WEST SOMERSET VALE
SUNDAY 13 APRIL 2003
by Brian & Gill Armstrong
The West Somerset Vale Hunt held its annual point-to-point
meeting at Cothelstone, near Taunton, on Sunday. The course had been
watered and 74 horses contested the eight races. Highlights included a
first-ever win for 20-year-old Wembdon, near Bridgwater, rider Jo Buck and
a 100th career success for Nick Mitchell.
The opening Hunt race went to Urban Hunter who asserted after
the last to provide rider Jo Buck with her first-ever winner. Urban Hunter
is owned by Sylvia Lindley, Daphne Lewes, Daphne Chelton, Mary White and
Dinah Little, all from the Quantocks, and is trained by Dinahís
daughter, Anna Bucknall, at Bagborough just a few hundred yards from the
Gutsy Dalton and James Young led from three out to take the
Restricted race. Gutsy Dalton is trained at Broomfield by Jamesí wife
Laura and was a first-ever winner for Sampford Arundel, near Wellington,
owners Roland Milton and Valerie Rowe who bought the horse privately from
Noel Chance last summer.
Porlock Hill turned the Mixed Open into a procession for an
easy win under Neil Harris in a fast time. This was a fourth course
success for Porlock Hill who is trained at Dulverton by Jeremy Scott for
staunch Chelsea fan Gary Lever. Porlock Hill seems to go on any ground and
is one to look out for during the rest of the season.
The Novice Riders Intermediate race went to St Helier and
Robert Stephens, 19, who led throughout the last half mile and held the
challenge of Knock Star. This was a real family success, as Claraís
Pride is trained at Chepstow by Robertís father David and owned by his
grandfather Owen. St Helier has recovered well from muscle injuries
sustained in his last run at Holnicote in February.
The Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members' race was won for
the second year running by the Polly Curling-trained Hylters Chance. This
was a fourth course success for Hylters Chance, who is owned by North
Curry farmer John Hebditch, Jilly Cook of Wiveliscombe, Devon &
Somerset Staghounds MFH Maurice Scott and Minehead vet Phil Browne.
Connections were keen to praise rider Colin Heard who raced on a strip of
the horseís favoured fast ground on the inside of the course.
Division One of the Open Maiden race was divided on the day.
Part One went to Tinder Box, owned and ridden by Tabitha Cave and trained
by her mother Penny. Tinder Box has recovered well from injuries sustained
to his near hind when caught on wire at the Caveís Sherborne home.
Derosa got up on the run-in to take Part Two under 20-year-old Robbie
McCarthy who works in Liam Corcoranís Kingsbridge livery stable. Derosa
is one of two horses owned and trained by Elizabeth Scott whose familiar
emerald green and yellow colours have been carried by such good horses as
Gay Tarquin during the last 30 years.
The closing Open maiden race Division Two went to Askers Jack, trained at Askerswell near Bridport by Graham Foot who bought the horse from Miranda Roberts at Ascot Sales in 2001. This was a 100th point-to-point winner for Nick Mitchell, 33, assistant trainer to Robert Alner. Nick recalled that his first winner was on Grand Hussar in the Tedworth 4 mile Open at Larkhill in 1986, while his first winner for Graham was aboard Belmont Beauty at Clyst St Mary in 1996.