The curtain lifted for the first time at a new venue on Sunday as the 2017-18 season got under way at Bishops Court, Devon. When the news broke in September that Black Forest Lodge would close due to a change in ownership, it would have been very easy for the traditional opening fixture to have been lost.
This would have been a body blow to the sport, so fair play to the organisers — formerly the Black Forest Club and now the Bishops Court Racing Club — and authorities for rearranging the meeting in such a short timeframe. The sport also owes a debt of gratitude to the landowners who allow these events to be held throughout the season.
There have been lots of positive, strategic changes to the sport introduced over the close season but thinking back to my closing column [Point-to-point, 22 June], I have been delighted to see some of last season’s starlets make their mark in the professional ranks.
Frost’s on fire
Trainer Jack Barber has already notched a few winners under Rules. In the saddle, James Bowen, Mitch Bastyan and Sean Houlihan are starting to establish themselves as leading conditionals. However, one rider I failed to mention, who has done fantastically well since turning professional, is Bryony Frost. Bryony has ridden in point-to-points in the West Country for a number of seasons and is now using that experience to great success on the big stage.
Ref Horse & Hound; 23 November 2017