It was a glorious spring day at Badbury Rings with skylarks in attendance and racegoers were able to enjoy the Countryside Alliance (Wessex) meeting without the need for coats which is certainly more usual at this time of year. The drying weather did have an impact of the number of runners but there was some competitive racing in the six races with the highlights being a win for Jack Snipe in the Mens Open and Moscow Prices in the Skinner's Pet Foods Ladies Open and a first ever riding success for Josh Cameron in the Novice Riders race
Jack Snipe was an impressive winner of the Wessex National Mens Open race when beating a good field in a fast time. Supplementing his win at Chipley Park in January the tactics employed of setting off in front and maintaining a relentless gallop proved too much for his five rivals who were left toiling. Ridden with confidence by Shane Quinlan he jumped well throughout and he approached the last in a clear lead. Owned by Pam Pengelly and her grandson Connor and Richard Hawker he had won 4 steeplechases when trained by Jeremy Scott for his breeder Lucinda Tylor including two races when ridden by Rob Hawker. When Lucinda decided to sell the gelding she rang Rob and asked him if he would like to take him point to pointing this season and Rob had little hesitation in putting together the partnership that now own him. The intention was that Rob would ride him this season but he is still recovering from injuries he suffered in a stable accident so Shane is now the 'lucky devil 'in Rob's words to benefit from his absence.
Moscow Prices ridden by part owner Lucy Mager fought off the attentions of Bankhall ridden by Emma Jones to win the Skinner's Pet Foods Ladies race by two and a half lengths. Explaining his previous poor race at Larkhill his other part owner Kim Tripp said that 'he does not like racing right handed and did not enjoy the experience at Larkhill'. He relished the faster surface at Badbury and connections will now be keeping him to left handed courses where he will be a force to reckon with in Ladies races for the rest of the season.
Josh Cameron will remember the meeting with fondness as he recorded his first riding success in the Novice Riders race aboard Little Billy Boy trained by Annie Bacon for owner Lynne Hunt. Josh, 31, started his career in 2015 and has ridden in over 40 races before securing that elusive first winner. Lynne who has been a stalwart supporter of Annie was one of the part owners of the Champion Hurdler Rock on Ruby but now her horse interests are contained with Annie and her partner Josh. After the departure of the favourite Apple's Queen at the fourth fence the race turned into a duel between Little Billy Boy and Gingili ridden by Luca Morgan with Little Billy Boy staying on the stronger. Described by Josh as a 'proper gent at home' he was winning his third point to point race for Annie.
Coco Live continued his upward momentum when easily winning the Conditions race by fifteen lengths from race favourite Imogens Thunder. With usual rider Jack Savage unavailable owners Harriet Waight and Stan Rawlins called on the services of Matthew Fielding and he proved an admirable deputy with the partnership well clear from the third last. Describing her horse as ' very nervy' when he first arrived at her stables Harriet explained that he has settled into her routine and although he still goes to post before the other runners this is now more because that is their normal practice rather than being because of any particular issues.
Everybody's Talkin was another easy winner when making all the running to win the Restricted Race. Owned and ridden by Charlie Dando and trained by his partner Brooke Gardener-Wollen at Badminton he had been purchased at Ascot in June last year out of Nigel Twiston-Davies stable where he was trained for leading owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. His form for that yard in five outings had been mediocre but he had won a Maiden point-to-point in Ireland and this free going horse relished the going and the trip over the full three miles and more improvement can be expected as he progresses.
The concluding race, the Maiden Conditions race, turned into a battle between Hon the DJ ridden by Luca Morgan and Ivebeentold ridden by Shane Quinlan with the former prevailing by two and a half lengths. Owned and trained by Johnny Farrelly the five year Arcadio gelding had run with great promise at Larkhill in January when he was trained by Francesca Nimmo. Subsequently he went to the sales but did not reach his reserve but Charlie Poste, the partner of Francesca Nimmo, contacted Johnny to suggest he purchase the gelding and a private deal was struck. Johnny reported that his charge is still quite green and will continue to improve with experience. Luca who works full time for Johnny was registering his fifth career victory of which two have been under Rules.