Wessex Area stalwarts Touch Of Flame and Trade Off fought out an exciting finish to the Wilton Men's Open at Badbury Rings on Saturday. Michael Miller set sail for home two out on the winner, but Trade Off fought back and might have prevailed in another 50 yards. "Touch Of Flame loves fast ground and Michael knows him so well", said trainer Keith Cumings, keen to praise his horse and rider. The runner-up, who is hunted by Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Daryl Jacob, also received high praise from connections. "He's a legend", said jockey Sam Allwood on dismounting. "He's my Kauto Star", added joint owner Anne Tory.
Sam Allwood had earlier gone one better on Tork To Me, who put in a fine round of jumping in the Restricted. Trained by Child Okeford permit holder Richenda Ford, Tork To Me relished the fast ground and is a candidate for summer hurdling under National Hunt Rules.
Salisbury jockey Matt Hampton, who works for Philip Hobbs, kept up his good run on Hunt race winner Tea Caddy. Trained by Lucy Snowden at Ebbesbourne Wake, Tea Caddy was a first-ever winner and achieved a longstanding ambition for owner/breeder Richard Matthews, a retired merchant from Devizes.
Charlotte ("Charlie") Brown and George Hiscock rode their second career winners at the meeting. Charlie, assistant to licensed trainer Seamus Mullins, brought Pastek through to collar Bringbackthebiff (Doug White) in the PPORA Club Members race. George, 19, who rides out for Charlotte Tizzard, sent out his first winner from his Plush yard when The Jolly Hare landed the Maiden contest.
Chloe Boxall rode her first winner for Isle of Wight owner Anna Reed and Hampshire trainer David Buckett when Armoury House took the Ladies' Open. Chloe looked set for a battle royal with Polly Gundry on Dr Cerullo until the latter blundered and ejected the eight-time Champion at the third last.