Secretaries: Kirsty Boutflower & Di Stevens
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
or enter online at: www.pointopoint.co.uk
Entries Close: Sunday 1st May, 9.00 pm
Races: Members - Open Maiden - PPORA Novice Riders - Mixed Open - Club Members - Restricted - Intermediate
This Saturday sees the second point to point meeting at picturesque Holnicote jointly hosted by the Minehead Harriers and West Somerset Hunts. With a creditable entry of 91 horses, the proceedings commence with a Charity Race in aid of Diabetes UK and the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. The first official race on the card, the Hunt Members is headed by Dancing Olga for trainer Robert Pudd who looked on good terms with herself at Axe Vale two weeks ago finishing a fair third to Posh Totty after racing keenly. She should come on for the race and this former Hunter Chase winner last term at Newton Abbot, should find this company somewhat easier although Sammy Blade, trained by Claire Cook could potentially make things tricky for the mare who likes to front run. The latter named ran a much improved race when second last time under Natalie Parker at Littlewindsor to Captain Probus. Former Philip Hobbs inmate, Neville would be of interest if re-appearing quickly after a surprise win here last Sunday.
The feature race, the Brian Armstrong Memorial Mixed Open has a prize fund of £1000 sponsored in part by Philip and Sarah Hobbs of Sandhill Racing Stables and also the friends and family of the late Brian Armstrong, racing photographer and Wessex PRO. It has attracted some nice entries including the classy pair Posh Totty and Queens Bay from the Jack Barber yard. The former won nicely from The Whealerdealer and Dancing Olga last time at Axe Vale and may confirm the form. Queens Bay who has 2 wins to her name when trained by Colin Tizzard, has won 3 from 3 since joining Barber including from Pacha du Polder last time at Milborne St Andrew. The Nicky Henderson owned, Medieval Chapel who is trained and ridden by daughter Camilla should also be noted.
The open Maiden has an entry of 16 horses including Amber River who has 4 placings to her name and could find the drier conditions more in her favour. She ran well last time at Axe Vale without ever troubling the leader and eventual winner Broadway Blueshirt. Teresa Clark has her horses in fine form and recorded a double at the course last weekend. Her Castleboy Warrior is lightly raced for a 10 year old recording just 14 starts both pointing and under rules. He has some good efforts including two 3rds at Great Trethew and Cothelstone respectively in fair company. Jack Barber has the unraced Dr Massini gelding Doctor Tiger entered. He would be of obvious interest but he also holds entries elsewhere. Rockinrolldixie was in the process of running a good race when hitting the fence two from home and fading into 5th at Cherrybrook. He had previously been an excellent second to Our Chief at Great Trethew and if he coped with the quicker surface could be the one to beat especially if Darren Edwards sticks with him.
Trainer Alison Christmas sent Carlos Gardel all the way from Yorkshire last year for a win in the finale. This year he is entered in the Novice Riders race and comes here off the back of a good win at the Morpeth in a similar event. Tommy Morgan has 2 eye-catching entries in the form of Lough Inch and Tulsa. The first named has an impressive 10 point wins from 13 runs to his name but was forced to pull out all the stops last time at Tabley in a blanket finish from Mattara and Western Promise. Morgan’s other entry Tulsa, was beaten at odds-on last time at Garthorpe albeit under a penalty and may lack the class of his stable companion at this stage of his career. Ciara Fry has taken over the training of Triangular from her husband Harry this season and this drop to pointing has seen him regain his confidence. Subtle Sovereign is another who might appreciate the slight drop in class.
The Conditions Race for those horses who are in need of a confidence boost sees a tight contest with Buck’s Bond, C Me in Oz, Lively Baron, Carlos Gardel and Credit Crunched all of a similar rating. Liberty One for Kayleigh Woollacott had fair form under rules for husband Richard and with the consistent King’s Bench for trainer Marie McGuiness in the mix too, it looks to be a race where paddock inspection plays a big part.
The Restricted Race has been shortened in distance with the 4yo filly Kapoupakap holding a very strong hand due to weight advantages. She won with any amount of ease at Flete Park for trainer Sam Holdsworth. Jonimo made amends for unseating at Ston Easton with a comfortable victory at Axe Vale while Jack Barber has Black Valentine who is one from one after being left clear at the last at Littlewindsor. Barber also has Innocent Girl, twice beaten at odds-on after a debut win in a mares maiden at Barbury Castle. High Priority for Keith Cumings may appreciate the drier surface more than he has faced this season so far.
The finale for Intermediate horses again sees a good contest with Captain Camelot returning to pointing after contesting a hunter chase last time at Chepstow. He had won the time before at Lydstep. Tersa Clark has her dual winners in from last weekend in Ballyanrahan and Grey Dream. Nicky Shepherd has Black Banjo, a winner earlier this year at Cothelstone and a good second last time out at Bitterley when just failing to get up on the line and is the selection. Earthpower may not have appreciated the quick ground last time at Badbury Rings while stablemate Captain Probus looks to be improving.
Racing starts at 1pm for the Charity Race with the first official race at 2pm. Admission is £10 per person (max £30 per car). There is a bar, an excellent Refreshment Tent and trade stands. The course is situated just off the A39 between Minehead and Porlock and should be well signed.
Trainer Laura Thomas and her father Norman made two trips from their Barbury Castle base near Marlborough to Holnicote in 24 hours and after deciding that the ground was suitable they brought a total of four horses to the Somerset course. Their enterprise was rewarded as they went away with two victories and two seconds including winning the feature race the Brian Armstrong Memorial Mixed Open. After the cloud had lifted it was a glorious spring day in a setting which must rank as one of the most attractive courses in the country.
The Hunt race saw a change in fortunes for the George Beilby trained Knight Blaze ridden by Nick Lawton who comfortably beat her sole rival Jopero. George who started the season with three horses reported that he had lost the other two following racing injuries and that’ this win had cheered him up a bit’.
The first of the Thomas trained runners ran in the Open Maiden but Berwick Bassett was not good enough to catch Castleboy Warrior ridden by Darren Edwards for trainer Teresa Clark and went down by two and a half lengths. Although the winner only ran at Littlewindsor on Monday he was bucking and skipping in the ménage the day after and Teresa decided that he could take his chance in what appeared to be a weaker race than the one he had finished fourth on Monday. Owned by neighbour Stephanie Bristow in conjunction with the Notre Cheval Partnership the horse had been bought by Stephanie to go eventing but when he was withdrawn from the dressage stage Stephanie asked Teresa to see if he would make a point-to-pointer. Teresa was thrilled to have trained a winner for Stephanie who she described as ‘my surrogate mother’
After Louis Pasteur had walked over for the Novice Riders race a competitive field of four lined up for the Brian Armstrong Memorial race named after the Horse and Hound correspondent and Wessex PRO who sadly died last year. After the favourite the Wealerdealer had given Lee Drowne no chance of staying in the saddle at the thirteenth fence this left Full Throttle owned by Norman Thomas and ridden by Johnny Bailey in front and despite the valiant efforts of Swansbrook he maintained the lead to the line. Norman explained that ‘ the horse needs faster ground – we were going to Garthorpe with him but at 9.00am Laura said why don’t we take him to Holnicote so he came separately to the others in a trailer’ Norman was full of praise for the prize money on offer for this race.
He expected to follow up in the Club Members Conditions Race when Credit Crunched started a very warm favourite. However he had no answer when Miss Cupcake ridden by Vicky Wade swept into the lead at the last ditch and soon drew away to win very easily. Owned by Jacquie McCullough and trained by Lisa Jefford the mare does not like soft ground and this is why this was only her second appearance of the season.
Sam Holdsworth and owner Charlie Stanley from Ivybridge have a nice 4 year old filly in Kapoupakap ridden by Hannah Welch who easily won the Restricted race. Bought in France after being placed in a chase she has now won her last two races and is making full use of the allowances available to 4 year old fillies. Hannah did say with a smile that the weight to be carried did mean that ‘I have to cut out cream cakes at present’
The final race, the Intermediate, provided the second leg of Laura Thomas’ training double when she rode her own Tucumcari who was given to her by her father this season. This was the closest finish of the day with less than a length separating the three runners at the line. Tucumcari took it up at the thirteenth fence and in a driving finish held off the attentions of Firmount Beech and the favourite Black Banjo to complete a memorable day for the Thomas family.