by Brian & Gill Armstrong

A large crowd enjoyed an excellent day’s racing at the Devon & Somerset Staghounds point-to-point at Holnicote near Minehead on Saturday. The highlight was a treble for the David Pipe/Ashley Farrant combination, taking Ashley’s seasonal total to 37.

The opening Hunt race went to Friar Waddon and Michael Miller, who headed Polka and Darren Edwards after the last. Friar Waddon is trained at Bishops Nympton by Keith Cumings and carries the familiar black and purple check colours of Ilfracombe foundry owner Peter Clarke, who was away in the USA.

Pipe and Farrant got on the scoresheet when P J Finn’s I Am Said I made virtually all the running to land the Intermediate race. I Am Said I failed to stay in the 4m1f Grimthorpe Gold Cup at the Middleton a month ago, but appeared to relish the faster going here. Connections reported that I Am Said I may also be more suited by a left handed track.

The Panacur/TBA PPORA Club Members Maiden Mares race was won impressively by Miss Flinders, who was clear throughout the final circuit. Miss Flinders is one of two horses trained at Ditcheat by winning rider Ryan Bliss who rides out at Paul Nicholls’ stables. Miss Flinders was bred by Box (near Bath) owner Mary Barton whose other horse, Bill Owen, runs under Rules from Paul Keane’s Conkwell Grange stables. Ryan was keen to credit Frome equine manipulator John Hankinson for all the work he has done with the mare.

Pipe and Farrant doubled up when Polar Champ turned the four runner Confined race into a procession. Polar Champ, who carries the familiar “Bonanza Boy” colours of Simonsbath owner Angie Malde, had disappointed when beaten in a match at Barbury Castle, but appeared to relish the better ground here to win his fourth race of the season.

The Restricted race was won by So Peaceful, who survived a bad mistake at the 13th before taking the lead approaching the last under Colin Heard. So Peaceful is trained near the Minehead Harriers Kennels at Wootton Courtenay by Belinda Powell, who bought the horse from Robert Pocock in 2002 for her partner Ian Stephens and mother Sue Jones, who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday.

Pipe and Farrant completed their treble when Ballysicyos returned to winning ways in the Mixed Open. This was Ballysicyos’ fourth win of the season for owners Pam Deal and Carol Pipe and he and Polar Champ continue to be cornerstones in Ashley’s pursuit of the 2004 Men’s National Riders Championship.

The closing 567&8yo Open Maiden race was won by On His Toes who forged well clear under 21-year-old Seale-Hayne Agricultural College student William White. On His Toes was bred by Gordon Chambers who trains the horse at his stables adjacent to the Buckfastleigh Point-to-Point course.