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Entries close: Thursday 9th May 2017 12.30pm
Races: Confined – CA Members Conditions 7yo+ Nov Rdrs, Ladies Open, Open Maiden, Mens Open, Restricted, Young Maiden 2m4f
First Race: 4.30pm
Entries may have been down elsewhere across the country but the Weston & Banwell meeting at Cothelstone on Wednesday evening has bucked the trend and attracted 120. Racing is once again preceded by Pony Racing with their first race at 3.15pm while the pointing kicks off at 4.30pm and the preliminary weather forecast looks set for a dry evening.
The Confined Race has attracted 16 entries and Ed Walker holds a strong hand here with Fly West and The Flying Doc as well as Act of Synergy. Both have been running well this season with the former runner-up three times including 2nd here to Hello George in March. He then ran a cracking race to just get touched off by Hawkhurst at Bitterley. The Flying Doc won at Didmarton in early March but hasn’t managed to get her head in front since. Teresa Clark also has three entered including the very promising mare Tuff Nano who has won 3 this term including an impressive 15 length win at Stafford Cross. She could still be improving and could be tough to beat. Her stablemate, Pancrace is also of interest and may not have stayed last time at Cheltenham. Country Legend is another mare in great form after wins at Milborne St Andrew and Badbury Rings but is held by Tuff Nano on an earlier run.
The Young Horse Maiden has also drawn 16 entries and there are a few Welsh raiders that catch the eye. David Brace has Gotaloton who has had one run at Pyle a month ago. He should improve for that while Bradley Gibbs has the unraced Gossip Shop. Paul Morgan has Risk and Co who has placed form under Rules for Jamie Snowdon but has yet to figure pointing. Francesca Nimmo has Pass Rusher who as a four year old claims a healthy weight allowance. Francesca also has Pandinus Imperator who looks to be improving based on his last two runs. Vincs Vinnie finished just in front of Signed And Sealed last time at Woodford and could figure.
The Conditions Race features Robert Hawker’s Jack Snipe. He rattled up a hat-trick but then looked not to stay 4 miles at Cheltenham. He could face tough opposition from the Tom Malone trained The Last But One who has 5 wins to his name this term including a gritty win from Minella Fifty at Stafford Cross last time. It could be a fascinating contest if they both run. Others to consider are Moreece who is gradually coming back to form, Willem who was 3rd at Cheltenham last time and the lightly raced Emperor Renard.
The Ladies Open too looks an appealing contest with several coming here in good form. Moscow Prices won at this meeting two years ago and enjoys going left-handed. He took a Mixed Open at Badbury Rings in April with Dry Ol’party (winner since) some way back in 3rd. Purple n’Gold has won his last two, both Ladies Opens under Millie Wonnacott and is clearly in great heart. For’n’Against would appeal but has entries closer to home. Cheltenam de Vaige progressed nicely from maiden win to Intermediate but was just found out upped in class to a Ladies Open last time.
The Men’s Open again sees a potential clash between Jack Snipe and The Last But One. Others entered are Beat the Tide who won from Wind Tor at Flete Park, Earthly Reason who seems to save his best for Trebudannon and Imogens Thunder, a winner at Chipley Park in January who failed to peg back the front running Ramble On last time at Littlewindsor. Sam Jukes’ Uppertown Hawk won this race last year and followed up at the final meeting on the course. He’s had two runs this season over shorter trips and would be of interest back up to 3 miles especially if adopting his favoured front-running role.
The Restricted Race may go to Fateh for the shrewd Mickey Bowen yard. A winner of a match at Howick he was then 2nd in a Restricted before a fair 3rd in the Dunraven Bowl. Arcal Fifty was well beaten at Kingston St Mary but his earlier head second to Country Legend reads well with Rien du Tout back in 5th. Rien du Tout won his maiden here last season comfortably while Cornflower Blue also showed a liking for the course winning her maiden here in March. Dancing Dave opened his account dead-heating at Flete Park last time while Tipalong Tyler surprised at a big price in a mares maiden at Lydstep.
The finale, an Open Maiden boasts the largest entry of the day with 28. Chemin de Fer is unraced but a half-brother to Santini. Also unraced is Pinot Noir from the Nimmo yard which also has Heredity Rule who wasn’t beaten far at Kimble and could go close. Joe Tickle’s Feu des Malberaux ran well in defeat at Buckfastleigh on his debut after making much of the running. He should progress. Mother’s Rest, 2nd at Woodford and Thelastwon, 2nd at Holnicote, are also going the right way
Admission is £10 per person (max £30 per car) Bar and Refreshments available. The course is situated north of Bishops Lydeard TA4 3DT.
When the Weston & Banwell point to point meeting received 120 entries it was indicative of the popularity of the course at a time when many are crying pointing is finished. Of those entries 48 ran – a healthy amount for May and it produced some excellent racing. The Will Biddick juggernaut continued with a determined treble to lengthen the gap in the Jockey’s Title race. And some quality horses seen out this season returned to form to remind racegoers there was no doubting their ability.
Trainer Charlotte Budd would never necessarily consider her Maiden winner Taken By Force to be “quality” but his jumping would certainly qualify. Completing the third of Will’s winners his task was admittedly made easier when two of his market rivals, Gotaloton and Winged Warrior went at the first fence along with Scary Stuff while Thelastwon was carried out one of the loose horses. Despite the demise of half the field, Taken By Force quickly went clear rounding the last bend to win by 20 lengths. A delighted Charlotte had bought the diminutive gelding from Ascot Sales for the paltry sum of £1,000 and secured the services of Will after a conversation with fellow trainer, Teresa Clark at a local party. Will confirmed what a professional ride the horse had given him and remarked how well he jumped considering his size.
The first of Will’s winners had been in the shorter Maiden on Eole d’Un Regard for trainer Deborah Treneer. Deborah had sent the 5 year old Great Pretender gelding to Will for a few weeks as he had proved difficult to settle in his previous races. Making the running and keen for much of the race, Will managed to keep enough under the bonnet to record a facile win after nearest rival Witchdoctor unseated 2 fences out. Eole d’Un Regard had been bought in France by Tracy Brown for Deborah having been placed over there.
The Restricted Race went to the Ed Walker trained Journey Juice and Will Biddick much to the relief of his connections, The Otter Club. Given a lovely ride, he was switched off at the rear for most of the race and when favourite Arcal Fifty made a mistake at the last it allowed him enough of a margin to hold off a determined runner-up by a head in a thrilling finish. Journey Juice had run well when second at Cotley and is clearly happier not being pressured early on.
The meeting had opened with a Confined Race which went to the classy mare Country Legend for the Bishop family who looks likely to win both Novice horse awards for the Wessex Area to add to the silverware she has already won. A three-time winner already this season at Larkhill, Badbury Rings and Milborne St Andrew, she had disappointed last time at Larkhill. Trainer Frances Bishop explained “her hip had dropped after Larkhill and she just wasn’t right so Becky Davies who is a McTimoney practitioner has worked on her and she is so much better.” She also added that the jockey “is finally learning how to ride her!” – the jockey being son Tom who works in London and returns to ride the mare in her races.
Bloodstock Agent Tom Malone is clearly enjoying his side hobby of training thanks to the exploits of The Last But One who took the Conditions Race under Nathan Vergne by a very comfortable 25 lengths. The jockey too was beaming as he returned to the winner’s enclosure and confirmed how much Cothelstone meant to him as he had ridden his very first winner here only a year ago. Recording his sixth win of the season with the horse, Tom was undecided as to whether he would run his horse again but as he was leader for the PPORA Novice Horse Award much depended on how his closest rival, Streets of London got on at the weekend.
The Ladies Open again showed what an emerging talent Millie Wonnacott is amongst the lady riders as she completed a hat-trick on Purple ‘n Gold narrowly denying the equally talented Lucy Mager on Moscow Prices in a thrilling finish. Purple ‘n Gold is an “All girl affair” being owned by the “Here Come the Girls” partnership and trained by Lisa Jefford and they confirmed that they would again be celebrating with plenty of pink champagne!
The Men’s Open was run at a much faster pace and was some 10 seconds faster than the Ladies after two regular front runners were determined to lead. Eventually course specialist Uppertown Hawk got his customary role under regular jockey Sam Jukes and tried to run the finish out of the odds-on Jack Snipe. Trained by Rob Hawker, Jack Snipe however had only blotted his copybook once this season when finding 4 miles at Cheltenham last time a step too far and Shane Quinlan was always confident he would regain his winning thread. The runner-up was game under the circumstances and would be of interest if he returns for the final meeting here.
Pony Racing preceded the pointing and saw the Wessex Area Finals with the 138cm race going to Freddie Gingell on The Jobs Not Straight from Taylor Fisher on Maesteg Ruth while Taylor made amends in the 148cm winning on Our Jeremy from Artemis Morgan on Tarka.