SEA Snipe has virtually secured the Horse and Hound Championship for the country’s leading horse after recording her ninth win at Bratton Down on Saturday.
Ben and Sally Messer-Bennetts’ home bred ten year old once again made the business of winning look easy as she strolled away up the run in to land the novice riders’ race with Nick Scholfield on board.
Now three ahead of her nearest rival, Carryonharry, in the championship table, the bay mare has earned herself a summer break after delivering the goods each time under the care of her trainer Becky Kennen who has kept her sweet all season training her on Bodmin Moor.
Good to firm ground ensured racing was fast at the Exmoor venue, and Sea Snipe smashed the course record with a text book display of jumping.
It was the second leg of a treble for 17 year old Nick Scholfield who now heads the area championship from Richard Woolacott by just one point.
Scolfield’s first win came on the Richard Barber-trained Brave Face who made easy work of the second open maiden.
Scholfield completed his treble with a remarkably cool ride on the odds on favourite Dennis The Legend in the confined. Content to sit off a strong pace, Scholfield delayed his move until approaching the second last, going from fourth to second, but Darren Edwards had sent Shobrooke Mill clear after the final ditch and still had three lengths in hand approaching the last.
Scholfield delivered his telling challenge up the final hill and hit the front 100 yards from home. The winner is a progressive six year old owned by his breeder Pam Pengelly and trained by Ollie Bush. “He is still a baby,” said the trainer, as the Midnight Legend followed up his Axe Vale win. He is named after a former head lad to Martin Pipe (who trained the dam Fly The Wind to win races) – Dennis Dunnett explained the owner.
The prolific Rimpton Boy took the mixed open but Rachael Green had to dig deep on the grey for the win, just getting the better of Lisheen Storm who ran a blinder to finish second under Richard Woollacott.
With Wollacott and Scholfield battling it out at the top, Darren Edwards is quietly pegging back their lead, and added another win to the 12 he has so far ridden in the area this season when Christine Davies home bred Woodbridge Quest won the third maiden.
Spin The Gin stayed on well up the long run in to land the first of three open maiden races under Ian Chanin. It was the first time Chanin has sat on the five year old who is trained by Louise Alner and carried the famous colours of the Pell Mell Partners whose previous horses include Katabatic and Cogent.
Ian Popham was another young jockey seen to good effect when guiding Dawn Silk to a win in the intermediate. The winner is owned by the Shortwood family who include Mary Dowds, daughter of the late Reg Wilkins who owned Double Silk.
In the restricted Black Legend went for home from the third last, but Rachael Green’s mount was thwarted in his attempt to give Richard Barber his third winner of the day when the blinkered gelding compounded quickly at the bottom of the hill after jumping the last. A host of challengers appeared until Westover Lad got to the front in a driving finish. Owned by his breeder Clarence Pocock from Drayton near Langport, Somerset, and trained by his niece Julie Pocock, Westover Lad was the ninth winner of the season for Will White who said: “He has got all the ability, so much speed, and jumps so well but is not the most straight forward and has run out with me in the past – he carried on straight into the hedge at the top of the course today.”
Members: Touch of Flame (Mr M Miller) 1. Walked over.
Mixed Open:Rimpton Boy (Miss R Green) 1; Lisheen Storm (Mr R Woollacott) 2; Master Billboy (Miss C Tizzard) 3. hd, 15l; 6.02
Open Maiden Div I part I: Spin The Chin (Mr I Chanin) 1; Bonny Busona (Mr L Rowe) 2; Fine Enough (Mr S Ellis) 3.8l, 15l; 6.14
Open Maiden Div I part II: Brave Face (Mr N Scholfield) 1; Projectfiveonefive (Mr D Edwards) 2; Hazy Witch (Mr W White). 6l, 20l; 6.23.
Open Maiden div II: Woodbridge Quest (Mr D Edwards) 1; No Waiting (Mr W White) 2; Deer Valley (Mr I Chanin) 3. 12l, 2l; 6.16.
Intermediate: Dawn Silk (Mr I Popham) 1; Bishops Blade (Mr D Edwards) 2; Presentingthecase (Miss S West) 3.
Novice riders’: Sea Snipe (Mr N Scholfield) 1; Kingston-Banker (Mr L Riley)2; Springford (Mr I Popham) 3. 12l, 1/2l; 5.50.
Confined: 1 Dennis The Legend ( N Scholfield); 2 Shobrooke Mill (D Edwards); 3 Cattle Class (R Woollacott) 7 ran; 1l; 4l; 5m 58s
Restricted: 1 Westover Lad (W White); 2 Master Kevin (D Edwards); 3 Lord Fitzroy (Miss A Bush). 11 ran; 3/4l; 1l; 6m 6s