Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Southwestern won his fourth Seavington Men’s Open and reached the 25 career winner mark (22 point-to-points, a John Corbet Cup and two Horse & Hound Cups) at Littlewindsor on Sunday. The Camilla Scott-trained gelding was never threatened after taking the lead a mile from home, although jockey Neil Harris experienced some alarm when Southwestern wandered off a straight line approaching the last. Southwestern will make his final racecourse appearance in Stratford’s Horse & Hound Cup on 1st June before retiring to be looked after by Camilla’s daughter, Laura Scott.
Neil and Camilla completed a double with Dennis Bluett’s impressive homebred Restricted winner Feathered Friend, who sprinted past four rivals on the final climb before surviving a final fence blunder. “He pinged the ditch [three out] and hit the front too soon”, admitted Neil, who was clearly impressed by his partner. “He’s improved no end since winning at Trebudannon on Easter Monday and he’s beaten some very good horses out there”.
Power Shared justified Claire Hart’s journey from the Midlands when staying on to take the final race of the AGA Ladies’ Open series. The win took Claire to the top of the AGA Ladies Championship table with a maximum 50 points ahead of the Series’ Final at Cheltenham on 2nd May. “He was gifted to my Mum [Helen Hart] out of Pat Murphy’s stable in the summer”, explained Claire. “This is the first time he’s settled in a race - he actually carted me at Tabley a week ago. Stamina was a question mark but it’s almost as though the mud has made him concentrate”.
Littlewindsor landowner, Richard Barber, was in treble form with Vicsaflia (2m4f Maiden), Highland Retreat (3 mile Maiden) and Barneys Mate (Dodson & Horrell/PPORA Novice Riders race). National Championship leader Will Biddick sported John Hales’ Neptune Collonges Grand National winning colours to reach the 33-winner mark on the former, who relished the shorter trip after twice pulling up in 3 mile races. Jack Barber produced Highland Retreat at the last to get the better of a three-way battle on the flat for the Axe Valley Racing Club, who lease the winner from breeder, Cdre Richard Bridges. Barneys Mate completed a double for the Axe Valley Racing Club under regular rider, Conor Smith. The chesnut has now won four point-to-points this season and could yet have ample similar race opportunities in the next few weeks to challenge for the National Leading Horse Award.
Sobre Tresor and Josh Newman retained the Perpetual Challenge Cup when again beating a solitary rival in the Hunt race. Sobre Tresor made all the running and was already well in command when Denise’s Dip’s challenge ground to a halt up the final climb.
Sunday 22 April 2012 at Littlewindsor
Open Maiden 456&7yo, 2m4f (16 runners) – 1 length, 1½. Five minutes: 43 secs
1 Vicsaflia (Ire) W Biddick, 2-1
2 Beady Eye R Bliss, 16-1
3 Canada Coombe Miss A Mills, 33-1
Hunt Members (2 Runners) – 7:00
1 Sobre Tresor (Fr) J Newman, 4-6f
Open Maiden (15 Runners) – ½, ½. 6:56
1 Highland Retreat J Barber, 4-1
2 Wricksons Bridge (Ire) D Edwards, 2-1f
3 Brockwell Park Miss L Scott, 25-1
Mens Open (9 Runners) – 10, 1. 6:44
1 Southwestern (Ire) N Harris, 2-5f
2 Louis Pasteur (Ire) M Hampton, 14-1
3 Gunner Be Quick R Tory, 16-1
AGA Ladies Open (7 Runners) – 2, 1. 6:51
1 Power Shared (Ire) Miss C Hart, 5-2
2 Martin Pitchwood Miss A Mills, 2-1jf
3 Doof (Ire) Miss J Buck, 2-1jf
Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) (7 Runners) – 2, ½. 7:00
1 Barneys Mate Conor Smith, 2-5f
2 Feathers Fly Miss N Parker, 18-1
3 Nobody Tells Me (Fr) J Park, 22-1
Restricted (9 Runners) – 1, 1½. 6:58
1 Feathered Friend N Harris, 5-2
2 Dancingtilmidnight W Biddick, 9-4f
3 Alysia’s Flame P Prince, 9-2