POINT-TO-POINT: Barber looking to be a cut above

Dorset Echo: LEADING LIGHT: Bellsinni Ron will run for Richard Barber LEADING LIGHT: Bellsinni Ron will run for Richard Barber

THE Wessex Area season starts on Sunday with the Larkhill Racing Club fixture.

Here, Brian Armstrong takes a look at Dorset’s trainers and their runners for the season.

Twenty-two meetings are scheduled in Wessex, culminating in the Weston & Banwell’s evening fixture at Cothelstone, Somerset, on Wednesday, May 14.

Richard Barber has his usual strong team of pointers at Sea-borough near Beaminster, including hunter chase winner Round Tom, a potential Cheltenham Foxhunter candidate, Bellsinni Ron, winner of four of his five outings last season, and the evergreen Barneys Mate, who can add to his 21 career victories.

Siege Of Troy, who was well in contention when falling at the Berkeley, also returns.

The stable has its customary intake of younger horses and the market at early meetings is sure to highlight ones to follow.

Lucia Borradaile will campaign Classic Swain, who opened his pointing account at Milborne St Andrew in 2013, from her Stoke Abbot, near Beaminster home.

Robert and Nicky Atkinson have three horses at Cattistock, near Dorchester.

Milborne St Andrew winner Regal Spider is joined by Fontano, the winner of two races under Rules for the Emma Lavelle stable, and ex-Irish 7yo Walker Ridge.

Graham Foot has two horses at Askerswell near Bridport.

Stable star Johnny’s Way returns after missing 2013 and is joined by Foot’s homebred five-year-old Askers Lad.

Sherborne owner-trainers Richard and Ruth Dimond will race Merry Terry, who returns to hunt racing after winning four point-to-points in 2011.

Kington Magna, near Gilling-ham owner-trainer Mark Hos-kins will race For Sahkey Moony, who was unlucky not to open his UK pointing account at Bratton Down in 2013 under Emma Hamilton.

Rilly Goschen has three horses at Nyland, near Gillingham. These are Thunder On, who opened her account at Larkhill, Peper Harow winner Extra Bold and Risk, third in his two 2012 hunter chases.

Pat Bryant, from Motcombe, near Shaftesbury will race Tre-borough Hill winner River Indus, a possible first ride for 18-year-old Harriet Tucker.

Two young horses may also be in action later in the season.

Wincanton Racecourse chairman Guy Henderson joins pointing’s training ranks from his Shaftesbury home.

Henderson will campaign the ex-Paul Nicholls-trained Minella Stars, a promising second at the season’s opening meeting at Black Forest Lodge in December.

Mary Tory has six pointers at Thornicombe near Blandford, including Crank Hill, the winner of five point-to-points to date.

Battle Bridge misses 2014, so Chloe Swaffield will partner Gleann Ri, a private purchase from former owner Robin Butterworth.

Newcomers include Give Us The Wink and an unmade four-year-old gelding, both homebred by Mary’s mother-in-law Ann Tory out of her winning point-to-pointer Wink And Whisper.

Harriet Besent, from Melc-ombe Bingham, near Dorchester, will again be aboard Deimne, who provided Besent with a dream debut in Larkhill’s Royal Artillery hunt race last January.

Monica and Norman Tory will again race stable stalwart Gunner Be Quick, to be ridden by their son, Rupert, from their Winterborne Whitechurch yard.

Okeford Fitzpaine trainer Sally Alner will race a small string of pointers headed by 2013 Wessex Leading Horse Master Medic, who was unbeaten in six point-to-points and won Wincanton’s Lady Riders’ Series Final hunter chase.

Michael Miller has three horses in his Hazelbury Bryan yard this season.

Promising Larkhill runner-up Token Bay, who is part-owned by Miller’s brother, Andrew, and Jill Miller’s Sparkling Miss, a once raced five-year-old out of the prolific Miss O’Grady, are joined by Steve and Sandra Bailey’s unraced homebred Our Coco.

n During the season, keep up with the latest Wessex news on pointingwessex.co.uk, Point to Point Racing in Wessex on Facebook and @pointingwes sex1 on Twitter.

For a free colour leaflet detailing all the meetings in the Wessex area, send an SAE to Gill Armstrong, Pantiles, Penselwood, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 8NF.

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