A huge crowd enjoyed a very spring like day at Ston Easton on Sunday when the Mendip Farmers point-to-point was held. After the camel racing the six point-to-point races were competitive events with the Welsh raiders securing three races with a double for owner David Brace and another training success for Mickey Bowen. Local riders Martin McIntyre and Will Biddick had a winner apiece with the Ladies race being won by Claire Hardwick aboard Western Diva.
A competitive field of 13 faced the starter for the Novice and Veteran riders race but at the conclusion of the race there was a decisive winner in Pink Eyed Pedro owned and trained by David Brace and ridden by his grandson Connor who was riding his sixth winner this season. A rapidly improving 7 year old David thought that he might prefer better ground and did mention that a tilt at the Dunraven Bowl Hunter Chase at Chepstow (which David sponsors) might well be on the agenda.
The Young Maiden race over two and a half miles featured a number of unraced horses amongst the seven runners and it was one of those the four year old Arthur's Sixpence that ran out the winner despite Peter Bryan putting up eight pounds overweight. Owned by William Bryan and David Smith and trained by Mickey Bowen the Vinnie Roe gelding is a three parts brother to Regal Diamond who won three races for Peter Bowen and is clearly a useful prospect. The dam of the winner Loose Change who showed nothing in her races has now gone to Ireland to breed show horses.
Western Diva provided Claire Hardwick with a welcome winner in the Skinner's Ladies Open race aboard Western Diva. Taking up the lead at the tenth fence she maintained her advantage to the winning line over Polisky ridden by Gemma Sharpe. Paying only her second ever visit to Ston Easton Claire was originally going to Brafield but when those plans were shelved the mare had a pipe opener on Sunday morning before coming on to the course.
David Brace's double came courtesy of Colorado Doc in the Men's Open race when partnered by Bradley Gibbs. Making virtually all of the running the seven year old Dr Massini gelding had too much in hand over principal rivals Lotus Pond and Palmaria. Clearly a quirky sort he was late in the paddock and then was walked all the way to the start before Bradley climbed on board. Described by David as 'probably the best I have bred from the late Dr Massini' he has built up a good partnership with Bradley who was securing his fifth victory aboard the gelding.
The Restricted race over two and a half miles was won in convincing style by the mare Elizabeths Wish owned by Emma Mellor and the starter for the meeting Jeff Fear. With her usual rider Christopher Barber unavailable Martin McIntyre took over on the free going mare who never saw a rival and very boldly jumped from fence to fence. Emma's instructions to Martin were 'do not dare her' as some of her jumps were extravagant. Bought last year from breeder Trevor Wall who has been very supportive and pleased with her success to date Emma did add that training the mare was quite a challenge with two babies to look after as well.
Will Biddick struck in the final race, having had a nasty looking fall in the previous race on Journey Juice, the Open Maiden race aboard Danseur Du Large for owner Lady Mary Dulverton from Moreton-in –the- Marsh and trainer Ed Walker. Taking it up at the third last the five year old grey gelding drew clear to record an easy victory over Ann Maries Reject. Placed in his four races to date this season the gelding, at the owner's suggestion, ran in a nose net which has made him calmer and easier to settle. Originally bought by David Minton he had been running under rules for Charlie Longsdon before switching to Ed's stable this season. His name translates as 'Dancer of the Open Seas' and Polly Walker representing her husband did add that this was quite appropriate as when ridden the gelding was 'rather like riding a surf board'