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Wilton at Milborne St Andrew
Saturday 25th March 2017
by Bob Bracher

A bright, clear spring day produced a good crowd for the Wilton point to point at Milborne St Andrew and spectators were rewarded with some excellent racing on ground that was good at the start of the meeting but with the drying wind became firmer towards the end of the day. The highlights were riding doubles for Will Biddick and trainer Jack Barber, an excellent ride from Jo Buck to win the Mixed Open on Master Baker and a welcome winner for John Meaden courtesy of Champagne Rosie in the Club Members race.

River Myth trained by Stuart Sampson and ridden by Darren Andrews held off the challenge of Present Ranger ridden by Lorcan Williams to win the opening race, the Open Maiden run over 2 miles and 4 furlongs, by two lengths. Bought privately from Peter Mason's stable Stuart said the mare who is a full sister to the stable's successful Fishy Story' is a good honest horse who has appreciated the better ground'. She is owned by John Gardener and Terry Hamlin who have both supported Stuart since he started training.

Will Biddick and Jack Barber combined to win the Restricted race with Ballyknock Cloud. Following up on his maiden win at the course in February the grey gelding showed an impressive turn of foot after jumping the last fence and won easily by ten lengths from Genermouse who had made most of the running. He looks to be a progressive sort and more success seems likely.

Same Difference looked the winner of the Club Members race approaching the last fence but he veered away sharply to the right after jumping the fence and this allowed Champagne Rosie ridden by Martin McIntyre and Little Cornham ridden by Lee Drowne to fight out the finish with John Meaden's mare proving the stronger and having two lengths to spare over Little Cornham. Repeating her success from 2016 the mare's victory should provide a real tonic for her 90 year old owner who is currently in hospital but is hoping to be home later this year.

The Mixed Open race was a real cat and mouse race with Master Baker ridden by Jo Buck leading all the way and dictated the pace from her four rivals. The Flying Doc ridden by Will Biddick closed approaching the last but Jo found extra effort from her mount and had three lengths in hand at the line. Owned by Jacquie McCullogh and trained by Lisa Jefford he had been placed in his three outings this season including fourth in the Coronation Gold Cup and was following up a course victory in February 2016, There are no specific plans for Master Baker but he might be aimed at a Hunter Chase later in the season.

Apple's Queen was an easy winner for Lorcan Williams when the partnership triumphed in the Novice Riders race. He followed up on his two wins at Larkhill and is still on the upgrade. Explaining his poor performance at Wincanton Sally Alner explained that he did not enjoy the very soft ground and could not jump out of it and would not want to run him again on that deep surface. On the much better ground he looked a different proposition and continues to improve.

Clenagh Castle and Harris Garden had most of the finish of the Open Maiden race between them with the former ridden by Will Biddick and trained by Jack Barber winning by six lengths. Bought by Jack out of Chris Grant's stable at Ascot last May for £6000 and running for his Racing Club he appreciated the better ground according to his trainer and will be better over the full trip of three miles when he next takes on a Restricted race.

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