Lavelle & Mulholland approach November with gusto
Every owner and trainer loves a winner wherever they are, but no-one would argue that winners on the big stage of the UK's major racecourses are that much sweeter. Older readers will recall the late Arthur Stephenson remarking that "little fish are sweet" from Hexham on the day his The Thinker won the Gold Cup in his absence from Cheltenham.
Wiltshire trainers Emma Lavelle and Neil Mulholland will have enjoyed the sweet flavour of a winner at Wincanton this Sunday, the day after the West Country launched a new season of Point-to-Point racing at Bishops Court in unsavoury wet conditions that fully tested the newly imposed regime of ticketed events, body temperature scanning, outdoor weigh-in/out and so on.
On the Rules circuit, winners for hot favourite Namib Dancer, breaking his duck at the sixth time of asking, for Emma Lavelle, and 5 year old mare Princess T in a modest handicap hurdle for Neil Mulholland, made the return trip to Wincanton on Sunday much more palatable.
Emma Lavelle wouldn't generally be on anyone's list of trainers making hay in the summer sunshine, but she kicked off the season with a flurry, and November is generally a good month to follow her runners. Stable star Paisley Park will head for Newbury's Long Distance Hurdle at the end of next month, a fixture that also netted the Ladbrokes Trophy with De Rasher Counter last autumn. November is also a good month to follow Neil Mulholland as the Conkwell Grange tally sheet racks up a gear.
Meantime, amid some relief, Pointing returned this weekend with Devon fixture Bishops Court and the Ledbury at Maisemore. Unfamiliar regimes on entry, and in the process of Weighing etc were met with good humour by everyone delighted to have got their sport back going again.
Leading amateur Alex Edwards, armed with runners from the Rowley stable, dominated the weekend, following a single winner at Bishop's Court with a treble at Maisemore, among which was an early pointer to next year's Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase in Wishing and Hoping, winner of the Mixed Open.
Edwards was determined to make the running on this Foxhunters candidate but was harried throughout by Victoria Sollitt on Roc D’Aspis. The Kent raider Full Irish failed to show his true form, which resulted in the first two named runners being joined by Duhallow Tornado during the final half mile. Wishing and Hoping held a narrow lead into the home straight but Roc D’Aspis was proving a hard nut to crack. Edwards’s mount found extra between the final two fences and put in another exorbitant leap at the last which put the issue beyond doubt.
It's just five weeks until the Wessex Area's first fixture when the Avon Vale launches Larkhill's season on Sunday November 29.