Secretary: Kirsty Boutflower
Address: Troakes Farm, Ford, Wiveliscombe, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 2RH
T: 01984 629266
M: 07532 165029
Entries: Mrs Tracy Parker
Address: Manor Court, Steps Farm, Bilbrook, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 6HE
T/F: 01984 640245
Entry Fee: £30 per horse per race, £10 per additional entry same horse
Entries Close: Sunday 4th May 2014, 9.00 pm
Races: Members - Open Maiden - PPORA Novice Riders - Mixed Open - Confined - Restricted - Intermediate
Bedrock Fred, who relishes a sound surface, can record his fourth consecutive win between the flags in Saturday’s Minehead Harriers & West Somerset Mixed Open, which has attracted 14 entries. The Larkhill specialist – the eight-year-old has contested his last six races at the Wiltshire venue – showed his well being when staying on strongly to win at the Hursley Hambledon. Potential opposition includes the Borradailes’ Classic Swain, who gave current National Leading Horse Byerley Bear a race at Trebudannon, Bonhams Final third Hameldown Tor, consistent Hunter Chaser How’s My Friend and course specialist Eslin Bridge, a winner at both Holnicote meetings last season, but pulled up at Cothelstone in April. The fascinating entry is Nicto De Beauchene, the winner of four handicap chases and a March 2013 Taunton Hunter Chase under Rules, but Bedrock Fred is the suggestion.
Nicto De Beauchene will get the vote for the Confined if connections target the 10-entry contest. Stafford Cross winner Level Spirit, dual 2014 winner King’s Bench and Thetalkinghorse, in the frame in all six outings this season, are three more contenders. Devon General won a Trebudannon Restricted in good style and may be the one to chase up Nicto De Beauchene.
Devon General and Thetalkinghorse are among the seven Intermediate entries and must be respected if taking their chance. Pete Bugler’s Milborne St Andrew winner Carlos Gardel and David Rogers’ Sir Wattty, a winner at Wadebridge in March, are two more for consideration. The vote goes to Subtle Sovereign, who impressed when running up an early season hat-trick before failing to cope with recent winners Steeltown and Carrickmines at Kingston St Mary.
I’m Not Telling was a ready winner at the Hursley Hambledon and can follow up in the Restricted. Luke Price’s What An Article, unbeaten in his two completed outings to date, must be respected if making the journey from Wales, but Eclipse Award won at last season’s corresponding contest and may give punters a sporting run for their money.
Monday’s Littlewindsor winner Current Event and Join Together stand out among the eight entries for the Novice Riders’ race. Francis Du Mesnil was a good third to Join Together at Stafford Cross and Clew Bay Cove will probably set a fast pace but the “Megan Nicholls selected” runner is the automatic choice.
The Hobbs family have won the last seven runnings of the Hunt race, but have no representative this season. In their absence, Dashing John should have little difficulty overcoming Sunday’s Devon & Somerset Staghounds third Took My Eye.
Crackacan, who has finished second, third and fourth in his four outings to date, can open his account in the 21-entry Maiden.
The course is just off the A39, 3 miles W of Minehead and 2 miles E of Porlock. First race: 2.00pm. Admission: £20 per car; £10 single occupant; £5 pedestrian.
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. –