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Minehead Harriers & West Somerset
Saturday 14th May 2011
by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Challacombe owner-trainer Steve McCracken sent out his two pointers Asian Miner (Maiden) and Eslin Bridge (Restricted) to land the first double of his career at Holnicote on Saturday. James Best partnered both winners to take his seasonal tally to four.

Asian Miner put up a stunning performance to forge further and further clear of his rivals throughout the final circuit. The win represented a fine training performance, as Asian Miner had been absent since finishing third in an Irish Maiden under Derek O'Connor in April 2008. "Jean Edwards brought him to the village soon afterwards as a riding horse. I took him stag hunting two years ago, asked Jean if I could buy him as a pointer and finally purchased him two months ago", explained Steve. Eslin Bridge made virtually all the running and was left clear when closest challenger Nobile (Micheal Nolan) fell four fences from home, although James' efforts cost the jockey a £75 whip fine.

Vote For Doodle and Paddy The Piper both gained their fifth wins of the campaign at the meeting. The former, who had been successful at the Devon & Somerset Staghounds fixture the previous weekend, easily followed up to give Philip Prince his sixth win of the season and complete an across-the-card treble for the Prince family, who also owned two Wincanton Pony Race winners on the day. Michael Heard reached the seven-winner mark on Paddy The Piper, who led from the second last in the Mixed Open. "He ploughed through a couple and Michael said he was tapped for toe down the back straight, but he's easy to train, bonny in the morning, loves his racing and has run 12 times with just one lacklustre performance all season", summed up Michael's father, John Heard.

Saint Romble, who had been absent since falling in January's Ledbury Hunt Golden Button Challenge race run over natural country, reappeared to claim his third consecutive Minehead Harriers and West Somerset Hunt race under Katherine Hobbs. "We've rested him since the Golden Button and he'd have been retired if he hadn't won or enjoyed himself today", said Sarah Hobbs. "But Katherine has just said that you couldn't get any more fun than that, so he'll run at Bratton Down now".

Henri Prends Garde and Richard Woollacott led throughout the final circuit to repeat their 2010 Confined race success. The race is run in memory of the late Chris White, and his three children – Will, accompanied by his four-month old daughter Ellie, Anna, holding her eight-month-old daughter Emily, and Lizzie, with one month-old baby Charlotte – made the presentations to Richard and owners John Burrows and John Gardener.

Will Biddick took his tally to 25, four behind Richard Burton and Phillip York in the National Standings on Flanshan, who put in a superb round of jumping in the Intermediate.

Devon & Somerset Staghounds Joint Master Fran Bell rode Nelsons Spice to victory in the Charity 10f Flat Race, which raised over £7,500 in aid of the Devon and Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulances.

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