faces West (Bethan Childs) has strong claims after his win at this track in January under jockey Nathan Vergne, although also holds an entry at the Cothelstone meeting on Saturday. Local entry Dicky Bob (Verity Nicholls), now a veteran, knows this track well and could figure.
The popular grey Dicky Bob also holds an entry in the Skinner's Ladies' Open, which may be a preferred option for the gelding, with the booking of local jockey Millie Wonnacott to ride. Millie also looks to have the option of riding her mother's owned and trained Heaney, who was impressive when winning a Hunter Chase at Exeter last April. This race looks very competitive, with recent Chipley Park winner Silsol for jockey Ella Orttewell, Badbury Rings winner Master Baker for Jo Supple, and promising young mare Goldbury (having the benefit of a mare's weight allowance and winning nicely at the Wadebridge December meeting under Natalie Parker) also among the entries.
The opening Members' Race is sponsored by Ashburton Motors. This looks to be a battle among the locals, with The Meters Running, for the Gordon Chambers yard, looking to follow up on his Great Trethew win last weekend. They could come up against Rebecca Welch's Somewhere To Be, who ran second at Wadebridge but found the conditions tough when pulling up at Great Trethew last weekend, and Moonaro, another local entry, who has clocked up some decent previous place form for the Kingsbridge-based Darke family.
Clever Des Assence (Laura Parker), who ran third here at the January meeting, and Stevan Steel (Janet Ackner), who was second at the Didmarton meeting, are just two catching the eye in the Luscombe Maye-sponsored Open Maiden.
In the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate, Dean Summersby's Banco de Logos ran a decent three-length second at Chipley Park and should be among the favourites, with jockey Darren Edwards on a winning roll. Outside raider Hard Ground (Gearoid Costelloe) won his Restricted at Higham last month and is the highest-rated, but looks to prefer a sound surface which he may not find here unless the ground dries. The Galloping Bear, for the Ben Clarke team, looks progressive with wins at Ffos Las and Wadebridge, with the ground not seeming an issue for him, and he could score again for jockey Darren Andrews.
The Winston Pincombe-sponsored Novice Riders' Race could go the way of recent Wadebridge winner Raddon Top (Les Jefford) for promising young jockey Conor Houlihan, who will try and fend off multiple Point winner Supreme Danehill (Alan Hill), who is also among the nine entered.
To end the day is a four- & five-year-old Flat Race, sponsored by M1 Plant Engineering, with debutants to note as suggestions being Fevertre (Nicky Martin) The Ramp Sleeper (Teresa Clark) and local entry Allaboutthememories (Lee Glanville).
This track is steeped in history, and offers fantastic viewing, beer tent, hot and cold food and refreshments, bookies and a host of interesting trade stands. Easy access along the A38, postcode TQ11 0LT. Entrance to the course is £10 per person, under-16s free. Dogs on leads welcome. Check www.pointingdc.co.uk or the Devon & Cornwall Point-to-Point Facebook page for up-to-date information.