Kicks for Free retained his 100% point-to-point record â€“ three from three â€“ for Angela and William Rucker in the Quantock Staghounds Ladiesâ€™ Open. The 10-year-old quickened clear of Croix De Guerre in the straight to register Angelaâ€™s first training and riding success since his Cottenham win on January 2. Cheltenhamâ€™s AGA Final on 4 May and Stratfordâ€™s Ladies Hunter Chase (27 May) are possible targets.
Local Lawford owner-trainers George and Debbie Beilby combined with Philip Hobbsâ€™ employee Matt Hampton to record their first-ever successes with Constantius (Confined) and Soggy Dollar (second Maiden). â€œWeâ€™ve been training intermittently for 10 yearsâ€, said George. â€œIâ€™m in the Royal Marines, so am often away, while Debbie works at Tauntonâ€™s Musgrove Park Hospital, so weâ€™ve never been able to devote all of the necessary time. I think Constantius and Soggy Dollar are the first two good horses that weâ€™ve ever had, but we still have to train them at 5.00am each dayâ€.
Jockey Ed Barrett was in double form with Restricted winner Dollydo, trained by 14-year-old Joe Ponting, and Not A Doctor (first Maiden). The former made virtually all the running, although Ed worked wonders to survive the mareâ€™s blunder with a circuit to go. Not A Doctor, formerly trained by Ed Walker and Polly Gundry, was the second leg of a first-ever double for Payhembury trainer Leslie Jefford, who was National Champion Rider in 2000 with 42 winners. Leslie had opened his dayâ€™s account with four-year-old Upton Mead, owned by Leslieâ€™s wife Lisa and ridden by Jo Buck. Upton Mead disputed the lead with My Runaway (Richard Woollacott) throughout the race and just proved the stronger after the last.
Gaelic Flight, who took Laura Scott through the wing at Treborough Hill, put his best foot forward under Neil Harris in the Menâ€™s Open. â€œHe was a 2 mile to 2ï¿½ mile horse under Rules so this sharp left handed track has suited him ideallyâ€, said Brompton Regis trainer Camilla Scott.
Micheal Nolan â€“ another Philip Hobbs employee â€“ joined Ed Barrett on the five-winner mark, level with James Ridley, Willie Twiston-Davies and Rob Jarrett at the head of the National Novice Ridersâ€™ list, on Bryn Wrightâ€™s surprise Hunt race winner Nobile. Micheal produced Nobile to collar Stealing Moments (Charlotte Tizzard) after the last after 1/4F Chiaro had dropped out of main contention after only a circuit.
Will White doubled his 2011 account on third Maiden winner Barton Stacey, trained by Mike Trickey for his wife, Claire, and Rosie Brook. Graham and Paula Hullettâ€™s homebred The Deerhopper fought back to take the fourth Maiden after making much of the running under trainer-rider Geoff Barfoot-Saunt.
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