Secretary: Mr T Campbell Hill
Address: 32 Boulsbury Cottages Damerham Fordingbridge Hants SP6 3JD
Contact Details Tel: 07792 394065 or 07495 559318
Entries Secretary: Mrs Katherine Elgar
Address: Slate Cottage, Homington, Salisbury, Wilts SP5 4NQ
E Mail: email@example.com 01722 718368
Entries to: The Entries Secretary or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd (www.pointtopointentries.co.uk )
Entries close: Monday 14th March 2022 12.30pm
Races: Flat Race for 4 & 5yrs about 2m, Open Maiden 5yrs+ (2.4m), Restricted, Mixed Open, Veterans Conditions (Level 2), CA Intermediate (2m 4f)
First Race: 12.30 pm
This Saturday racing returns to Milborne St Andrew for the second time this season when the Wilton stage their meeting. The day starts with the ever popular Shetland Pony Dash at 12pm and organisers are also holding a silent auction and this can be found on www.jumblebee.co.uk/wiltonpointtopoint Tickets can be purchased in advance for £12.50 each on www.pointingwessex.co.uk or on the gate for £15 (under 16 free).
The Ladies of the Hunt sponsor the first race, a maiden over 2 and a half miles. Seventeen entries have been received for this including Keaden Hill for Bradley Gibbs who was only caught close home on debut at Kingston Blount three weeks ago and should go close here. No Authority too posted a good effort on debut for Philip Rowley when 3rd at Larkhill and could run well. The Zara Tindall owned and bred Eye to the Sky had one run under Rules when 3rd in a bumper at Fontwell and is related to several winners. Towtheline finished second in a Larkhill bumper and has since joined Tracy Williams.
NFU (Salisbury) have been sponsoring the Restricted race continuously for 25 years and their support is much appreciated by the organisers. Of the 13 entries Chris Barber has two; an unraced 4 year old in Straightupsnicket who should be noted in the betting coming here instead of a maiden and ex-Irish Knockmoylan who may have won a shade cleverly at Charlton Horethorne under Will Biddick last time and could take some beating. Reflex Action won under Will for the small yard of Paul Nicholas here in January before possibly finding the ground too soft at Great Trethew. He could pose a threat to Knockmoylan back on quicker ground. Dawnie Boy was made favourite at Larkhill last time following a long lay-off after his impressive UK debut at Barbury in December 2020. He fell at the last at Larkhill when running a good race and it would be no surprise to see him figure.
The Mixed Open has attracted 12 entries which include the game Tom Barton who won the Ladies Open here in January under Natalie Parker with whom he has formed a good partnership. River Myth has also shown a liking for this course, winning twice and possibly improves at this time of year. Board of Trade ran a fair race on seasonal debut when 3rd last time behind Sykes and should improve. Moscow Prices, another with course form is making his seasonal debut while Sixteen Letters has won 2 Conditions races at Larkhill this season before probably struggling on the heavy ground in a Leicester Hunter Chase. Veteran Virak gave young rider Olive Nicholls her first winner this season while fellow 13 year old Vivaldi Collonges has proved an admirable partner for Ben Bromley winning seven times including a Men’s Open in December at Horseheath. Plenty of Time is only 6 and relatively inexperienced but won on her second start under Rules before reverting to Pointing which she had done in Ireland, winning on her only start there.
The ROR sponsored Conditions race is for veteran horses aged 10 years and over and has also attracted 12 entries. The Dapper Fox showed that age is just a number here last time when so nearly beating Country Legend in a Conditions Race. That rival re-opposes and she will appreciate a return to quicker ground having not liked the going at Badbury Rings subsequently. Monsieur Gibraltar is another providing Olive Nicholls with valuable experience and they took a Novice Riders race at the horse’s beloved Larkhill back in January. The horse also won here earlier in his career and it would be no surprise to see them go close. Pointed and Sharp rattled off a hat-trick when with Philip Hobbs and may enjoy a foray into a lesser grade while Ramonex also a three time winner under Rules could appreciate the drop in class.
The penultimate race is an Intermediate and Redlynch Engineering are this year’s sponsors with Matt Hampton’s Twig an obvious contender. He lowered the colours of Molineux in impressive fashion at Badbury Rings under Beau Morgan and despite a 10lb penalty, he is still the one to beat. The Big Sting looked set for a good season when winning twice at Larkhill early on but has been beaten twice since including at Chipley Park behind Indirocco when the re-opposing Dr Rhythm (subsequently won at Badbury Rings) was a one paced third. The Big Sting, a big imposing son of Scorpion may still have more to offer and it would be unwise to dismiss him. Bradley Gibbs has a decent mare in Honey I’m Good and she impressed when last seen winning a Restricted race at Chipley Park in January following up a maiden win at Barbury the month before. Kaproyale resumed winning ways at Horseheath in December on seasonal debut for trainer Fran Poste but disappointed back there in January. Footloose may reappear quickly after a third at Cothelstone when connections felt he may have needed the run after an enforced break.
The meeting concludes with a Flat race for 4 and 5 year olds and there are 10 entries. With little actual form to go on, often it pays to look either at the breeding or at the individuals in the paddock. Of those that have run, both Raindance Queen and Saxon Diamond should build on promising first runs. Unraced Colline de Viseur is well related being out of a dual winner and also a half-brother to several winners including Summit Like Herbie. Willie Twiston-Davies’ Finest Hour too is related to winners as is I Need You for the Les Jefford yard.
The Shetland Pony Dash is at 12 noon with the first race at 12.30pm. There are plenty of trade stands, excellent refreshments and bar as well as the silent auction and of course well-behaved dogs on leads are most welcome. The course is situated off the A354 between Blandford and Dorchester.
On a gloriously sunny Spring afternoon, the Wilton hosted the second of two meetings at Milborne St Andrew last Saturday. A drying wind had ensured the ground had dried out after the much discussed deluge during the week that had impacted the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday. There were plenty of runners and on the whole the fancied horses won as expected. The family owned and trained Country Legend won here for a third time, Tom Barton continued his good run under Natalie Parker and The Big Sting regained his winning form under Will Biddick.
The meeting got underway with a Shetland Dash ridden by young riders who must have been trying to emulate Rachel Blackmore as they were all so eager to start that the starter had to wave his false start flag and they were made to return for a second attempt. This time Harlow White won riding Shelcroft Cloudy but all the children were given prizes and it was lovely to witness their fledgling racing careers.
Country Legend is rightfully the apple of owner/trainer Frances Bishop’s eye. She was crowned Champion Novice in Wessex in 2019 and has now won three times at this venue including a gutsy win at the South Dorset in January. Son Tom who was in the saddle was given instructions “not to go too soon,” but Country Legend was travelling so easily that Tom had to give into the mare’s determination and let her coast into the lead with two fences to run to win the Conditions race by a comfortable 4 lengths with Bistouri d’Honore back in second. Trainer Frances explained that she trains the mare around the farm and then takes her to Milton Harris’ gallops where she meets son Tom. Much happier on this quicker ground than when beaten on soft at Badbury Rings, she is definitely one to keep on the right side of and can win again this season.
Tom Barton looked in outstanding condition before the Mixed Open and showed his well-being under Natalie Parker to follow up his win in the Ladies Open here in January under the same rider. Winning for the twelfth time in his career, Sally Alner’s gelding happily bowled along in front running on well to finish 12 lengths clear of River Myth and Celtic Joy. A beaming Natalie said “he was just loving it out there. I meant to sit second but he had other ideas!” Owned by the Four Dames Partnership, he is a credit to his trainer who said the secret to him looking so well was old-fashioned feeding of boiled barley and linseed. She added that he would probably go to Wincanton next for their Hunter Chase and stressed how important it was to support these races.
The Big Sting looked to have the world at his feet after twice winning early in the season at Larkhill and this huge son of Scorpion always catches the eye in the paddock. Dropping back to a shorter trip for the Intermediate, he made it three wins for the season for owners Phil and Lorraine Fry when proving too good for strong opposition. Jockey Will Biddick kept him handy and after market rival Honey I’m Good dropped away, The Big Sting went on to win by just under 2 lengths from Dr Rhythm. Phil was keen to support Chris when he started training having long had horses with Chris’ grandfather, Richard, as well as Harry Fry. Horses with Harry have included the useful Shuil Royale and recently Samarquand. Chris explained that the trip had just stretched his stamina at Chipley Park and possibly was the same reason why he just got beaten last time out here. He felt he had plenty of options and could end up going for the Exeter Intermediate Final.
Keith Cumings’ Don’t Ask Us caused a slight upset in the Restricted race when proving much the better jumper than odds-on favourite Reflex Action who tried hard to get back at the winner but was denied by 4 lengths. Winning jockey Josh Newman said “He didn’t really travel that well but his jumping got him there and he has lots of scope.” Long-standing owner Peter Clarke who is based in Barnstaple was surprised at the result but put it down the better ground.
The Opening Maiden saw well fancied Keaden Hill build on a very promising first run at Kingston Blount in February when easily winning from Rufio who made most of the running. Bradley Gibbs who also owns and trains the five year old, sent the Kingston Hill gelding clear with two fences to run and the result was never in doubt. Bradley explained afterwards “we fancied him to win last time but he scoped badly afterwards.” Bought by Jimmy Kelly from Sean Doyle’s in Ireland, the horse had two runs over there and is now for sale. He could prove to be nice addition for any yard especially as he so clearly relished this quicker ground.
Another who was subsequently put on the market was I Need You who took the finale, a Flat race, for trainer Les Jefford under Martin McIntyre from another promising debutante in Banzigkane who finished 3 lengths away in second. The winner wasn’t overly strong in the market but it was no surprise to her trainer Les, who said the filly was very nicely bred being a half-sister to multiple winner, Christmas in April. The winning jockey was full of praise for the four year old saying how well she knew her job. Bought as a foal by owner Hannah Bourton, she would now head to the sales and like the winner of the Maiden could make for an attractive purchase.