After the excess of emotion at Cheltenham, you could be forgiven for thinking that a day out at Cothelstone may be somewhat flat in comparison. However with quick thinking organisers pre-empting the blustery weather warnings and replacing all tentage with trailers and lorries, the day was set for business as usual. A great entry of 125 was well supported with big fields and the day started with a memorable Hunt race.
Five horses went to post with Kinari sent off favourite. Oscar Mor was the early leader with Redmond Hall bringing up the rear under his owner Paul Govier. For Paul this was his first ever race ride and there was a hugely enthusiastic support contingent cheering his efforts over the first and every time he went past still intact. His mount Redmond Hall trained by Camilla Scott, was still a maiden and even former champion Will Biddick had failed to win on him. However with a change in tactics and some tender handling, Paul was able to produce the 7yo gelding to collar Mujadel over the last to record an extremely popular victory and euphoric scenes in the winner's enclosure. Paul is no stranger to success as an owner and his runners under rules include the remarkable Lil Rockerfeller. Camilla explained that the plan was only hatched 8 weeks ago when Paul who rides out as part of the "Sunday Club" felt he was ready to experience race riding.
Camilla Scott has her horses in great form and her Manofmanywords stylishly took the Restricted later in the card following on from his win at Ottery. Home bred by owner Pam Pengelly, the gelding who was sent off 2-1 favourite, had been reared on a bottle after the mare struggled due to developing Cushing's Disease. Pam has been a long-standing supporter of the Brompton Regis yard and Manofmanywords could progress further as this looked a decent race and the time backed that up.
The Mares Maiden was split into two divisions with Patrick Picton-Warlow's Cornflower Blue taking the first (and quicker) division. A quality-looking mare by Arvico, this 7yo was bred by owner Julia Jeffrey and had run well at Great Trethew 3 weeks ago. Patrick and his wife Penny had been sent the mare as a youngster to break in and were delighted to see their efforts rewarded with an easy 7 length success. The second division was won by Claire Hardwick's debutante Maid O'Malley from Hott Lips. Claire was thrilled to saddle her first debutant winner and owner Tom Goodman explained he had bought her as a yearling. A nice type in the paddock, Tom said this 6yo Black Sam Bellamy mare may now be for sale. Third placed Askphilmor who made much of the running could well have given the winner more to think about had she not tried to eject Will Biddick at a crucial stage. They did well to stay upright and this mare who was returning from a layoff should go into the notebooks for next time.
The Evolution Equine Centre sponsored Mixed Open became something of a procession when Don Bersy strolled home by 30 lengths. Formerly with Tom Symonds, he had switched to the yard of Ryan Potter who is Tom's farrier, after becoming rather reluctant under rules. Ryan has moved yards this season to Ross-on-Wye and was recording his 7th winner of the season. He has 8 pointers in at present and is happy to accept any cast offs from the Symonds yard when they produce results like this.
Cothelstone is fast becoming a favourite venue for Frenchman Nathan Vergne. He recorded his first winner as a jockey here last season and after being in the saddle as well on Hallo George, proved his training ability is every bit as talented when winning the Conditions race. Nathan works for trainer Philip Hobbs who along with owner Martin St Quinton gifted Hallo George to him. Philip's assistant Johnson White was present in the winner's enclosure and explained "Nathan has worked incredibly hard with the horse who isn't the easiest to get fit as he is a big, gross horse." An emotional Nathan was profuse in his thanks to Philip Hobbs and Martin St Quinton for giving him the horse and also Lisa Mary Jackson who "helps me out all the time!"
The finale was an Open Maiden and looked as though Sarah Hobbs may be rewarded with a winner until her Archirondel ducked out at the last leaving Ed Walker's debutant St Barts to win in his own time. With only 4 finishers, this 5yo gelding by High Chaparral who is bred by his owner Richard Kelvin-Hughes had schooled nicely on Monday at Charlton Horethorne following their meeting. Winning jockey Josh Newman said "He was very green but jumped well when he had something to aim at"