Devon & Somerset Staghounds
Robbie Henderson took the Holnicote riding honours with a double on Beadnell Bay (Men's Open) and Merry Terry (Intermediate) on Saturday. Beadnell Bay made all the running and finished alone to record his fourth Holnicote course success, nine years after his first. "He won here in 2002 under Mark Shears, in 2003 under Rilly Goschen, and 2007 for Ryan Bliss", said Nyland trainer Stuart Penny and Steve Reeves, representing the horse's owners, The Dufosee Family. "He's an absolute legend", added Robbie, describing the 14-year-old, who won 10 races for the late John Dufosee.
Merry Terry forged ahead after jumping the last upsides Roisini Bay (Matt Hampton). "It's the first time he's run right-handed, and you're never sure how they'll go, but Robbie said he handled it well", said Sherborne owner-trainers Richard and Ruth Dimond.
Two trainers enjoyed their initial point-to-point successes at the meeting. Charlton Adam first season trainer Clare Bowles, 21, got off the mark at the third attempt with Restricted winner Captain Knock, who made all for Darren Edwards. The eight-year-old had shown good form in hunter chases and finished 12th in the Aintree Foxhunter for David Phelan before joining Clare's yard a month ago.
Josh Guerriero opened his account by partnering Holcombe Hitman to a very popular Maiden race success. Holcombe Hitman is jointly owned by John Wescott and his grandson, Giles Hawkins, whose brother Richard is recovering in Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital after a bad fall at Taunton racecourse on 12 April. "Grandfather bred Holcombe Hitman, I broke him and did the work with him before he joined Josh three weeks ago", explained Giles. Giles and Richard's sister Hannah had earlier returned to similarly warm applause after finishing second to Captain Knock on her parents Andrew and Trudi's Mister Moonax.
Deloughtane and Vote For Doodle also achieved firsts for their connections. Alice Pearn drove Deloughtane past long-time leader Touch Of Flame for her family's first-ever win in the Staghunters Cup after 35 years of trying. "I first rode in the race in 1976 when third on Ruthmac and owned Champagne Bar, who was second twice", recalled Alice's father, John.
Vote For Doodle – "top lot at Ascot Spring Sales in April", said Richard Prince – made a winning first appearance for Philip Prince in the Conditions race. Always prominent, the six-year-old was clear of his field during the last half-circuit.
John and Greer Norman's Miss Midnight, who suffered from dehydration when fourth at Flete Park in April, bounced back with an easy Ladies' Open win under Jenny Carr. The mare, who now heads the Wessex Area Leading Horse standings, may run at Stratford on 27 May, according to Thornicombe trainer Mary Tory.
D&SSH Point-to-Point Secretary Joy Rawle made a presentation to meeting Chairman Andrew Hawkins for all his efforts to water the course despite the circumstances of his son's injury, and Lord and Lady Oaksey drew the winning tickets and presented the prizes for a raffle which raised £3,500 in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.