by Brian & Gill Armstrong

A large crowd attended the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale point-to-point at Charlton Horethorne on Sunday. The watered course produced good going and 74 horses contested the eight races. There was a dramatic finish to the Menís Open and Rilly Goschen received the Jane Dufosee Trophy for the dayís leading rider from the late Janeís six-year-old grandson, Henry.

Beadnell Bay led two out to take the opening Hunt Members race under Rilly Goschen. The horse was a present from breeder John Dufosee to son Sean and daughter-in-law Allison to celebrate their 1997 wedding and is named after the Northumberland fishing village where Allison was brought up.

The Ladiesí Open resulted in a smooth success for the Richard Barber-trained Mister Benjamin who forged well clear from four out under Chloe Roddick, 20, from Shoscombe, near Radstock. Owner Paul Nicholls reported that the horse will continue to be aimed at Ladiesí races. The horse is now unbeaten in four races and must be followed to maintain the sequence.

There was a dramatic finish to the Menís Open when clear leader Rimpton Boy missed the last fence, whereupon second place Woodlands Beau refused and unshipped Nick Mitchell. This left Sir William to win by a distance from Woodlands Beau, who was remounted for second place. Sir William was ridden by Wheddon Cross AíLevel student Darren Edwards, 18, and is trained at Bishops Nympton by Keith Cumings. The owner, retired South Molton farmer Richard Westacott, bought the horse from breeder Len Bond after seeing him run in a Mounsey Hill Gate point-to-point three years ago. Rimpton Boyís rider, Christian Williams, was fined £450 for negligent riding under Rule 126 for taking the wrong course.

The Open Maiden race was divided on the day. Division One went to Kerstino Two and James Diment from Up To The Minute, the only other finisher. Kerstino Two, from the family of 1958 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kerstin, is trained by Caroline Keevil at Charterhouse and was a first ever winner for Chew Stoke farmer Lindsey Sverson-Taylor, who bought the horse and half-brother Cruisewell from Hereford breeder David Powell. Division Two went to Beachtime and Nick Mitchell who led three out and held only other finisher Kenzo III by a length. Beachtime was home-bred by South Molton owners Sarah and Nigel Faulks and is a half brother to their Tonyís Time, winner of his last three races.

Division One of the Restricted race resulted in an easy win for Mister Rf, who forged a distance clear to give 17-year-old Watchfield rider, Cathy Salway, a second career win from just three rides. Cathy has ridden out since the age of six for Highbridge owner-trainer, Kim Tripp, who was bequeathed Mister Rf as a 4-year-old by Ron Fear.

In Division Two Caspers Case maintained his unbeaten record with a comfortable success under Nick Williams. The horse was home bred by Chedington owner Sir Richard Cooper from his good race mare, Casket.

The closing Confined Maiden race went to Mister Deep and Kathryn Griffin who were left in front three out and forged well clear of Maenad and A Second Sloe. This was a first-ever winner for Kathryn, 18, who owns and trains the horse at her Stoke Wake home. Kathryn works Mister Deep before and after school at Gillingham and rides out at weekends for Robert Alner.