Horses in the Wessex Area Part 2 (South and West)
The Wessex point-to-point area extends from Exmoor in the West, across to the Mendip Hills in North Somerset right across to Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire and down to the coast. Within that large area there are numerous keepers/trainers of point-to-point racehorses and although the season has already started fans of the sport may be interested to see what some of those keepers are planning with their horses in the weeks and months ahead as the season starts to get really into full swing. As there are a substantial number of keepers this preview is being split into sections with the emphasis on this section being those situated in the west and north of the area. Jack Barber and Rachael Green are the current holders of the National Keepers titles for the larger and smaller stables. Whilst Jack has already started the season as he means to go on Rachael will not be training any point to pointers this season. She married Anthony Honeyball last summer and is expecting her first child in April.
Jack Barber has already had six winners this current season from five different horses and of these Innocent Girl who was impressive when spread-eagling a field of maidens at Barbury Castle is one to keep a close eye on this season. Ask the Weatherman was also impressive when winning at Larkhill and Chipley Park and should continue to progress whereas Captain Probus should improve when the ground gets drier. Ghizao and Chapoturgeon are the stalwarts of the newly founded Jack Barber Racing Club and should give the members of the Club some fun during the season. Of those winning their maiden races last season Brandevin and Judge John Deed who both only ran once are ones to note. Queens Bay who won her only two outings last season should be another to follow as well as Posh Totty who could both be a force in the Mares series of races. Buck’s Bond already a good second at Larkhill and Keppols Hill are both coming to point-to-point racing after being trained by Paul Nicholls whereas Ballybough Gorta ,who was bought in the autumn for Ed Henderson, younger brother of the now retired Robbie Henderson, should prove to be a good schoolmaster. The stable consists of a number of unraced and maiden horses so racegoers should look out for these as the season progresses. Rouge Devils who had one run in a Bumper for Paul Nicholls and Get on the Yager who is included within the Racing Club are a couple to be on the right side of. Will Biddick, the champion rider from last season, continues his highly successful partnership with Jack and it is hoped that there might be rides for Mitch Bastyan and Rob David who both work in the yard in Novice Rider races. Bryony Frost has been riding the Ladies horses in the stable.
Not far away from Jack Barber’s stable on the outskirts of Crewkerne, Somerset there is another training establishment at Woolminstone where three trainers have already had runners this season. Chloe Newman is expecting to train about eight horses this season. Her stable stalwart Sobre Tresor has been acting as a schoolmaster for 16 year old Tom Hawke, son of National Hunt trainer Nigel, and the combination have already been third at Wadebridge. Tikkeche has been placed fourth at Chaddesley Corbett and she has also run Tolatetobeearly at the same course. Sea Bear who finished second at Chipley Park, Amber River and the promising Mr Lano all return from last season and a newcomer for Michael Dare called Minim Mouse who is a half-sister to the winning Genermouse is one to note for the future. Josh Newman will ride the majority of horses from the stable.
Ben Clarke and his partner Harriet Brown also train from Woolminstone and the combination have already had success at Black Forest Lodge with Creative Inerta who was a very easy winner of a maiden. Of their other runners that have already appeared Minella Selfie has finished third at Larkhill, Looking Glass was second at Wadebridge, Road to Success has had a couple of runs and should improve, Eddie’s Son bought at Ascot last July has had an encouraging run at Wadebridge and Brackenwood who is being ridden in Novice Rider races by his owner Liam Trott. Ben and Michael Legg will share the rides during the season.
Michael is also likely to the rider on the horses trained by Colin and Julie Bright. Village Whispers placed in maiden races last season runs again and it is possible that Some Slam who missed last season will return this season.
Jane Western who trains near Forde Abbey has four to run and Regular Guy ran at Larkhill last weekend. In addition Driftwood Pride returns after a season off, Don’t Wait For Me placed third in a maiden for Lucy Gardner at Upcott Cross is a new addition to the stable and an Apple Tree 5 year old mare completes the set up. Darren Andrews will ride the majority of Jane’s horses.
Chloe Roddick who is now based at Charlton Mackrell near Somerton hopes to run about eight horses this season. She has already raced Rebel Du Maquis, second in two Ladies races at Wadebridge, the classy Crackaway Jack, the winner of four races under Rules, who has had one run so far this season and McLlhatton who won three races for Paul Nicholls under rules who has also had one run this season. Of her other horses Barlow who has won two races for Warren Greatrex looks an interesting prospect. The recent announcement of the arrival of Pacha du Polder owned by Andy Stewart for Victoria Pendleton to ride will give her yard a much higher profile and the Aintree Foxhunters runner up as well as the winner of six races under rules should give Victoria a huge thrill as her riding career progresses. Josh Newman is likely to ride most of the horses within the yard.
Harriet Tucker who rode McLlhatton at Wadebridge works for Chloe and has already had a ride on her own horse she trains Masterleaderman. An eight year old Beneficial gelding who won a Novice Hurdle on the soft at Kelso could prove a good schoolmaster for Harriet who had such a good partnership with River Indus.
Sarah Gould who trains near Frome has already had a winner at Larkhill with Charles Horton’s Wotzizname ridden by Martin McIntyre who should progress through the ranks. The same owner has another unraced horse in Tropical Thunder and a share in Third Chance already placed in a Men’s Open race at Larkhill. Loch Ard has yet to get round this season but was running a good race when falling at the penultimate race at the last Larkhill meeting when ridden by the trainer.
Rose Loxton who works for Paul Nicholls has already run Join Together, an encouraging second to No Loose Change on his return to racing and subsequently a third in a Taunton Hunter Chase on heavy ground and Maxi Chop fourth on his two races at Larkhill this season. Bryony Frost and James King have ridden the horses this season.