by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall -

We had a lovely B & B stay last night, gorgeous breakfast and then off to Barbury Castle for the meeting of The Tedworth Hunt.

I was fortunate to be able to walk the course here with today’s Chairman of Stewards, Bill Tufnell and I picked up tit bits of information on what is looked at by course inspectors and stewards, as Bill is a Jockey Club inspector also.  It was also nice to meet up again with another Steward, John Porter, who used to ride and train pointers at Lambourn. We originally met him  whilst we owned (shared with one thousand two hundred and thirty nine others – well not quite - but it was a super syndicate!) some race horses (Whitebonnet, The Bud Club and Druids Brook who is now pointing amongst others) stabled with Kim Bailey next to John’s stable.

The weather was fine and the going was good and as always at Barbury Castle, the viewing is superb.  The bits that don’t rattle were taken out of the tin.  I kept some, gave some to Ruth and set about, at least, doubling it up!  Plenty of entries here but finally only 40 declarations were received.

At this meeting, an award will be given for the best riding performance of the day in the opinion of the judges who were on this occasion, Mr and Mrs Hugh Condry.  I think this is a very good idea as good performances can be very quickly forgotten and a little memento would be quite handy to bring back pleasant memories.  The winner of this award today was Nick Mitchell for his riding of C Fox’s RED BROOK LAD who won The River & Mercantile Tedworth Gold Cup Men’s Open Race by five lengths from S Waley-Cohen riding the family owned STRONG CHAIRMAN with Mrs Buckett’s best turned out SUSIE’S MELODY back in third.  He rode a very professional waiting race and produced the horse exactly as required to win easily.

In the Members’ Race the jointly owned LUCKY TANNER (Miss G Young) was made odds on favourite of the four runners and I decided again on a forecast of the favourite to be followed home by the second favourite and would you believe it – they duly obliged.  First LUCKY TANNER, second G Maundrell’s RYDER CUP (S Walsh).  Not a lot to pick up but it’s a damn sight better than giving it away!

The Graham Goodwin Restricted Race produced six entries and it was here I reduced the amount accrued considerably.  I thought The Nice Approach Partnership and Miss T Leahy’s NICE APPROACH (J Snowden) was due another win and him being a brother to Harwell Lad was elected to carry my investment.  Oh Dear!  What a mistake!  The brown gelding by Be My Native called CLARA’S PRIDE ridden by Mark Wilesmith dominated the race.  Not always leading but cleverly in a position to challenge when needed.  As the pace slowed a little, CLARA’S PRIDE did not and raced on gradually increasing the lead until the finishing line where he was a distance to the good of my selection with P Legge’s ANGUS AIRWAYS (M Legge) a further ten lengths back in third. It might seem that I was unlucky to have another second but not so really as two horses that were in front of NICE APPROACH fell and gave my horse the position.  This is not what I planned for today.  A quick check on the tin, ok yet, but Ruth is stating that she has not had a winner YET!  Action - don’t invest on the next race, leave it to Ruth!

This is The Gerrard Ladies’ Open Race with six runners.  Mrs Borradaile was riding her POLDEN PRIDE which we saw run without success at Trebudannon, Georgina Brown was riding the best turned out E Smith’s MEMBERS CRUISE who has performed admirably this term; Mrs Hooper’s CHASING THE BRIDE (A Goschen) has been below his best lately and another one who is acting outside his best is owner ridden S Samworth’s DICTUM.  Ruth has selected and I am only allowed to ask WHICH ONE and never –WHY!  If one had time to watch the body language the investment carrier would soon become obvious, but I would rather watch the race, so in reply to WHICH ONE came the dulcet tones announcing DICTUM would be the first over the line.  At fence thirteen it was POLDEN PRIDE a length to the good of MEMBERS CRUISE with third place being occupied by DICTUM – CHASING THE BRIDE getting closer!  At three out Susie Samworth set DICTUM alight and shot off into the lead with POLDEN PRIDE following and then MEMBERS CRUISE.  As they climbed up to the seventeenth DICTUM was about a couple of lengths in the lead with POLDEN PRIDE not done yet.  It was a good race to the line with Ruth’s choice winning by three quarters of a length from POLDEN PRIDE second and MEMBERS CRUISE ten lengths away third.  Well-done Ruth but I noticed IT went into a black handbag and not a penny in the tin.  Now you know why I feel free to borrow on occasions.

The betting on The NLC Countryside Alliance Members’ Race started out with T Underwood’s PEBBLE BEACH being made favourite but word got around and money poured onto Countess Goess-Saurau’s PERRYMAN with Alistair Beedles acting as Polly Gundry’s stand in to ride it.  Those that know backed it down to even money or less – favourite!  Well, PERRYMAN won this race in the fastest time of the day (Ladies race excepted) by eight lengths and was given an excellent ride by Mr Beedles.  Second was J Smith’s HIGHLAND JACK (G Maundrell) and third was Alex Kwiatkowski’s GLADIATORIAL.  I lost on this race as my money was on PEBBLE BEACH who failed to impress all the others and me that had invested at the skinny odds of two to one against. Sad now!  Just a moment, someone here is smiling and fumbling around in the black bag again.  Yes, picking out the wining ticket again.  It is quite clear I should have followed Ruth.  Please put it in the tin this time Dear!

The final race today was The Friends of The Tedworth Hunt Maiden Race.  A little investment was made on the favourite, H McCall’s CHAUCERS MILLER (J Snowden) who duly obliged but did give me a few nervous moments but managed to beat Staverton Owners Group’s CHIEF SUSPECT (A Ede) by two and half lengths with J Burbidge’s ARDMORE (A Bush) 12 lengths further back.  A little more in the tin!

A good day out, well worth the journey and now the countryside route back to our B & B stop between the M5 and Street.  We will be eating out tonight, Ruth will help me pay and tomorrow we will travel on to The Stevenstone Hunt meeting at Vauterhill Farm near High Bickington.  Remember! – this is not a dress rehearsal for life – it’s the only chance you get!  Go for it!  See you tomorrow.  Cheers Ruth and Fred