It was a case of the four seasons with snow, rain, wind and sunshine but that didn’t deter the crowds on the day as they arrived for the 56 th Annual Old Berks Hunts’ Annual Point to Point and Country Day. Barbecues took the place of picnics for many hardened campaigners as cars arrived in droves to set up on the hillside.
The Old Berks hounds met with one of the best receptions ever seen in the ring before the first race and the scene was set for a great days’ racing.
The ground this year was near perfect, with an excellent covering of grass, which certainly reflected in the quality of the horses and fields. Complements from both trainers and jockeys were flowing – a great boost following the commitment to all the preparation and hard work the Old Berks Point to Point Team has made.
The first race, The Kidson-Trigg OBH Members’, Subscribers’ and Farmers’ Race, was a hotly fought contest between last year’s winner, defending champion Claire Matheson on Meandmrsjones, and East Lawyer who set off at evens favourite with Lucy Cowen aboard. After an initial steady pace these two strung out the field in the closing stages to see East Lawyer hit the line first 8 Lengths from Meandmrsjones.
The second race, the Bear at Wantage Intermediate Race, saw best turned out horse Vigzol ridden by J Derham a convincing winner over David Bass on the much fancied Rustic John – all be it second place it was the first of several trips to the winner’s enclosure for renowned Highworth trainer Johnny Manners.
The Volkswagen Touareg Men’s Open race was possibly one of the most exciting races seen at Lockinge for some time, with Jockey David Bass and trainer Johnny Manners reversing the previous race placings to win with his class act Man from Highworth – having had a disappointing run at Cheltenham he was here to win and did so convincingly, although not without the gauntlet being firmly thrown down by Moscow Court, ridden by Ian Howe finishing in second by just 1 ¼ lengths.
Robert Kirk on the Mr CW Booth trained Earl of Buckingham rode well to fend off Running Times in the 4 th the James French 4 x 4 Point to Point Owners and Riders Association Club Members’ Race for Novice Riders, the tight finish saw yet another second for the Manners team beaten a neck.
Richard Mason was awarded ride of the day for his win aboard Milesian King in the fifth, the Darbys Restricted Race beating Gossip under Steve Bush into second place by 9 lengths. The Motorworld Open Maiden Race for eight year olds and over saw a hearty contest between Supreme Missile chasing down eventual winner by 4 lengths Gaining Ground under Liam Payter.
Although cold the sun came out to support for our stars of the future in the Pinewood Perpetual Trophy pony races, the 13.2hh and under race was won by Holly ridden by 11 year old Olympia Olympitis and the 14.2hh and under by Tarka with 14 year old Freddie Tett on board.
A good day out for all was the general consensus – we can now look forward to the next one!