Sunday saw the curtain come down on an excellent point to point season in the Wessex Area with the 3rd and final meeting at Cothelstone. Hosted by the West Somerset Vale, with ground well watered by Clerk of the Course, Arthur Barrow, the crowd were treated to some excellent racing.
The Mixed Open had attracted a good entry with 11 going to post and it was pleasing to see Stuart Penny's ultra-game mare Champagne Rosie rallying to get up on the line. Winning her 12th race for owner John Meaden, the mare responded well to Katy Lyons' urgings to deny favourite Uppertown Hawk and Louis Pasteur. Katy explained that she had sought advice from Champion Jockey, Will Biddick who said not to kick for home at the track until you had rounded the final bend and it was advice well given. A previous course winner, she had run into the very talented Western Diva last time and so thoroughly deserved this success. Although she looked to pull up slightly sore, trainer Stuart reported his mare to be fine the next day and thought she might run in the early part of next season before being put in foal.
The day kicked off with a game of cat and mouse in the 2 runner Hunt Members as Ben Robarts on Grissom tracked Lucy Mager riding Bathwick Scanno. Eyeballing his opponent with half a circuit to run, Grissom started to assert round the home bend to win by just over 3 lengths for West Somerset Vale Master, Mike Weir and the Frost stable. Bryony Frost explained she had bought the horse at Fairyhouse having ridden him in Ireland and he had then been injured. Family friend Mike had then had the horse himself and hunted him all season which had done him the power of good. She also credited Mike with installing a true love of hunting in her as she had been his shadow as a child across Dartmoor from a very early age.
The Young Horse Maiden was won by the Jack Barber trained Doctor Tiger who compensated for his narrow defeat last time on the course when given a confident ride by Will Biddick. Giving 2 stone to his remaining rivals, Will was in no mood to allow the weight to make a difference as he kicked clear to win as an odds-on shot should despite jumping left much of the way. A relieved Jack Barber was happy to have "finally given owners, Ray Barrow and Sandra Maltby (who own in partnership with Richard Barber) a winner!"
The second Maiden completed a double on the card for Will as he steered his father Mike's St Denys to a 3 length success over the more fancied Tree Sparrow and Theboss On Thehill. Purchased privately from Graham Roach, this son of Presenting had not enjoyed life in a public racing yard but on this quicker ground, Will was able to outstay his rivals. The trainer was in good spirits in the paddock, cooling down more than just his horse after the race and one member of the crowd seemed more than a little damp!
Willem had run well at the course to be runner-up on his previous outing and this time made no mistake as he drew 4 lengths clear at the line under a confident ride from Bryan Carver to win the Novice Riders Race with favourite, Moscow Prices having to settle for second. Bryan felt the quicker ground had made all the difference and he had hung on to him as long as he could so well was he travelling. Bryan who works for David Pipe, rides out for trainer Teresa Clark whenever he can and was registering his second winner having opened his account on the season's leading horse, Chosen Lucky at Bratton Down last week.
The final race of the day, the Restricted, went to Welsh raider Robin's Wager under Byron Moorcroft. The Kieran Price trained gelding had been brought down at the first at Holnicote and then not seemed to enjoy Bratton Down on his previous two runs but put those efforts behind him to win by 5 lengths from Cardinal Tom. Trainer Kieran explained they had not had the horse long but the owner had only paid £700 for him and he may still have a further run at Trecoed.
The day's racing had been preceded by 3 Pony Races with the first going to Fairfield Run under a determined ride from Lucy Llewellyn while the second 138 race went to The Jobs Not Straight and jockey Freddie Gingell who spread-eagled the field early to win by 8 lengths. The third race resulted in a close finish with Goldwell's Gucci and Charlie Sprake getting the better of Class Act Annie and Don't Tell Dai.