Wessex Season Preview Part One
The Wessex point to point area is spread over the counties of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire and includes the well- known courses of Larkhill, Badbury Rings, Cothelstone and Littlewindsor amongst the 10 different courses where meetings are held from December to May. Each course has its own particular characteristics which are suitable for different horses and riders but all are friendly venues where families are welcome to enjoy an afternoon of point to point horse racing. The area does house the leading trainer in the country namely Jack Barber but there is a wide number of trainers known as keepers situated right across the three counties who are actively involved in the sport. Detailed below is a selection of keepers in Somerset and Dorset with their planned runners for the forthcoming season – This will be the first of three such previews and the others will follow over the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see how their hopes progress as the season advances.
Harriet Brown has 2 new recruits for the upcoming season both owned by small syndicates (a few shares still available!) Mister Firth bought at the sales over the summer is a 5yo gelding by Morozov who had a couple of educational runs over hurdles in Ireland. He should be seen to better effect over further and on softer ground and will be ready to run before Christmas. Everyday Hero bought privately from Ireland is a 5yo big strong chasing type by Oscar. He is unraced but will make his debut after Christmas.
Keith Cumings once again has a great team for the forthcoming season. Stable stalwart, Certain Flight is now 11 but working as well as ever. A winner at Upcott Cross, he had a frustrating season last year damaging the lens in his eye and then got kicked badly in the field. Plans are to run him soon after Christmas. Whenharrymetsally is also in great form, and this mud-lover will run when there is cut in the ground. After getting his head in front at Badbury Rings last season, Little Cornham will be aimed at Novice Hunter Chases when the ground is dry. Darkgesture won his Maiden at Black Forest Lodge last February and is entered at Larkhill‘s first meeting. A big backward horse by Presenting, he has matured a lot and is one to look forward to. High Priority is another who will run early. He picked up an injury hunting last season, and only ran 3 times. The promising Diana Scott owned, The Mexican Bandit is back in after 12 months off and will be aimed at an Intermediate race in January/February. Waitnc showed plenty of promise at Chipley Park in January only to pick up a virus. Now fully recovered he could be one to follow. Steel Brush is one of four Restricted horses for the yard. He will be out later in the Season. Go Odee Go has been purchased from Dan Skelton by Keith Wade and friends to replace What About Will so sadly lost last Season. Vicky Wade will get the leg up. Two 3yos make up the remainder by Arcadia and Flemensfirth respectively. Broken over the summer, they are working with the pointers and may run later in the Season as 4yos.
Louise Cabble - Foynes Island was in great form last season and was unlucky not to win. However he lost little in defeat being beaten by Benedictus at Taunton and Big Fella Thanks at Cheltenham by the narrowest of margins. He will again contest some hunter chases and is definitely one to keep on the right side of. The ultra-consistent mare, Roseyroo is back in after a season off through injury and is one to look forward to. Spicy Fruity had a busy time during his first season in Ireland so the trainer felt he was just in desperate need of a good holiday. He has shown enough under rules without winning to think he will have no problem in breaking his maiden and he is being aimed for Chaddesley Corbett in December. Macginge finished a good second at Bratton Down last season to Fountains Cider and should be one to note in maidens this season. Homebred Master Tommy Tucker (out of 142 rated novice chaser No Need For Alarm) was heading to Paul Nicholls but the trainer has decided to keep him at home this year and educate him pointing before hopefully his switch to Paul for next season. Miss Daisy Jane by With The Flow, is another homebred who will also make her debut this season. Not the largest in stature, what she lacks in height, she makes up for it in grit and determination. A 3rd homebred mare by Kayf Tara was broken in the summer and will run this season if she is forward enough.
Teresa Clark - Our Chief ran at Barbury last weekend and the hope is that he can progress to a hunter chase campaign. Ex David Pipe Willem is an interesting recruit for the yard. A winner in France, he has been bought as a replacement for Grey Dream and looks an exciting prospect who will run early January. Prince of Thieves, bought out of the trainer’s brother Anthony's yard for Peter and Kathy Musgrave, is an athletic horse with an enthusiastic attitude to his work. Culverwell’s Racing Club have their namesake, Culverwell who showed promise in 2 maidens last season and will run in December if ground permits. They also have ex-Irish pointer, Give us Peace, a lightly raced gelding who will run February/March. The 3rd Club Member, Marguerite St Just has been summer jumping and will run later in the season. Nine time winner, Subtle Sovereign has joined the yard from Jack Barber. A busy hunting campaign and change of scenery will hopefully be the key to him. The ever popular Bathwick Scanno has fitted a lot of racing into his CV. His season was cut short with a fractured pelvis but he has returned with the same zest and enthusiasm registering a fine 3rd at Black Forest Lodge in November behind Premier Portrait. Lucy Mager has been riding out for the yard this season and will ride any horses run in novice riders or ladies races while Martin McIntyre will continue as stable jockey.
Claire Cook - entering her second season as a trainer, she relies again on Sammy Blade who won his maiden at Cothelstone last season under Sean Houlihan. She has doubled her string this time round after purchasing Eclectica Girl, a 5yo mare who has only run in 3 bumpers. Claire will take the same route with her as Sammy Blade getting to know her and giving her confidence.
Sheena & Peter Doggrell have four to run this season, the wonderfully consistent, Louis Pasteur who thrived last season. A recent recruit from the Colin Tizzard stable in the form of Final Flow, Sirens Smile and an un named dark bay 6yo by Leander make up the remainder.
Also resident at Toomer Farm alongside the Doggrells are Tracy Williams who has Faraway Star who registered 2 good seconds to the useful Vards and Coastal Tiep respectively. She ought to break her maiden this time round. Tracy also has Sprakewithnobrakes and his half brother, the unraced Wicks Warrior. The third trainer at the yard, Charlie Ward has Chambray Dancer who was hugely unlucky to get touched off at Bratton in June and a new recruit in Quick n Easy from the Sue Gardner stable.
Imogen Greenway has family tradition to uphold being the granddaughter of former West Somerset trainer, Gerald Greenway who capped a long career in pointing in the 2009/10 season thanks to the exploits of Champion Pointer, Fully Loaded. Imogen has some way to go in emulating cousins, Lucy and Emma Pugsley, (the former won the Princess Royal Trophy) but she has secured 2 potentially interesting recruits in the former Keith Cumings inmate The Mystro, a dual winner at Bratton Down and also former useful NH chaser, Handy Andy. Handy Andy is currently taking a short break before being targeted at the second half of the season while The Mystro will be seen out earlier for 16yo Imogen’s debut.
Stuart Penny has Trueflyingcolours owned by In for a Penny partnership will be aimed at Ladies races - there are still shares available in him. Long standing owner Pat Awdry has Chester Copper Pot, a nice maiden bought through Tom Malone. He will run in the New Year and he is well thought of. Also well-regarded is Seven of Them, another Tom Malone purchase who has been placed in Irish points. A lovely big horse, he is owned by Jill Awdry and Eunice Williams and might run before Christmas at Larkhill. Katy Lyons looking forward to riding him. John Meaden’s Champagne Rosie barely knows how to run a bad race and is back in looking very well. She will contest both Club races & Men's Opens with her usual jockey Will Biddick. Lady Cobham has Fairy Delta who won a Uttoxeter bumper - she will be aimed at Restricted and Mares races. Mike Holmes owns Justu, a youngster who ran a handful of times last season. Ex- Neil Mulholland trained, Apple Pops is another maiden filly for the yard and she is owned by Jackie Abbott. Stable stalwart, Quedillac, owned jointly by Mark Doggrell and Brian Young will give Tom Doggrell his first racecourse rides. Emperors Arcadius, a maiden winner last season at Ampton has been purchased from Gina Andrews who has ridden a lot for the yard. He will target a Restricted and is owned by Brian Young, a great supporter of pointing and the yard. Katy Lyons and Ed Doggrell will take most of rides. “Long suffering Assistant” Teona Hammond has Regal Presence in training at yard who will run in Club and Opens. A winner last season at Larkhill, he is owned by Neil Hammond and the Grace Clementine Partnership and shares are also available in him
Richard Mitford Slade has the progressive Winter Soldier, a 6yo homebred gelding by Appletree. After eye-catching runs winning his Restricted and Intermediate at Badbury Rings and Kilworthy respectively, he will start the season in an Open and hopefully progress to hunter chasing. Another homebred by Appletree is 5yo mare Applesolutely. She won her maiden and restricted as a 4yo and was second in an Intermediate at the Taunton Vale. In her trainer’s words, “She is a striking looking mare who should progress to an Intermediate hunter chase at Exeter or Cheltenham.” Imperial Circus is a 10yo handicapper owned by the Clown Club. He joined the yard last season and relished his change of routine which included hunting and cross country schooling. (He has been known to give Balthazar King a lead across Pontispool's hedges!). A consistent sort who was placed on five occasions in points last season and won the Hunt members race. He will be ridden by the yard’s novice rider Jodie Perry. Ruby Fool is 6yo homebred mare by Appletree who lost her way after falling at Wadebridge on her second outing whilst in contention. She regained her confidence and finished the season with two creditable seconds. A tough sort, she should win a maiden and hopefully progress further. Samuel Jackson is a 4yo homebred gelding by Alflora and half brother to Winter Soldier. Running just twice last season, he has strengthened over the summer and will hopefully progress.
The filly, Dark Aster is also homebred by Alflora. A new syndicate comprising of Carol Handle, Lucy Johnson, Martin Rowe and Hayden Webb have purchased winning Irish pointer, Tedspeed, a 6yo Vertical Speed gelding. He looks an exciting prospect. Also purchased from Ireland was Master Tradesman, a 5yo gelding by Marionbard. Ginger Gold is a recently broken 5yo gelding by Appletree. 'Ginger' is furthering his education on the hunting field with an aim to running in a point to point in the new year. A big horse who jumps well but will need soft ground.
Jane Western - relies on the same team this year with Scarlet Pippin, a more mature 5 year old she is hopeful of some success with her having showed promise last season; Don't Wait for Me won nicely at Ston Easton and owner Will Goulden is keen to run in a hunter chase; Driftwood Pride wasn’t out of the first 4 all season and looks sure to be rewarded for his consistency.
Charles Whitaker - has the beautifully bred Presenting gelding, Chinatown Boy who is out of the talented G1 Aintree Hurdle winner, Asian Maze. He opened his account at Larkhill in March 2015 then chased home subsequent Scottish National winner Vincente at Wincanton in a novice chase. Off the track since with an injury, his targets include the intermediate final at Cheltenham with his seasonal debut expected in January at Larkhill. Whitaker also has Southfield Stone, a 3yo homebred for Mrs Yeoman and he will be aimed at a maiden in the spring. Other yard inmates will start off under rules but may revert to pointing as a confidence boost. These include 5yos Banco de Logos, Magic River and Some Chaos and 4yo Garde Forestier.