by Brian & Gill Armstrong

A large crowd enjoyed fine racing when the Cattistock staged their point-to-point at Littlewindsor on Sunday. There were two winners for trainer Richard Barber, and three for the David Pipe/ Ashley Farrant combination taking Ashley’s seasonal total to 26.

The opening Hunt Members race went to Highway Oak who made all under Nick Mitchell to reverse the placings with 2003 winner Blackwater Brave. Highway Oak was bred by Hardington Mandeville owner Malcolm White who recalled winning the 1980 race on the old Toller Down Gate course with Hilda’s Way, the granddam of Highway Oak. This was a family occasion as Highway Oak is trained by Malcolm’s son Ben and Maya Horsey at their Higher Ansty livery yard near Blandford.

Richard Barber initiated his double when Noble Action was an easy winner of the 2½ mile Open Maiden race under Nick Williams. Noble Action was bought at the May 2003 Doncaster Sales by Henley-on-Thames owner David Chown whose colours are also carried in point-to-points by Wild Chimes.

Scarlet Glory was a comfortable winner of the Restricted race to give rider Harry Fry his sixth winner of the season, just one behind Daryl Jacob in the Novice Riders table. Scarlet Glory was bred by Harry’s parents, Caroline and Richard, and is one of four horses trained by them at their Cattistock home. Richard, who had delayed a skiing holiday to be present, reported that Harry’s brother George celebrates his 16th birthday next week and will shortly be making his own race-riding debut.

The Barber double was completed when Ray Geddes’ Norski Lad was an impressive winner of the Ladies’ Open under Rachael Green. Norski Lad, who jumped superbly for Rachael and forged well clear in the straight, could easily run up a sequence if continuing to run in Ladies’ races.

David Pipe and Ashley Farrant got on the scoresheet when Ballysicyos was a facile winner of the Men’s Open. This was Ballysicyos’ second win of the season and on this showing he could land David’s £100 bet with mother Carol and Pam Deal, the joint owners, that the horse will win six races before the season’s end.

David Johnson’s Vivid Imagination continued the Pipe/Farrant sequence by making all to win the Intermediate race by a distance from only other finisher Caundle Chase. Vivid Imagination recorded a fast time and this relentless galloper should not be opposed when appearing on his favoured soft ground.

Pipe and Farrant completed their treble when five-year-old Rose Of The Hill made a winning debut in the closing 11 runner Open Maiden race. Rose Of The Hill, purchased by David at Goffs Sales in 2003, ran green and blew up three out so should improve significantly for this experience. The only other finisher was Collier who ran on well for Tim Atkinson to finish 15 lengths behind the winner.