by Brian & Gill Armstrong

The sun shone all day for racegoers at the annual Wilton Hunt point-to-point at Badbury Rings on Saturday and a large crowd saw some interesting racing during the seven race programme. The highlights were a double for trainer Jelly Nolan in the two Open races and a first ever success for local owner Michelle Taylor. The opening Hunt race saw the largest field of the day when nine horses were declared to run. The favourite, The Frosty Fox, lost rider Michael Miller at the fifth fence and the race was won by Briary Boy, owned and trained by Michelle Taylor and ridden by Rilly Goschen. This was Michelle’s first ever winner and she reported that she had bought the gelding at the Ascot Sales last June for 1400 guineas. She trains the horse herself from a box at Ali Tory’s yard at Witchampton, close to the Badbury Rings course.

The second race, the Maiden for 5, 6 & 7 year olds, attracted only two runners, but after Peat Wood had unseated Naddan Wilmington before the race started and was withdrawn, Lazy Lemon was left to walk over. This was Claire Llewellin’s second ever victory, the first coming at Hackwood Park last year. Claire, a lieutenant in the Logistics Corps at Hullavington, was riding for her father, Derek Llewellin, who bred the mare. Derek has been training horses himself for nearly 50 years, but for the first time this season he left the training to David Pipe.

Paymaster, trained by Jelly Nolan and ridden by Julian Pritchard, won the Men’s Open race in good style. This New Zealand-bred gelding was bought from New Zealand by one of his three owners, Rupert Sweeting, and had been in training with Henrietta Knight until last year. After falling at Cheltenham in October the owners decided to send him point-to-pointing and he showed a good turn of foot to defeat course specialist Susie’s Melody by six lengths. The gelding clearly appreciated the firmer going here.

The Novice Riders race provided the closest finish of the day with only three lengths separating the four runners at the finish. It provided a fairytale start for owner, Callum Lavelle, whose Glenpine proved victorious for rider Lisa Parrott. The horse had been offered for lease for the season for £1 by trainer Bill Smith at the Hursley Hambledon meeting here and Oxford-based Callum, who was visiting his mother-in-law in Wimborne at the time, had his ticket drawn out of the hat. Lisa, who works for Bill Smith, was recording her fourth ever career victory and hopes there may be more successes to come from this mare before she is put in foal later this year.

Mounthenry Star defied his 15 years to comprehensively defeat his four rivals in the Gerrard Open Ladies’ Race. He obviously relished the faster surface and Jelly Nolan was quick to pay credit to Mounthenry Star, who loves his racing and is her easiest horse to train. Charlotte Tizzard, riding for the stable for the first time, clearly enjoyed her exciting ride which turned in the fastest time of the day.

Fashion House, trained and owned by Stewart Pike and ridden by Jim Jenkins, won the Restricted race in good style. The mare survived a bad mistake three fences from home and ran out a comfortable winner by eight lengths from the front running Makhpiya Patahn ridden by David Turner.

The final race, the Open Maiden, was won easily by Macaroni Beach, trained by Ali Tory and ridden by Emma Tory. The mare, who is owned by writer Terence Brady, has bred a two-year-old filly by Karinga Bay who is still owned by Terence at his home near Wincanton.