The going at the Portman point-to-point was just on the faster side of good, which resulted in 62 horses running in the seven races, an excellent turn out the week after the Easter period. The weather remained dry until after racing had finished and it will be a day that octogenarian owner John Meaden will remember, as two of his home bred mares won the two final races. Earlier another mare, Posh Totty, had gamely won the Mixed Open race and in the process notched up her fifth course victory.
Credit Crunched and Fourstar River had a good battle in the Intermediate, with the former running out the winner by a length. Owned by Norman Thomas and trained by his daughter Laura, this was the gelding's fourth career victory for the Thomas family, having formerly been trained by Alan King. Norman credited the better going for the improvement in his form and said that this was his first winner this season.
An eventful younger Maiden race followed, with three four-year-olds fighting out the finish. Boygojumping had made most of the running but was joined by debutants Clo Sacre and Polydora at the third last fence, with both of these still travelling well. However, Clo Sacre made a bad mistake and rider Stan Sheppard was unseated; at the next fence Polydora blundered and Tommie O'Brien was also unseated. This left Boygojumping to come home virtually alone, with the winning distance being the length of the run-in. Owned by Martin and Kathryn Peaty, the gelding has an interesting background in that his dam Maisie Malone is an unregistered hunter who finished runner up in the Wilton Hunt race in 2011 and was then put in foal to Midnight Legend. Martin missed the race as he was away skiing in France, but had the commentary relayed to him by mobile phone.
The Novice Riders race had a dramatic twist after Maxi Chop had beaten off the attentions of Archie Rice and Boss In Boots to win by three lengths to give his rider Lewis Ferguson his second point-to-point career victory. However, Lewis omitted to weigh in and was automatically disqualified, with Archie Rice (Hugo Hunt) being awarded the race. This was Hugo's second point-to-point win following four victories on the Flat for Andrew Balding and a chase win at Ascot for Martin Keighley. Archie Rice has been a fine servant to Jimmy Frost, winning two hurdle races for his daughter Bryony and before that had won nine races on the flat and now has a new role as a schoolmaster for Hugo and trained by Jimmy's wife, Nikki Frost.
In the Mixed Open, after Posh Totty had taken over the lead at the 11th fence Will Biddick kept finding more from his willing mount to hold off the attentions of Ni Sin E Mo Ainm (Alexandra Bell) by five lengths. One of her enthusiastic owners, Richard Hall, only just made the course having served lunch at his wine bar in Crewkerne and was able to cheer her home from his vantage point near the winning post. Will with a smile said in the winner's enclosure that 'she is still my favourite horse, as she keeps finding more when I ask her'.
Tom Barton caught the front running Guerrilla Tactics to follow up his victory last week at Larkhill to win the Restricted and give Stan Sheppard another winner. Bought by Sally Alner as 'a potential Badbury horse' she thought his run at the previous meeting when he was third to Guerrilla Tactics had made 'a man of him after hitting some of the fences and realising that he had to jump properly'. He certainly looks on the upgrade having turned round the form on his last run at Badbury.
The biggest field of the day took part in the Open Maiden when 15 horses set off. Following the departure of one of the fancied horses, Bistouri D'Honore, at the first fence, the race turned into a duel, with the two front running horses Seenigora (Rilly Goschen) and Broadway Blueshirt (Saul Woods) having the race between them, with the former winning by eight lengths. Bred and owned by John Meaden and trained by Rilly, the mare was showing improved form on the better ground. Rilly recalled that she rode her first winner at Badbury Rings in 1995 aboard Great Uncle trained by the late John Dufosee for whom she rode with such great success for many years.
John Meaden's tough mare Champagne Rosie gave Will Biddick a double on the day when comfortably winning the Confined. Tracking the leader, Falcon Island, for much of the final circuit, she was fully in command when her rival fell at the last fence, leaving the mare to win by 30 lengths. Trained by Stuart Penny, he joked that 'my placing of the mare is getting better as she has now won her last two starts'.
Intermediate (11 ran)
1 Credit Crunched 12/1 J Bailey; 2 Fourstar River 10/1 M Legg; 3 Driftwood Pride 5/1 D Andrews. 6mins 15s. 1l, 2l. (Laura Thomas)
Open Maiden 45&6yo 2m4f (9 ran)
1 Boygojumping 3/1 G Hiscock; 2 Fazakerley 10/1 D I Turner; Justu 20/1 E Doggrell. 5mins 27s. Distance, 6l. (Martin Peaty)
CA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) (10 ran)
1 Archie Rice 10/1 H Hunt; 2 Boss In Boots 5/2 D Sansom; 3 Kostaquarta 4/1 M Bastyan. 6mins 12s. 3l, ½l. (Nikki Frost)
Mixed Open (5 ran)
1 Posh Totty 4/6 W Biddick; 2 Ni Sin E Mo Ainm 4/1 Miss A Bell; 3 Winter Soldier 5/4 M Legg. 6mins 5. 5l, 25l. (Jack Barber)
Restricted (7 ran)
1 Tom Barton 3/1 Stan Sheppard; 2 Guerrilla Tactics 4/1 Miss L Scott; 3 Judge John Deed 5/4 W Biddick. 6mins 23s. 3l, 1l. (Sally Alner)
Open Maiden (15 ran)
1 Seenigora 25/1 Miss A Goschen; 2 Broadway Blueshirt 12/1 S Woods; 3 Rainbow Stripes 9/4 W Biddick. 6mins 15s. 8l, 12l. (Rilly Goschen)
Confined (5 ran)
1 Champagne Rosie 1/2 W Biddick; 2 King's Wood 6/1 E Henderson; 3 Lajidaal 8/1 D Andrews. 6mins 17s. 30l, 12l. (Stuart Penny)