by Lee Glanville

THE Axe Vale point-to-point basked in April sunshine on Sunday where good going ensured a huge crowd enjoyed nine competitive races.

Michael Holmes, 23, celebrated his first ever race riding success in the opening members' race on his own Orinoco's Flight, a six-year-old he trains close to the course.

And in the novice riders' race, Will Biddick, 16, was another jockey to score his inaugural win when he took up the running on Ross Oliver's Let's Fly on the turn for home and booted the nine-year-old clear to score a six length success. It was an incident-packed race where Lynne Hawkins sustained a suspected broken ankle when African Dawn slipped on the bend and Rosie Booth was taken to hospital after Atavistic took a crashing fall.

Father Mansfield and Caroline Prouse scored a last gasp victory in the intermediate when they came with a late surge on the run-in to head Nick Williams and Noble Action a stride before the line and win by a shorthead. Caroline rides for her parents Henry and Sarah from near Crediton and was scoring for the second time on the gelding this season.

Ballysicyos was odds on to continue his winning sequence in the mixed open but jumping the last Kingston Venture held a slight advantage and drew clear on the run-in under Tigger Barnes to record the fastest time of the day. His owner/breeder Claire Overton admitted she hadn't expected her horse to win but knew he would act well on the good ground.

Ballysicyos' rider Ashley Farrant, who is bidding for his first ever national championship, gained compensation for defeat when taking the first restricted on the David Pipe-trained Euwiluwill. The six-year-old disappointed when he finished third last time and Pipe was at a loss to explain why.

Pipe has provided the majority of Farrant's 33 winners this season and added: "I have just about enough horses to keep Ashley going until the end of the season but hopefully everyone else in the Westcountry will rally around and give him rides to help him win the title. Ashley really deserve to win it more than anyone as he has had his share of bad luck over the years." 

The second division went to first season trainer Claire Williams' Hold On Harry with Liam Heard in the saddle.
Claire, 18, has plans to enter the police force but after a stint working for Jennie Loriston-Clarke she came home to North Petherton to work for her father Steve, a former jockey for Les Kennard, training his horses. "I may still join the police but it's the horses I love," said Claire who had fallen off the winner the day before.

Fitness instructor and Sporting Life race reader Naddan Wilmington won the faster of two maidens on Fiona Shaw and her mother Lady Acland's Sliema who made virtually all the running to win by 15 lengths. The six-year-old is
trained by both Fiona and her husband Peter who run him from a field. Announcer Neil Ransford is wondering if he is the new prophet. Turning to the wrong page in his racecard, he read out Sliema as the winner of the Restricted Div II, ­ and couldn¹t believe it when the horse duly obliged in the next race, the maiden! 

Lucy Gardner, 21, took the second division on her own Questionit who heads for the Doncaster Sales in May having been purchased from there a year.

The Beviss & Beckinsale Axe Vale Harriers Members', Subscribers' & Farmers' Race
1, Orinoco's Flight M Holmes ; 2, Vansell Mrs O Jackson . Only 2 finished. 3 ran. 5l. 6 minutes 6 seconds. 

The J & FJ Baker Confined Race, The Harry Parr Memorial Cup
1, Lord Of The Mist N Williams ; 2, Morris Piper R Woollacott ; 3, Barton Saint Miss S West 3. 5 ran. 15l, 15l. 6:04.

The Axminster Carpets Ltd Mixed Open Race, The Graham Hollingworth Memorial Cup
1, Kingston Venture J Barnes ; 2, Ballysicyos A Farrant ; 3, Sadler's Realm Miss L Gardner 3. 7 ran. 10l, dist. 5:47.

The Victoria Laundry Intermediate Race, The Mr & Mrs PF Perry Memorial Cup
1, Father Mansfield Miss C Prouse ; 2, Noble Action N Williams; 3, Cimmaroon A Farrant 3. 12 ran. 5:56. Sh, 4l.

The Lentells Novice Riders Race, The Graham Stuart Memorial Trophy
1, Let's Fly W Biddick ; 2, Gladiatorial T Bishop; 3, It'snotsimple B Trickey . 7 ran. 6l, 6l. 6:05. 

The Matford Land Rover Restricted Race Division I, The Ruth Wilmington Memorial Cup
1, Euwiluwil A Farrant ; 2, Askers Jack J Snowden ; 3, Chapners Cross Miss S Young 3. 10 ran. 5:57. 2l, 10l.

The Matford Land Rover Restricted Race Division II, The Ruth Wilmington Memorial Cup
1, Hold On Harry Liam Heard ; 2, Prah Sands Mr D Edwards. Only 2 finished. 10 ran. 20l. 5:59.

The John Woods & Co Maiden Race Division I, The Stan Sweetland Memorial Cup
1, Sliema N Wilmington ; 2, Here's To Lucy R Woollacott ; 3, Hooray Henry T Dennis 3. 14 ran. 15l, 1/2l. 6:05.

The Selec Security Systems Maiden Race Division II, The Ted Cuming Memorial Cup
1,Questionit Miss L Gardner ; 2, Truicear R McCarthy ; 3, Village Queen D Harvey 3. 11 ran. 2l, 1/2l. 6:11.