by Bob Bracher & Gill Armstrong

The New Forest Foxhounds held their Point-to-Point last Saturday at Larkhill.  Highlights were successes for two of the area's most promising horses, Whatashock and Kingscliff, and a riding double for Godfrey Maundrell.  A good card saw some competitive racing, with the weather remaining fine all afternoon.

The opening race, the Confined Hunts, saw a change in fortune for trainer Jane Galpin and rider Tigger Barnes.  Both have been awaiting their first victories of the season and Prince Sandrovitch, wearing the colours of owner Daphne Farmer, obliged here.  The horse, who won under Rules for Mark Pitman, had previously run some good races at Larkhill and was overdue his first point-to-point victory.  Jane trains 11 horses at her yard at Bratton Seymour, near Wincanton.

The Maiden race was divided into three.  The first division was the first leg of Godfrey Maundrell's double aboard the promising six-year-old Sola Topee.  This was a first ever winner for owner Cathy Cochran and trainer Liz Addison, who both come from Lockeridge, near Marlborough.  The horse, who only has a 14-year-old hunter to train with at home, was bought at the Doncaster Sales by Chris Hewlett, who used to stand the sire, Sylvan Express, at his stud.

Division 2 was won by eight-year-old Themaster's Choice, owned and trained by Bob Buckler, who bought him as an unraced four-year-old at Doncaster.  Bob hopes a year point-to-pointing will 'make a man of him' and expects he will return to National Hunt racing next season.

Top Tyke, owned by a syndicate of three - Martin Dare and Terry Hamlin, both auctioneers, and John Snook, a farmer - won the final division.  His victory was a great improvement on his last visit to Larkhill when, having unseated his rider at the fifth fence, he was eventually caught at Stan Rawlins' farm at Figheldean, some four miles away.

The Mixed Open proved another facile victory for Whatashock, ridden by Emma Tory and trained by her mother, Mary Tory.  As in his previous completed races, he won unchallenged.  Owners John Frampton and Adrian Coombes have turned down some large sums for the horse and are now eyeing a Novice Hunter Chase at Exeter on April 9 as his next likely outing.  The race was marred, however, when his main rival, Ciara's Prince, was pulled up and had to be put down.

Welsh raider Longstone Boy, part owned and trained by Eric Clough from Pembrokeshire, won the Intermediate race.  Making his first ever visit to Larkhill, a 4 hour journey, Longstone Boy was a good winner from a useful field and may now be aimed at the Dunraven Bowl Hunter Chase at Chepstow in April.

The Restricted saw another impressive victory by five-year-old Kingscliff, owned by Arnold Sendell and trained by Louise Alner.  The horse, who is likely to remain point-to-pointing for at least one more season, looked in command when his principal rival, Working Lunch, fell at the last fence.  Arnold added that his other good horse, Aberfoyle Park, is likely to go Novice Chasing next season, when he will be trained by Louise's father, Robert.

The final race, the Club Members', resulted in Godfrey Maundrell achieving his double aboard his own Bally Wirral, who may have been unlucky when unseating his rider a week ago in the Hunt race at Barbury Castle.