Milborne St Andrew
Sunday 13th February 2011
by Brian & Gill Armstrong
Ask Again, who failed in his bid to win for the fifth year running at the Tiverton fixture in January, returned to winning ways with a relentless front display in the AGA Ladies' Open at rain-lashed Milborne St Andrew. "The Chipley Park race didn't really pan out for him, but he was up for it today", said trainer-rider Sarah West, who recalled making her race-riding debut on Bold Mink at the corresponding meeting in 1994. The AGA series final at Cheltenham or Wincanton's Champion Hunter Chase are possible late season targets in May.
Beaminster owner Bill Dupont was in double form with Trueflyingcolours (second 2m-4f Maiden) and Vintage Class (Men's Open). The former belied a penultimate fence mistake to catch long-time leader Brook Native (Michael Miller) and to take jockey Will Biddick to the top of the National Men's Riders' table. "I bought him from [trainer] Richard [Barber] in the summer. I wanted to name him "Flying Colours" after the appeal in aid of Yeovil Women's Hospital, but that name wasn't available, so I chose this one", said Bill, whose wife Angela is Chairman of Yeovil District Hospital. Bill and Michael joined forces with Vintage Class, who lived up to his name by drawing further and further clear of his rivals throughout the last circuit. "He felt class when he won at Larkhill in January and felt even better today. He's like all good horses – they go on any ground", said Michael, who took over the eight-year-old's training last summer from Louise Alner.
Richard Barber completed a training treble with Novice Riders' race winner Barneys Mate and 3m Maiden winner Oscarslad. Barneys Mate passed Perouse entering the straight to give Harry Derham a first point-to-point success after numerous pony race victories. Oscarslad, bought from the late Tom Costello as a three-year-old by owner Martin Dare, finished a fence clear under Ryan Mahon after Mini Jack (Jo Buck) fell four out when leading.
Rilly Goschen, who got off the mark at Ideford Arch on Saturday, followed up when all-the-way winner Hard To Tell held off the Barber runner Tregaro (Ryan Mahon) in the first 2m-4f Maiden. "Rilly got him jumping and gave him a brilliant ride", said Sigwells-based Bill Turner, representing his owner-trainer daughter Kathy While.
Now Listen To Me was the day's most impressive winner under Dan Collins in the Restricted. The Doncaster purchase made all the running and cruised 30 lengths clear of his field during the final circuit to give trainer Charles Whittaker a first success from his new Gare Hill yard near Frome.