by Brian & Gill Armstrong

The Tedworth Hunt held their annual point-to-point at Barbury Castle near Marlborough on Sunday. Highlights included doubles for rider Alex Charles-Jones and for owner-trainer John Manners and a first-ever win for 16-year-old Highworth A’Level student Freddie de Giles.

Chaucers Miller won the closing race at the 2002 Tedworth meeting and continued his sequence by taking the opening Hunt race under Godfrey Maundrell. Chaucers Miller is trained at Appleshaw (near Andover) by Bill Gould for owner-breeder Hilary McCall, who reported that the horse likes firm ground and always thrives in the spring with the warmer weather on his back.

John Manners and Alex Charles-Jones initiated their doubles when Border Light held the challenge of Chief Suspect to take the Restricted race. Border Light, bought at Malvern Sales as an unbroken three-year-old, may now be aimed at a Novice Chase. After the race John, who has raced such fine horses as Killeshin and Cavalero, recalled riding Ud Din Club to win the Tedworth Adjacent Hunts race at Larkhill way back in 1950.

The Manners double was completed when home-bred Sylphide was a comfortable winner of the Gerrard Ladies’ Open under Charlotte Tizzard. Sylphide showed a fine turn of foot to win in a fast time and may now be aimed at the Marsh Private Clients/TBA Mares Championship Final at Garthorpe on 18th May.

The Men’s Open race for the Tedworth Gold Cup went to Gladiatorial, who caught favourite Hatch Gate before the last for a four length success with Badger Beer in third. Gladiatorial is owned and trained near Wincanton racecourse by Frances Bishop and was ridden by her son Tom, 19, who flies to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to spend three months working at Jonathan Sheppard’s stables before beginning an Ancient History degree course at Exeter University in the autumn.

Sixteen-year-old Freddie de Giles rode his first-ever winner from just five rides when Raka King headed Willie Makeit on the run-in to take the Countryside Alliance Club Members race. This was a real family success, as Raka King is owned and trained at Highworth by Freddie’s father Jonathen and was led up on Sunday by his fourteen-year-old brother Felix. Jonathen bought Raka King seven years ago as an unbroken four-year-old.

Alex Charles-Jones completed his double in the closing Open Maiden race when Handy Hill led throughout the final circuit to hold off favourite Atlantic Drift. Owner Gordon Giddings, who bred Handy Hill at his Warminster Stud, has stood such fine stallions as New Member and El Conquistador and recalled training his first point-to-point winner at the Beaufort meeting at Didmarton over 40 years ago.