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Entries close: Monday 20th May 12.30pm
Races: PPORA Members Conditions Nov Rdrs, Mixed Open, Open Maiden, Restricted, Young Maiden 2m4f - Confined
First Race: 2.00pm
This Sunday sees the final meeting of the Wessex Area this season with the West Somerset Vale hosting their point to point at Cothelstone. Organisers have confirmed that the ground will be watered to maintain a safe racing surface. Once again Pony Racing precedes the main racing for which 68 entries have been received and several who ran well at the last meeting are amongst them.
The Confined Race includes The Flying Doc who ran well in second behind classy mare Country Legend last week and could go one better. Steel Brush was a further 5 lengths away in third and should again run well. The Flying Doc holds Carrig Dubh on earlier form this season having beaten him easily at Didmarton. Teresa Clark has the highly regarded Tuff Nano entered but she may rely on her other entry Prince of Poets who ran a fair race under Lucy Mager to finish third at Holnicote. Rien du Tout won his maiden at this meeting last year and trainer Charlotte Budd does well with her horses at this track including a winner last week.
The first of two Maidens is for younger horses and many are doubly entered. Spring Break was made favourite for his next race where he pulled up after finishing second here in March but he was beaten a long way on that occasion. Ask Dai was made favourite on debut at Lower Machen but was brought down 4 fences from home and would be of interest if making the journey across the Severn Bridge as would Epalo de la Thinte for the Tudor yard. The Dartmoor Rose boasts her best form against her own sex but should be considered.
The Maiden for older horses has attracted 16 including a couple mentioned above. It could go to Loodeen on the strength of his recent form including a close second to Waterloo Warrior at Bredwardine last weekend. Annie Bacon’s Tomb Stone ran well to finish third at Trebudannon behind Thewinnertakesitall. Joe Tickle has Chips for Free who was third to all-the-way winner Ichifoot last time. Lady Zaz performed credibly here last time for trainer Steve McCracken when second to Taken by Force.
The quality steps up considerably for the Mixed Open with several coming here is great form especially Ballyknock Cloud who has returned from racing under Rules to really impress last time at Littlewindsor when winning unchallenged. A three time winner in 2017, he is now unbeaten pointing and he could again prove hard to beat. Welsh mare Highway Jewel is also unbeaten pointing but she could stay closer to home with entries at Lower Machen as well. Uppertown Hawk loves this course but ran into the top class Jack Snipe here last week and despite a gallant effort couldn’t quite hold him off. Willem has won here beating Moscow Prices two seasons ago but that horse has improved significantly since and he posted a good run when second here to Purple ‘n Gold last time to add to two wins at Badbury Rings this season. Trebudannon specialist Earthly Reason comes here after winning a Mixed Open there from Beat the Tide while trainer Claire Hitch has Minella Fifty entered and this dual course winner could also go well.
The Conditions Race could see Jack Snipe returning to the scene of his win over Uppertown Hawk last week. Bar pulling up at Cheltenham, he hasn’t put a foot wrong this season and would be very hard to beat. Desert Roe has easily accounted for his rivals in his last two races but these have been small field affairs. He has run here before when second in a maiden to Sammy Blade. Aero Majestic may have benefitted from Rien du Tout unseating three out at Littlewindsor while Boher Call didn’t build on his good Wilton win next time. Dean Summersby’s mare Cloudy Music has yet to finish out of the first three this season including two wins at Wadebridge and Buckfastleigh but they were on a softer surface.
The finale is a Restricted Race and it could see the quick return of the diminutive Taken by Force who won an eventful Maiden here last week under Will Biddick for trainer Charlotte Budd. Dr Rhythm was a fair second to the improving Bubble O’Clock at Holnicote last two weeks ago. Brass in Pocket looked a nice sort when winning his maiden two seasons ago at Siddington but has run respectably in his last two runs and could figure. Gerties Garter won a maiden at Littlewindsor last season and has two fair seconds to his name this season for trainer Ed Walker. Diplomatico would be of obvious interest judged on his win at Barbury in April but holds multiple entries elsewhere as has Mister Buddy while Gowell wasn’t beaten far at Llwyn Ddu.
Admission is £10 per person. Bar and Refreshments available. The course is situated north of Bishops Lydeard TA4 3DT. Pony Racing is set to start at 1pm preceding the main events. The first main race is scheduled for 2pm and preliminary weather forecasts look set for fine weather.
As the season winds down towards its summer break, the Wessex Area saw its final point to point meeting of the year on Sunday with the West Somerset Vale at Cothelstone. Despite a smaller entry than last year, there were enough runners to ensure competitive racing and trainer Keith Cumings saddled a welcome double while Josh Newman completed a riding double.
The second leg of the Cumings double came courtesy of Dr Rhythm who romped home by 25 lengths in the Restricted under Josh Newman. A similar wide margin winner of his maiden two seasons at Holnicote when trained by Jack Barber, he looked destined for better things but after being transferred to Paul Nicholls, found life a bit tougher under Rules. Now with Keith Cumings, owner Tina Dunsford credited the yard who have treated the horse with plenty of TLC and it seems to be paying off. A return to form had been hinted at last time when second to the classy Bubble O’Clock at Holnicote and while the Kalanisi gelding is still quite unfurnished, he is only a six year old and could improve again next season.
Another returning to form for Keith was Steel Brush who took the opening Confined Race for Maurice Scott under jockey Matt Hampton. He had finished third last time out at this course to Wessex Champion Novice Mare, Country Legend and was entitled to win at odds-on. Winning jockey Matt admitted that he found it harder to make up the ground especially as the horse is older and wiser and second placed I’llhavealook was determined to stretch him. A good jump by the winner at the third last sealed his fate and he was four lengths to the good at the line.
Jockey Josh Newman secured his other winner on outsider Second Chapter for trainer Max Young in the first of the Maidens. Max who hails from Worcestershire only acquired the four year old Arcadio gelding a month ago from Ireland and had done little with him bar feed him up, a point which was not missed by Spillers Feed Rep, Kay Scriven who was there to congratulate her client. The trainer is certainly developing a knack for acquiring Irish cast-offs via Tommy Dowling and turning them around quickly having done similar with Aero Majestic at Kingston St Mary on Easter Monday. A half-brother to Palmers Hill who won in eye-catching fashion for JP McManus and Jonjo O’Neill at Cheltenham in November, he could now head to the Point to Point Sales at Ascot next week and could prove interesting.
The second Maiden went to Annie Bacon’s Tomb Storme after a positive ride by Tom Doggrell who made much of the running before kicking clear with two fences to jump. Tomb Storme looked set to lose his maiden tag at Cherrybrook in April until unseating Annie’s partner Josh Cameron two fences out and was another to have been sourced in Ireland. It was an emotional win for the yard as Josh’s business partner Hayley Yates was currently in a serious condition in Southampton Hospital and they dedicated this victory to her. Owned in partnership by Josh, Sarah Parson and Jonty Dampney, Annie felt the horse would now be roughed off for the season.
Uppertown Hawk is a horse who has shown a liking for this course and his sub-6 minute time showed he was in no mood for indicating otherwise. He had tried the same tactics under regular pilot Sam Jukes here last time but had bumped into an in-form Jack Snipe and had had to settle for second best. Market rival Moscow Prices was another with course form and he tried to throw down a challenge under Lucy Mager but the telling early pace had probably been his undoing and Uppertown Hawk held on by a little over two lengths. Sam who also trains the horse for Clive Bennett, felt the fresh ground on the inside of the course was quicker and kept his fast-ground loving horse as tight to the rails as possible.
Only two went to post for the Novice Riders race but both Desert Roe and Jack Snipe came here in great form. On paddock inspection, the former looked outstanding while Jack Snipe, sent off slightly shorter in the market, was possibly showing the effects of a long season. The favourite set out to make every post a winning one and was partnered for the first time in a race by his trainer’s sisterCharlotte Hawker although she does ride him out at home. Her rival’s pilot, Jack Tudor however was content to stalk her in second and he got some great jumps out of Desert Roe before sending him on to an eight length victory. Jack is set to take the Novice Riders crown won last year by his great friend Connor Brace and he was delighted to have surpassed Connor’s total.