Secretary: Mrs Caroline Hinks
Address: Lower Nyland Farm, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5SG
T: 01963 370260
F: 01963 370892
Entry Fee: £30 per horse per race - a free racecard will be given to the Owner at Declaration
Entries Close: Monday 2nd March, 12 noon
Races: Open Maiden - Restricted - Ladies Open - Mens Open - Wessex Area Club Members Conditions - Members
Chapoturgeon stands out among the 11 entries for the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Mens Open at Charlton Horethorne on Sunday. Winner of his only point-to-point at the 2012 South Dorset, the 11-year-old National Hunt Festival winner finished runner-up to Salsify in the 2012 Cheltenham Foxhunter, but put up arguably his best performance to finish second to Mossey Joe on his last racecourse appearance at Stratford 21 months ago. Opposition includes Blazing Whale, Foynes Island and Steeltown – first, third and fifth in Buckfastleigh’s prestigious Westcountry Champion Chase Mixed Open in February – Babeny Bridge, winner of five of his nine races between the flags and Minella Fifty who was in contention when falling two out in Sagalyrique’s Badbury Rings race a fortnight ago. Jack Barber has also entered Subtle Sovereign and in Chapoturgeon’s absence the prolific grey will get the vote.
Jane Williams holds the key to the Ladies Open with Grandturgeon and Swift Counsel, the winner of the 2012 and 2013 corresponding races. The lightly raced Grandturgeon has won four of his six UK points contested over four seasons, but showed his well being with an easy Chaddesley Corbett success in February. Swift Counsel, winner of five of his seven point-to-points, reappeared from a 21-month absence at Horseheath on Saturday and, despite running freely, looked the likely winner when ejecting Jane five out while bowling along in front. Minella Fifty holds an entry alongside Ruapehu, who finished strongly behind Sagalyrique at Badbury Rings, and Seigneur Des Bois, runner-up in a quality Larkhill contest in January. Ghizao has chances if getting his act together, but Jane Williams’ selected runner is the automatic selection.
Subtle Sovereign is among the 10 entries for the Hunt race and can repeat his 2014 success if connections take up this option. Opposition may include stable companion Ask The Weatherman, former Royal Artillery Gold Cup winner Mr Big, 2014 corresponding race runner-up Theatre Evening and the consistent Stalbridgeswansong, who unseated on reappearance at Badbury Rings. Former Grand Prix de Paris runner-up Prospect Wells made the perfect pointing debut at Barbury Racecourse and can follow up for the Rose Loxton stable.
Prospect Wells and Subtle Sovereign hold entries for the Conditions contest and will fight out the finish if facing the starter. In their absence Ghizao, former top hurdler Cockney Trucker and Cothelstone winner Roseyroo look the three to choose from.
Larkhill winner Wak A Turtle and Trebudannon hero Presenting The Way can fight out the Restricted. Boa Island, Siege Of Troy and Thereyarsee are three suggestions for the Maiden contest.
Big Buck’s, a popular and prolific winner with Paul Nicholls, will be paraded during the afternoon and commentator Nick Child will give a rundown of local horses entered at the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival.The Dufosee Perpetual Challenge Trophy, in memory of John, Jane and Jason, will be presented after the last race to the most successful rider on the day. The first Wessex pony races of this season, qualifiers for the Area Open and Novice Finals in May, bring the afternoon’s racing to a close.
Access to the course is off the B3145 midway between Sherborne and Wincanton (DT9 4LJ). First race: 12.30 pm. Admission is £25 per car with up to 4 occupants, £10 per additional adult, £15 for car and driver only.
Hunt Members (6 ran)
Open Maiden (Div 1) (10 ran)
Open Maiden (Div 2) (9 ran)
Restricted (8 ran)
Ladies Open (6 ran)
Mens Open (5 ran)
WAPP Club Members (6 ran)
Winner of the 138cm pony race was Veno Star ridden by Fergus Gillard, while the 148cm race was taken by Calypso under Ben Godfrey.
National leading trainer Jack Barber and leading jockey Will Biddick combined for a hat-trick to dominate the opening stages of the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale card. Hunt race winner Ask The Weatherman, and Maiden race winners Boa Island and Siege Of Troy provided the pair’s three successes. The wins took Jack and Will further clear in their national standings with 19 and 25 winners respectively.
Ask The Weatherman made all for a facile victory from Double Dizzy, who passed Maxi Chop to take second. The six-year-old has now won three of his four races between the flags – he and his conqueror Native Pride were 30 lengths clear of the opposition in his only defeat at Larkhill in January – and looks the sort to have a fine future under Rules.
Will adopted similar tactics aboard Boa Island who put in a fine round of jumping for an easy success. Bought for £38,500 at Cheltenham in November after finishing third in an Ayr NH flat race, Boa Island races for Ian Fogg, Paul Nicholls and Richard Webb.
Siege Of Troy, a faller when in contention at Woodford two years ago and knocked over when reappearing at Larkhill in January, deservedly opened his account under a classic Biddick holdup ride. “Will often rides Jack’s horses prominently, but we just wanted to get the horse back into a nice racing mode,” said Jack’s father, Jeremy.
Hopes of a Barber-Biddick four-timer were dashed when Spuddler fell three out in the Restricted when leading, leaving Turtle Too (Ben Clarke) to get the better of a battle with Gleannacreim (Charlotte Hawker). “We bought him as he’s by the same sire and reminds us of our other horse, Turtle Boys,” said Harriet Brown, who trains the winner for 12 of her father, Jeffrey’s, friends.
Chelsea Jennings, 21, got off the mark aboard outsider of six Tony Dinozzo in the Ladies Open. “I train this one and [Wadebridge runner-up] Wilde At Heart on the New Forest tracks and pathways and at Larkhill,” smiled Chelsea, who also enjoys sailing from her Lymington base.
On the eve of the Cheltenham Festival, Cockney Trucker, who has finished third, fourth and fifth at the season’s premier meeting, was an appropriate Mens Open winner. “He’s benefited from lots of jumping over our Pontispool Equine Sports Centre hunter trial fences and from all the work Will Gordon has done with him,” pointed out Richard Mitford-Slade, who trains the 13-year-old for members of his skittles team. The favourite, Foynes Island, was moving into contention when capsizing three fences from home.
Louise Cabble and Harry Cobden gained compensation for Foynes Island’s departure when Roseyroo took the closing Club race. Given a confident ride by Harry, Roseyroo jumped the last in fourth place but had 1½ comfortable lengths to spare passing the line.