Sunday 10th April 2011
by Brian & Gill Armstrong
Southwestern put up a magnificent display to win the Seavington Men's Open on Sunday. Now the winner of his last four races and looking right back to his best, the 12-year-old was in command throughout the final circuit and won by a distance easing down. "He's certainly buzzing at the moment", said jockey Neil Harris, who has now won 20 races on the former Horse & Hound Cup winner.
Ask Again was never headed as he took his career tally to 17 in the Ladies' Open. "He's jumped well and he'll go for either the AGA Final at Cheltenham or try to retain Wincanton's Wessex Champion Hunter now", thought trainer-rider Sarah West.
Hoo La Baloo opened his pointing account under Harry Derham in the Novice Riders' race. The 10-year-old jumped well throughout and always looked to have the measure of Distant Thunder (Philip Prince) after market rival Monkerty Tunkerty had blundered and given Exford trainer-rider Jess Westwood no chance of staying in the plate at the 10th.
Hoo La Baloo completed a training double for Wellow handler Chloe Roddick who had piloted Gordon Fox's Ascot purchase Bury The Hatchet to victory in the opening 2m 4f Maiden. Modern Day Icon looked the winner until an appalling blunder at the last and although Ian Chanin galvanised the five-year-old on the run-in, the pair were still half-a-length adrift at the line.
Josh Newman, 19, who works for Barbury Castle trainer Alan King, opened his account "from about 30 rides" on Hunt race winner Sobre Tresor. The winner is trained by Josh's aunt Chloe Newman and is owned by his grandmother Ros Newman, who was at Ascot with her Charity Flat Race runner Ducal Daisey.
The Axe Valley Racing Club landed a 1-2 in the Maiden. Gypsy Jack (Martin Cooney) and Shuffles (Robbie Henderson) had the race between them from a long way out and jumped the last together before the former, a previously unraced six-year-old bought at Ascot by Richard Barber for £1,600, prevailed by a head.
Okeford Fitzpaine permit holder Richenda Ford celebrated her birthday by sending out Ball Hopper to win the Restricted under Matt Hampton. A summer jumping campaign is on the cards.