10:00am Thursday 17th April 2014
TWO riders scored their first successes at the Cotswold Vale Farmers point-to-point in Andoversford.
Brian Cullinane, who is based at Jonjo O’Neill's yard in Temple Guiting, enjoyed his first triumph in 15 rides with most in his native Ireland.
The 21-year-old rode It's Like That (3-1) to success in the Members race after Tora Bora’s departure at the 13th left Mark Wall and favourite Twill Stand To Us breathing down their neck.
But the leader, joint owned by Cullinane and Mike Walton, had no difficulties retaining his advantage over the final obstacle.
Rachel Talbot also recorded her first success as the 26-year-old took Ilongue (5-4 favourite) to the front from the start of the Ladies' race.
Wall hoped to go one better on favourite Silver Man in the Maiden but was unseated and Northern Silver (6-1) benefited in the colours of the Robin Raceline Syndicate.
Trainer Sarah Jayne Davies praised syndicate founder member Glenn Davies, who passed away 10 days prior to the win.
The Dodson and Horrell Novice Riders race saw Soulard (5-1) finish alone after various mishaps to rivals, giving victory to owner, trainer and rider Ian Hargreaves, who works at Sophie Leech’s yard in Westbury-on-Severn.
Archie Bellamy and Brimham Boy looked poised to cause an upset in the Men's Open but Sean Bowen on 4-6 favourite Bobs Law quickened into a clear lead. She's Real (4-1) won the restricted.
Noble Ben (11-10 favourite) and Joe Drinkwater rounded off the meeting by winning the Conditions Race for Redmarley owner and trainer Heather Ridley.
The North Cotswold point-to-point is next Monday at Paxford, near Chipping Campden, with the first race off at 1pm.
Kim Smyly’s Stanton-trained gelding Scenic Route is expected to go close in the Members with Coolykereen Castle and Woodlark Island challenging.
Working Title should provide another winner for Joe Drinkwater, who is attached to Graham McPherson's yard at Stow-on-the-Wold.
The Young Horse Maiden is the type of event Tom Lacey's Chipping Norton yard specialises in and Love Manhattan is fancied on his racecourse debut.
Meanwhile, top National Hunt trainer O’Neill is sponsoring pony racing at point-to-points in the West Midlands.
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