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Weston & Banwell at Cothelstone
Wednesday 11th May 2016
by Kirsty Boutflower

Wednesday evening saw the 3rd meeting at Cothelstone and after the recent dry spell the welcome downpour in the 48 hours prior ensured decent fields in most of the races and consequently some good racing. Owner/trainer Robin Pike had considered retirement but his Morbihan suggested he may have to wait a while after denying the enigmatic Brandevin in the Restricted race by the shortest of margins. Prominent for much of the way, Morbihan wasn't going to let the runner up past in a good battle from the last. He possibly goes to Bratton Down for the 2nd meeting. Pike is best known for 10 time winner, Rockwithacaveman who is still going strong and has been hunting this season with the Berkeley with Polly Walker's mother, Helen Hillard.

The Confined race had looked quite tight on paper but in form Champagne Rosie went clear 2 fences out and eased to a comfortable 12 length success from Ohio Gold. Trainer Stuart Penny mentioned there had been talk about retirement for the mare but she had proved a great tonic for owner John Meaden in his 90th year. Meaden explained how Champagne Rosie was raised on a bottle after her dam died when being sent back to the stallion for re-covering.

The 2.5m Maiden brought support all the way from Canada in the form of Katharine Slater, cousin to co-owner of Wy Worry, Robin Shute. It was Katharine's very first appearance at a point to point and the horse emphatically lived up to his name! Wy Worry had showed his liking for Cothelstone after a good run here on his debut and romped to a cosy 6 length win over Wonga Swinger with Carumba a further 10 lengths back in 3rd.

Jockey Richard Patrick put his considerable experience to good use in the Novice Riders race on the odds-on Boyfromnowhere. Patrick was having his 100th ride today and he just held off a determined Ryan Withey on previous course winner Louis Pasteur. Trainer Gareth Moore explained the horse has taken a nasty fall at the Banwen Miners meeting on Bank Holiday and they were pleased to get his confidence back. He had won the Southern National three seasons ago so staying was his forte which certainly helped on the softened ground. Moore also confessed that he had had 3 runners in this race and this was his 3rd winner. Statisticians should take note of any entry next year!

The Men's Open only fielded 2 runners but the race itself was a thriller with River of Time just denying Jayandbee. It was jockey Kristian Hanmer's first winner as a trainer and he was thrilled as he explained he had not had the horse long having purchased him from Robbie Llewellyn. Owned by Sheree Lean, he had run first time for them in a hunter chase at Exeter but hadn't felt quite right. This former Jim Culloty inmate would possibly go to the Llangeinor next followed by a return to racing under rules this summer.

Commentator Nick Child described the win in "bloodless fashion" by Minella Fifty under Taylor Pook for trainer Claire Hitch in the Ladies Open. Taylor however returned with a cut lip after doing well to survive a major blunder at the open ditch by this classy ex-Jonjo O'Neill horse. Trainer Claire felt that Taylor had clicked well with the horse and he would stay pointing which he so obviously enjoys.

The final race of the evening, the 3m maiden was won by Rocknrolldixie under an excellent ride by Darren Edwards for trainer Dean Summersby. Summersby was relieved to be back in the winner's enclosure after a lean 6 weeks and credited Edwards with the win as the horse can be slightly sensitive. He had only been bought in February for the small syndicate and there was a possibility he may now head to the sales.

The pony racing preceded the main event and was well supported. The first division of the first race for ponies 13.2 and under was won stylishly by 12yo Kelsie Bielby on Bejowans Bouquet. Kelsie is the daughter of George and Debbie Bielby and capped a fantastic week for them after taking the Minehead Harriers & West Somerset Hunt Members Race last Saturday for the second year running. The second division was won by William Bevan on Mayday Black Minx while Charlie Sprake managed to hang on despite losing an iron late on to win the 14.2 race on Goldwell's Gucci to deny 10yo Alfie Godfrey and Calypso.

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