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Sunday 8th May 2005
by Lee Glanville

A best ever crowd turned out for the Axe Vale Harriers point to point at Stafford Cross which turned into something of a Richard Woollacott benefit day.

Woollacott rode three winners, all of which were trained by his partner Emeley Thompson whose twins are due at the end of the month but was still sprinting across the paddock to meet her winners!

Woollacott's treble, all of which won by one and a half lengths or less, began with Bill Westacott's progressive Polligana - a maiden at the start of the season - in the Intermediate. He went on to add Cookies Bank in the 14 runner restricted and Austin Approved who was having his first ever run, in division one of the maiden. One of Cookies Bank's owners is Sue Condry, wife of Hugh, who compiles all the point to point reports for the Racing Post.

Jockeys' momentoes were a pair of engraved whisky glasses, and Woollacott managed to collect a set of six.

Proceedings had got under way with a Nerys Dutfield trained winner in the Members which saw her husband Simon's Freedom Bay (Emma Tory) win by 25 lengths in a fast time. It was a fitting winner as Axminster Carpets MD Simon had been instrumental in providing much of the birch and boxes for the course maintenance, and the family are good supporters of the hunt - their meet near Christmas being of the 'must not miss' variety.

Highway Oak recorded his third win of the season for trainer Ben White, this time under Michael Miller in the Confined.

Dick Baimbridge trained Teme Willow (Clare Allen), qualified with the Berkeley Hunt, to take the Mixed Open which saw Rachel Green pick up a £150 fine for missing the last fence on Tales of Bounty, riding a finish to catch the eventual winner. Tales of Bounty passed the post second, but runner up spot went to Charlotte Tizzard on Perky's Pride, Miss Green booking herself a date with the stewards.

Baimbridge looked as if he might double up with a win in the Novice Riders' race with Titus Bramble but Guldage (Vanessa Shaw) was just too good. Five time winner Saint Romble ( Katharine Hobbs) was back in third.

Not much has gone right for Trigger Mead (Leslie Jefford) after running so promisingly first time out at Buckfastleigh early season, but it all went to plan - almost - in the second division of the maiden. Trigger Mead led from pillar to post, running on again each time the others got close. "I didn't set out to stay in front," said rider/trainer Jefford who was celebrating the change of luck. "But my reins got mixed up with my whip over the first and off we went!"


Members: 1, Freedom Bay, Miss E Tory; 2, Redberry Holly, J Barnes; 3, Orinoco's Flight, M Holmes. Five ran, 25l, 10l, 5.54

Confined: 1, Highway Oak, M Miller; 2, Preacher Boy, Miss T Cave; 3, Cherokee Run, Miss C Tizzard.Six ran, 5l, 30l, 5.56.

Mixed Open: 1, Teme Willow, Miss C Allen; 2, Perky's Pride, Miss C Tizzard; 3, Skip'n'Tune, M Miller. Nine ran, 3l, dist, 5.52.

Intermediate: 1, Polligana, R Woollacott; 2, Emali, W White; 3, Beachtime, Miss C Tizzard. 14 ran, 1 1/2l, 2l, 5.59.

Novice Riders Countryside Alliance members: 1, Gudlage, Miss V Shaw; 2, Titus Bramble, Miss C Allen; 3, Saint Romble, Miss K Hobbs. Seven ran, 1 1/2l, 6l, 5.53.

Restricted: 1, Cookies Bank, R Woollacott; 2, Enoch, Miss E Tory; 3, Somedo Somedont, Miss R Green. 14 ran, 1l, 1/2l, 6.00.

Maiden Division One: 1, Austin Approved, R Woollacott; 2, Grande Bretagne, Miss C Prouse; 3, Aquired, Miss C Tizzard. Seven ran, 1 1/2l, 7l, 6.25. Tallison withdrawn not under orders.

Division Two: 1, Trigger Mead, L Jefford; 2, Lord David, N Williams; 3, Joe Public, S Partridge. Seven ran, 10l, 25l, 6.06.

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