Published 2022/02/01

South Dorset Review

A very bright sunny winter day greeted racegoers at MIlborne St Andrew where the South Dorset held their annual point to point.

As a result there was a large attendance enjoying the excellent racing on going described by most riders as good.

The sport seems to be good heart at present with the first four races won by owner/trainers and the two Open races were won by horses at different stages of their careers.

Leading riders Will Biddick, Bradley Gibbs, James King, Natalie Parker and Izzie Marshall all rode a winner apiece.

Natalie enjoyed a tremendous ride on the evergreen Tom Barton in the Ladies race.

Despite now reaching the age of twelve years old his trainer Sally Alner maintains that he is getting better with age and this was his best performance of the current season.

He had a real battle with main market rival Back Bar ridden by Izzie Marshall but held on well at the finish.

Natalie had dropped her whip five fences from home on his last run at Larkhill but this time there was no repeat and he responded to her encouragement after the last.

Naturally delighted with her success Natalie said ‘I have ridden him on and off over the last four years but it is only this season that I am getting him into the winner’s enclosure’.

His sporting lady owners led by Annie Tory enjoyed their success at one of their local courses.

The absence of Cheltenham winner Porlock Bay from the Mens Open race allowed Premier Magic to enjoy a very commanding performance when winning by twenty lengths.

Sitting behind the leaders for most of the race Bradley took it up after the final ditch and drew right away from his six rivals.

Bradley has two very exciting prospects on his hands with the mare Highway Jewel the winner at Chipley Park last week and this gelding but at this stage no definite plans for Cheltenham have been made.

Claire Sheriff, Bradley’s fiancée revealed that she had been doing most of the work on the gelding owned by her father Julian but as she is now four and a half months pregnant Bradley has taken over the work on the gelding.

Paying only his second ever visit to Milborne this was Bradley’s first winner having been beaten on the same horse in a Restricted race behind Fleur du Pommier two years ago.

Luke Harvey, the well- known ITV racing personality, was the first of the owner/trainers to register a winner when his Spanish Jump made most the running to comfortably win the two-and-a-half-mile Maiden race under James King.

Acquired from Andrew and Kate Brooks and previously trained by Jonjo O’Neill he had been a good second at Charing behind Castle Trump and despite a mistake at the last the victory was never in doubt.

Giving credit to his fiancée Charlotte Best for doing most of the work with the gelding he revealed that they are due to get married in June.

Luke who is a tremendous supporter of pointing enthused that ‘there is a fantastic atmosphere here and that they have done a great job in preparing the course’ Tacky MacGregor enjoyed a first point to point win for her nine-year-old Mahler gelding Dawn Sunrise in the Hunt race.

One of three pointers that she trains at home near Dorchester he had been acquired as a five-year-old from Ireland but was very backward and had taken time to mature.

After being placed in a couple of Maidens he had been transferred to the yard of Fiona Shaw where he won a chase at Stratford over a shorter trip.

Returning to pointing he had finished a commendable third behind Igor at Larkhill and boasted the best form in this race.

Setting off in front George Hiscock was never headed and had five lengths in hand from nearest rivals Schiap Hill and Elusive Intentions.

Describing his partner’s jumping as ‘awesome’ George had a ride he will not forget in a hurry. Eighteen horses faced the starter for the Open Maiden race and at the last fence the race was between Festin D’Un Soir ridden by Megan Bevan and Reflex Action ridden by Will Biddick.

The former fell at that fence leaving Will to come home ahead of Gunner Vic and Ask The Lady.

Owned by Paul Nicholas and his wife Lesley and trained by Paul on his farm at Combe Martin on Exmoor he has had both his horses he trains win within a week.

Feu Des Malberaux won for him at Chipley and now this son of Sans Frontieres has also broken his Maiden status.

Both were bought as 3-year-olds at the same sale in Ireland following the success of Tempestatefloresco in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter in 2017 when trained for Paul by Colin Tizzard.

Explaining about the riding arrangements Paul advised that Darren Edwards normally rides for him but as he was claimed by Dean Summersby for Ask The Lady Darren had arranged for Will to step in for the ride.

The final Owner/Trainer to score was in the Oriental Club sponsored race for Owner/TraIners and this produced the closest finish of the day.

Frances Bishop’s mare Country Legend ridden by her son Tom took up the running at about halfway and looked to have her eleven rivals struggling after two out.

However, after jumping the last her stride shortened and Jack Veysey riding his evergreen The Dapper Fox started to close and was gaining rapidly at the line.

To her credit, the mare clung on to record a head victory to the delight of her owner who does all the work with her tough mare.

Tom did add that they had been using the facilities of Milton Harris to get the mare fit and this had clearly paid off.

The concluding race, the Conditions race for eight-year-olds and over, produced another close finish with the gallant mare Fishy Story ridden by Darren Andrews being caught on the line by Getting Closer ridden by Izzie Marshall.

Trained by Alan Hill the winner is owned by a sporting group of friends headed by George Cranfield and there were rapturous scenes in the paddock when the result was announced.

Bought cheaply the gelding is the model of consistency and this was his fifth career victory. Explaining the next likely outing for the eight-year-old Joe Hill, son of the trainer, indicated that this may be in a Novice Hunter Chase at Catterick on 9th March where Izzie can claim a full seven pounds allowance as she has only ridden two winners under Rules.

Joe was full of praise for Izzie describing her as ‘a massive asset to their yard’ and a future potential Ladies Champion rider.