by Brian & Gill Armstrong

The Blackmore & Sparkford Vale point-to-point took place in sunny but blustery conditions at Charlton Horethorne on Sunday. There were doubles for the Jane Galpin/Tigger Barnes and Keith Cumings/Michael Miller trainer-rider partnerships, while a third winner for Michael saw him receiving the Jane Dufosee Trophy for the day's leading rider from the late Jane's six-year-old grandson, Henry. A minute's silence was held prior to the first race for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Jane Galpin, who trains at Bratton Seymour, near Wincanton, followed Saltis' Hereford Hunter Chase success the previous day by saddling the first two home in the opening Hunt race. Prince Sandrovitch, under Saltis' rider Tigger Barnes, led or disputed throughout and held off stable companion Flying Imp by two lengths with Chasing Daisy in third. Prince Sandrovitch was winning his second race of the season for Woolston owner Daphne Farmer.

Odds on backers had a scare when the Emma Tory-partnered Whatashock just held the challenge of Springford and Emily Jones to take the Ladies' Open. Whatashock is trained by Emma's mother Mary at Thornicombe and carries the "Four Ten" colours of joint owner-breeders John Frampton of Spetisbury and Adrian Coombes of Dorchester. John and Adrian reported that Whatashock, robbed of an unbeaten five race 2002 campaign by a last fence Larkhill fall, will now retire for the season and run under Rules in 2002/03 from Alan King's Barbury Castle stables.

The Keith Cumings-trained Mine's A Gin was a smooth winner of the Men's Open under Michael Miller. The horse, now recovered from the foot injury which affected him at the Wilton, relished the fast ground and should be followed for the rest of the season. Mine's A Gin is jointly owned by Exeter cloth merchant brothers Richard and Peter Dunsford.

Michael Miller survived a bad mistake five out to take Division One of the 56&7 year old Open Maiden aboard Skip 'N' Tune, trained at Woolland by his father Richard. Skip 'N' Tune, related to 1989 Whitbread Gold Cup winner Brown Windsor, was bought at Doncaster Sales last September by Martin Rose and parents Michael and Ruby, farmers from Sturminster Newton. Liz Harrington's Barton Saint was an easy winner of Division Two under this season's leading National Hunt amateur David Crosse. Barton Saint, trained at Liz's Conkwell Grange Stud by Paul Keane, may now be aimed at Ladies' Open races.

Michael Miller completed his treble when Lincoln Place was prominent throughout to comfortably win the Restricted race. This completed a double for Bishop's Nympton trainer Keith Cumings, whose wife Janet received the trophy on behalf of the owner, London accountant Alistair Scrimgeour, who was away on business.

Jane Galpin and Tigger Barnes completed their doubles when William Lionheart easily defeated the only two other finishers in the 13-runner Confined Maiden. William Lionheart is owned jointly by Jane's husband Guy and Butleigh's Jill Dowson, who recalled riding the winner of a Flat race in Kenya twenty years ago. Guy hopes to take the ride on William Lionheart in the South & West Wilts Hunt race at Larkhill on 20th April.