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2013 Wessex Area Season Preview
Compiled by Brian Armstrong and Bob Bracher
THE WESSEX AREA POINT-TO-POINT SEASON kicks off on Sunday 6 January 2013 with the Larkhill Racing Club fixture. Twenty-three meetings are scheduled in Wessex, culminating in the Weston & Banwell's evening fixture on Wednesday 15 May. For a free colour leaflet detailing all the meetings in the Wessex area, send an SAE to Gill Armstrong, Pantiles, Penselwood, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 8NF.
Chloe Roddick made a flying start when Mahonia and Combehay won at Wadebridge on 9 December, while Richard Barber got off the mark with PPORC winner Glass'n A Half. Here are some other horses to look out for in 2013.
Keith and Janet Cumings' Bishop's Nympton near South Molton yard made a flying start when The Wealerdealer hacked up at Black Forest Lodge on 2 December. Keith and Janet welcome back Flete and Holnicote winner Certain Flight, Kingston St Mary winner Gone That Way, Another Double Gin and One More Flame, a full-sister to retired stable stalwart Touch Of Flame. Four unraced and unnamed youngsters complete the yard.
Olivia Jackson will campaign three horses from home a few miles from Bishop's Nympton. Ooson and The Mamur Zapt miss 2013, but Olivia has retained Derek Lovell's The Accordionist, who was third at Buckfastleigh. The newcomers are an unnamed four-year-old mare by Overbury and the interesting hunter chase candidate Restezen D'Armor, a three-time chase winner for Charlie Longsdon.
Fitzhead near Wiveliscombe trainer Gerald Greenway will race his daughter Linda and son-in-law Andrew Pugsley's Awesome George, who showed promise in two outings 12 months ago, and newcomer Justabout, who won five races under Rules for the Colin Tizzard stable.
Owner-trainers George and Debbie Beilby, from Lawford on the Quantocks, have retained Soggy Dollar and Constantius, who will appear later in the season. Carrickmines, who won eight races under Rules for the Richard Newland stable, is an interesting recruit.
Jenny Bult, based at West Newton near Taunton, will again race Lethal Dream, who will be partnered by reigning Wessex Area Champion Alice Mills. Alice will also continue her association with Sally Hutchings' Tropical Secret, the winner of 3 races last season, and is looking forward to riding Canada Coombe for Sarah Gordon, who is based in the Weston and Banwell country.
Camilla Scott has 10 horses at Brompton Regis near Dulverton. Gone To Lunch has retired, Southwestern may appear occasionally and Special Account is racing successfully under Rules, but Camilla welcomes back Feathered Friend, who won both completed outings in 2012, and Wadebridge winner Alright John, who has been bought by The Exmoor Partnership to replace Southwestern. Larkhill winner Flying Phento, Soul Native and Lad From Highworth are interesting recruits. The string is completed by four unraced and unnamed maidens. Neil Harris continues as stable jockey and he and his wife, Keri, are likely to saddle some four-year-olds from stables at the Scotts' farm.
Exford's Sharon Westwood, who has taken over the pointers from her daughter, Jess, sent out Degenerate to finish fourth at Black Forest Lodge on 2 December. Sharon's stable is completed by Geton Xmoor, who finished fourth in a Newton Abbot bumper, Tizzy Blue, who may go hunter chasing and the ex-Ashley Farrant-trained Wadebridge runner-up Party Pictures.
Julie Pocock has four pointers at her Stolford yard near Bridgwater. Julie welcomes back her grand campaigner Dandooley and Amber Love, who came right back to her best last season and may go hunter chasing. The newcomers are unraced five-year-old geldings Crackacan by Karinga Bay and Highland Thistle by Kirkwall.
Charlotte Budd has three horses at her Enmore home near Bridgwater. Think On This, who returns after missing 2012, and the consistent Havenstone will go hunter chasing. Nearly Midnight showed promise in three 2012 outings and should have little difficulty landing a maiden contest.
Alex Dunn has five horses at West Buckland including her prolific trio Picaroon, who refused to race at Wadebridge, Double Mead and Rainbow Tree. Newcomers are Ruby Kew, who was fifth in her sole outing for licensed trainer Alan King, and the ex-David Pipe-trained dual hurdle race winner Arrayan, who started favourite for the 2011 Imperial Cup at Sandown.
Spaxton near Bridgwater first season trainers David Prichard and Becky Furber made a promising start when Andrew Lowrie's Volio Vincente finished third at Black Forest Lodge. David and Becky have six or seven pointers and hunter chasers including Martys Mission, a gift horse from Andy Stewart and a possible novice riders' race ride for Becky, plus Larkhill winner Noble Aran and Our Jess for their landlord, Ray Barrow.
Bilbrook near Minehead owner-trainers Philip and Sarah Hobbs, who retired Saint Romble after his fourth consecutive Minehead Harriers & West Somerset hunt race win, will race Supreme Duke, who ended Chesnut Annie's 20 point-to-point-winning sequence in his only outing between the flags to date.
North Petherton's Suzy Berry will again race the ultra-consistent Ha Ho Magregor and Cover Version, who got off the mark at Holnicote in May.
Sue Popham has four horses at her Wellington stables, including Carlos Gardel, a winner at Wadebridge last season. Newcomers include Doncaster purchases Only The Best, who was second at Stratford in April, and Getaway Driver, who has been placed five times under Rules. Swansbrook, the winner of a bumper, hurdle race and chase under Rules, completes the team.
Jane Western has four horses at Forde Abbey near Chard. Jane has retained dual 2012 winner Benedictus, who will be aimed at hunter chases, and Last Minute Notice, who ran a promising race at Bratton Down in May. Newcomers are Shootin The Breeze, a winner at Thurles in February 2012, and Gypsy Jack, the winner of two of his three points when trained by Richard Barber.
Shaakier and Stantway Surprise have retired, so Colin and Julie Bright of Combe St Nicholas near Chard will be represented by Irish bumper and hurdle race winner Some Slam, who was bought at Ascot in June out of Gary Moore's yard. Michael Legg will take the ride.
Chloe Roddick has a strong team at Wellow near Bath, including Wadebridge winners Mahonia (a likely candidate for the Aintree Foxhunter), Combehay and Mike Sheppard's prolific Sericina, a runner-up at Wadebridge and likely to benefit from a recent wind operation. Bonvilston winner Dear Villez, who will be suited to long distance hunter chases, also returns. Newcomers include Gordon Fox's Ascot purchase Young Jim, the winner of an Irish maiden, Fairytale Theatre, a half-sister to the prolific On The Bridge, and Stephen Kemble's unnamed three-year-old Kayf Tara filly, who is related to Becher Chase winner Mr Pointment.
Charles Whittaker has eight pointers to run from his yard at Gare Hill near Frome. Dual 2012 winner Pertinent, Starburst Diamond, Now Listen to Me, who was third in his single 2012 hunter chase outing, and Towcester hunter chase winner Pistolet Noir return. Newcomers to the stable include Ruapehu, the winner of two Irish points last season and in contention when the tack slipped at Barbury Castle, and the top-class Cheltenham Festival winner Taranis, who may be aimed at Larkhill's Coronation Gold Cup.
Rode near Frome trainer Sarah Hawker will campaign three or four horses this season. Lidjo De Rouge is joined by Solaise Express, who has been placed in two hurdle races for Sarah's husband Richard, and the interesting ex-Willie Mullins-trained Jayo, the winner of seven races in Ireland.
Angela Davis has taken out a permit, so her daughter Charlotte takes over the point-to-point yard at Sutton Montis near Sparkford. Charlotte has retired Lutteur Bleu, who won the ex-racehorse class at Frome Show in September, but will race Champagne Rosie, who has twice finished fourth under Rules in owner John Meaden's well-known colours before putting in an excellent performance when third at Barbury Castle on 9 December.
Sarah Gould has four pointers at the family farm at Cranmore near Shepton Mallet. Sarah retains Special Occasion, who will be ridden by her sister, Lucy, while stalwart Own Line may return to contest the South & West Wilts hunt race. Sarah recently launched Withy Wood Racing Club, an eight-strong group of family and local friends, who will be represented by Littlewindsor winner No Excuses and five-year-old newcomer Camp Kerala, who failed to finish in two Irish points last season.
Bruton owner-trainers Rose and Sam Loxton will race again Oslot, who landed a Bratton Down ladies' open before a superb success in a Stratford hunter chase in June.
Commander Vic has retired, so Frances Bishop will race former Haldon Gold Cup winner Pablo Du Charmil from her Wincanton home.
Stuart Penny, who enjoyed a splendid second season with 10 wins, begins 2012/13 from new stables at Inwood, near Henstridge. Stuart has retained Hazel Goody's three-time winner Quedillac and Who Else Knew, another three race winner last season. The Dufosee family's Stalbridgeswansong – in the frame in all six outings last season – and 2012 winners Silver Monarch, Ashton Magic and Woodbridge Quest all return. Newcomers include Manjam, the winner of two races under Rules, including a May Fontwell handicap hurdle, before being purchased at Ascot in June.
Marilyn Burrough plans to run four horses from her Higher Halstock Leigh near Yeovil base. Bratton Down winner Denise's Dip, On Oath and Standing Order are joined by Jam Tomorrow, a Sagacity gelding bought out of Donald McCain's stable in June 2012.
Henley near Crewkerne licensed trainer Bob Buckler will again race the consistent Different Trades, who was in the frame in each of his three 2011/12 outings.
Ryan Bliss, now also based at Henley, has six horses for the new season. Beady Eye, Michael Dare's Mishkaluch and Dunnick's Toffee return. Newcomers are Jill Miller's Master Polo, an unraced gelding out of the high-class Miss O'Grady, an unraced mare for Fred Tucker and the interesting Rock Of Deauville, winner of two French flat races and sixth in Cheltenham's 2011 Fred Winter Hurdle when trained by Paul Nicholls. Kate Nutt, who works for Ryan, is likely to ride Helen Barber's In The Circle in novice rider and ladies' races.
Chloe Newman has three horses at Woolminstone near Crewkerne. Chloe hopes to qualify Sobre Tresor for Exeter's Intermediate Final and also welcomes back Tikkeche, who was unplaced in three outings last season. Robert and Janet Gibbs' Two Bob, a promising third in a 14-runner April 2011 Chepstow hurdle for the Philip Hobbs yard, is interesting. Chloe's brother-in-law Nick Taylor will saddle his dual 2011/12 winner Tres Bien. Josh Newman will again partner the family's runners.
Richard Barber has his usual strong team of pointers at Seaborough near Beaminster, including recent Barbury Castle winner Glass'n A Half and Barneys Mate, who couldn't add to his prolific win tally at the same meeting. Cheltenham Foxhunter runner-up Chapoturgeon will again go hunter chasing, while Ray Geddes' According To John and Mustangsallyrally will begin in point-to-points. The stable has its customary intake of younger horses and the market at early meetings is sure to highlight ones to follow. An interesting recruit is Woolcombe Folly, winner of nine races under Rules (all within an 11-race sequence) and an obvious candidate for 2 to 2½ mile hunter chases.
Lucia Borradaile will campaign Newton Abbot hunter chase winner Turko, who was fifth in the Cheltenham Foxhunter but refused to race at the PPORC, and Classic Swain from her Stoke Abbot near Beaminster home. The pair will race in ladies' or mixed opens before hunter chasing.
Robert and Nicky Atkinson have three horses at Cattistock near Dorchester. Russian Rain and Spring Lord are joined by Regal Spider, a six-year-old by Pasternak. Martin and Catherine Atkinson will share the rides.
Graham Foot has three unraced horses at Askerswell near Bridport. Stable star Johnny's Way misses 2013, so Graham will be represented by half-brothers Askers Judge and Askers Lad plus John and Greer Norman's Banmarie.
Kington Magna near Gillingham permit holder Cathy Hamilton has three pointers for the new season. Sir Bathwick is scheduled to reappear, while Gunship makes a welcome return to pointing after a successful three-season stint under Rules. The yard is completed by the ex-Donald McCain-trained seven-year-old Realignment, who finished in the frame seven times under Rules. Cathy's daughter Emma will partner the bulk of the runners.
Rilly Goschen returns to the training ranks at Nyland near Gillingham to race Extra Bold, who has won three handicap chases under Rules, and looks forward to again partnering Comanche Chief and Tenawa – winner of the 2012 National Novice Mare Award – for Belchalwell owner-trainer Jane Wilkinson.
Motcombe near Shaftesbury trainer Pat Bryant launched his Larks Point-to-Point Racing Club when Bobs Present contested Black Forest Lodge's 2m-4f maiden in December. Ballinah, who was sixth in an Irish maiden, and five-time chase winner River Indus will also represent the Club, while Mrs Fir, who has been placed in three of her four points, is another to look out for.
Bradford Peverell near Dorchester handler Peter Shaw has five possibles for the new season. Peter welcomes back Pimbury, Classic Clover and Buckle End. Newcomers are Busy Isit, who won for Peter's wife, Fiona, under Rules, and My Space, who has run in three bumpers.
Mary Tory has six pointers at Thornicombe near Blandford. She has retained Miss Midnight, four-race winner Crank Hill, who will again be partnered by Tim Hampton, and Battle Bridge, the winner of three races last season for Chloe Swaffield. Newcomers include Cantabilly, the winner of six races under Rules for the Ron Hodges stable.
Harriet Besent is preparing her June 2012 Ascot purchase Deimne at the family at Melcombe Bingham near Dorchester and plans to make her riding debut aboard the mare in Larkhill's Royal Artillery hunt race in January.
Monica and Norman Tory will race stable stalwart Gunner Be Quick and Carriglea Wood, a winner over fences for Richard Woollacott at Uttoxeter in the summer.
Okeford Fitzpaine trainer Sally Alner will race a small string of pointers headed by dual 2011/12 winner Master Medic, and Wincanton hunter chase winner Jayne's Crusader, who won a second consecutive Dick and Sue Woodhouse Memorial Hunter Chase in March 2012.
Michael Miller has Vintage Class, who was in the frame in three of his five outings last season, in his Hazelbury Bryan yard again this season. Newcomers include an unnamed four-year-old mare out of the prolific Miss O'Grady and Token Bay, who is owned by Michael's brother, Andrew.
Richenda Ford has five pointers for her parents, Kevin and Marina Snook, at her stables at Okeford Fitzpaine near Blandford. Trebudannon winner Roisini Bay returns after missing 2012, along with Steel Gold and Abayaan, who have both previously been campaigned under Rules. A three-year-old mare out of the Snooks' prolific Coolers Quest, and 2009 Trebudannon winner Somerby complete the yard.
Gordon Herrod will race three horses, including Feel The Beat, from his Axminster base. Dalmatian and Mullins Mill, a good third at Treborough Hill and Upcott Cross last season, complete the team.
Charlotte Tizzard, who enjoyed a splendid first season at Wingfield near Trowbridge, relies on the same three horses for 2012/13. These are Coombe Hill, winner of two points plus hunter chases at Taunton and the Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening, the promising Little Cornham, who won his first two point to points, and Larkhill winner Parstara, who is likely to appear early in the campaign.
Figheldean near Larkhill Racecourse owner-trainers Sally and Stan Rawlins will again race Righteous Glory, who took his tally to four in the Royal Artillery Hunt race in January.
Camilla Baylis, who sent out Shooter's Wood to win at the 2010 Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening, will race Chepstow Flat race winner Blue Spartan, who has finished in the frame in half of his six hurdle races, from her Maiden Bradley base.
Faneuil Hall and Choice Connection have retired, so Lester and Katie Symonds rely on Saketini to represent their home near Warminster.
Sutton Veny owner-trainer Caroline Hobbs has retained Brahamagiri, the winner of two races last season and Rokshi who was placed in a maiden. Philip Thomas, who opened his account on Brahamagiri at Larkhill, will continue to ride for Caroline.
Winterslow handler Sharon Brown is busy teaching via her Real Riders Club, but has retained Mayo Rock, who was in the frame in his three 2011/12 outings and is likely to reappear in January.
David Buckett will again race grand campaigner Armoury House from his Upham near Winchester yard. The 11-year-old appeared in the PPORC AGA ladies' qualifier on 9 December but will go hunter chasing later in the campaign. Chloe Boxall will again be in the saddle.
Kingsclere-based Richard Bandey has three horses for 2013. Alskamatic returns and is joined by Doncaster purchase Mister Chancer and Lombard Light, who contested two bumpers for Charlie Egerton.
James H Young plans to run three horses from his Brockenhurst stables in the New Forest. Hinchelsea Moor, the winner of a 20-runner Larkhill restricted last season, and Marlpit Oak are joined by Ascot purchase Roxboro Lodge, a full-brother to top chaser Central House and formerly owned by J P McManus. Stable jockey David Turner will again campaign Django Reinhardt, in the frame in half of his 2012 outings, from his Salisbury yard.