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Entries Secretary: Sue Francis
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Entries to: The Secretary or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd
Entries close: Wednesday 4th May 2022 12.30pm
Races: Wessex Area Conditions (Level 2) - CA Members Conditions 7yo+ (Level 1) Nov Rdrs, Ladies Open, Maiden, Mens Open, Restricted - Maiden 2m4f
First Race: 4.30pm
The final meeting of the Wessex Area Point to Point season takes place at Cothelstone on Wednesday when the Weston & Banwell hold their traditional evening meeting. Always well supported, it has attracted 102 entries and the first race is at 4.30pm. Early bird tickets are £12.50 per person (under 16s admitted free) to include a race card via www.pointingwessex.co.uk until Monday 10th or thereafter at £15 on the gate. There will be a Best Dressed Lady and Gent on the evening with prizes to the winners.
Jockeys of the future can be seen with the two Wessex Pony Racing Finals kindly sponsored by RW Prince Ltd and Paul Nicholls Racing which precede the evening racing. The Alec Jarrett Ltd sponsored Conditions race kicks off the main racing with an entry of 12. Trainer Chris Barber has had the imposing The Big Sting in rare form this year notching five wins already and he could be hard to beat here under Will Biddick. Will also has the choice of two of Teresa Clark’s entries in Tuff Nano who ran well to finish second at Woodford last time and Beau du Brizais who won here at the last meeting beating Kilronan Castle before finding Spencer Moon too strong at South Hill. On that day Dr Rhythm regained his confidence dented by a fall at Exeter when easily disposing of his sole rival in the Members. Tom Ellis has the fast improving Misstree Song entered and she comes here off the back of two facile wins at Barbury and Lockinge and could be a big danger to The Big Sting especially with her mare’s weight allowance.
There are 17 in the shorter Maiden sponsored by the Westminster Society and it often pays to look at Chris Barber’s entries in these races. Here he has two; Hollow Ron a 4 year old half-brother to Kindofabigdeal and another 4 year old in Highway Hero who has had one run in Ireland. Both should be noted in the paddock. Tarrytown has some placed form to his name as does Cloucerna who ran at South Hill ten days ago. Donny’s Fortune who makes his UK debut may improve for better ground having run on much softer in Ireland while Imperial Fella should come on for his run at Eyton-On-Severn last time as should Pixie Copse for Danielle Kenealy, a remote third at Bonvilston.
Briarwood Products sponsor the Novice Riders Race and among the 13 entries Rocheston reappears here after his well-timed run to win under Purdy Peaster here in March. He could go close again. David Brace enjoys sending horses over the Severn Bridge to this venue and has the consistent Robin des People who is a dual winner in Novice riders races here. Another who has course form is Imogen’s Thunder who took a Conditions race on Easter Monday here. Ed Walker’s Field Exhibition fell that day but made amends over a shorter trip at Flete Park next time when making all under Georgie Herbert. Colin Tizzard has Lillington entered who ran nicely when not beaten far by Beau du Brizais at Trebudannon. He should run well for Freddie Gingell, the Area’s leading Novice Rider. Commanche Red won five times under Rules and could be an interesting recruit for Freddie Gordon. He last won at Plumpton in April 2021, under a first time visor. Headgear was left off for his pointing debut but it should be noted if re-applied today. Doldido won three times in Ireland and has run well the last twice for his young jockey.
The Ladies Open is sponsored by the Clifton Club and has attracted 12 entries including the top class Caid du Berlais, unbeaten in this sphere. He beat Finisher by a country mile here last time, pulling Natalie Parker’s arms out and he should prove very hard to beat. Those that could fill the runner-up spot include Rhythm is a Dancer for Olive Nicholls owned by father Paul who has won twice this season while dual course winner Moscow Prices always runs well here and it would be no surprise to see him do so again. Dean’s Road is now in the veteran stage of his career but could also be one for the placings.
The Maxwell Chartered Accountants Men’s Open has 18 entries and looks an absolute cracker but with several already mentioned, it will be interesting if those horses side-step this hot race. Envoye Special won a Hunter Chase at Cheltenham last time and should be one for the short list but it may pay to opt for Rose of Arcadia who has been given a little break by Colin Tizzard after dazzling at Badbury Rings and Charlton Horethorne earlier in the season. She looked very special on both occasions under Freddie Gingell. Sixteen Letters has been in superb form this season winning five times and beat the re-opposing ultra-consistent Country Legend last time at Stafford Cross. Prior to that run Sixteen Letters had beaten Story of Friends in a Wincanton Hunter Chase. Looksnowtlikebrian won well at Lydstep last time while Freddie Gordon has the choice of Highway One O One, a four time winner this season or Captain Bucks who completed a hat-trick at Mollington last time.
The 15 entries in the Beachcomber Inn, Brean Restricted Race include two winners here at the last meeting; Pyleigh Court who won giving Ella Herbison her first winner and Balinesker Beach who took the Maiden Conditions beating subsequent winner Young William who now re-opposes. Balinesker Beach then went to Chilfrome but may not have handled the ground on that day unlike Rufio who made all to win his maiden there by 8 lengths. Between You and Me won a maiden at Trebudannon beating Kesa Great while Call Simon, Chasing My Dream and Cuzzicombe all also coming here off the back of their maiden win
Junction 24 & Thorne Farm Racing sponsor the finale, a Maiden Conditions race which has 15 entries and of those Aunt Lily wasn’t beaten far here in March behind Rocktreerunner for trainer Ed Walker but hasn’t run since. Ed also has Hold Me Tight entered and he has several decent placed runs to his name and should run well. Bluberry High ran a promising race here on her pointing debut for Anabel Murphy in March and another when second at Barbury (BB Kiddo back in 4th). She was placed twice in bumpers under Rules but then had significant time off. She looks as though she still retains ability and is of interest. Chris Barber has another ex-Irish 4 year old in Ping Pong Paddy. He has run twice in Ireland and can be expected to improve on his UK debut being out of a dual winner, herself related to the useful St Pirran.
Cothelstone Point to Point course has always been a popular venue for spectators and competitors alike and it was no exception last Wednesday when the final fixture of the Wessex Area was held. Highlights on sunny May evening were seeing rejuvenated horses enjoying their new careers at an easier level, a winner a piece for the Men’s title chasing jockeys, James King and Will Biddick as well as Ladies champ, Gina Andrews while some very close finishes were left to the judge to sort out.
Pointing traditionally used to be about a small family outfit who had one horse that another member of the family used to ride in addition to their normal profession. Occasionally this still happens and it could not have been showcased better than when Country Legend stuck her head in front to land the Men’s Open by a head under Tom Bishop. Country Legend is a credit to her trainer, Frances Bishop and has now won 8 times for the family ridden each time by “Office Boy Bishop” as Tom calls himself. With the fancied Beau du Brizais making much of the running, Tom found himself with a very enthusiastic partner as the mare regularly tried to take the leader on. Leading Novice Rider, Charlie Sprake sat quietly in third and thought he had timed his run perfectly as he challenged over the last but Country Legend showed real determination to just deny him on the line. A slightly guilty Tom said “I felt bad as I am trying to support Charlie in his Championship bid and I have just denied him a winner!”
Another jockey who is in the running for the Novice title is Freddie Gordon who rode a confident race on Commanche Red in the Novice Riders race to win by 3 lengths from Rocheston. Freddie’s father Chris who trained Commanche Red under Rules said that the horse found this drop in grade well within his capabilities. He also explained that the horse’s owner Richard Cheshire, who is CEO of Krispy Kreme Donuts, was keen to support Freddie in his title bid. Freddie is currently at school in Southampton and will go back to Andrew Baldings for the summer before taking up a position as amateur at Paul Nicholls which would enable him to keep riding in points and gaining valuable experience.
Paul’s daughter Olive herself is currently in second place for the Ladies Novice title and inched closer with a very comfortable win on Rhythm is a Dancer who took the Ladies Open by 20 lengths. This was Olive’s 9th winner of the season although she didn’t turn 16 until the middle of December, and according to her father she is really enjoying combining eventing and pointing. He also added that she also had Virak and Monsieur Gibraltar to ride and the latter especially enjoyed the faster ground.
Leading lady rider Gina Andrews made a rare visit to the course when steering Misstree Song to win the opener for husband Tom and owners Nigel and Sarah Faulks. Sarahexplained that the home-bred mare was one of a long line of horses from the same family and the dam of the winner had just foaled a filly to the stallion Dink who stands at Alne Park Stud, owned by the Skelton family. Tom felt the mare was coming here fresher than most as it was only her third run of the year while Gina complimented her saying “she’s a really nice progressive mare and she jumped beautifully.”
Another mare who looks progressive is Blueberry High who took the Maiden under James King. Blueberry High had finished second to Misstree Song last time out at Barbury and this gives the form a solid look to it. Connections who are keen to support James in his title bid were confident that she would improve for the step up in trip and she probably won more comfortably than the three quarters of a length given by the judge indicated.
Will Biddick had taken the earlier Maiden over the shorter trip on Hollow Ron, when he switched inside going into the last to pick off leader Skilful Lord and win by a length and a half in the now familiar luminous green colours of the Boundary Partnership. Trained by Chris Barber, Hollow Run is a 4 year old by Beat Hollow and is a half-brother to Kindofabigdeal who took a mare’s maiden for the same outfit at this course last year. Bought privately in Ireland, Chris has taken plenty of time with him as he explained he was still quite raw but this was a pleasing debut. He would now head off to the sales and could make up into a nice bumper horse as he showed plenty of speed when asked.
The Restricted race went to Lucy Brown on her own Rufio who followed up his Maiden win at Chilfrome to win by half a length and deny Will Biddick a second winner on the night. Making much of the running, Rufio held off several challengers and although Lucy described him as “a bit of a character” he showed toughness aplenty to hold off Whotheman. Trainer Peter Mason for whom Lucy has worked for the last two season, said “it’s all credit to Lucy who works so hard with the horse who she bought at Doncaster Sales out of Harry Fry’s yard.” Lucy is currently studying at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester.
The racing was preceded by two Pony Racing finals, the first of which went to odds on favourite Veno Star ridden by Freddie Fletcher in a tight finish while the second race went to Buddy’s Girl who was sent into an early lead by Rian Corcoran and coasted home to win unchallenged.