MONDAY 1 APRIL 2002
by Brian and Gill Armstrong
large crowd enjoyed excellent racing at the Taunton Vale Hunts'
point-to-point meeting at Cothelstone on Easter Monday. A minute’s
silence was held prior to the first race for Queen Elizabeth the Queen
Mother, who died on Saturday aged 101.
The opening Hunt race was a triumph for husband and wife team Ben and Mel Dixon from Allerford, near Norton Fitzwarren, when Ground Nut led throughout to hold off Rescator and favourite Mrs Be. This was 28-year-old Ben’s first race ride for four years and Mel’s first runner as a trainer. Mel used to look after Ground Nut at Bob Buckler’s Melplash yard and was given a half share in the horse two years ago by owner, Rose Haskins, who was present on Monday to see his success.
56&7yo Open Maiden went to the Ali Tory-trained Pulham Downe who was
up with the pace throughout under Emma Tory. Pulham Downe was a first
winner for owners Sarah Wadey of Buckland Newton, Sherborne osteopath Alex
Gibbs and Hinton St Mary cabinet maker Chris Kendall, who bred the horse
in partnership with Hazelbury Bryan farrier Nick Freak.
Charlotte Tizzard rode her first winner of the season when Encima del Rio
led at the last to take the Confined. The winner is trained at Milborne
Port by Charlotte’s father, Alan, who bought the horse in partnership
with Blandford horse transporter Paddy Foot at Ascot sales two months ago.
Men’s Open resulted in an easy success for the Rose Vickery-trained
Polar Flight who pulled well clear during the final circuit for an easy 20
length success under Ashley Farrant. Winning owner John Kinnear was not
present, but enjoyed a telephone commentary from Rose’s husband Len
during the race.
physiotherapist Wendy Southcombe rode her first winner of the season when
one of her former patients, Ardross Gem, led two out to take the Ladies’
Open from favourite Mollycarrsbrekfast. Ardross Gem, who relished the
better ground, is one of four horses trained at Hardington Mandeville by
Wendy’s father, Peter, and was bought jointly by Wendy and by Suzanne
Cook of Littlewindsor from breeder David Chesney two years ago.
Restricted went to The Frosty Fox and Michael Miller who were prominent
throughout and held off Timber Top with General Typhoon in third. The
Frosty Fox is owned and trained at Fovant by Linda Syckelmoore and has now
won twice and been second once in his three races since wearing blinkers.
Owyn Nelmes rode his first ever winner when Ok So franked his recent
Taunton form to take Division One of the 8yo & over Open Maiden. Ok So
is one of four horses owned and trained at Warmwell near Dorchester by
Owyn’s father Ken who bought the horse at Ascot Sales in July 2000. Owyn,
who punched the air when crossing the line, is an Amateur rider for Bob
Buckler’s Melplash stables. Merv Woodward, 23, rode his third career
winner when Porlock Hill caught long time leader Bright Flash at the last
to take Division Two. Porlock Hill is owned by Sue Popham, who bought the
horse six weeks ago at Ascot and trains him at West Bagborough. With Sue
at Chepstow and husband Chris at Towcester, Porlock Hill was saddled by
Max Churches who raced that fine horse Panmure 25 years ago.