Barbury Racecourse: Tedworth Point-to-Point draws a large - if rather wet - crowd to watch some great racing
Watching in the cold and misty rain was a really large crowd of enthusiasts.Lotus Pond once more repaid his connections' faith with a convincing victory in the JM Finn & Co Mixed Open for the Tedworth Gold Cup at the Tedworth Hunt meeting at Barbury Racecourse, last Sunday (April 8).
The ten-year-old gelding - trained by Mickey Bowen at Haverfordwest - has had tendon trouble in the past. But here he added to a course and distance success and a win at Bangor-on-Dee this term by joining long-time leader Richmond at the second-last fence in the 3m 6f contest before powering away to win by three lengths under Peter Bryan.
Connections explained: "It has taken a long time to get here. He struck into his leg at Chaddesley Corbett, so he was off for 18 months and we brought him back and then he banged the other leg."
"We used a machine from Canada called a 'leg saver'. He did a lot of slow work and he went from having no tendon to rejuvenating the tendon and you can see how sound he is. It is just fantastic. We have always believed in him, but it was just getting that out of him."
Droitwich owner-trainer Max Young was all smiles after Rogue Diamond gave him his first winner when scoring on her debut in the 2m 4f Jockey Club and the Epicurean Open Maiden For Mares and Fillies. The victory looked unlikely as Zac Baker sat out at the back on the five-year-old daughter of Wareed while Night At Tara (locally trained by Laura Thomas), Hello Jazz and Thirdtimeben vied for supremacy.
But the complexion of the race changed rapidly as the leaders faded in the home straight and Rogue Diamond took up the running at the last fence to record an eight-lengths verdict over Hello Jazz.
Teresa Clark, who trains on the Quantock Hills near Bridgwater, got off the mark for the season when she combined with jockey Bryan Carver for a double courtesy of Mistress Massini and Willem.
Carver sent Mistress Massini to the head of affairs after a circuit of the opening Simpsons Subaru Restricted Race, and the seven-year-old mare forged clear from the second-last to beat Arthur's Sixpence by eight lengths.
Clark and Carver completed the double in the closing Prestat Chocolates and the Richard James Estate Agency Conditions Race when Willem overcame an error at the last fence to hold off Blazing Tom by a short head. The eight-year-old is owned by the Only Fools Buy Horses Partnership.
The 20-year-old rider, who hails from Cork, added: "Every time I have ridden him now we have made a good partnership. That's two wins, a second and two thirds."
Teenage rider Sam Burton ended his wait for a first winner this season when Hawkhurst posted an impressive victory in the Pheasant Inn At Lambourn Six-Year-Olds And Over PPORA Club Members' Race for Veteran & Novice Riders.
Having duelled with Tempelpirate and Phil York from six out, the 18-year-old sent Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill's charge clear at the second-last to take the honours by 12 lengths: "It was great and to ride a good horse like that is fantastic. Tempelpirate was a bit quicker through the air, but my horse was so game and found his stride coming round the home turn."
Troed Y Melin showed the benefit of a wind operation to gain a deserved first success for Devon trainer Chris Honour in the 2m 4f Ramsbury Vodka Open Maiden For Four, Five And Six-Year-Olds. Runner-up on four of his previous seven starts, the son of Craigsteel, owned by the No Illusions Partnership, held a narrow advantage over Equus Dancer when the Bowen-trained debutant fell at the second-last, leaving Jamie Thomas's mount to come 12 lengths ahead of Order In Court.
The meeting was preceded by two pony races - reported here - and was rounded off by the William Bartholomew Party Organisers Tedworth Hunt Charity Race over 1m 2f on the Flat in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Victory here went to Roxanne Bridgway, from Bargoed in south Wales, having her first ride on Berdini.