by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Spectators enjoyed competitive racing at the West Somerset Foxhounds & Minehead Harriers point-to-point meeting at Holnicote on Saturday. The highlight was a 50th career win for rider Colin Heard, whose 17-year-old son Liam completed a family double by taking the Men’s Open aboard Quickswood.

Colin Heard’s 50th win (49 in point-to-points and one under Rules) came in the opening Hunt Members’ race aboard the Polly Curling-trained Mont Aca. Colin rode a patient race, leading four out and holding a persistent challenge from Caundle Chase by two lengths. Mont Aca is owned by a partnership including North Curry farmer John Hebditch, Jilly Cook of Wiveliscombe, Devon & Somerset Staghounds MFH Maurice Scott, Minehead vet Phil Browne, Will Rayner, Sarah Hobbs and Patricia Payne.

Beacon Boy led on the run-in to take Division One of the Confined Maiden under Tigger Barnes. Beacon Boy is trained near Street by Ron Treloggan and was a third consecutive winner for Ashcott livery yard owner June Reynolds, who leases the horse from Christopher Higgs. Division Two went to Polka and Wheddon Cross rider Darren Edwards, who asserted two out for a five length win from only other finisher Lazy Lemon. Polka is owned and trained at Stogumber by farmer Gerald Greenway, who bought the horse from Percy Norman while enjoying a drink at the 2001 Tiverton point-to-point at Chipley Park.

The David Pipe-trained Phoenix Phlyer made virtually all the running to take the Ladies’ Open under Charlotte Stucley, who owns the horse jointly with her parents. Charlotte, a jockeys’ agent from Culmstock, may now aim Phoenix Phlyer at the One & Only Handicap Hunter Chase at Newton Abbot on 29th April.

The Men’s Open went to ex-hurdler Quickswood, who led two out for a 2½ length win from Dean Of Devon, with Sir William back in third. Quickswood is trained at Brushford, near Dulverton, by Lucinda Roberts, who bought the horse out of Robin Barwell’s stable last year, and was the first runner to carry the colours of the Double X Partnership, a group of friends with Exmoor and Sussex connections. Quickswood was a second career win for 17-year-old rider Liam Heard, who works at Richard Barber’s Seaborough stables. 

The Intermediate Novice Riders race went to Puzzleman, a second career win for 41-year-old owner/trainer/rider Simon Wheeler, a Ditcheat farrier who served for eight years in the Kings Troop. Simon was keen to credit Sarah West, who recommended he buy Puzzleman at Ascot Sales last year and suggested the Holnicote course would suit the horse, and Trudoxhill trainer Guy Landau who has provided Simon with plenty of gratefully received advice over the last few months.

Johns Legacy maintained his unbeaten record with a comfortable win in the closing Restricted race under Sarah Robinson, who trains the horse at Shurton, near Stogursey, for father Brian. Johns Legacy was bought privately in October 2000 with money willed by Sarah’s grandfather to replace One For George, Sarah’s first-ever winner at Littlewindsor in 1999. Sarah currently has six horses in training, including the prolific Knight Of Passion and Mollycarrsbrekfast, a good second to Phoenix Phlyer in the Ladies’ Open and one to note when appearing on his favoured fast ground.

The next Wessex Area meetings are the Seavington at Littlewindsor on Saturday 8th and the Avon Vale at Barbury Castle on Sunday 9th March.