by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Highlights of Saturday's Quantock Staghounds Point-to-Point at Cothelstone included doubles for rider Dominic Alers-Hankey and for trainer Fiona Browne and a first ever winner for 22-year-old Hemyock rider Ken Rixon.

Dominic Alers-Hankey enjoyed his first success of the season when Wayfarers Way finished alone in the opening Hunt race. Wayfarers Way is trained locally at West Bagborough by Anna Bucknall for her mother, Dinah Little, who bought the horse at Malvern Sales 18 months ago and was delighted to receive the Sir Gerald Boles Memorial Trophy which commemorates a family member. Anna has three horses in training including Urban Hunter, a promising second in the Confined Maiden later in the day.

Liz Harrington's home-bred Lily Brown led throughout to take the 2 mile Open Maiden under trainer Paul Keane. Paul admitted to being nervous before the race, but was reconsidering any thoughts of retirement after this success!  Lily Brown relished the soft ground and may be one to note in similar conditions.

Dictum went clear from three out to take the Ladies' Open under owner/rider Susie Samworth, girlfriend of Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Jim Culloty, who rode Dictum under Rules. Trained by Fiona Browne at Kingston Lisle near Wantage, Dictum was formerly owned by Anne Humphries, but was sold to Susie as a point-to-pointer after a leg operation. Anne confessed to being more nervous than when her good horse, Hati Roy, ran at the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival during the week.

Fiona Browne completed her double when Bow Tie took the Men's Open under 25-year-old Ran Morgan, who leases the horse from owner Catriona Morgan. Left clear when favourite Polar Flight unseated with a circuit to go, Bow Tie comfortably held only other finisher Bells Wood. Lambourn-based Ran left after the race to fly up to Scotland for six rides at the following day's Northern Area meeting.

Thirty-two-year-old owner/trainer/rider Dominic Harvey took the Confined when his Mr Magnetic led two out for a comfortable success from long time leader Cool Wager. Mr Magnetic was led up by Dominic's girlfriend, Fran Bell, and by brother Luke Harvey, former rider and now Racing Channel presenter. This was a second career success for Dominic after his success on Mr Magnetic at the 2001 Silverton fixture.

Twenty-two-year-old Ken Rixon from Hemyock rode his first-ever winner when Chris Batterham's Rescator took the Intermediate. An "over the moon" Ken, who celebrated by waving his whip when crossing the line, has ridden six races under Rules, while seven previous point-to-points included seconds on Stacky Light at Barbury Castle and on Iranos at Wadebridge. Rescator disappointed under Rules, but could go Novice Chasing next season if continuing to do well in point-to-points.

Mogul and Gordon Shenkin led three out to take Division 1 of the Confined Maiden. Gordon, who is training as an airline pilot, has ridden over 20 winners under Rules, but was enjoying his first point-to-point winner here. He was keen to credit trainer Ashley Farrant for Mogul's success. With Ashley in action at Wadebridge, Mogul was led up by Gordon's girlfriend, Vicky Lucas. Division 2 went to Wilberforce, trained at North Molton by Mike Trickey. Wilberforce is jointly owned by Angela Marshall of Taunton and Sarah Lucas of Nailsea, who was enjoying success at the first attempt before rushing off to her daughter's engagement party that evening. Winning rider Dominic Alers-Hankey was keen to credit Richard Woollacott, who had done much of the schooling on Wilberforce.