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South Dorset Point to Point Review

Article 1st February 2023 Wincanton

By South Dorset Point to Point

It was a red letter day for rider Natalie Parker who works as pupil assistant to National Hunt Trainer Paul Nicholls when she rode her first ever career treble at the South Dorset point to point. Prior to the meeting Natalie had never been able to record a double so broke that missing point of her career and then went to cap it with a third victory. Having started her riding career almost 14 years ago to the day aboard Algenon in a Novice Riders race at Chipley Park for her parents Kevin and Tracy she is now one of the leading Ladies in the Wessex area. After riding her double she confided that ‘ I had a book of four good rides today and was hopeful of riding at least one winner and perhaps more’- this proved to be an underestimation of her day.

She began her day when steering Clive Hitchings new acquisition Ihandaya trained by Sam Loxton to a length and a half success in Division 2 of the Two and a half Maiden from Scoresby. Bought at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale for £58K having been placed in two Irish Maiden races Sam described his charge as being very green with plenty of scope for the future. Natalie stated that he had ‘ given her a hell of a thrill’ and wanted to say a big thank you to Clive Hitchings for allowing her to ride him.

The meeting had begun with a very impressive win for The Ballybreen Fox ridden by Charlie Marshall in the first Division of the shorter Maiden who had twelve lengths in hand at the winning post. Owned by a partnership consisting of various members of trainer Hannah Clarke’s family and long term owners Mr and Mrs David Duncombe- Anderson he had been acquired at Doncaster last year. Hannah said that ‘ I  fell  for him at the sales and despite paying more than I had wanted I was delighted to have purchased him’ Describing him as ‘ a very raw individual’ he had clearly benefited from his debut at Larkhill and showed a real turn of foot as he left his rivals in his wake after the second last fence.

The Hunt race produced the closest finish of the day when Imogen’s Thunder ridden by Charlie Sprake just held off the late challenge of Aunt Lily ridden by Chloe Emsley by a diminishing head. Owned by Wendy Jarrett and trained by Mary Tory this was his seasonal debut and was on the back of winning his four previous outings last season . He is the only horse trained by Mary but has established a strong relationship with Charlie who was able to confirm that he plans to remain as an Amateur this season to which Mary was able to say that ‘ Imogen’s Thunder will be delighted to hear this’. Charlie who now works for Paul Nicholls knows the gelding well and further successes may follow this season.

Natalie brought up her first ever double when the Sally Alner trained Go Sacre Go easily won a competitive looking 18 runner Open Maiden for older horses. Acquired from his breeder Graham Porter privately by Sally he had shown pieces of form for previous trainer Nicky Henderson who Sally said that ‘ Nicky had been very helpful with advice about the horse and had recommended that he should run on good ground’ . Owned by a partnership headed by Patsy Todd and including Annie Tory who sadly missed the victory as she had not been well but hopefully the news of the gelding’s victory will have proved to be a tonic. His saddle had slipped at Larkhill which explained the reason why he was pulled up on his pointing debut.  The nearly 17 hands gelding is a nephew of the brilliant Sprinter Sacre and looks one to follow in 2023.

There was somewhat of a surprise in the Restricted race when Sake of Secrecy ridden by Darren Edwards beat his seven rivals and had four lengths in hand at the line from Between You and Me ridden by Josh Newman. Owned by Stan Rawlins and trainer Harriet Waight he had not shown very much on his first outing at Larkhill this season and was reported not to ‘have blown out a candle after that race’. Acquired from Neil McLean’s stable after last season having won a Maiden at Great Trethew he seemed to benefit from Darren’s handling. Recalling his last ride for Harriet at the course  nearly 6 years ago Darren remembered parting company with Bee Crossing when the mare hit a bale after jumping the ditch.

Natalie completed her treble when Caid du Berlais maintained his pointing unbeaten record when comfortably winning the Ladies race by five lengths from Tom Barton ridden by Chloe Emsley. Now at the advanced age of 14 years he continues to belie that figure and has now secured nine consecutive victories in point to points. Sporting first time cheekpieces he was soon in his favourite position in front and despite an effort from the evergreen 13 year old Tom Barton the result was not in doubt from some way from home. Likely to remain pointing this season his main owner Colm Donlon was happy for Sam Loxton to bring him back into training for 2023. Natalie has now secured four victories on the gelding who is  a real credit to connections.

The Man’s Open race produced another close finish with Millbank Flyer ridden by Edward Rees just holding the effort of Lakota Warrior ridden by Darren Edwards by a neck. Millbank Flyer had set off for home from the last ditch and looked to be a sitting duck until Lakota Warrior made a bad mistake at the last fence and lost much of his momentum. Despite a renewed effort on the run in the post came in time for Millbank Flyer and his enthusiastic novice rider who was stepping up considerably in class having won a Maiden at Great Trethew  and a Restricted race at Wadebridge. Previously trained by Harry Fry, who Edward works for, he is still in the part ownership of Richard Wilkin who lives locally at Cerne Abbas . This was Edward’s third career victory and he currently leads the leading Men’s Novice Championship at this early stage.

The meeting concluded with a competitive Conditions race in which Natalie was seeking a fourth winner aboard Bold Conduct for Sally Alner. He was in front after the second last but he was swallowed up by rivals at the final fence. Held up to get the trip Josh Newman aboard Paloma Blue stayed on well on the flat to deprive Reflex Action ridden by Heidi Stevens. Acquired from Ireland where he had had some good form he had been runner up in his two English races at Dunsmore and Larkhill for the Paloma Picnickers Partnership. Headed up by Stephanie Jones, sister to Kayley Woollacott, she explained that he needs to go left handed and dropping him into point to points has cheered him  up. She added that ‘ there are still two shares available in him for sale’.



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