Secretary: Mr Anthony Palmer
Address: Holdscroft Farm, Marshwood, Bridport, DT6 5QL
T: 01297 678525
M: 07804 163118
Entries: Mrs Marie Handel
Address: Rose Cottage, Furley, Axminster, Devon, EX13 7TU
T/F: 01404 881699
M: 07831 537684
Entry Fee: £30 for a single race, £15 per additional race same horse
or enter online at: www.pointtopoint.co.uk
Entries Close: Sunday 3rd April, 8.00 pm
Races: Members - CA Conditions - 4,5,6 year old Maiden (2m4f) - Mixed Open - Restricted - Open Maiden
The attractive rural course at Cotley near Chard is the scene of this weekend’s Wessex point-to-point meeting which is being held on Saturday. The organisers have arranged for a big screen to be in place to allow spectators to not only get a better view of the day’s racing but also the Grand National and other races from Aintree. This year the Grand National is being run at 5.15 after the point-to-point meeting has been completed so spectators are encouraged to stay and watch the big race.
The meeting starts with the Cotley Hunt race and John and Floss Symes appear to have the likely favourite as they have entered both Parkam Jack and Steeltown whose form is superior to the other two entries. Parkam Jack holds an entry in a Hunter Chase at Taunton on Thursday so if he is absent Steeltown, the impressive winner of his last race at Cothelstone is an automatic selection.
The Countryside Alliance Club Members Conditions race has attracted 18 entries with the highly promising Cousin Pete heading the entries. Unbeaten in both his races this season at Larkhill this is another step up in class but he may be good enough. His potential rivals include the progressive Kernel Victor, the winner of three of his four races this season including an easy victory last time at Cothelstone, Devon General, the winner of his only race this season at Great Trethew and Commanche Conflict, also the winner of his only race this season at Black Forest Lodge. Swallowshide who unseated his rider at Badbury Rings last Sunday is another to consider in what appears to be an intriguing contest with Cousin Pete narrowly chosen to defeat Kernel Victor.
The Maiden race for younger horses to be run over 2 and ½ miles features a number of horses with little form to date. Jack Barber’s representative San Satiro unseated his rider at an early stage of the race at Stafford Cross last season and has not run this season. Swansong Sally a half-sister to Blazing Whale is an interesting potential debutant for Stuart Sampson. Of those with previous experience this season Georgian Hero was fifth at Great Trethew and should improve for that run, Holm Hill has been placed third twice so far and Minim Mouse was fifth at Charlton Horethorne. A chance is taken on the last named to give owner Michael Dare another winner.
The Mixed Open also contains entries from Parkam Jack and Steeltown and if either decides to take in this race their chance must be respected. Blazing Whale has been the model of consistency this season winning three races for Ed Walker’s stable and is likely to be the favourite and will take a good horse to beat him. Delphi Mountain won last time for Emma Watson as did Subtle Sovereign who won his Hunt race at Larkhill giving Mitch Bastyan his first point-to-point winner and Tin Pot Man has won twice this season for George Hiscock. Sacre Toi, the winner of 5 chases in his career is an interesting recruit to point-to-pointing but all his victories were over 2 miles and his ability to stay 3 miles is questionable. Blazing Whale is chosen to continue his excellent form.
The Restricted race contains two entries from Jack Barber’s stable namely Captain Probus and Get on the Yager. The latter who won his maiden at Cothelstone is clearly on the upgrade and is the selection. Both Looking Glass and Its A Mistake won their last races with the latter being successful at Ystradowen in Wales and he may be the one to chase home the selection.
The Open maiden contains the biggest entry of 20 horses and of those with form Fountains Cider ran well when second in his Hunt race at Cothelstone on Easter Monday, Dunn’s River and Irish Legionnaire were second and third in a Maiden at Larkhill in February and may re-oppose, Magic Symphony was a close second at Brafield-on-the-Green and Robin Longstride has been placed twice this season. If Richard Bandey decides to bring Magic Symphony from his base the hint should be taken.
An April day containing a mixture of sunshine, showers with some hail added and a rainbow were all part of the afternoon at the Cotley meeting when Will Biddick and Jack Barber teamed up for a treble and Sacre Toi was an impressive winner of the Mixed Open race for owner/trainer Fiona Read.
The Hunt race was won in a very easy manner by Steeltown ridden by Jamie Thomas and was another victory for John and Floss Symes who have been dominant in this race for many years. Setting off in front Steeltown was never in any danger and won by a distance from his only rival Lajidaal. The winner is likely to be going to Vauterhill for his next race.
The Countryside Alliance Club Members Conditions race was won in an equally emphatic way when Kernel Victor ridden by Josh Newman beat his six rivals by six lengths. Taking it up at the twelfth fence he was in command at the second last and comfortably held off the challenge of Commanche Conflict. Owned by Evelyn Targett and her late husband Ray and trained by Ed Walker the Old Vic gelding may next be heading to Cheltenham to contest the Intermediate Final at the end of the month.
San Satiro was the first leg of Will and Jack’s treble when he won the young horse Maiden race over 2 and a half miles. Owned by Paul Nicholls and Colm Donlon the 5 year old Milan gelding was stepping up on his only previous appearance last season when he unseated his rider at Stafford Cross. Will reported that ‘he has grown up both mentally and physically and has got it all there’ and added that ‘he should be better over the full trip of 3 miles’. Jumping to the front at the third last he had a duel with Murifield before asserting from the last fence.
Sacre Toi was a comfortable winner of the Mixed Open race on his debut in English point-to-points. Previously trained in France where he won three hurdle race and a steeplechase in 2015 at courses as diverse as Pompadour, Dax, Clairefontaine and Fontainebleau when owned by Anna Bramall he is now owned by Fiona Read from Wincanton who acquired him privately from the sister of a friend. Fiona who had previously had a success this season with Bruton reported that he had had an injury so that Sacre Toi’s victory was a real boost for her small stable. Fiona who only had her second child three weeks ago was quick to pay credit to jockey James King who has been riding out when he could and had kept the gelding going whilst she was unable to ride. James who has now left Paul Nicholls will be riding out for other trainers whilst considering his options.
Get on the Yager was another easy winner for Will Biddick and Jack Barber. Following up on his debut win at Cothelstone Will took it up at the fifth fence and was never headed. His main rival It’s a Mistake who had travelled from Wales tried to make a race of it but was beaten ten lengths at the finishing post. Owned by Jack’s Racing Club this Tamure gelding continues to be on the upgrade and looks an exciting prospect.
The final race, the Open Maiden, brought up Will and Jack’s treble when Dunn’s River beat Fountains Cider after a battle over the last three fences. Owned by the Axe Valley Racing Club the winner had been bought by Richard Barber in October 2014 out of Jamie Osborne’s stable, after finishing third in a flat race at Chepstow. Recording their first winner this season for the Club connections advised that their flagship horse Barney’s Mate has been retired at the age of 16. The winner of 18 point-to-points and 3 hurdle race he built up a great relationship with Rachael Green before becoming a legend by giving a succession of novice riders their first winners when he was trained at Seaborough by Richard Barber. A long and happy retirement hopefully awaits him and he will be much missed on the Wessex point-to-point scene.