The Seavington were pleased to finally stage their point to point on Sunday at their new home at Cotley having lost their previous course at Littlewindsor and also succumbing to no racing during the pandemic. A good crowd was there to witness some excellent racing and highlights included a training double for Josh Newman and first time wins for jockeys Callum Pritchard and Hannah Morgan who also trained her winner and for Chris Wald who trained his first winner.
Chris Wald is clearly putting his experience as Assistant Trainer to Joe Tizzard to good use after his Whitsand Bay took the first maiden under Callum Pritchard to give them both a first ever winner as trainer and jockey. Sending the big son of New Zealand Champion, So You Think, into the lead four fences out, Callum only had to make sure he concentrated over the last to record a cosy five length win over Oh Mo Shrone. A delighted Chris explained “I bought him as an unbroken 4 year old from Beech Tree Stud and just gave him plenty of time to mature due to his size.” Chris had spent time with Fergal O’Brien and David Dennis prior to joining the Tizzard team and this is the only horse he trains. Callum is currently an amateur at the Philip Hobbs and Johnson White yard and comes from a hunting background but this is his first proper season as a point to point jockey and this success looks like it will be quickly added to.
The other rider to record their first winner was Hannah Morgan who also was responsible for training her horse too when she took the Novice Riders race on River Frost from Clever des Assence who was ridden by Callum. Confidently sent on by Hannah some way from home, River Frost was three lengths clear at the line much to the delight of her young rider and some enthusiastic supporters. Hannah works for Kayley Woollacott who was present in the winner’s enclosure to congratulate her first win. Hannah explained that she had bought River Frost from Guy Brewer after seeing him advertised and enquired whether he would be a suitable ride for a novice. This was a tenth start for her as a jockey having grown up on the Quantocks where recently retired trainer Bob Buckler had given her her first ride pointing.
Josh Newman had returned from Aintree rather sore after a fall on Sixteen Letters in the Foxhunters and was consequently unable to ride. Darren Andrews however proved an able substitute when taking the opener on the classy Paloma Blue and then the second maiden on Hearts Corner. Paloma Blue has taken extremely well to pointing since joining the yard from Ireland and this was his fourth win of the season. He faced only one opponent in Another Furlough who was aiming to continue trainer Harry Ryall’s great run but when Darren stepped on the gas, Another Furlough made a novicey mistake and came down at the fourth last allowing Paloma Blue to canter home in isolation. Josh’s partner, Kayley explained that the horse would probably go to Cheltenham next for the Hunter Chase evening and considering he has a 6th in the Arkle over the course, he should be followed. The second winner for the Newman/Andrews combination came in the form of Hearts Corner who overcame greenness to win by 3 lengths from Conor’s Gift and Rock Steady Eddie. Bought from Ireland where he had finished third in a point for existing owner Becky Kealey, the yard had thought he would win on his debut for them at Dunsmore but he unseated when going well.
There was a bittersweet moment for Ella Herbert when her Field Exhibition who is affectionately known as “Flo Jo” at home, easily took the Ladies Open from her sole rival Captain Bucks after a well-controlled ride from the front. This was the mare’s 5th win for Ella from 16 starts and was also her swansong as she was now bowing out to retire to the paddocks where she would visit Walzertakt at the Chapel Stud in Worcestershire. Ella who works for Ed and Polly Walker had only decided to get into racing a few years ago and bought Flo Jo out of a sale where she had previously been in training with Christian Williams. She explained “She will be disappointed this is her last race as she loves her racing and the more hills the better!”
There was drama in the Restricted race when early leader Vermillion Cliffs came down four fences from home as he was passed by Donny’s Fortune who had been jumping well with Nuova Vita some way back in third. However at the next fence Donny’s Fortune landed steeply and came down leaving a surprised Chloe Emsley on Nuova Vita to come home in their own time. Owner Elaine Berrington was thrilled and explained how she had come to own and name the horse. “He was basically a rescue as I saw him when he was only a yearling looking very sorry for himself and it took me less than half an hour to decide I had to have him. I eventually thought as he got older he ought to go into training and Polly suggested the name for him which means “New Life” because that’s what I had given him!”
Another horse who has benefitted from a rescue situation is Spencer Moon who was recording his 17th win for the Price family when he took the Men’s Open under James King from Ofalltheginjoints by 5 lengths. “He was the best £520 I have ever spent!” exclaimed trainer Luke Price’s father Kieran who had gone to Exeter cob sales to buy cobs when he saw the thoroughbred and decided that they had to have him too. Although he is now 15 years old, he shows no sign of slowing up