Secretary: Mrs Mary Dowds
Address: Lower Shortwood Farm, Litton, Radstock, Somerset, BA3 4PS
T: 01761 241339
F: 01761 241259
Entry Fee: £30 for a single race, £15 per additional race same horse
Entries Close: Sunday 16th March, 9.00 pm
Races: Confined - 4,5,6 & 7 year old Maiden (2m4f) - Ladies Open - Mens Open - Restricted - Open Maiden
Megan Nicholls could record a double with Gwanako and Join Together at the Mendip Farmers’ fixture at Ston Easton on Sunday. The former, who has annihilated his opponents at Larkhill, Milborne St Andrew and Charlton Horethorne, should have little difficulty leading throughout the Ladies Open. Clew Bay Cove, who invariably sets a strong pace under Harriet Skinner, Tim Sage’s Presentandcorrect and course winner John Daniell, look the three to contest the minor placings.
Join Together, who stayed on strongly to catch evergreen Barneys Mate at the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale (B&SV), could provide the first leg of the double in the opening Confined contest. Punters seeking alternatives can consider Wadebridge winner Champagne Rosie, former Group 1 winning chaser Silverburn, Theatre Evening, who went into many notebooks when chasing up Subtle Sovereign at the B&SV and Thinkaboutthat.
Bellsinni Ron is among the nine entries for the Men’s Open and could provide usual pilot, Will Biddick, with another win to add to his tally at the top of the national championship table. Ned The Post, who is seeking his tenth win between the flags, Thinkaboutthat and Champagne Rosie, third to Bellsinni Ron at Charlton Horethorne, are interesting options, but Different Trades may represent Jack Barber’s in-form stable and can provide the strongest threat.
The Hendersons’ The Mythologist impressed at Treborough Hill and can maintain his unbeaten UK pointing record in the Restricted. Brockwell Park and King’s Scout could represent Spaxton trainer, Marie McGuinness, but Camilla Scott’s stable companions Ladfromhighworth and Honours Insight can complete the 1-2-3.
Two Maiden events complete the card. The 15 entries include Will Biddick’s The Doom Bar, who was heavily backed when falling at Cottenham and can gain compensation in the 2m4f event. A contender here is one of three entries Zara Phillips has made at the meeting, namely Calusa Comet, third in Kingston Blount Racing Club’s Maiden over the same distance earlier this month. The Doom Bar is also on the short-list for the 3-mile contest along with Sutton Storm, The Copper Jug and Volatility.
Four well-supported pony races, qualifiers for the Wessex Finals in May, conclude the afternoon’s racing, which kicks off at 12.30pm with the first of six point-to-point races. The course at Ston Easton is just off the A37, 5 miles north of Shepton Mallet (BA3 4DU).
Confined (10 ran)
Open Maiden 456&7yo, 2m4f (7 ran)
Ladies Open (6 ran)
Mens Open (5 ran)
Restricted (7 ran)
Open Maiden (12 ran)
Race 1 - 138 cms & under (Open)
1st: Diptford Moonwalker - Daniel Cox
2nd: Mocking Bird - Ben Godfrey
3rd: Talponciau Perfect Print - Hamish Clarke
4th: Milly - Luca Morgan
5th: Stans Your Man - Connor Baker
6th: Courtneys Magic Spot - William Bevan
NR: Angelic (Tamby Welch), Becca Walk O Wild Side (Arron Butterfield)
Race 2 - 148 cms & under (Novice)
1st: Mick The Miller - Megan Bevan
2nd: Goldswell Gucci - Harriet Godfrey
3rd: IGO Zuminov - Amelia Glass
4th: Otterburn Lady - Tom Britten
5th: Derwent Dream Dancer - Abi Lewis
6th: Dolphin Song - Lucy Reason
W/D Frantic Fox (Bruce Young)
Race 3 - 148 cms & under (Novice) - Div 2
1st: Just Shane - Liam Harrison
2nd: Roslin Bright Spark - James Cooke
3rd: Minky - Zoe Stanbury
4th: Fofsway Kingfisher - Molly Burton
5th: Lucky Lane Booker - Mikey Oakley
6th: Macauley - Monica Oakley
Robbie Henderson, 24, rode a Ston Easton treble to reach the 15-winner mark and join Will Biddick at the top of the national men’s table. Confined winner Thinkaboutthat, He’s A Bully (2m4f maiden) – both trained at Ottery St Mary by Ed Walker – and The Mythologist (restricted) provided Robbie’s three successes. The patiently ridden Thinkaboutthat opened his seasonal account after three horses had jumped the last in unison. “We were actually flat out down the back straight, but Thinkaboutthat is the most genuine of horses,” said Robbie, full of admiration for his partner. “We probably came too late at Badbury Rings and couldn’t quite catch Bellsinni Ron at Charlton Horethorne, so I’m delighted for [Castle Cary owners] Mr and Mrs [Raymond and Evelyn] Targett.”
Richard Kelvin-Hughes’ He’s A Bully looked one for the future as he sprinted away from his six rivals. “He may go for a bumper next, so I can nick him for my yard,” smiled Polly Gundry, representing her fiancé, winning trainer Ed Walker, who was on duty at Kilworthy.
The Mythologist, owned and trained at Shaftesbury by Robbie’s parents Guy and Sophie, maintained his unbeaten UK pointing record with a battling win. Patiently ridden for much of the race, the Irish import just held on after three horses had jumped the last in unison. “I thought he would win more easily, as he shows so many gears at home,” said Robbie. “However, we’re learning about him and it’s just possible he needed the race. He won a weak maiden first time out for us at Treborough Hill and has only had one piece of work since. I think he’s better than the bare form of today’s race.”
Will Biddick maintained his quest for a third successive men’s title with Bellsinni Ron, who was prominent throughout before taking the men’s open. “First time cheekpieces have helped, but staying is definitely his forte,” summed up Seaborough trainer Richard Barber. A four-mile contest at Upcott Cross later in the season may be on the cards.
Megan Nicholls reached the five-winner mark when Gwanako sprinted clear of pacesetter John Daniell in the ladies open. “Gwanako’s only 15.2hh, but pointing seems to suit him superbly,” said trainer Rose Loxton. “Megan has used slightly different tactics today, but only because of the way the race has panned out.” The 11-year-old is now just one behind Byerley Bear in the national leading horse standings and would take all the beating if connections opted to chase the award.
Ballinla earned a “best horse I’ve ever had” accolade from owner-rider Charlie Dando after his 3-mile Maiden race success. “I’ve hunted him at least 25 times this season and he jumps everything including five-bar gates,” smiled Charlie, a Badminton-based farrier.