Spectators enjoyed an eventful afternoon’s racing at the
West Somerset & Minehead Harriers point-to-point meeting at Holnicote on
Saturday. There was a first point-to-point winner for 20-year-old Welsh
rider Jodie Hughes, while Ashley Farrant took his season’s tally to nine
with victory on Polar Champ in the Men’s Open.
The opening Hunt Members race went to Cool Wager, who forged
20 lengths clear of only other finisher Caundle Chase. Cool Wager is owned
by farmer Robert Pudd and his wife Hilary “Tigger” Pudd, who trains the
horse at their Pyleigh home. Tigger bred both Cool Wager and his dam,
Gamblingway, who won a point-to-point at Flete Park in 1987 ridden by
current leading National Hunt trainer, Venetia Williams. Cool Wager was
partnered by Wheddon Cross rider Darren Edwards deputising for Dominic
Alers-Hankey, who dislocated his collarbone at Milborne St Andrew the
Alers-Hankey missed another winner when Inagh Road made all
the running in Division One of the Confined Maiden under Alex Michael. This
was a first point-to-point winner for North Newton trainer Fiona Walker,
point-to-point secretary of the Taunton Vale Hunt, and for joint owners
builder Ken Mantyk and plumber Andrew Goddard, both of North Petherton, and
Fiona’s husband Scott, who bought the horse at Ascot Sales last year.
Division Two went to 50/1 chance Rosetta and Lucy Gardner who headed Far Too
Crowded after the last with favourite Toon Society in third. Rosetta was a
first winner for Burnham-on-Sea owner-trainer Sarah Gordon who bought the
horse privately from Richard House as a five-year-old.
The Ladies’ Open was won by Longstone Boy, who was
prominent throughout and forged clear of Sir William after the challenging
Rimpton Boy and Rachael Green crashed into the wing at the second last. This
was a first point-to-point success for 20-year-old rider Jodie Hughes, who
rides out at Peter Bowen’s Haverfordwest yard. Longstone Boy was bought as
an unbroken five-year-old by Dorothy Harris and partner Eric Clough who
trains the horse at their Ludchurch home near Tenby.
Ashley Farrant rode his ninth winner of the season when the
David Pipe-trained Polar Champ made all the running to take the Men’s
Open. Polar Champ carries the familiar “Bonanza Boy” colours of
Simonsbath owner Angie Malde and may take his chance in the Christies
Foxhunters Challenge Cup at Cheltenham next month.
The Novice Riders Intermediate race went to Opal’Lou who
made all the running and comfortably held off favourite Polka. Opal’Lou is
one of four point-to-pointers trained at Forde Abbey by Jane Western who
bought the horse out of Paul Nicholls’ stables last year, and was a fourth
career success for owner rider Richard Pyman, 35, a London merchant banker.
The closing Restricted race was won by Lord Of The Mist who was patiently ridden by Nick Williams before leading at the last. Lord Of The Mist, who is trained at Seaborough by Richard Barber for brother-in-law Peter Maltby, has plenty of pace and could be one to look out for if aimed at Ladies’ Opens.