THE second successive blank weekend in the Devon & Cornwall area meant a trip to the neighbouring Wessex area for point-to-point action.
Cothelstone, near Taunton, hosted the Quantock Staghounds fixture on Sunday (2nd March) where a plethora of declared runners led to three races being split on the day. A total of 81 runners contested the ensuing nine races.
Darren Edwards described the going as, “heavy, soft along the home straight,” as rain poured down for the last four races. Darren was in good form with a double, initiated when Coombe Hill upset the odds laid on Kirkleigh in the Mixed Open.
Edwards completed his double when Reliable Richie stepped up on his recent Buckfastleigh second by running on too strongly for Gontdevon in the first Restricted.
Tom Chanin had to play second fiddle on both Kirkleigh and Gontdevon, but got himself on the score sheet thanks to pillar to post winner Five Journeys, saddled by his father Robert, in one of the two and a half mile Maidens for young horses. This took the Thorverton based trainer into double figures for the season.
The other Maiden for young horses went to the Exmoor qualified Twyford, trained by Claire Hitch and ridden by reigning Devon & Cornwall male title holder Josh Guerriero.
John Pearn’s Lightening Jack also holds an Exmoor certificate and the Kayley Woollacott trained gelding just overhauled Carrickmines in the hands of Jamie Thomas to win the Confined.
The fast improving Master Hooper battled on courageously to win the second Restricted at the expense of Honours Insight, staying on strongly for Matt Hampton for Butleigh owner Julie Purdie.
With the crowd and bookmakers dwindling in the face of the weather (only three bookies stayed the course until the last race), Will Biddick collected the final two events. Corton Ridge left some modest form behind him to beat the only other finisher Big Mick in the first section of the Open maiden, and Third Chance received a smooth Biddick ride to win the concluding event.