Ottery St Mary-based trainer lands double at Ston Easton meeting
- Credit: Archant
Coronation Cup winner Mendip Express will be aimed at another of pointing’s classic races, the Lady Dudley Cup, after sauntering home in Sunday’s Mendip Farmers Men’s Open.
Will Biddick never moved a muscle on the seven-year-old, the first horse to win four point-to-points this season and now unbeaten in his last five outings.
“He’ll run at Chaddesley Corbett, subject as always to the ground, and will eventually go back under Rules with Harry Fry”, said trainer Richard Barber, who saddled Bond Jnr to win the 1995 Lady Dudley Cup. “He’s jumped a little bit left again today, but that’s nothing to worry about at Chaddesley Corbett, which should suit him”.
The win completed a double for Richard and Will after five-year-old debutant Blue Buttons – named after a field at Richard’s Seaborough stables – had made a winning debut in the 2m4f Maiden. “Bought at Doncaster in May [for £5,500], not the biggest, has been brought along steadily to allow her to come into her own, has jumped well and has done all that we could have expected of her today”, summed up Richard concisely.
Ottery St Mary-based trainer Ed Walker and jockey Ed Barrett were also in double form with Restricted winner Thinkaboutit and Old Grange (3-mile Maiden). The former provided another popular success for Castle Cary owners Ray and Evelyn Targett by forging clear of only-other-finisher Mrs Fir (Lee Drowne). John and Liz Dorse’s Old Grange showed the benefit of a first-time hood by gaining the initiative at the second last. “He’s a straightforward but ‘buzzy’ horse at home and the hood has helped him settle in the horsebox park and paddock and to concentrate in the race”, felt the winning trainer.
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Stretcholt owner-trainer John Hankinson’s gift horse Little George put up a tremendous performance after a 27-month absence to take the Confined. The 10-year-old went clear from the start under Sarah Gould and could be called the winner a long way from home, as his five rivals struggled to make any inroads into his huge advantage. The bay won two of his 10 races under Rules, but had not appeared since finishing fifth at Newbury in December 2010. “I’ve known him all his life since Richard Pitman found him as a foal for [former owner] Ron George”, said John, a renowned equine manipulator and master farrier. “I used to look after his back during his summers with Richard, who promised him to me when he was a four-year-old. He came to me in May and has done a lot of swimming in the Stretcholt Equestrian Centre equine pool”.
The Gould family completed an unusual double when Special Occasion, trained by Sarah and owned and ridden by her younger sister Lucy, held on to take a thrilling AGA Ladies Open after three horses had jumped the last virtually in line.
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The two concluding pony races were won by Wee Antony ridden by William Cox, the pony/jockey partnership’s third win in Wessex this season (138cm race), and the 148cm by Tabitha Baker aboard Cotterstown Max.