THE SOUTH DORSET HUNT
GWANAKO gave an “awesome” performance to win Sunday’s South Dorset Ladies’ Open in a fast time under Megan Nicholls.
The 11-year-old led after a circuit before galloping clear of his toiling rivals.
“He’s been buzzing since he won at Larkhill three weeks ago but that was awesome,” said Paul Nicholls’ assistant head girl Rose Loxton, who trains Gwanako at her Bruton farm.
“The plan is to keep him pointing, probably at the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale (on March 9), and then possibly go for the 2m-5f race at the Cheltenham hunter chase evening.”
Richard and Tina Dunsford’s Certain Flight will go hunter chasing after taking the Bonhams Men’s Open in facile fashion under Will Biddick, who never moved a muscle throughout the contest.
“He just gets better and better,” said Janet Cumings, whose husband Keith completed an acrossthe-card double with Thetalkinghorse at Black Forest Lodge.
“He’ll probably make his hunter chase debut at Taunton and if all goes well there we’ll start to dream.”
Aces Or Better’s Hunt race win was a family success as the horse was ridden by 21-year-old University College London medical student George Bingham and is owned by his parents George and Sarah, and grandmother Sue Maxse.
“We sent the horse to Jenny Gordon seven weeks ago after Sarah was knocked over by a horse in our yard and I broke my pelvis out hunting,” said George senior, clearly pleased with the family’s change of fortune.
Mangans Turn’s Maiden race victory delighted owner Bill Dupont ahead of his four-week holiday visiting friends and family in Australia and New Zealand.
Partnered by his trainer Jack Barber, Mangans Turn stormed clear up the hill after leader Sutton Storm (Will Biddick) had blundered when holding a marginal lead at the last.
Peter Mason, who had produced Shy John late to take Wincanton’s Stewart Tory Memorial Hunter Chase 72 hours earlier, adopted similar holdup tactics aboard Martin Rice’s Restricted winner You Too Pet.
“He’s green and quirky and has to be held up like Shy John as he doesn’t do much in front, but he’s growing up fast,” reported Peter’s wife, Nif.
Two Welsh competitors registered their first-ever wins at the meeting.
Trainer Gareth Moore, from Pyle, near Bridgend, got off the mark at the fourth attempt when Castle Beach led at the last in the 2m-4f Maiden.
The win also provided the perfect return for 27-year-old jockey Barry Denvir after an 18-month absence due to an injury sustained playing football.
Multiple pony race winner Sean Bowen, 16-year-old son of licensed trainer Peter Bowen and his wife Karen, opened his pointing account in confident style aboard David Brace’s Dunraven Prince in the Novice Riders’ race.
Sean, who hit the headlines when he and his younger brother James took the two finals of the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series at York in September, had already made the perfect start under Rules when winning a Uttoxeter hurdle race in December.