by Brian & Gill Armstrong

A large crowd enjoyed an eventful evening’s racing when the Weston & Banwell Harriers held their point-to-point at Cothelstone on Wednesday.  Seventy horses contested the eight races. Richard Burton and Ashley Farrant each rode a winner, leaving them tied at the head of the Men’s Championship table with 41 winners.

Sarah West rode her first winner of the season when Normania took the opening Hunt Race. This was a family success as Sarah trains the horse for father Chris at Lambourn where she works as a secretary at Ralph Beckett’s stables.

Normania and Sarah West take the Hunt race

The Alison Dare-trained Machalini was an easy winner of the Countryside Alliance Club Members Novice Riders race under 47-year-old owner-rider Andrew Morley, a Wotton-under-Edge property businessman. This was a fifth career win for Andrew who bought Machalini out of Tom George’s yard at Doncaster Sales three years ago.

Machalini and Andrew Morley land a pillar to post win in the Countryside Alliance Novice Riders race

Richard Burton rode his 41st winner of the season when Slaney Lass made all the running in the Restricted race. Slaney Lass is trained at Bishop’s Frome near Hereford by Mark Jackson and carries the familiar yellow and white “Grimley Gale” colours of owners Robin and Maureen Phillips.

Current champion Richard Burton goes one ahead in the title race aboard Slaney Lass in the Restricted

Burton’s hopes of a double in the Men’s Open were quickly dashed when Jemaro went through the wing at the first fence. The race went to Sir William who led five out for a comfortable win under Richard Woollacott. Sir William, a course winner in April, is trained at South Molton by Emely Thompson and was winning his seventh race for retired farmer Richard Westacott, also of South Molton.

Kingsbridge and Ashley Farrant lead the field with the riderless favourite Jemaro in the distance (left)

Richard Woolacott drives out Sir William to take an eventful Mens Open from Hylters Chance and Colin Heard

The Ladies’ Open went to Traditional and Rachael Green who caught longtime leader Gipsy Cracker and Charlotte Stucley at the last. Traditional is trained at Woolminstone near Crewkerne by Chloe Newman, 25, for Merriott owners Gail Hill and Granville Taylor who lease the horse out of Nigel Hawke’s stable. A large crowd gathered around the winners enclosure to greet Gail and Granville, a point-to-point race reader and journalist for over thirty years.

Traditional (left) and Rachel Green come with a well timed run to catch Gypsy Cricketer and Charlotte Stuckley
in the Ladies Open

Ashley Farrant drew level with Richard Burton at the head of the Men’s Championship table when Brian Kilpatrick’s Colquhoun was an easy winner of the Confined race. Colquhoun was not particularly impressive when winning at Holnicote four days previously, but on this evidence could well run up a sequence before the end of the season.

Ashley Farrant draws level again with a victory in the Confined on Colquhoun

The closing Open Maiden race was divided on the day. Division One went to Rody who made all the running under David Mansell. This was a first ever winner for Rockhampton owner Beth England, who was keen to credit fellow trainer Vicky Meek for all the work she does with the horse.

Dave Mansell is understandably delighted to have landed the Open Maiden Div1 on the exasperating Rody

Division Two was won by Keep The Day Job and Nadden Wilmington, who got the verdict in a close finish with Sex Kitten and Robbie McCarthy. Keep The Day Job is trained at Witchampton near Wimborne by Ali Tory for husband Nick and New Forest estate agent Bryan Snape, who bought the horse privately as a two-year-old.

Keep The Day Job and Naddan Wilmington (left) just get the better of Sex Kitten (R McCarthy) as night falls
in the Open Maiden Div2