WELSTONEDRUID relished the four miles trip to win the Lord Mildmay Memorial Mixed Open at Flete Park, where the going was soft and the car parks full to capacity.
The eight-year-old battled on gamely to open his account for the season, holding the sustained challenge of Bucks Bond. "He likes Flete and travelled and enjoyed himself," reported jockey Tom Chanin. Bought by owners Andrew and Sue Knox as an unbroken four-year-old, and trained by Robert Chanin, the Weld gelding was winning his eighth point-to-point. The jockey was partnering his fourth winner of the season and has an important date at the end of June when he marries Aimee Roberts. . The giveaway could be seen in the parade ring as his fiancée led up Welstonedruid in her hen party regalia.
Will Biddick had been narrowly denied on Bucks Bond, and also suffered a head defeat on Athreeothree in the Restricted. Josh Newman made much of the running on Sucker Punch to land his 12th winner of the season. Owned by The Otter Club, the winner is trained by Ed Walker, who was saddling his 15th winner of the campaign. "It was a bit of a punt when we bought him cheaply at Doncaster last September. He was too buzzy earlier this season but has settled better in a hood," said the trainer.
The Club Members' Conditions race produced one of the closest finishes of the season with three horses locked together crossing the finishing line. Browns Brook won on the nod from the fast finishing Ned The Post, with front running Captain Ocana a short head away in third. Matt Hampton was enjoying his sixth winner of the season on the Bob Back gelding, trained by Marie McGuinness. "We bought him privately from Venetia Williams and this is my first point-to-point winner," said owner Peter Gwyn who runs the Court Farm Country Park at Banwell near Weston-Super-Mare.
In a day of tight finishes less than a length separated the first three in a quality Hunt race. Bronwyn Buttery made most of the running on her ten-year-old Doctor Henry to hold Beuvron by a neck, with Mic's Delight a close third. The 22-year-old rider was following up her initial success in the saddle at Buckfastleigh last month on the horse she trains herself at Modbury. "This wouldn't be his best ground (soft) but I hope to come back here with him in two weeks time," said the owner/rider.
Leading novice rider Hannah Welch just missed out on Beuvron, but occupied the winner's enclosure on another French import Kapoupakap, who took the two and a half miles Maiden. This four-year-old filly, trained by Sam Holdsworth for owner Charles Stanley, took advantage of a huge weight concession. "She was always travelling and pulled herself into the lead," reported the young rider.
The three miles Maiden also went to a promising young jockey as 19-year-old Pippa Glanville steered Trehan Cross home by a neck after a spirited duel with Crack On Pop (Jake Bament). "That was a complete surprise," exclaimed winning owner/trainer Jackie Du Plessis of her home bred mare. "She works very well at home but has never sparkled on a course until now," she added
Champion jockey Will Biddick finished in the runner-up spot for the third time during the afternoon on the Lydia Svensson trained mare Follow The Paint in the Confined. Biddick looked to have settled matters with a well timed challenge jumping the last, but The Dapper Fox flew up the run in to snatch the lead near the post. Cullompton farrier Jack Veysey, 27, owns, trains, rides, and shoes his eight-year-old gelding. "I got him at Ascot sales in August 2014 and he gave me my first win at Cothelstone last year," said Jack.