THE MENDIP FARMERS AT STON EASTON
SUNDAY 21 MARCH 2004
by Brian & Gill Armstrong
Photos by Graham Fisher
Seventy-one horses contested the seven races at the Mendip
Farmers Point-to-Point meeting at Ston Easton, near Shepton Mallet, on
Sunday. Despite the blustery conditions, spectators enjoyed a fine day’s
racing and many will have noted Smart Cavalier and Boddidley as horses to
follow in the future.
The opening Hunt race went to odds-on favourite Springford,
who made all the running under Dominic Alers-Hankey. Springford is owned by
Bristol company director Michael O’Connor and trained by Caroline Keevil
from her livery yard at Charterhouse near the old Castle of Comfort course
in the Mendips.
Division One of the 2˝ mile Open Maiden was won by the Richard Barber-trained Smart Cavalier who held off Trust Fund with Saffron Hill in third. Smart Cavalier was the first horse to carry the colours of Odcombe owners Martin and Jan Dare, who bought the horse at Doncaster Sales in August. Smart Cavalier jumped superbly for Nick Williams and, despite running green, looks one to follow in the future.
Division Two went to Boddidley who got up close home to head Sliema, who was subsequently disqualified for missing a marker. Boddidley was ridden by Chloe Roddick, 21, who trains the horse at her Shoscombe (near Radstock) stables, and was bought privately by owner Paul Nicholls from Graham Roach. Boddidley is likely to make one more appearance this season before being campaigned in Ladies Opens in 2005.
Winners Enclosure headed Preachers Boy close to home to take the Restricted race under a patient ride from Michael Miller. Winners Enclosure has recovered from a ruptured tendon sustained at Lifton in 2002 and is a credit to owners John Boulter and Fern Wilkins who train the horse at home at Milton Abbas.
The Mixed Open race went to Phar From Chance and Polly Gundry,
who led five out and forged clear when challenged in the straight by
favourite Red Native. Phar From Chance is owned by a syndicate headed by
breeder Countess Susie Goess-Saurau and was a third winner from just nine
runners for first season trainer James Richardson, based at Barbury Castle.
The PPORA Club Members race for Novice Riders was won by Leon Garcia and Tom Bishop who held off favourite Norski Lad and Harry Fry by five lengths with longtime leader Mr Ben Gunn third under Vicki Heal. Leon Garcia is owned and trained by Frances Bishop at her home opposite Wincanton racecourse and a fifth career win for son Tom, 20, who is studying Ancient History at Exeter University and rides out at David Pipe’s stables.
Trigger Again led at the second last to take the closing Open Maiden race under Emma Tory. Trigger Again broke down at Badbury Rings in February 2002 and Sturminster Newton owner David Coombes was keen to praise trainer Mary Tory for all the work she has done to nurse the horse back to full fitness.