Secretary: Mrs Linda Pugsley
Address: Zeal Farm, Hawridge, Dulverton, Somerset TA22 9QL
T: 01398 341317
M: 07890 662817
Entries: Mrs J Cumings
Address: Eastwood Bishops Nympton South Molton Devon EX36 4PB
T/F: 01769 550528
M: 07815 888625
Entry Fee: £30 for a single race, £10 per additional race same horse
or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd (www.pointtopointentries.co.uk
Entries Close: Monday 30th April 12.30 pm
Races: Members - Restricted - Club Conditions 8yo+ - 4,5,6 year old Maiden (2m4f) – PPORA Conditions Nov Rdrs - Open Maiden - Mixed Open
An unseasonably damp Spring has ensured the Devon & Somerset Staghounds meeting at Holnicote this Sunday are anticipating excellent ground conditions and they have duly been rewarded with a substantial increase on previous years entries in 132. With the sun promising to shine and temperatures set to rise, an exciting day’s racing looked assured.
The first race is the Exmoor Luxury Loos Hunt Members and among the 14 entries is former race winner in Neville who was also second in this race last year for owner/trainer Mark Pendarves. The Edwards family may have recruited an interesting type in Chic Theatre formerly a three-time winner for David Pipe and he should build on his debut pointing when he pulled up at Flete Park. Another former winner under rules is the former Vic Dartnall trained Abyaat, now with Beth Childs. Dragon de la Tour has yet to win but has some fair placings to his name for trainer Claire Harris who also has Coco Live. Lily the Pink won a point to point bumper last weekend at Bitterley for Joe Tickle and would be of interest if reappearing. Trainer Keith Cumings has course winner The Mexican Bandit entered as well as Steel Brush who took this last year from Neville and comes here off the back of a nice win at Flete Park last time.
The young horse maiden sponsored by Tom Malone includes some well-related four year olds including My Dixie for trainer Ed Walker. Jade Barber also has the unraced Eggardon Hill, a gelding by Doyen while Bethen Childs has entered Inthemix, a half-brother to the prolific winner, Grandad’s Horse. Of the older contingent, Broadwood Robin has much to live up to in his half-brother Robin de Souza but may improve while The Coffee Hunter was only just denied last time at Flete Park and could be the pick of those who have run. Matt Griffiths has acquired Redmond Hall who was unlucky not to win on debut. The drier conditions here may suit. Ian Chanin has Meteorite who was fourth in a pointing bumper at Barbury after making much of the running.
The PFG Fabrications Mixed Open features three from the Ed Walker yard; the consistent Kernel Victor, an Open winner twice last season, the younger Rouge Devils who has had one run since re-joining the pointing game after three wins with Paul Nicholls and the rejuvenated Different Gravey who proved he was just that at Larkhill last time under Will Biddick when accounting for an in-form Bistouri D’Honore. This former Nicky Henderson inmate should take some beating. Also a winner at Larkhill that day was Subtle Sovereign under regular rider Lucy Mager. Trainer Teresa Clark also has Willem (a winner at Barbury last time) entered but both of hers hold Cheltenham entries. Pink Eyed Pedro may not have enjoyed the conditions the last twice which may also have been the case for former classy NH recruit Saddler’s Encore at Buckfastleigh. Black Valentine kicked off his career with a win at Littlewindsor under jockey Will Biddick. After a spell under rules for Paul Nicholls where he won at Wincanton, he now returns to pointing under the care of trainer Will Biddick.
Dragon de la Tour heads the ratings for the Langdon Transport Open Maiden and he was probably unlucky not to win at Milborne St Andrew in March while Mike Vanstone’s Lure des Pres was second to the impressive Foxworthy at Larkhill with Moonlight Flyer back in third and River Wye in fourth. Gask Ridge was a decent third behind the useful Cona River at Badbury Rings. Heaven’s Gate has two placings at Bratton Down last season. Pancrace fell mid-race at Larkhill but had previously recorded a good third on debut and Serralunga too was running well when departing at the 7th fence at Charlton Horethorne in March.
The Novice Riders race sponsored by James Rowe includes current joint National leader, William Money who comes here seeking a sixth win of the season for trainer David Brace who also has Pink Eyed Pedro in. Robin de Souza could be a threat if he can regain his winning thread from earlier in the season for trainer Dean Summersby while the mare Mistress Massini is two from two this season. Others to note are Ella Pickard’s Cinevator, a former course winner and Chloe Newman’s Minim Mouse.
The Amhurst & Shapland Confined race sees Julie Pocock’s Crackacan who resumed winning ways at Flete Park last time. The second that day, Angles Hill re-opposes as does Doyen Dynamo. Bedrock Fred has been running respectably this season without winning while Cracked Rear View could well improve on his first run pointing. He was an expensive purchase after winning a bumper in Ireland and won over hurdles for Kim Bailey. Ben Clarke’s Hinxworth is entitled to improve on his only two starts this season having shown up well for much of the way in both. Karinga Dancer rarely runs a bad race and can make his presence felt if taking up this engagement. David Brace has Mitebeall Forluck entered and this four time (good ground) Irish winner may be better than his pointing figures suggest. Likewise it would be wise not to underestimate fellow Welshman, Ramble On, a three time winner last season for Kieran Price.
The Slee Blackwell Restricted race is the final race on the card and has 18 entries. Luke Price has Darwin Dancer who has made steady progress this season culminating in a win at Lydstep three weeks ago. Doctor’s Differ won his maiden nicely at Badbury Rings before finding Delineate and Martin McIntyre too strong at Larkhill. On that occasion Danseur du Large, previously a comfortable winner at Ston Easton, unseated early on. Midnight Calamity finished alone in a 2 runner maiden at Bitterley while fellow four year old filly, Missyladie was running well until ducking out and unseating last time at Flete Park where Raloo Rocket also fell.
First race is at 2pm and the course is signed from the A39 between Minehead and Porlock – TA24 8TE. Admission is £10 per person (max £30 per car). Advance tickets can also be purchased online via www.holnicoteraces.co.uk (£8/person max £25/car).
Devon and Somerset Staghounds Holnicote
1 Steel Brush 2 Kapricorne 3 My Legal Lady
2.4 1 The Coffee Hunter 2 Redman Hall 3 Inthemix
1 Pink Eyed Pedro 2 Rouge Devils 3 Too late To Sell
1 River Wye 2 Gask Ridge 3 Dragon de La Tour
PPORA Nov riders
1 William Money 2 Top Chief 3 Al Alfa
1 Angles Hill 2 Crackacan 3 Raajih
1 Danseur du Large 2 Doctors Differ 3 The Mystro
Holnicote was bathed in glorious sunshine as the Devon & Somerset Staghounds staged their meeting last Sunday and consequently drew a large crowd who were treated to some excellent racing. Picnic hampers were out in force and the public refreshment tent and bar, an ideal refuge from the strong sun. The mid-week rainfall however had ensured the ground was in perfect condition and there were plenty of runners.
For one jockey in particular it was a day to remember when Stefan Kirwan stylishly drove River Wye home in the Open Maiden to record his first ever winner. Stefan works for trainer Philip Hobbs having spent his childhood in Ireland hunting and Pony Clubbing before progressing to Pony Racing. Trained locally by pointing stalwart and Horse Transporter Alan Walter, River Wye had been purchased by Alan’s wife Jane outside the ring at Doncaster Sales as an unbroken 3yo. Jane was determined to buy the mare having adored her half-sister Lady Myfanwy and when she was led out without a bid, overruled her husband. Setting up the ‘Ers and Mine Partnership with friend Shirley Turner, herself a long-time pointing secretary in Wales, the “Welshies” as Jane described them, were ecstatic, saying, “We have waited so long for this and we are just so pleased to give Stefan his first winner”
The day had begun with ten runners going to post for the Hunt Members Race with favourite Steel Brush coming out on top of a tight finish for trainer Keith Cumings and owner Maurice Scott, former joint master of the Devon & Somerset Staghounds. Steel Brush took the race last season and came here off the back of a cosy win at Flete Park. Winning jockey David Prichard admitted he had felt pretty confident he would win despite runner-up Kapricorne doing his best to reel him in near the line.
The Welsh raiders are always to be feared when they venture across the Severn Bridge and trainer David Brace helped himself to a double courtesy of Pink Eyed Pedro in the Mixed Open and William Money in the Novice Riders. Both winners were ridden by his grandson Connor, who has certainly made an impact this season taking his total up to 15 wins for the season. Pink Eyed Pedro won quite cosily and David expressed his delight in the fact this was the horse’s first Open win. William Money moved one ahead in the battle for the National Leading Horse award with a 15 length success over Top Chief. David explained he had bought the horse from Tim Vaughan as an ideal horse for Novice Riders races and his six wins this season certainly justifies that view. “Tim said his son was too young to ride the horse so I may as well have him for Connor. If Connor decides to turn professional next season, I might just sell him back – although he may cost a bit more now!” quipped the trainer.
The young horse maiden was delayed with immature antics on the way to the start which resulted in one jockey requiring a ride in an ambulance rather than his intended mount. The Coffee Hunter showed plenty of maturity though improving on a promising run at Flete Park last time for trainer Colin Heard and jockey Lee Drowne. Redmond Hall was back in second with Inthemix making an eye-catching debut in 3rd. The Coffee Hunter was a first winner for syndicate, the Blowhole Boys Club although many of its members weren’t present as they were playing football. Colin also trains the football team when he isn’t training horses and this was the first horse they had owned.
There were emotional scenes in the winner’s enclosure after the Conditions Race when Angles Hill turned the tables on favourite Crackacan who had beaten him last time at Flete Park. Jockey Heidi Lewis had lost her horse Sullivan John the previous day to a bout of colic but the Lewis family said “they were determined that today was going to be a good day!” and the horse duly obliged.
In the final race, the Restricted, the Ed Walker trained Danseur du Large was produced two out by Will Biddick winning cosily having dropped him out early on. A hard puller when trained under rules by Charlie Longsdon for owner Lady Dulverton, he now sports a net-muzzle and it took much of Polly Walker’s skill to lead him round the paddock. Will said after the race, “he just needs the first mile to chill as he’s got so much engine, he needs to contain it” Lady Dulverton who was thrilled that Ed and Polly had worked their magic with the horse, admitted he had done three laps of Larkhill last time after unseating Will early on.