Taunton Vale Foxhounds
Croix De Guerre took his career tally to 14, including six wins under Rules, with a convincing victory in the Ladies Open at Kingston St Mary. A first winner of the season for Spaxton trainer Marie McGuinness, the popular grey was prominent throughout under Katherine Hobbs before easing clear over the last three fences. Polly Gundry's hopes of riding her 300th point-to-point winner were dashed when her mount Dr Cerullo was swamped by his three main rivals at the bottom of the hill after making much of the running.
Robert and Janet Gibbs' Ballydub landed the Mens Open under Micheal Nolan, an employee of the winner's former trainer Philip Hobbs. "He was a good hurdler but lost his confidence over fences and we're trying to improve his jumping with a spell pointing", said Treborough trainer Polly Curling.
Bishops Nympton trainer Keith Cumings was in double form with Restricted winner Certain Flight and Wassonthen (Confined Maiden). The former – "a machine", felt rider Richard Hawkins - turned a competitive fast run contest into a procession when asked the question coming through the starting area for the final time. Will Biddick reached the 11-winner mark – two clear in the National table – on Wassonthen, who sealed victory when Great Tusker (Diana Hobbs) blundered at the last when upsides. "Credit to the first-time blinkers and credit to Will for suggesting them", said Keith.
Paul Nicholls employees took two of the contests. Ryan Mahon led off with Kathy Stuart's Tregaro, who regained the lead entering the straight after making much of the running in the second 2m 4f maiden. Dan Collins followed up on Now Listen To Me – a former Ditcheat inmate – who is Cheltenham-bound after easing clear from two out in the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate qualifier. "He'll travel and jump much better left-handed, and won't be inconvenienced by the ground, so Cheltenham should certainly suit", felt Gare Hill owner-trainer Charles Whittaker.
Pete and Kathy Musgrave achieved a longstanding ambition to win their Hunt race when Ian Chanin brought Nobody Tells Me home well clear of their three rivals.
Richard Woollacott steered Parkham Jack from last to first in the first 2m 4f maiden although debutant Tallanstown Boy (Richard Hawkins) was still in the lead and holding every chance when failing to negotiate the bend coming through the starting area for the final time.
Blundell's School, Tiverton, pupil Barney Chambers, 14, forced Big Fun ahead of Nil De Mee (Georgina Preston) to win the 12 Furlong Charity Flat race staged in aid of the Conquest Equestrian Centre and Riding for the Disabled.
Hunt Members (4 runners) – 25 lengths, 25. Six mins: 47 secs
Open Maiden (Div 1) 456&7yo (9 runners) – 3, 4. 6:56
Open Maiden (Div 2) 456&7yo (10 runners) – 2, 4. 6:49
Ladies Open (9 runners) – 7, 10. 6:38
Mens Open (5 runners) – 3½, dist. 6:43
Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate (9 runners) – 6, 1½. 6:38
Restricted (17 runners) – Dist, 20. 6:34
Confined Maiden (8 runners) – 1½, 4. 6:54