Jt Secretary: Joanna Cody Boutcher
Address: Sandhill Racing Stables Bilbrook Minehead Somerset TA24 6HA
M: 07833 444185
Jt Secretary: Gemma Edwards
Address: 1 O'Clock Mews Rockwell Green Wellington Somerset TA21 9BT
M: 07980 045686
Entries: Mrs T Parker
Address: Manor Court Steps Farm Bilbrook Minehead Somerset TA24 6HE
T: 01984 640245
M: 07846 967232
or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd (www.pointtopointentries.co.uk )
Entries Close: Monday 3rd May 2021, 12.30 pm but via Secretary on Sunday 2nd May 9.00pm
Races: Members - Restricted 2m4f- Club Conditions 8yo+ - Mixed Open – Intermediate – PPORA Conditions Nov Rdrs - Open Maiden
Please check digitial planner as races may change due to C19 issues
The Minehead Harriers and West Somerset Point to Point this Saturday at Holnicote has attracted a huge entry of 131 which will delight organisers and with rain in the forecast this week, they look like getting plenty of runners on the day. The meeting will be run behind closed doors with owners allowed to attend but no public admitted.
The Hunt Members is sponsored by Ben Parker Farriers Ltd and it would be fitting if Rolling Dylan were to win as he is owned by Philip Hobbs for whom the sponsor predominantly shoes. A standout on his form under Rules including a 5th in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown only two years ago, this formerly 143 rated chaser when under the care of his owner and now with Laura Parker, he should find this much easier fare. Camilla Scott’s Tree Sparrow won a Mixed Open at this course two years ago and is always seen to better effect at this time of year. Bridge of Spies comes here in good form after taking a Conditions race at Flete Park three weeks ago while Eastern Promises ran well at Cothelstone in April and could place.
The biggest entry of the day is for the Maiden with 27 entered. Chris Barber does well with his young horses and has two here. Wandering Soul ran a nice race on debut when 4th at Cherrybrook while his Hermes du Gouet is a 4 year old and would be making his debut. Hands Face Space has shown ability in his two races so far while Evron also showed up well at Trebudannon and can build on that.
Liz White Catering sponsors the third race, a novice riders Conditions race and this looks a tight contest with several interesting types among the 23 entries. Trainer Dean Summersby and his team had a treble at Trebudannon and daughter Charlotte also rode a winner there. She is set to partner Chosen Lucky who may have had excuses last time out and this 14 time winner would be a popular winner for the yard. Set to re-oppose him is Tom Malone’s The Last But One who took the Ladies Open at Trebudannon that day. Alan Hill has two entered with Diplomate Sivola having won his last two starts under his young jockey, Ben Sutton. Coco Live has been busier than most this season and easily won an Open at Charing in March. He unseated in a hunter chase last time at Cheltenham but he could go well for Charlie Sprake.
The Mixed Open has attracted 17 entries including the extremely classy Virak for trainer Sam Loxton. A winner of his only three starts last season including two hunter chases; he is likely to go off a short-priced favourite. Opposing him are two for Luke Price with very different profiles. Los Alamos, a recent recruit for Luke from the Tim Vaughan yard, opened his pointing account at the first time of asking at Trebudannon when taking the Open under Will Biddick in first time cheek-pieces. His other entry, Ramble On, was headed close home in the 4-miler at Flete Park in mid-April. He was also just beaten at this course two seasons ago. Mickey Bowen’s More Buck’s was formerly trained under Rules by his father, Peter for whom he won 8 times. He is two from two in points having won at Garthorpe and Maisemore this season. Ed Walker’s Board of Trade topped up his second at Flete Park with a win there last weekend and this former Alan King inmate looks to be thriving now dropped in grade while the Welsh mare Yeats Ace probably ran better than it looked last time when third at Cothelstone as she had been off for a long time. Ben Bromley gets on extremely well with Vivaldi Collonges and has won his last two at Edgcote and Maisemore easily. He should not be underestimated.
The Conditions race for horses over the age of 8 has attracted several who are also entered in the Open and Novice riders and are already mentioned. Of those others, trainer Alex Dunn has two entered in Silvergrove and Blackwater Bramble. A shrewd trainer under Rules, her brother John Smith-Maxwell will ride the selected. Welsh trainer, David Brace always enjoys his raids on English soil and his useful Robin des People took a similar event at Maisemore before finding Old Guard too strong at Mollington. He took this event in 2018 and should be considered. Chill Factor possibly found the 4 miles at Flete Park too far last time while it would be no surprise to see Coningsby run into a place.
The Restricted race again has a good entry of 20. Ex-Irish Florrie Webb looked to be a nice recruit for part owner Andy Pollard and trainer Will Biddick when opening his account at in the Hunt Members at Cothelstone. Francesca Nimmo has Fan Club Aulmes who easily won at Mollington in early April and would be dangerous if coming here. Gats and Co won nicely at Maisemore before just getting headed at Mollington. He could make amends for trainer David Brace while Dean Summersby’s Russian Invasion trotted up when opening his account at Trebudannon and could too be in the shake-up.
Thirteen are entered for the finale, an Intermediate race in which Alan Hill has Captiva Island and Normofthenorth. The latter looks a very exciting prospect and comes here of the back of an impressive 15 length victory at High Easter. Captiva Island beat Arcal Fifty at Larkhill in April and he too looks useful. Formerly with David Bridgwater, French Piece is unbeaten pointing now trained by Luke Price. A winner twice in 2019, he then reappeared in early April this year and took a 3 runner race by 10 lengths. For Rita, for the Francesca Nimmo yard, looked useful when winning again at Flete Park last Saturday but this may come too soon.
The continuous drizzle that lasted most of the day did not dampen spirits or detract from some good racing at Holnicote on Saturday when a first time winner for Tom Dixon, a brace for the Braces and a Grand National legend training the winner of the last were among the highlights.
Much has been made of Rachael Blackmore’s ground-breaking win at Aintree last month but it was Charlotte Budd (nee Brew) who set the girls on the road in 1977 as the first female jockey to contest the race. Now combining catering with training a few point to pointers, Charlotte managed to secure the services of Will Biddick on her Rien du Tout in the final race of the day, the Intermediate. The race was run at a more sensible pace due to the ground easing and despite a well-supported favourite in Ahead of the Game who had won his last two races, Biddick always had the winner in a handy position sending him clear from Shanoule Wood with the favourite fading into third. Charlotte explained she had bought the 9 year old from Mark Wall who had insisted he was a very sound horse but needed to be turned out every day.
Jockey Tom Dixon will not forget Holnicote in a hurry when he coolly steered his boss’s Rolling Dylan to victory in the Members race. Rolling Dylan is now leased to trainer Philip Hobbs by his owner to enable the lads and girls in the yard to ride. Philip’s wife Sarah explained “He’s absolutely perfect for the job.” This formerly classy chaser certainly enjoyed himself and jumped well for Tom to record his first ever win. “I had no choice and found myself in front a bit too soon but he was going so well” explained Tom who grew up locally and has worked at Sandhill for the last 3 seasons.
The Welsh contingent rarely leave Somerset without some form of silverware and the first of their three winners was courtesy of the Mickey Bowen trained More Bucks in the Mixed Open. Despite boasting the best form, he was only second favourite behind Los Alamos. With the rain getting into the ground, James King seized the initiative on More Bucks sending him into an early lead. With all bar the favourite and Yeats Ace crying enough, More Bucks continued to pour it on, at one stage 15 lengths clear, before eventually coasting home from Yeats Ace, the only other finisher. James explained although the ground was a bit on the slow side for him, he carefully picked his way around the inside where he felt it was quicker. Trainer Mickey thought he may run the Presenting gelding back at Cothelstone on Wednesday if he came out of the race well and that he would probably go back under Rules later in the year.
The Brace family are a familiar sight on the Point to Point circuit and Robin des People had taken this Conditions race three years ago. Again enterprisingly ridden and taking advantage of the softening conditions, the Welsh raider was sent on early and the remaining runners quickly cried enough with only Ucello Conti lasting the distance albeit a long way behind. Owner/trainer David Brace was not present but his able deputy and grandson, 12 year old Jude Brace explained that he rides out the gelding every day and oversees his training. A new recruit to the Pony Racing ranks himself, a confident Jude had been sure Robin des People was going to win and indicated that they were likely to follow up in the next race.
Restricted races often throw up a nice horse for the future and this looked the case when the Brace contender Gats and Co easily disposed of his rivals. Although Russian Invasion tried to mount a challenge, the favourite easily saw him off to coast home by 6 lengths. A half-brother to their useful Paint the Dream, he may well now head for Chaddesley Corbett before a tilt at Novice Chasing under Rules for Connor Brace.
Trainer Alan Hill and owner Nick Sutton had not ventured to Holnicote before but left suitably impressed after their Diplomate Sivola took the Novice Riders race under Nick’s son Ben. Jumping well, the 8 year old French bred gelding had been purchased out of the Hobbs yard by Nick on the recommendation of owner David Maxwell. This was the third win for the horse and jockey combination after scoring at Dingley and Barbury and he should win again before the end of the season. Ben who was riding his 6th winner of the season is leading the Novice Men’s Championship and works full-time for Alan intending to stay amateur for the time being.
The Maiden race was the largest field of the day with 11 runners and the closest finish. With Boss Baby sent off odds-on favourite, it looked for a long way that there would be another Welsh success. But jockey George Hiscock fresh from announcing his engagement to girlfriend Olivia Ford, had other ideas and he collared the favourite over the last to deny him by a length at the finish. The winner, Forty Acres is trained by Jo Hepburn, who is Chair of Wincanton Racecourse, for a syndicate made up of friends from South Dorset and committee members from Wincanton as well as her husband. She was quick to thank Will Biddick who had helped out so much with the horse who she had bought from Padraig O’Connor in Ireland. Needing plenty of time after arriving, she chose to give the horse last season off and he should progress again as George explained he was pricking his ears when he hit the front.
Clerk of the Course Mike Harding wished to thank the huge effort, time and resources that Philip Hobbs, assistant Johnson White and their team had put into getting the course ready as well as all the hard work done throughout the year by the secretaries Jo and Gemma.