Preview: The Dulverton West Foxhounds at Bratton Down

  • Posted: Thursday, 18th May 2017
  • Author: Donna Harris
  • Photo: Tim Holt

This coming weekend will see the first of the three Point-to-Point meetings – the Dulverton West – to be held at the popular Bratton Down course, on Sunday 21st May, with over 120 entries received.

Racegoers not only enjoy the stunning location of the course, which boasts a backdrop view of Exmoor, but also some exciting racing with seven races on offer, starting at 2pm. Three pony races, sponsored by Victor and Gerald Dartnall, precede the main races, the first at 12.45pm. The Bratton Down Committee wish to express their gratitude to every person involved in staging these events, as without their help they would not be possible.

The four-mile Brands Hotel-sponsored Mixed Open looks to be the feature of the day, with the first two ladies past the post qualifying for the Skinner's Ladies Open Final, to be held at Stratford-on-Avon on Friday 9th June. The Rose Loxton-trained entry Join Together is a previous course winner here, when ridden by Megan Nicholls, and could have the booking of Bryony Frost, who is currently leading the Ladies' Area title. They could be up against Jepeck from the Kayley Woollacott team, who is equally rated. The two met recently in a Hunter Chase at Cheltenham, finishing third and fourth respectively, and the Loxton team will be looking to reverse the placings here, having had to settle for a one-and-a-quarter-length reverse that day.

The Restricted opens the main card. Amongst the 25 entries is River Myth from the Stuart Sampson team, who was unlucky to be brought down at the second fence last weekend at Trebudannon when ridden by Darren Andrews, so the team will be looking for better luck here. The main danger could come from the Ed Walker-trained Santini, after his 15-length win at Didmartin. Steel Brush is another catching the eye, having stayed on well to win at Holnicote for Keith Cumings' team.

The Bob Pittard Bookmakers-sponsored Open Maiden follows, in which the Alan Hill-trained Big Time Frank catches the eye after his recent second at Kingston Blount, having made most of the running. However, the two Jack Barber-trained debutants – Hugo Horse and Stradivarious Davis – must be respected and should go well here if ground suits.

In the Philip & Sarah Hobbs-sponsored Club Members' Conditions race, Athreeothree stands out having bounced back to form with a win at the Axe Vale meeting following a fall at the Cotley meeting in April. Ballybough Gorta is also a suggestion having run a neck-second at Littlewindsor earlier this month for the Henderson family.

There follows a really hot PPORA Members' Riders' Conditions race in which eight of the 23 entries are rated 100 or over, including Athreeothree, Chosen Lucky, Flying Eagle, Mic's Delight and Tom Barton. The vote could go to Chosen Lucky, if bouncing back from his disappointing Hunter Chase run at Cheltenham. He had previously won all his six starts to date for the Summersby team. Flying Eagle could be the main danger, from the Michael Bowen team for son James to ride. The combination is already on a season's hat-trick with wins at Chaddesley Corbett, Lydstep and Pyle. Jepeck also holds an entry in this race and should run well for the Wollacott team. This race has kindly been sponsored by Nancekivel & Co Estate Agents.

In the James Pryce Tractors-sponsored Intermediate, Deadly Move is a suggestion. He's on a season's hat-trick for the Michael Bowen team, but could come up against Carrignapple, out of the Dean Summersby yard, who was impressive when he scored a 20-length win at Flete Park under Leading Area jockey Darren Edwards. The Robert Chanin-trained Norman Conquest looks to be progressive and should go close.

In the concluding Brewer Harding & Rowe-sponsored Club Members' mares and fillies race, Posh Totty stands out. She was running well off the pace when catching up fast to finish a two-length second at the Axe Vale meeting. Miss Gotaway looks her main danger; she has won or been placed in all eight of her point starts to date, is game, and acts on any going.

This is a superb family day out, with trade stands, hot food and refreshments, bar, and on-course bookies. Entrance is £10 per person, up to a max. of £30 per car. Buses welcome at £10 per person. Children under-16 free. Only dogs on leads welcome. Early bird discount e-tickets can be obtained via the website

Course is located at Bratton Fleming, 9m NE of Barnstaple on A399, 11m N of South Molton – EX31 4SG.