Minimalistic goes all out to win while another horse with ‘legs of glass’ makes a winning return after a two-year absence

  • Point-to-point highlights from three of the the five meetings that took place over the weekend (12–13 March).

    A jockey scores a double in tough ground, while an assistant trainer gets time in the limelight while in the saddle.

    Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers, Buckfastleigh, Devon

    Jockey Josh Newman opened the Dart Vale meeting by scoring a brace of wins, taking the hunt members’ with Susan Darke’s 10-year-old Minimalistic (pictured above), followed by the maiden riding Stellar Stream for trainer Neil McLean.

    “That was my fourth win on Minimalistic,” said Josh. “Today should have been a formality and the only way he would have been beaten is if I messed up. The ground was hard work but he coped fine – we didn’t get out of a slow hack.”

    This was Josh’s fourth ride on the five-year-old Stellar Stream.

    “He’s a big, raw youngster with a lot of growing up mentality still to do, but he was good today,” added Josh. “We were up near the front and he was having a good look around, but when it got to the business end, he stuck it out well.”

    Chameron put a couple of disappointing runs behind him to head the mixed open under Martin McIntyre for trainer Sam Loxton and owner Nick Sutton.

    “He was a class horse in the race,” said Martin, who was riding him for the first time. “He just popped away and kept it simple. All credit to Sam Loxton, who does all the hard work.”

    Owner and trainer Zoe Hawkins gave her 11-year-old Micky Stark a stellar ride to win the conditions (level two), four years after the horse’s last win.

    “I knew he’d like the ground and he likes the track because he’s won there before, so I thought we were in with a good chance,” she said. “He’s been going brilliantly at home – his last two races were abandoned, so he was desperate for a run. He lives out in the summer and we take him cross-country – he’s a lovely allrounder.”

    Dawson hits 150th win

    Stellar Notion and John Dawson

    Stellar Notion and John Dawson

    Holderness, Dalton Park, Yorks

    Jockey John Dawson landed his 150th win when 14-year-old former chaser Stellar Notion got up in front to win the hunt members’ for owner Charles Clark and trainer Emma Clark. John opened his account on Benwell at the now-defunct Mordon point-to-point course in April 2007.

    “He’s 14 now and this was his fourth win for connections,” said John of Stellar Notion. “Charles and Emma trained him especially for that race, and it’s lovely that he still loves the game.”

    To cement his victory, John then went on to win the conditions (level one) riding Susan Mason’s Roycano for Stephanie Easterby.

    “He ran well at this course previously, so we hoped he’d go well again,” said John. “He’s now had five wins and five seconds from 12 races across his pointing career.”

    Christy Furness is enjoying his best season ever, scoring a double and taking his career tally to 25 (23 pointing and two under Rules). His double here kicked off with a win in the mixed open riding Christopher Denny’s Clondaw Anchor.

    “He used to be a very good horse under Rules, but has had a few leg problems, so it was nice to have a winner for his owners,” said Christy, who works in London from Monday to Friday as an investment banker and travels to his family home in Yorkshire every weekend to ride. “He likes the course because it’s a stiffer three miles.”

    His second win came aboard his own horse Courting Flow, in the restricted.

    “Jack Teal trains him and he won his maiden nicely at Alnwick,” said Christy, whose father John bought the six-year-old out of Peter Fahey’s yard in Ireland last December. “We’re not in a hurry with him – he’s a nice horse for the future. Jack had a nasty fall at home on Saturday and wasn’t able to come today, so hopefully that will provide him with a get-well tonic. He does a super job.”

    ‘He has legs like glass’

    Volnay de Thaix and Zac Baker

    Volnay De Thaix and Zac Baker

    Pytchley with Woodland, Guilsborough, Northamptonshire

    After two years out of action, 13-year-old Volnay De Thaix made a winning return to the racecourse to land the conditions (level two) 8yo&up under Zac Baker for owner Judy Wilson and trainer Stuart Morris.

    “He has legs like glass,” said Zac. “The ground wasn’t ideal for him as it was quite gluey, so Stuart told me to keep him handy and save a little bit. Turning in for home, we were in third, and then he absolutely took off and I came flying past Gina [Andrews] at the second-last and he won by 12 lengths. It’s nice to see horses of his age wanting to do the job.”

    Dale Peters scored a double, which kicked off with a win in the first race of the day, the maiden 4&5yo riding Quick Sharpener for Alan Hill.

    “My son Joe pinhooked him at the sales two summers ago and we ran him once last year, but he wasn’t mature enough and slightly disappointed us,” said Alan. “He’s come back a lot stronger this year. Dale is good with the young horses and rode him well.”

    Dale completed his double when claiming the silver in the PPORA club members conditions (level two) riding The Unmentionable for Freda and Neville Clark.

    Alan Hill sent out another winner, this time in the mixed open, Diplomate Sivola, who won easily under Ben Sutton for Nick Sutton.

    “He ran well at Sandown in the military race which was his last run, but I wanted to run him over some pointing fences again and he winged round and loved it,” said Alan.

    First win: ‘The going was ideal for him’

    Kilpin and George Edgedale

    Kilpin and George Edgedale

    Assistant trainer for Harry Whittington, George Edgedale, scored his first pointing win riding his own Kilpin in the maiden at Guilsborough.

    George bought the horse in December out of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard and trains him himself.

    “I ran him at Badbury Rings three weeks ago but the ground was too quick for him,” said George. “He had quite a hard race and I wasn’t sure whether to run him again so soon, but the soft going was ideal for him and they went a nice steady pace. Turning in for home, he was in with a chance of a place, but he just kept running and we managed to get over the line first.

    “He’s a nice big horse, a good jumper and a safe ride for me.”

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