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Pre-season news from Devon & Cornwall

DEVON & CORNWALL AREA

Granville Taylor & Donna Harris 

THE historic racecourse of Buckfastleigh is the setting that will herald the start of the new pointing season on Sunday November 18th.

This joint fixture between the Silverton and the Mid Devon Hunts is sure to attract runners from far and wide, and a warm welcome is assured at this friendly Devon course, easily accessible from the A38 (Devon Expressway), midway between Exeter and Plymouth.

The track is steeped in history, having hosted National Hunt racing from 1883 until 1960. The point-to-point line is now left handed over two and a half circuits, with the first three fences on the perimeter alongside the main road. The winning post is just past the derelict old grandstand.

Each of the reigning Area champion jockeys are expected to be in action at the first meeting. Will Biddick, also busy training six pointers this year, starts the new campaign with the objective of regaining the National jockeys’ title. He secured this award six times in succession until finishing runner up to Alex Edwards last season. Will also has Richard Burton’s record number of 414 career winners in sight, but a more pressing commitment prior to the new season was his marriage at the end of October to international show jumper Harriet Nuttall.

Jo Supple (nee Buck) won her third Devon & Cornwall title last season, but suffered a nasty injury at Umberleigh in June which left her on crutches for some time. With her usual cheerfulness and visits to Oaksey House, Jo plans to be back in action at the opening fixture where she could ride Master Baker, who scored three times for her last season.

A total of 23 meetings are scheduled in the Area, with the action stretching over a seven month period until the traditional end of season finale at Umberleigh in June.