THE first of two Hampshire Hunt Point-to-Points at Hackwood Park, near Basingstoke, took place on Sunday, with six races testing the left-handed track left very soft after a morning downpour.
Good-sized fields made for some interesting racing at the meeting, sponsored by NFU Mutual Basingstoke.
Sam Lee, arrived at the course a smidgen late (traffic congestion) for the liking of trainer Fred Hutsby, but the 18-year-old steered Downbythestrand to a 15-length victory from Oz Wedmore on Tommo in the Farmtech Supplies Restricted race.
It was a fourth winner of the season for Lee, who was up at the crack of dawn to milk 100 head of cattle on the family’s dairy farm.
There was a surprise result in the NFU Mutual Ladies Open, with 6/4 favourite Cut the Corner pipped on the line by another junior of the weighing room, Ellie Trousdale, riding her mother’s 13-year-old Be Definite. Ellie thus claimed her first winner on her maiden ride.
The Open Maiden for four, five and six-year-olds was a qualifier for the Goff’s Spring Sales races and the winner was John Smith-Maxwell on Pip Hooley’s five-year-old Tick Tock Ten, beating the Tom Ellis-trained Greta Rose by a distance.
The Conditions race was taken by 4/1 shot Well Mett, trained by Christine Banks and ridden by her daughter, Josephine. The pair gave their absolute all to take the race by a length from Oz Wedmore on Ballypatrick.
Charlie Marshall, on board Cynthia Woods’ Skiptothegoodbit, was well clear going at the last fence in the Maiden Open, only to then find both his feet on the same side of the seven-year-old grey. However, the horse’s momentum helped the young jockey keep his balance and he scrambled back into the saddle to win the race.
The Ward-Thomas Countryside Alliance Club Members race for veteran and novice riders was taken in awesome front-running style by Martin Weston’s Awesome George. The 13-year-old hardly put a foot wrong for novice rider Camellia Cotton, who was standing in for her friend, Cheltenham-bound Laura Mahon.