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 15th March, 9.00 pm
Races: Confined - 4,5,6 & 7 year old Maiden (2m4f) - Ladies Open - Mens Open - Restricted - Open Maiden
Bellsinni Ron can follow up his 2014 success in the Mendip Farmers Men’s Open at Ston Easton on Sunday. The eight-year-old, who made much of the running last season, has won eight of his 16 point-to-points and showed his well being when third at Ottery St Mary behind Kirkleigh and Fiulin, who could re-oppose on Sunday. Wadebridge winner Before The War and close Charlton Horethorne runner-up Satou are two more for the shortlist. Louise Cabble has entered Charlton Horethorne winner Roseyroo and Foynes Island, who was in contention when falling at the same fixture and her chosen runner may give Bellsinni Ron the most to do.
Before The War is among the nine entries for the Ladies Open, along with John Daniell and River Indus, who were second and third to the prolific Gwanako in last season’s corresponding contest. Third Chance and The Donserelli, second and third to The Mythologist at the Quantock Staghounds, are two more to consider, but Charlton Horethorne runner-up Minella Fifty and Cheltenham Hunter Chase winner Rebel Du Maquis look the two to challenge John Daniell.
Foynes Island, River Indus and Roseyroo hold entries for the opening Confined contest and must be considered if connections take this option. Punters seeking longer priced alternatives can consider Saint Peray – third behind Subtle Sovereign and Jepeck at Badbury Rings – and Double Dizzy, Maxi Chop and Merry Terry, who found Ask The Weatherman hard to handle at Charlton Horethorne. Ghizao has chances if putting in a clear round and may chase up Foynes Island.
The Pennys’ Earthpower opened his account at Ottery St Mary and is fancied to follow up in the Restricted. Downtown Manhattan, who impressed on the same card, and Caroline Keevil’s Chipley Park winner General Girling can complete the 1-2-3.
Two Maiden events complete the card. The 13 entries in the 2m-4f event include Just Imagine It, who can gain compensation for his narrow defeat by General Girling at the Tiverton. East Devon fourth Stow Hill looks the danger. Just Imagine It and Stow Hill are also on the short-list for the 3-mile contest along with Cothelstone runner-up Annwyl, the consistent Eagle Harbour and East Devon runner-up Im All Set.
Two pony races, qualifiers for the Wessex Finals in May, conclude the afternoon’s racing, which gets underway 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 (9 ran)
AGA Ladies Open (5 ran)
Mens Open (5 ran)
Restricted (8 ran)
Open Maiden (7 ran)
The two concluding pony races were won by Angelic, ridden by Olive Nicholls, 9, and Stambrook Socialite under Conor Baker, 14.
Foynes Island opened his UK pointing account in Ston Easton’s Mens Open. Prominently ridden by Harry Cobden, the nine-year-old led at the last after leader Fiulin surrendered his advantage by jumping to his left. Foynes Island, who was bought out of Philip Hobbs’ stable for £12,000 at Cheltenham in May 2011, had been placed in four of his eight previous races between the flags. “I’m delighted for the horse, as he’s been knocking on the door all that time,” smiled Spaxton-based Louise Cabble, who trains Foynes Island for her partner, Tony Fear. “He missed the whole of 2013 with a splint, had an abscess in his foot after finishing second at Cothelstone in May, finished third in Buckfastleigh’s Westcountry Champion Chase and fell when challenging last time out at Charlton Horethorne. He deserved to get his head in front.” The win took Harry onto the six-winner mark, two ahead of his nearest rival in the National Novice Riders table. “The Fears and Cobdens are family friends and Tony was keen for Harry to partner his horses,” said Louise. “He’s a class jockey and his style suits Foynes Island perfectly. The horse stays, jumps and travels and has already won an Exeter handicap chase. Hunter chasing would give us options in terms of distance, going and type of track, so that may be the way to go.”
Cranmore trainer Sarah Gould achieved her first training double at her local track. Confined winner Special Occasion and Third Chance (Ladies Open) provided Sarah’s two successes. The former, the mount of Sarah’s 19-year-old sister, Lucy, just held Harry Cobden’s late challenge aboard Roseyroo, with Maxi Chop close up in third. Special Occasion has now won six point-to-points – all on right-handed tracks – but had tailed himself off in several of his outings since his last success two years ago. “He fell out of love with the sport so we concentrated on rekindling his interest,” said Sarah. “He hunts twice a week and we regularly walk him around the Deverills. He enjoys exercising on natural grass gallops on Salisbury Plain and acts as schoolmaster for my maidens over the schooling fences.”
Sarah took the reins herself aboard Third Chance, who was left in front when pacesetter The Donserelli jinked and ejected Laura Scott entering the straight. “Lucy and I both rode winners at this meeting two years ago but my winner, Little George, was for John Hankinson,” recalled Sarah. Exeter’s Racecourse Intermediate Series Final on 5 May is on the cards.
Will Biddick was in double form aboard Just Imagine It and Im All Set. The former, trained by Jack Barber, quickened past Southfield Fairy approaching the last in the 2m-4f Maiden. Im All Set completed a weekend double for Devon trainer Claire Hitch after Minella Fifty’s Milborne St Andrew success. “He came via my usual Irish source and is jointly owned by Bratton Down clerk of the course Phil Rawle, farrier Keith Parkin and me,” said Claire. “The colours are based on Priscilla Boundy’s red and white hooped silks which were passed on to Phil when she died two years ago, Keith’s sleeves and my cap.
The Philip Thomas-partnered General Girling, who beat Just Imagine It at Chipley Park, followed up by getting the better of another Barber/Biddick favourite, Earthpower, in the Restricted.