Holnicote preview Saturday 8th May
The Minehead Harriers and West Somerset Point to Point this Saturday at Holnicote has attracted a huge entry of 131 which will delight organisers and with rain in the forecast this week, they look like getting plenty of runners on the day. The meeting will be run behind closed doors with owners allowed to attend but no public admitted.
The Hunt Members is sponsored by Ben Parker Farriers Ltd and it would be fitting if Rolling Dylan were to win as he is owned by Philip Hobbs for whom the sponsor predominantly shoes. A standout on his form under Rules including a 5th in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown only two years ago, this formerly 143 rated chaser when under the care of his owner and now with Laura Parker, he should find this much easier fare. Camilla Scott’s Tree Sparrow won a Mixed Open at this course two years ago and is always seen to better effect at this time of year. Bridge of Spies comes here in good form after taking a Conditions race at Flete Park three weeks ago while Eastern Promises ran well at Cothelstone in April and could place.
The biggest entry of the day is for the Maiden with 27 entered. Chris Barber does well with his young horses and has two here. Wandering Soul ran a nice race on debut when 4th at Cherrybrook while his Hermes du Gouet is a 4 year old and would be making his debut. Hands Face Space has shown ability in his two races so far while Evron also showed up well at Trebudannon and can build on that.
Liz White Catering sponsors the third race, a novice riders Conditions race and this looks a tight contest with several interesting types among the 23 entries. Trainer Dean Summersby and his team had a treble at Trebudannon and daughter Charlotte also rode a winner there. She is set to partner Chosen Lucky who may have had excuses last time out and this 14 time winner would be a popular winner for the yard. Set to re-oppose him is Tom Malone’s The Last But One who took the Ladies Open at Trebudannon that day. Alan Hill has two entered with Diplomate Sivola having won his last two starts under his young jockey, Ben Sutton. Coco Live has been busier than most this season and easily won an Open at Charing in March. He unseated in a hunter chase last time at Cheltenham but he could go well for Charlie Sprake.
The Mixed Open has attracted 17 entries including the extremely classy Virak for trainer Sam Loxton. A winner of his only three starts last season including two hunter chases; he is likely to go off a short-priced favourite. Opposing him are two for Luke Price with very different profiles. Los Alamos, a recent recruit for Luke from the Tim Vaughan yard, opened his pointing account at the first time of asking at Trebudannon when taking the Open under Will Biddick in first time cheek-pieces. His other entry, Ramble On, was headed close home in the 4-miler at Flete Park in mid-April. He was also just beaten at this course two seasons ago. Mickey Bowen’s More Buck’s was formerly trained under Rules by his father, Peter for whom he won 8 times. He is two from two in points having won at Garthorpe and Maisemore this season. Ed Walker’s Board of Trade topped up his second at Flete Park with a win there last weekend and this former Alan King inmate looks to be thriving now dropped in grade while the Welsh mare Yeats Ace probably ran better than it looked last time when third at Cothelstone as she had been off for a long time. Ben Bromley gets on extremely well with Vivaldi Collonges and has won his last two at Edgcote and Maisemore easily. He should not be underestimated.
The Conditions race for horses over the age of 8 has attracted several who are also entered in the Open and Novice riders and are already mentioned. Of those others, trainer Alex Dunn has two entered in Silvergrove and Blackwater Bramble. A shrewd trainer under Rules, her brother John Smith-Maxwell will ride the selected. Welsh trainer, David Brace always enjoys his raids on English soil and his useful Robin des People took a similar event at Maisemore before finding Old Guard too strong at Mollington. He took this event in 2018 and should be considered. Chill Factor possibly found the 4 miles at Flete Park too far last time while it would be no surprise to see Coningsby run into a place.
The Restricted race again has a good entry of 20. Ex-Irish Florrie Webb looked to be a nice recruit for part owner Andy Pollard and trainer Will Biddick when opening his account at in the Hunt Members at Cothelstone. Francesca Nimmo has Fan Club Aulmes who easily won at Mollington in early April and would be dangerous if coming here. Gats and Co won nicely at Maisemore before just getting headed at Mollington. He could make amends for trainer David Brace while Dean Summersby’s Russian Invasion trotted up when opening his account at Trebudannon and could too be in the shake-up.
Thirteen are entered for the finale, an Intermediate race in which Alan Hill has Captiva Island and Normofthenorth. The latter looks a very exciting prospect and comes here of the back of an impressive 15 length victory at High Easter. Captiva Island beat Arcal Fifty at Larkhill in April and he too looks useful. Formerly with David Bridgwater, French Piece is unbeaten pointing now trained by Luke Price. A winner twice in 2019, he then reappeared in early April this year and took a 3 runner race by 10 lengths. For Rita, for the Francesca Nimmo yard, looked useful when winning again at Flete Park last Saturday but this may come too soon.