Secretary: Mrs J Rawle
Address: Twin Oaks Farm, Bampton, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 9DT
T/F: 01398 332157
M: 07838 148017
Entries: Mrs Janet Cummings
Address: Eastwood, Bishops Nympton, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4PB
T/F: 01769 550528
M: 07815 888625
Entry Fee: £30 per horse per race, £10 per additional entry same horse
Entries Close: Sunday 27th April 2014, 10.00 pm
Races: Charity Race - Members - Open Maiden - Ladies Open - Mens Open - PPORA Novice Riders - Confined - Restricted
Byerley Bear and Gwanako can fight out the finish of the 14-entry Devon & Somerset Staghounds Ladies’ Open at Holnicote near Minehead this Sunday, 4 May. The former has won six races between the flags this season and showed his wellbeing by holding off Classic Swain at Trebudannon on Easter Monday. Gwanako has impressed in each of his five straight point-to-point wins, including when storming clear of sole rival Petit Lord at Chaddesley Corbett. Opposition may include Classic Swain, Double Mead, winner of 20 races but disappointing at Cothelstone, in-form stable companions John Daniell and How’s My Friend, recent winners at Lockinge and Woodford respectively, and Quedillac, recently sold by enthusiastic Isle of Wight owner Hazel Goody, but remaining in Stuart Penny’s Henstridge yard. Megan Nicholls has an alternative with Current Event, but Gwanako is fancied to outgun Byerley Bear.
Woodford winner Certain Flight, who ran well in the Cheltenham Foxhunter, will be a short priced favourite to follow up in the Men’s Open. Sobre Tresor and Didmarton winner Loose Preformer are two other contenders, although Badbury Rings winner Kostaquarta may be better suited by a left-handed track. The former J P McManus-owned Qaspal is interesting, but Certain Flight is the automatic selection.
Kilworthy and Badbury Rings winner Aiteen Thirtythree is fancied to complete his hat-trick in the Novice Riders’ race, which has attracted a quality 20-strong entry. The Rose Loxton-trained pair Current Event and Join Together – a good winner at Stafford Cross on Sunday – the Williams’ European cross-country specialist Shalimar Fromentro, and course winner Trueflyingcolours, the likely mount of East Anglian 16-year-old Jack Andrews, are other candidates. The season’s leading novice, Sean Bowen, may be aboard Cock Of The Rock, already the winner of five races this season, but Aiteen Thirtythree gets the vote.
Janet Ackner’s Ace High, who was caught close home at Badbury Rings, stands out among the eight Hunt race entries. Gerald Greenway has entered Chipley Park winner Justabout and Talab, while Mister Moonax is sure to finish strongly, but the Cumings’ Go On Henry looks the danger.
Claire Hitch’s Coup Royale, winner of two races under Rules for the Colin Tizzard stable, can make a winning debut between the flags in the Confined. Former top chaser What A Friend has disappointed in his two point-to-points this season, but could be the principal threat.
Impressive Cothelstone winner Red Mile and good Badbury runner-up Tucumcari look the two for the Restricted. Sparkling Miss was third in Tucumcari’s Badbury race and can complete the placings.
Knight Watchman and Montecito may provide punters with a sporting run for their money in a wide open looking 30-entry Maiden event.
The afternoon kicks off at 12.30pm with a charity race in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance, followed by the customary hound parade, with the first point-to-point race at 2.00pm.
The course is off the A39, 3 miles W of Minehead and 2 miles E of Porlock.
Hunt Members (4 ran)
Open Maiden (Div 1) (9 ran)
Open Maiden (Div 2) (10 ran)
Ladies Open (5 ran)
Mens Open (3 ran)
PPORA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) (10 ran)
Confined (5 ran)
Restricted (13 ran)
Byerley Bear and his owner Roger Knowles remain on target for National titles after the nine-year-old’s gutsy win in Holnicote’s Ladies’ Open. The Exit To Nowhere chesnut is the current co-leader of the National Leading Horse Award table (he and Tempelpirate each having seven wins) while Roger heads the AGA Dual Control Owners Championship list. “He’ll run in Stratford’s AGA Final [on 30 May] but we need to decide whether to run in the meantime,” mused Roger. “I don’t think we’ll beat Tempelpirate for the Leading Horse Award, but he could run at Cothelstone next Wednesday.” Byerley Bear made the early running and fought back after being overtaken by Quedillac and John Daniell at the end of the final back straight. “I felt the other two started racing too early,” reported jockey, Leanda Tickle. “Byerley Bear has a brilliant turn of foot and I wanted to use it approaching the last, not then.”
Men’s Open winner Certain Flight sauntered home under Will Biddick, who never moved a muscle throughout the 3-mile contest. The nine-year-old, who ran well for a long way in the Cheltenham Foxhunter, has now won 10 point-to-points and a hunter chase and was making a quick reappearance after winning at the Berkeley seven days earlier.
Aiteen Thirtythree will be aimed at Bratton Down’s 4m-1f Mixed Open on 18 May after completing a pointing hat-trick for the Bilbrook-based Parker family in the Novice Riders’ race. “He’s won the three races for us but we’re learning about him all the time,” said owner, Tracy Parker, mother of winning rider Natalie. “Today’s track was probably too sharp, but we know he stays and we think he’s probably better going left handed. Bratton Down should suit him ideally.”
Ace High and Conor Smith turned the opening Staghunters' Cup into a procession after taking the lead with a circuit to race. The 10-year-old is owned by D&SSH joint honorary secretary and stud groom Janet Ackner and Mark Wheeler after being gifted by breeders Peter and Jill Emery. Ace High is out of Celtic Native, who won eight of her first nine races, and traces back to the late Edward Courage’s famous line of steeplechasers such as Spanish Steps, who finished in the frame in three 1970’s Grand Nationals.
On Your Max, who broke a bone in his knee 11 months ago, proved his recovery by winning the first Maiden. “He suffered an off-fore knee bone break when his leg bent the wrong way like a nutcracker at Bratton Down,” revealed owner Sally Alford. “He didn’t need an operation, but was in plaster from elbow to foot and cross-tied [to prevent movement] in his stable for nine weeks.”
Last Edition took the second Maiden after three horses had jumped the last in unison, although Ed Barrett’s efforts aboard the winner cost the jockey a £100 whip fine. “This has been a long-time coming, as she’s been in the frame seven times,” smiled Upton trainer Leslie Jefford. “Credit also to owners Roger and Linda Newton [who owned the top-class Bally Blue] who have been very patient.”
George and Debbie Beilby’s Carrickmines and Matt Hampton followed up their April Cothelstone success in the Confined and the consistent Tucumcari deservedly ended a run of three second placings by winning the Restricted under his Barbury Castle trainer Laura Thomas.
Barnstaple’s Yvonne Webber made all the running aboard Queens Silk in the Charity Flat race, which has already raised over £16,000 in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance.