The Official Point-to-Point Website for the Wessex Area
Blackmore & Sparkford Vale
Date: 05/03/2023
Pony Racing: Yes
Course: Charlton Horethorne
First Race: 1.00
Extra Info

Secretary:   Mrs Caroline Hinks

Contact Details Tel: 01963 370260   Mob:  07977 547042


Entries Secretary:   As above

Entries to:  The Entries Secretary or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd ( )

Entries close:   Monday 27th February 2023 12.30pm

Races:   Hunt Members, 4 & 5yrs Maiden (2m4f), Restricted, Mixed Open, Conditions Race (Level 2), Maiden (NWFAA)

First Race:   1.00 pm

A big screen near to the paddock shows all the action.

Pony Racing to take place before the first point to point race


Charlton Horethorne between Sherborne and Wincanton hosts its annual point to point next Sunday at the popular course situated on the Dorset/Somerset border. The six scheduled races have attracted an excellent 105 entries so there should be some competitive racing to enjoy. The most recent going update advised that the ground was good to soft.  Prior to the point to point races there will be two pony races starting at 12 noon with the first point to point at 1.00pm. There will be plenty of trade stands including hot and cold food and a licensed bar as well as bookmakers to have a wager or two. There will be a big screen to watch the racing.  Between the second race and the third race the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hounds will parade and there will be an interview with Joe Tizzard and Paul Nicholls to discuss their stables hopes for the Cheltenham Festival. 

The feature race of the day , the Ineos Grenadier sponsored Mixed Open , has attracted a quality field of seventeen horses headed by Famous Clermont recently successful in the Walrus Hunter Chase at Haydock and has his sights set on the premier Hunter Chases later in the season. If he swerves this race then the next top rated are Shantou Flyer and Viroflay and whichever is declared will be ridden by Olive Nicholls. The former has already won twice this season before finishing runner up in a Hunter Chase at Wincanton whereas the latter won the Coronation Gold Cup at Larkhill on his last outing and looks very progressive. Sir Jack Yeats was put in his place in a Hunter Chase at Kelso by Secret Investor but should give Fern O’Brien a great ride. Both Paloma Blue and Jetaway Joey won their last outings but this looks a much tougher proposition for each one. Born Survivor was well beaten by Viroflay on his last outing but this classy individual may be worth an each way shout.

The meeting begins with the Tattersalls Cheltenham sponsored two and a half Maiden race for four and five year olds. Many of the 17 horses entered will be making their debuts and the leading stables of Chris Barber, Tom Ellis, Fran Poste and Bradley Gibbs are all represented. Their selections should certainly be noted and it would be no surprise if a winner did not come from one of these yards. Of those that have raced Tom Malone has the ex-Irish In Limbo placed in two points and his racecourse experience could come into play. Douglas Longbottom stayed on from a long way back at Badbury and should run well on his second outing over fences. 

The Longmans Cheese sponsored Hunt race has an entry headed by Shantou Flyer who looks a class above his potential rivals. The game mare Country Legend always runs well for Tom Bishop and has chances. If Shantou Flyer misses the race Olive Nicholls still has chances to win the race through either My Way or Kayf Taoi who was second in a Restricted race at Badbury Rings. The veteran West Approach now aged thirteen would be a highly popular local winner for Colin and Joe Tizzard but there may be younger legs amongst his rivals who might be too speedy for him. Belami des Pictons ought to come on from his seasonal debut in a Mixed Open at Buckfastleigh and he might be one to surprise more fancied rivals.

The Manor Farm Partnership sponsored Maiden over three miles has attracted the biggest entry of the meeting with a total of 25 horses. Scoresby was narrowly beaten at Milborne St Andrew and will be fancied to go one better for trainer Harry Ryall. Aunt Lily ran at the same meeting when finishing runner up in her Hunt race and A Tipple or Two was second at Chipley having been placed second on numerous other occasions. Chris Barber has entered Coolattitude who finished fourth at Milborne St Andrew and Itsnotcosiownhim who has run once in a point in Ireland. Lucarne trained by Ed Walker is out of Carrie On who won 6 point to points for owner Audrey Goodwin and is an interesting newcomer. Frontieres Lad was a close second at Buckfastleigh and he ought to be in the shake up and note should be taken of Don Carlito now in the capable hands of the Gordon family.

The Alec Jarrett sponsored Conditions race looks an easier option for both Paloma Blue and Hunting Percival who both entries in the Mixed Open race. Paloma Blue won at Milborne St Andrew and looks the one to beat, Macklin from Will Biddick’s yard ought to come on for his debut and is one to consider. The Tom Ellis trained Walkonthewildside has won a Maiden and a Restricted but this is a big step up. Tuff Nano will be making her  seasonal debut and this capable mare would come into the reckoning. Great Schema won his first two races when trained by Chris Barber this season but after a brief dalliance with Syd Hosie under Rules he is now back pointing.

The meeting concludes with the Church House Investments sponsored Restricted race where 20 horses have been entered. Recent winners Bang on Target, Ed The Red, Great Colewood, Ihandaya and Stratton Oakmount are entered and the winner may well come from one of these five horses. Of these Ihandaya and Great Colewood are the two that could be worth supporting. Koenigsstern won at Chipley for Tom Malone and Will Biddick and this ex German racer might be another one to support. The ex-Irish Secret Scripture has not raced since May 2021 and this Fran Nimmo gelding should be watched.  

Tickets from 1st March from the Wessex website and on the gate for £15 per person with under 16 years of age free of charge. Postcode for the course DT9 4LJ


Race 1:            Maiden 4&5 YO 

1st         Sea God

2nd        Eau du Borlais

3rd        Douglas Longbottom 

Runners:          7                      Distances:        5l, 11/2l                       Time: 4m 55s


Race 2:            Members 

1st         Country Legend

2nd        Hunting Percival

3rd        Little Billy Boy 

Runners:          6                      Distances:        4l, 8l                            Time: 5m 43s


Race 3:            Maiden (NWFAA) 

1st         Pocatello

2nd        Itsnotcosiownhim

3rd        Scoresby 

Runners:          13                    Distances:        hd, 2l                           Time: 5m 43s


Race 4:            Mixed Open 

1st         Viroflay

2nd        Oistrakh Le Noir

3rd        Golden Poet 

Runners:          5                      Distances:        20l, 6l                          Time: 5m 38s


Race 5:            Conditions Level 2 

1st         Macklin

2nd        Paloma Blue

3rd        Sake of Secrecy 

Runners:          9                      Distances:        4l, 6l                            Time: 5m 40s


Race 6:            Restricted 

1st         Ed The Red

2nd        Bang on Target

3rd        Cuzzicombe 

Runners:          5                      Distances:        nk, 4l                           Time: 5m 43s


Pony Results



There was some very competitive racing at the popular Charlton Horethorne course on the hills on the Dorset and Somerset border where a good crowd gathered on a dry but chilly day. The highlights of the day were another impressive performance by the Coronation Gold Cup winner Viroflay, a riding double for Will Biddick and a long awaited victory in an incident packed Hunt race. 

Viroflay had turned in an impressive performance when winning at Larkhill and his triumph in the Ineos Grenadier sponsored Mixed Open race was a class above his four rivals. Watched by his owners Paul Nicholls and John Bolton he took a while to settle for his rider Olive Nicholls but once he was on an even keel the writing was on the wall for the opposition. After giving him ‘ a tap on the bottom’ after the third last Olive said that ‘ he went into another gear and went right away’ The winning margin was given as thirty lengths from Oistrakh Le Noir ridden by Will Biddick. It is likely that his sights will now be set on a Novice Hunter Chase and connections did not rule out the possibility of the Ineos Grenadier final at Cheltenham. His trainer Georgina Nicholls is rightly proud of the success he has been enjoying and the partnership that he is forming with her daughter.

Will Biddick had started the day by winning the Tattersalls Cheltenham sponsored four and five year old Maiden race with the previously unraced Sea God for owners Chris Barber and Phil Fry. Producing  a good turn of foot after the last he had five lengths in hand at the winning post from Eau du Berlais ridden by Charlie Sprake who had made most of the running. Bought by winning connections at Doncaster last May he is a half brother to Turn Turk who won three races for Nicky Henderson in 2017. He is likely to have an entry in the Cheltenham Festival Sale on 16th March. 

There was a dramatic incident in the Longman Cheese Sales Hunt race when the short priced favourite Shantou Flyer slipped on the flat unseating Olive Nicholls and then when loose cannoned into West Approach ridden by Freddie Gordon who also was unseated. This left Country Legend ridden by Tom Bishop in front and the combination maintained the advantage to record a five lengths victory over Hunting Percival ridden by Charlie Sprake. The mare was recording her ninth career victory and is  a real credit to her connections James and Frances Bishop. They have been long term generous sponsors at the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale point to point and it was fitting that their mare should finally give them a victory In a race they have been trying to win for many years. James reminisced that ‘ I was beaten by Robert Alner in the Hunt race at the old course at KIngweston in 1985 when I was riding Tavy Lord and this was the nearest I got to riding the winner’  Tom who works in London and still rides out for trainer Richard Bandey when he can was quick to praise his parents for the work on the mare who relished the better ground which is her preference.

The biggest field of the day of thirteen horses took part in the Manor Farm Partnership Sponsored race, This looked that this would provide Will Biddick with his second winner of the day when the June Fear owned gelding Itsnotcosiownhim hit the front after the third last and looked he had the race in the bag. However Alice Stevens riding the Fran Nimmo trained Pocatello had other ideas and in a driving finish got her mount’s head in front to record a neck victory. Bought at Doncaster by Charlie and Fran Poste on the recommendations of Derek O’Connor he needs to run left handed to be at his best. Owned by a partnership headed up by Bridget Gatehouse Fran explained that ‘ Bridget is our vet and a long term friend and comes in to ride the gelding on a daily basis so should be given much credit for this success’

Will did not have to wait much longer before recording his second victory of the day aboard Macklin in the Alec Jarrett Conditions race who he trains  for owner John Studd. Celebrating his birthday John was surprised by the victory of his gelding as he had said beforehand that’ I have no expectations’ and he did looked taken aback in the winner’s enclosure. There did not appear to be any fluke of the victory as Will steered him to a five lengths victory over the favourite Paloma Blue ridden by Josh Newman who had recorded a good win at MIlborne St Andrew on his last outing. John advised that he had bought the gelding for 9K Euros as a yearling and he had gone into training with Francois Nicolle in France and had won a chase on firm going at a provincial track in that country. Clearly appreciating the better surface he is one to keep on the right side of on faster going. John did advise that the 2021 Cheltenham Foxhunters hero Porlock Bay has been retired at the age of 12.

The meeting concluded with the Church House Investments Restricted race with another good finish between Ed the Red ridden by Darren Andrews beating Bang on Target ridden by Josh Newman with only a neck separating them. The winner trained by Chloe Newman for owner John Norman thought that the mistake at the last might have proved costly but the gelding stuck on gamely to hold off the determined challenge of the runner up. Bought out of Henry de Bromhead’s stable after being placed in a couple of hurdles Chloe did say with a smile’ it was good to win today and to have my nephew Josh in second place’