Entries may have been down elsewhere across the country but the Weston & Banwell meeting at Cothelstone on Wednesday evening has bucked the trend and attracted 120. Racing is once again preceded by Pony Racing with their first race at 3.15pm while the pointing kicks off at 4.30pm and the preliminary weather forecast looks set for a dry evening.
The Confined Race has attracted 16 entries and Ed Walker holds a strong hand here with Fly West and The Flying Doc as well as Act of Synergy. Both have been running well this season with the former runner-up three times including 2nd here to Hello George in March. He then ran a cracking race to just get touched off by Hawkhurst at Bitterley. The Flying Doc won at Didmarton in early March but hasn't managed to get her head in front since. Teresa Clark also has three entered including the very promising mare Tuff Nano who has won 3 this term including an impressive 15 length win at Stafford Cross. She could still be improving and could be tough to beat. Her stablemate, Pancrace is also of interest and may not have stayed last time at Cheltenham. Country Legend is another mare in great form after wins at Milborne St Andrew and Badbury Rings but is held by Tuff Nano on an earlier run.
The Young Horse Maiden has also drawn 16 entries and there are a few Welsh raiders that catch the eye. David Brace has Gotaloton who has had one run at Pyle a month ago. He should improve for that while Bradley Gibbs has the unraced Gossip Shop. Paul Morgan has Risk and Co who has placed form under Rules for Jamie Snowdon but has yet to figure pointing. Francesca Nimmo has Pass Rusher who as a four year old claims a healthy weight allowance. Francesca also has Pandinus Imperator who looks to be improving based on his last two runs. Vincs Vinnie finished just in front of Signed And Sealed last time at Woodford and could figure.
The Conditions Race features Robert Hawker's Jack Snipe. He rattled up a hat-trick but then looked not to stay 4 miles at Cheltenham. He could face tough opposition from the Tom Malone trained The Last But One who has 5 wins to his name this term including a gritty win from Minella Fifty at Stafford Cross last time. It could be a fascinating contest if they both run. Others to consider are Moreece who is gradually coming back to form, Willem who was 3rd at Cheltenham last time and the lightly raced Emperor Renard.
The Ladies Open too looks an appealing contest with several coming here in good form. Moscow Prices won at this meeting two years ago and enjoys going left-handed. He took a Mixed Open at Badbury Rings in April with Dry Ol'party (winner since) some way back in 3rd. Purple n'Gold has won his last two, both Ladies Opens under Millie Wonnacott and is clearly in great heart. For'n'Against would appeal but has entries closer to home. Cheltenam de Vaige progressed nicely from maiden win to Intermediate but was just found out upped in class to a Ladies Open last time.
The Men's Open again sees a potential clash between Jack Snipe and The Last But One. Others entered are Beat the Tide who won from Wind Tor at Flete Park, Earthly Reason who seems to save his best for Trebudannon and Imogens Thunder, a winner at Chipley Park in January who failed to peg back the front running Ramble On last time at Littlewindsor. Sam Jukes' Uppertown Hawk won this race last year and followed up at the final meeting on the course. He's had two runs this season over shorter trips and would be of interest back up to 3 miles especially if adopting his favoured front-running role.
The Restricted Race may go to Fateh for the shrewd Mickey Bowen yard. A winner of a match at Howick he was then 2nd in a Restricted before a fair 3rd in the Dunraven Bowl. Arcal Fifty was well beaten at Kingston St Mary but his earlier head second to Country Legend reads well with Rien du Tout back in 5th. Rien du Tout won his maiden here last season comfortably while Cornflower Blue also showed a liking for the course winning her maiden here in March. Dancing Dave opened his account dead-heating at Flete Park last time while Tipalong Tyler surprised at a big price in a mares maiden at Lydstep.
The finale, an Open Maiden boasts the largest entry of the day with 28. Chemin de Fer is unraced but a half-brother to Santini. Also unraced is Pinot Noir from the Nimmo yard which also has Heredity Rule who wasn't beaten far at Kimble and could go close. Joe Tickle's Feu des Malberaux ran well in defeat at Buckfastleigh on his debut after making much of the running. He should progress. Mother's Rest, 2nd at Woodford and Thelastwon, 2nd at Holnicote, are also going the right way
Admission is £10 per person (max £30 per car) Bar and Refreshments available. The course is situated north of Bishops Lydeard TA4 3DT.