by Brian & Gill Armstrong

A huge crowd enjoyed a glorious Spring afternoon when the Mendip Farmers staged their Point-to-Point at Ston Easton, near Shepton Mallet, on Sunday. The highlight was a double for the Susie Goess-Saurau/ Polly Gundry trainer/rider combination.

The opening Hunt race went for the second year running to Choc, who led throughout and resisted a determined challenge from Penthouse Minstrel. Choc is owned and trained at Banwell by Venetia Kenney-Herbert and was a second-ever win for her 19-year-old son Ed, an engineering student at Oxford University. 

Susie Goess-Saurau and Polly Gundry kicked off their double when Eva So Charming was an effortless winner of Division One of the 2½ mile Open Maiden. The horse was bred by the Goess-Sauraus and brought up by a Suffolk Punch mare after his dam, Charming Gale, died giving birth. Eva So Charming had shown good form in two previous races at Larkhill and is one to note for the rest of the season. Division Two went to Ile De Re, who held the challenge of Norman’s Glories after the challenging Mister Pearly had fallen at the second last. Ile De Re was ridden by Charlie Studd, 24, who rides out for Toby Balding, Jim Old and Colin Weedon, and was bought privately in Ireland by Charlie’s father John.

The Goess-Saurau/Gundry double was completed when The Kings Fling regained the lead entering the straight to take the Restricted race. Susie Goess-Saurau reported that The Kings Fling – a home-bred half-brother to NH Flat race winner Popgoestheweasel – had been suited by the fast ground and hoped that this win would now build the horse’s confidence for the future.

The Mixed Open went to Cherokee Run who jumped well throughout under Charlotte Tizzard, 19, and stayed on strongly to hold odds-on favourite Well Ted, who made several jumping errors under three-time National Champion Julian Pritchard. Cherokee Run is one of seven horses trained at Milborne Port by Charlotte’s father Alan, who jointly owns the horse with Roy Bullock from Norton Ferris near Maiden Bradley. Alan was also keen to credit his 21-year-old daughter Gemma for her contribution to the training of the Tizzard horses. 

The Novice Riders’ race went to the Nick Bush-trained Gay Baratineur who held Out‘n’about by a length with Pretoria Dancer a neck away in third. Gay Baratineur was ridden by Kate Clift, 24, assistant trainer to Banbury-based Robert Waley-Cohen who gifted the horse to Kate and her mother Carol 18 months ago.

Socute finished strongly under Tigger Barnes to catch Celebration March and Polly Gundry on the run-in to take the closing Open Maiden race. Socute is trained at Witchampton by Ali Tory for a syndicate headed by husband Nick who bought the horse from his Shropshire-based aunt, Brigit Everall. Ali was keen to credit Lucy Fishenden for all the time she has spent schooling and show jumping Socute. Lucy, 23, from Sturminster Newton, won the 2002 Portman Hunt race aboard Ali’s Willie Makeit, but has decided to retire from race riding with a 100% record.