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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Popular point-to-point seeking new home after shock sale of land

Black Forest Lodge: has hosted its last point-to-point meeting
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The West Country point-to-point where David Pipe sent out his first winners and Victoria Pendleton completed her first race over jumps has been forced to find a new home after the land was sold without its organisers' knowledge.

Black Forest Lodge, established more than 20 years ago on the Powderham Estate of the late Hugh Courtenay, the 18th Earl of Devon, hosted three meetings a season, in November, January and February.

But its future has been plunged into doubt after it was announced the site had been sold by the executors of the earl's estate and the new owner, a local farmer, did not wish to keep it as a racecourse.

Victoria Pendleton riding Minella Theatre at Black Forest Lodge in 2015
"The first we knew of this was Friday, which is a shame, and we are just about accepting it now," said clerk of the course Norman Chanin.

"The block of land was sold by the estate to settle probate. It would have been good to have known six months ago, but our contract was running out at the same time. We were hoping to renew it but instead of that we had a big shock.

"We're desperately looking for somewhere else. We have something like £12,000 of jumps, rails and other equipment and a good team, but don't have a course. We may be able to relocate, but it's not looking good for November."

The course was popular with many local trainers and, situated five miles south of Exeter just off the M5, enjoyed a lot of support from stables in Wales.

Pipe said: "I had lots of winners round there. It's a nice track and it's disappointing they have lost it."

We were hoping to renew it but instead of that we had a big shock
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