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Address: Manor Court Steps Farm Bilbrook Minehead Somerset TA24 6HE
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or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd (www.pointtopointentries.co.uk )
Entries Close: Monday 6th May, 12.30 pm
Races: Members - Restricted 2m4f- Club Conditions 8yo+ - Mixed Open – Intermediate – PPORA Conditions Nov Rdrs - Open Maiden
This Saturday the pretty course at Holnicote situated at the base of Dunkery Beacon, holds its second meeting this time hosted by the Minehead Harriers and West Somerset. They have received 65 entries while the racing will once again be preceded by an Exmoor Pony Race.
The Hunt Race has attracted 4 entries and this could go to Uncle Jimmy trained by Bethen Childs. A winner at Flete Park last time under Nick Lawton, this former Philip Hobbs inmate was once deemed good enough to compete at the Cheltenham Festival and should be too good for his rivals. La Madonnina is now in the care of Abigail Lewis having formerly been with Ed Walker last season. She was second in this race last year and should enjoy the quicker ground having won on good to firm at Bratton Down a year ago.
The 15 entries in the Maiden include a couple of interesting unraced types none more so than the Ed Walker trained Chemin de Fer, a half-brother to the talented Santini, runner-up in the RSA at Cheltenham. Ed also has Mothers Rest who was 2nd to Red Nika at Woodford last time racing prominently. The third entry from the yard is Vincs Vinnie who was also 2nd at the same venue last time. Both are entitled to improve considerably. Archirondel has acquired more letters against his name but the latest U could be attributed to a slipped saddle and if he were to run to the form that saw him look set to win at Cothelstone before ducking out at the last, he would be worthy of consideration.
The Novice Riders event includes Willem who was a respectable 3rd at Cheltenham most recently following a win in a similar contest at Kingston St Mary under Gordon Treacy. He should take all the beating. Tiger Sam got the better of Blue Benny in a Ladies Open match at Larkhill three weeks ago and could pose a danger. He was a dual winner for Noel Meade three seasons ago. Shannon Silver too has good form from last season including back to back wins but he is entered elsewhere. Gingili and De Boitron both finished second here at last week’s meeting.
The Mixed Open has plenty of quality including the very consistent Green Winter who boasts Open victories at Paxford and Larkhill this season. On a similar rating Minella Fifty ran a cracker to just be denied by The Last But One at Stafford Cross two weeks ago. Nicky Martin’s Pistol Shoot was impressive when taking an Intermediate at Buckfastleigh in March backing up his Restricted win at Bishop’s Court and could improve. Similarly hat-trick seeking Princely Player would enter calculations if travelling here as would Alex Dunn’s How About It. Course winner Cinevator will enjoy the quicker conditions and was narrowly touched off on his seasonal debut.
Imogens Thunder and Doctor’s Differ both have entries in the Open but it may pay to divert them to the following Conditions Race as an easier option. The former won at Chipley early in January and has run some good races in defeat since. Doctor’s Differ won at Kingston St Mary (Prince of Poets held in 2nd) and then went to Cheltenham. He pulled up there but should enjoy the easier company here. Pancrace also ran at Cheltenham but possibly didn’t stay. He looked useful at Barbury in February and could bounce back to form here.
The Restricted race could see the quick reappearance of Bubble O’Clock who only had to canter around on his own here last weekend but despite this, his jumping was spectacular and taking into account his previous run good 3rd at Charlton Horethorne, he would be the selection. Robert Hawker’s Five Gold Bars won his maiden nicely at Kilworthy before finishing 3rd at Upcott Cross. George’s Legacy was a surprise winner of a Mares Maiden at Chipley in January but hasn’t built on that win. Dr Rhythm won at this track 2 seasons ago for Jack Barber beating Tree Sparrow by 25 lengths. He then returned to pointing under the care of Keith Cumings following two runs under Rules for Paul Nicholls. He could easily be a threat to the selection.
Two horses in the finale, the Intermediate, are chasing a three timer. Chase Me has wins at Bonvilston and Knightwick most recently while Robin Why Not followed up his maiden win at Buckfastleigh with an easier win at Trebudannon. Cloudy Music confirmed early season promise winning at Wadebridge and following on at Buckfastleigh. She was then placed twice but it would not surprise if she were to resume a winning thread.
The Exmoor Pony Race is at 1pm while the 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).
Race 1: Members
1st Void race not finishers
Runners: 2 Distances: l, l Time: m s
Race 2: Open Maiden
1st Archirondel (Ire)
2nd Niteinshininarmour (Ire)
3rd Tik Tak (Ire)
Runners: 7 Distances: 2l, 4l Time: 6m 44s
Race 3: Conditions Novice Riders
2nd Wilem (Fr)
3rd Skylander (Ire)
Runners: 5 Distances: 3l, 2l Time: 6m 35s
Race 4: Mixed Open
1st Pistol Shoot (Ire)
2nd Minella Fifty (Ire)
Runners: 2 Distances: 3l, l Time: 6m 38s
Race 5: Conditions 8yrs+
1st Pancrace (Fr)
2nd Doctor’s Differ (Ire)
Runners: 3 Distances: 8l, l Time: 6m 39s
Race 6: Restricted 2m 4f
1st Bubble O’ Clock (Ire)
2nd Dr Rhythm (Ire)
3rd Earth Storm (Ire)
Runners: 5 Distances: 8l, 20l Time: 5m 12s
Race 7: Intermediate
1st Chase Me (Ire)
2nd Cloudy Music (Ire)
3rd Prince of Poets
Runners: 4 Distances: 4l,1l Time: 6m 37s
A welcome deluge of rain during the week ensured that the ground at the Minehead Harriers & West Somerset Point to Point was in good condition and together with wall to wall sunshine, a large crowd enjoyed some excellent racing. Will Biddick continued his march towards regaining his title with a double while Bubble O’Clock and Matt Hampton followed up last weekend’s course win by running his rivals ragged.
Bubble O’Clock had impressed last week with a super-impressive round of jumping having been left on his own after his sole rival departed at the start. Reappearing quickly he once again showed that was merely a sign of better things to come and bowling along in front his opponents didn’t stand a chance of pegging him back in the Restricted. Dr Rhythm who had a previous course win to his name valiantly tried but was 8 lengths adrift at the line. Bubble O’Clock is owned jointly owned by Matt and Robert and Claire Criddle for whom this is a first venture into ownership. Robert explained they had got involved via Piers Wilmot who had treated the horse and visited Paul Nicholls’ yard after a friend had a runner in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham. After meeting Matt, they were keen to support him and his wife Felicity with their burgeoning pointing and pre-training yard.
Another to go into notebooks for the future was Pancrace who was the first of Will Biddick’s double and took the Conditions Race. A winner at Barbury earlier in the season, he had possibly not stayed last time at Cheltenham and Will felt that yesterday’s race had come quite soon after that run despite winning by 3 lengths from Doctor’s Differ. “He’s much better than that” said Will and this good-looking son of Laveron may head to Stratford for the Restricted Final which owners John White and Sean Finn won in 2016 with Our Chief also trained by Teresa Clark.
Chase Me provided Will’s second winner in the Intermediate and a decision to travel nearly three hours from Ledbury paid off for trainer James Ridley. Owned by James’ mother Heather Ridley-Gaines and Helen Wood, Chase Me was completing a hat-trick following wins at Bonvilston and Knightwick. Always in the front rank, Will explained he was forced there after none of his rivals wanted to go on but the effect of having horses behind him made his respond more. James bought the horse from Nigel Twiston-Davies last summer and thought he may possibly go for either a Conditions race or a Hunter Chase next.
Will was denied a treble on the day when the enigmatic So When declined to finish his race, cocking his jaw and running out as he was cruising round the final bend in the Open Maiden. Archirondel took advantage of this to record his first win to the relief of connections. Trained locally by Tiffany O’Dwyer in Rodhuish, the 5 year old Kalanisi gelding is for sale and this confidence boosting win has done no harm to advertising his ability. Archirondel is a first winner for Tiffany and her husband Darren who both work for Philip Hobbs’. Tiffany and Darren also worked for Joseph and Aiden O’Brien respectively before returning to work for Philip where they had first met and they were keen to thank Sarah and Philip Hobbs for all their help and advice training the horse.
The Mixed Open drew two runners but proved an exciting race to watch as eventual winner Pistol Shoot stalked front running favourite Minella Fifty until asserting down the back stretch. Trainer Nicky Martin hadn’t intended running as she felt that her horse preferred more cut and only declared after realising the race could be a walkover and that the paying public deserved better. A surprised but thrilled Nicky said afterwards “Neil Harris bought him for me as a youngster at Tattersalls, Ireland and I was intending to sell him but might have to rethink now after this! I might well put him back under Rules but we could have a think about Stratford especially as he won the point to point bumper at Finals day there two seasons ago.”
The Novice Riders race provided Luca Morgan with the chance to make amends for last weekend’s defeat here in a similar contest. With More Than Luck and Tiger Sam forcing a strong early pace, Luca was happy to sit further back before driving Gingili past the tiring leaders to hold off favourite Willem and win by 3 lengths. Happier in company than last weeks’ match, this was more like the form he showed when winning comfortably under Luca at Ston Easton.
The day’s racing was preceded by an Exmoor Pony Race and 8 ponies went to post. Last year’s winning jockey Anna-Claire Worsdale showed course knowledge is a bonus and held off a fast finishing Su Elsden on Kingsby Fennel who had spoilt his chances by bucking as the flag went up. A delighted Anna–Claire explained that Sweetcombe Sunny D is more usually seen in the show ring at HOYS qualifiers but found this far more fun!