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Entry Fee: £30 per horse per race, £15 per additional race same horse
or enter online at www.pointtopoint.co.uk
Entries Close: Monday 7th March 2016, 12 noon
Races: Members - 4,5,6,7 year old Maiden (2m4f) - Mixed Open - Restricted - 9 year old & over PPORA Club Members Conditions - Open Maiden
This Saturday sees the return of racing to picturesque Cothelstone for its first fixture of the season, hosted by the Quantock Staghounds with a strong entry numerically (162). Local veterinary practice Evolution Farm Vets are their major sponsor. The ever popular course specialist Little Cornham looks set to try to add a 5th consecutive Hunt Members race to his tally. A game head win over subsequent winner, The Flying Doc at Badbury Rings last time out, he should have a fitness edge over Crackacan who broke his maiden last season at Holnicote.
Both maidens are well supported with 39 and 38 entries respectively. In the 2.5 mile event, Good Bye Vicar from the Barber stable had one run last season finishing 4th at Littlewindsor while Scarborough Lad ran an encouraging first race when second behind the more experienced Dark Gesture at Black Forest Lodge 2 weeks ago. The latter is a narrow selection. Others to note are Brice Canyon who has started favourite for both his starts this season and was only narrowly beaten at Milborne St Andrew and Constantine Bay who kept on well at Black Forest Lodge 2 weeks ago on his debut to finish second to the Ed Walker trained favourite Goodnitesweetheart.
In the 3 mile maiden with many horses doubly entered, the frustrating Grey Dream may well have to settle for another placing with the selection going to the Ed Walker trained, Rainbow Stripes. A pulled up and an unseat this season on heavier ground, a drier surface may see a return to the promise he showed last season. The well regarded Get on the Yager, a runner for the Jack Barber Racing Club this season, should also be noted.
The Mixed Open as expected has a quality feel to it. An interesting new recruit to pointing is the Mary Tory trained Raajih. Beautifully bred out of a Royal Ascot winner, he is a 4 time winner over fences and was placed over the Aintree Mildmay fences last season. Iron Chancellor looked set for a place last time out at Black Forest Lodge when unseating at the last. Ballytober fell on his reappearance and this former Philip Hobbs inmate who spent last season Hunter Chasing may find life easier pointing. The popular Bathwick Scanno rattled up a treble last season including a win at Cothelstone but he may prefer faster going. Marie McGuinness has the former Venetia Williams Browns Brook. A dual NH winner in heavy ground, he has not been seen for over a year and so may be best watched. Doctor Braveheart impressed early in the season winning his first 3 races however 2 subsequent poor runs also put him on the “to watch list” The generally reliable Kings Bench is another one to consider while Masterleaderman did well to win the Ladies Open at Black Forest Lodge despite hanging. Repeat Business had an excellent season last year with 3 wins and 2 fine seconds to the tough Rosies Peacock at Hereford and Mr Mercurial in the Red Mills Intermediate Final at Cheltenham. He pulled up first time out in heavy ground but if he runs here in preference to his Howick entry then he could take all the beating. The Waley-Cohen owned and trained Storm Lantern looked like he was returning to form at Larkhill last time when falling at the last. He may have given the winner there something to think about. Keith Cumings saddles new inmate, What About Will. A fair run last time at Black Forest Lodge, pulling up 3 out, he would be of interest if the ground were to dry out.
The Restricted has some promising types of which the selection, Brandevin hails from the Jack Barber stable. He got the job done nicely on his only start at Bratton Down last May. Guerrilla Tactics is also one from one after a game success at Badbury Rings while Gustave Mahler went one better at Barbury Castle winning well. They could give Brandevin most to do. Mystery Edition ran disappointingly last time at Larkhill when favourite having won nicely the time before. Kayley Woollacott’s On Albert’s Head showed a marked improvement in form winning at Larkhill while Ernest Speak returns to the site of his maiden win last season but might find others too good in this better company.
The penultimate race, for nine year olds and over sees Argentato who has been in cracking form this season winning 3 races and could give likely favourite Commanche Conflict something to think about. The later won the Intermediate well at Black Forest Lodge on his first start since June last year. Jetnova had a profitable time of it last year in the Novice Rider’s section. He could fill third spot.
Racing starts at 12.30pm
Dogs welcome on leads. Disabled parking and toilets
It is said that things often happen in threes and that was certainly the case at the Quantock Staghounds Point to Point on Saturday with three young riders breaking their ducks. Most notable was Alex Bell who took some fair scalps on Ni Sin E Mo Ainm in a competitive Evolution Farm Vets Mixed Open on only her second ride having been unseated at Charlton Horethorne. Bath-based Alex, 26, purchased the horse, a former hurdles winner at Exeter out of Neil Mulholland’s yard where she had been riding out. Now combining training with riding out for Michael Blake, she keeps the horse at a livery yard/riding school where he is one of only 2 thoroughbreds on the place. Keeping her cool in what looked a strongly run race, Alex put advice from trainer Jimmy Frost with whom she had walked the course earlier to good use, driving the 25-1 shot past the tiring leaders approaching the last to win nicely. Devon-born Alex credits jockey Aodhagan Conlon with being her coach and mentor but her mother was quick to emphasis the huge amount of work Alex had put into the horse and it certainly paid dividends.
The Eastleigh Care Homes sponsored Hunt Members race was also won by a jockey having his first winner. 17 year old Ryan Withy from Frome has only been riding for 3 years but this former British Racing School graduate showed no signs of inexperience to lift the opener on Louis Pasteur and so spoil Little Cornham’s attempt at a 5th straight win. Louis Pasteur had been originally bought for part-owner Sheena Doggrell to hunt but she decided he still had have a future as a racehorse. It was a first winner at Cothelstone for Sheena who was Secretary to the Minehead Harriers & West Somerset Point to Point for many years.
As expected the large entry in the 2.5 mile Maiden produced two divisions with the first being won by the well regarded Get on the Yager under Will Biddick for Jack Barber and his Racing Club. Settling the horse in third place for much of the way, the horse came with a sweeping challenge to collar the tiring leaders and win well going away at the finish in the style of a nice horse. Will felt the horse to be very professional for a young horse and he certainly looks one to follow for the remainder of the season. Barber, for whom it was an 18th winner of the season, said the horse had taken time to strengthen up and had been in the yard for 3 seasons having been purchased at Doncaster.
The second division was slightly slower and saw Colorado Doc just hold on from Parlour Maid and favourite Round Robin. The winner, a big scopey son of Doctor Massini, is a homebred from David Brace’s Dunraven Stud who also stands the stallion. Brace opted to come to Cothelstone as he felt the ground would suit the horse who was making his racecourse debut. He jumped well and looks to have a bright future.
Black Banjo put a last fence fall at Larkhill aside to win the Richard Parkhouse Memorial Restricted Race for owners The Bean Club. A comfortable winner, trainer Nicky Sheppard felt that the drop back to 2.5 miles was the key to him and his next target could be an Intermediate at Maisemore, again at the reduced trip or back up to 3 miles over a flatter course.
Argentato made it 4 from 4 in the Hawkins Agri Ltd Conditions Race under 17 year old Jordan Nailor and is jointly tied at the top for leading horse honours. An early leader, he was taken on by market rival Imperial Circus and after shrugging off that challenge, still had enough to gamely hold off Always a Chance. Trainer Claire Hart was thrilled at the 12yo’s enthusiasm saying “I just can’t believe he can keep winning!” He may go back into Novice Riders company or possibly to Cheltenham for the Intermediate.
Like the earlier Maiden, the final race was divided with Road to Success winning the first round in the quicker time under Liam Trott, another jockey breaking his duck. Liam from Ilminster who works for Jack Barber was riding Road to Success for his mother, Sarah and this was only his second ride on the horse having finished second at Badbury Rings last time out. Trainer Ben Clarke was quick to praise the jockey as the horse needs plenty of daylight in his races and felt a wind-operation after his run at Larkhill had made a big difference.
The final race was won by the Nicky Martin trained The Lizard King ridden by Darren Edwards. After two promising runs last season, the horse who the jockey felt still had improvement in him won by 3 lengths from Dewi’s Mate who was running well on debut. A big character at home, the winner may reappear back at Cothelstone on Easter Monday.