by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Spectators enjoyed a good day's racing at the South Dorset Hunt's point-to-point at Milborne St Andrew on Sunday. Alex Charles-Jones rode his eighth winner of the season when taking the opening 16-runner Restricted race on Shock's Pride, who led at the last and held off Bardon Boy with Lincoln Place in third. Shock's Pride is trained locally at Milton Abbas by Sarah Clarke and was a first winner for Compton Valence owner Charlie Sclater, a property consultant with FPDSavills. Charlie bought Shock's Pride privately in Ireland 18 months ago and is looking forward to riding the horse himself later in the season.
Twenty-three-year-old Emma Tory won the South Dorset Hunt race for the fourth time when Whatashock justified favouritism with an easy success. Whatashock is trained by Emma's mother Mary at Thornicombe for joint owner-breeders John Frampton of Spetisbury and Adrian Coombes of Dorchester. Whatashock carried the same colours as Four Ten, winner of the corresponding race
50 years ago under Percy Tory before going on to win the 1954 Cheltenham Gold Cup for John's 
father-in-law, Alan Strange.

The Ladies' Open went to Polden Pride and Lucia Borradaile, who led virtually throughout to win from Perryman with Lyrical Seal in third. Polden Pride was a gift horse to Lucia last November from Toby Balding, who bred the horse and was present to see him win on Sunday. On a sad note, John Boulter and Fern Wilkins' good horse Yquem had to be put down after falling during the race.
Red Brook Lad and Nick Mitchell took the Men's Open, recording a comfortable eight-length success from favourite Honey Mount and Swift Venture. Red Brook Lad broke a bone in his leg when falling at Larkhill last season, so this represented a fine training performance by Bridport owner Charlie Fox, who bought the horse privately from Epsom trainer Simon Dow three years ago. 

The Novice Riders race was divided on the day. In Division 1, 17-year-old Maxie Goess-Saurau repeated last year's success on the Susie Goess-Saurau-trained Storm Forecast, who was left clear when Rimpton Boy unseated two out. Maxie, who is studying for his A'Levels at Bedales School in Hampshire, has recently spent a week riding out with Alan King and hopes to ride Storm Forecast and Perryman at the Vale of White Horse meeting at Siddington on 23 March. Division 2 resulted in an emotional win for John Boulter and Fern Wilkins when their Starpath led three out and held the renewed challenge of Mizyan with Nearly Gold in third. Starpath was a second career win for 20-year-old Irishman Jim Jenkins, who works for Wantage trainer Henrietta Knight.

Polly Gundry rode her eighth winner of the season when Mrs Be took Division 1 of the Confined Maiden, with Millcroft Regatta and Trigger Again in second and third. Mrs Be is trained at Cullompton by Ollie Bush for Fivehead owner John Burbidge, who bought the horse privately from Northern Ireland trainer Brian Lusk last year. Division 2 went to Peter Shaw aboard Catnap, trained at Bradford Peverell by Peter's wife Fiona, who jointly owns the horse with Jilly Kelly of Donhead St Mary. Fiona and Jilly were keen to credit Norman Wilmington and Peter for their schooling of Catnap, who was bought privately out of Charlie Morlock's stable in November 2000.

The next Wessex Area meeting is the West Somerset Hunt & Minehead Harriers at Holnicote, near Minehead, this Saturday, 23 February. First Race: 12.00 noon.