by Brian & Gill Armstrong

The South & West Wilts Hunt held its annual point-to-point meeting on Saturday, 20th April, at Larkhill. The highlight was Mostyn's course record win in the Ladies' Open, while there was a sad sequel to the Novice Riders' race when 17-year-old Granville Grill was disqualified after an objection by the Clerk of the Scales.

The opening Hunt race went to Arabitan, soon in a long lead and still 30 lengths clear when sole rival Tickerty's Gift fell at the last.  Arabitan, winner of the corresponding race in 2000, is one of two horses trained at Chicklade by Sally Brine and was providing 18-year-old East Knoyle rider, Rachel Green, with her third winner of the season.

The 12 runner Open Maiden was won by Snowboy, who led four out and already had the race in safe-keeping when nearest challenger, Caundle Chase, fell at the last.  Snowboy, trained a mile from the Larkhill course by owner Jane Bailey and a second winner of the season for 24-year-old Salisbury rider, David Turner, may now contest the Series Final at Folkestone on 22nd May. 

The complexion of the Gerrard Ladies' Open changed at the 13th when Springford fell, bringing down Members Cruise.  This left Mostyn and Rilly Goschen to win by 12 lengths from favourite Mine's A Gin in a course record time of 5 minutes 54 seconds.  Mostyn is owned by farmers Roger and Gretta Weaver of Frampton Cotterell, near Bristol, and is one of three horses trained at Thornbury by John E Tuck.  This was Mostyn's third course success and he may now be aimed at the Final of the series at Exeter on 15th May.

There was a scare for favourite-backers when Hawaiian Youth was briefly overtaken three out by sole rival Wise Examiner before reasserting to take the Men's Open.  This was a first ever winner for East Meon, near Petersfield, owner John Cornett and his fiancée Clare Anthony, who trains the horse on the West Meon farm of winning rider Simon Cobden, 31, enjoying his fifth career win.

There was a sad sequel to the Countryside Alliance Club Members Novice Riders' race when 17-year-old Granville Grill, running possibly his last race, was disqualified after rider Simon Howe, deputising for injured Tor Sturgis, failed to draw the correct weight.  Granville Grill is owned by 85-year-old retired farmer Eric Smith of Clyffe Pypard and would have been a first ever winner for trainers Richard and Gill Bryan, also from Clyffe Pypard, and for 40-year-old Simon, a Cirencester fence builder.  The race was awarded to Stay Lucky, trained by Simon Bloss and ridden by Nick Phillips for father John, who recalled that his family bred Bullocks Horn, winner of the 1973 Cheltenham Foxhunters also on a disqualification.

There was a close finish to the closing Restricted, when Butterwick King and Dominic Alers-Hankey, prominent throughout, got the verdict from the challenging Cucklington partnered by Rilly Goschen.  Butterwick King was bought as a 5-year-old by Sylvia Lindley, Daphne Lewes, Mary White and Dinah Little, all from the Quantocks, and is trained by Dinah's daughter, Anna Bucknall, just a few hundred yards from the Cothelstone course.