by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Spectators enjoyed a blustery afternoon’s racing at the Wilton point-to-point meeting at Badbury Rings. The opening Hunt race went to Hello Roscrea and Rilly Goschen, fresh from her success on Earthmover in the Cheltenham Christies Foxhunters Challenge Cup just 48 hours earlier. This was a first-ever success for Winterslow (near Salisbury) trainer Sharon Brown and for her next door neighbours, Steven and Sarah Dixon, who bought Hello Roscrea from Hereford dealer Richard Matthias in September.

Hello Roscrea’s connections’ hopes of a double in the following Open Maiden race were dashed when The Sycophant fell two out leaving Lord Alpha to hold the renewed challenge of The Nelson Touch with Panto in third. Lord Alpha was a first success of the season for Petersfield trainer-rider David Phelan and for removal contractor Anthony Ward-Thomas, who bought the horse privately from Irish trainer Gerald Cully four months ago. Anthony and David plan to be patient with Lord Alpha and may give the gelding just one more run this season.

The Men’s Open race resulted in a comfortable success for the impressive Out The Black, who led five out for a comfortable four length success under Dominic Alers-Hankey. The horse is one of nine trained by Caroline Keevil at Charterhouse and is owned by ex-Mendip Farmers Hunt Chairman James Drummond, who bought the horse privately last summer. This was a welcome success for Alers-Hankey on his first ride since dislocating his shoulder at the South Dorset meeting in February. Out The Black – winner of Maiden, Restricted, Intermediate and Open races already this season – continues to impress Hunt racing fans and may now be aimed at a Hunter Chase.

Simply Sam led throughout the last circuit of the Countryside Alliance Club Members Novice Riders race to give 17-year-old Sherborne schoolboy Harry Fry his fifth winner of the season. Simply Sam was bred by Harry’s parents, Caroline and Richard, and is one of four horses trained by them at their Cattistock home. 

Just three went to post for the Ladies Open, the 2004 Wessex Area Feature Race, with total prize money of £500. Breteche and Tanya Newman made the running but had no answer when Mouseski and Rachael Green challenged after the second last. Mouseski is trained at Seaborough by Richard Barber for Marston Magna owner Michael Dare, who bred the horse from his winning point-to-pointer Worth Matravers.

The Restricted race went to the Ali Tory-trained Thunder Thighs who asserted under Nadden Wilmington after long-time leader Hawkers Hill blundered at the second last. Thunder Thighs, who relished the good going, is owned in partnership by Sarah Wadey of Buckland Newton, Hinton St Mary cabinet maker Chris Kendall and Hazelbury Bryan farrier Nick Freak.

Dunster trainer Aaron Bateman retained his 100% record  - two runners, two winners – when Lord Beau was a comfortable winner of the closing Open Maiden race. Lord Beau is owned by Aaron’s father Paul, who bought the horse in Ireland last summer, and was a sixth point-to-point winner (plus six under Rules) for rider Robert Stephens, 20, stable amateur at Philip Hobbs’ yard at Bilbrook, near Minehead.