Loxton preps for the Foxhunter as entries are released
The legacy of the late Rose Loxton, Bruton trainer who succumbed to cancer last October, was continued in fine style this afternoon, when her husband Sam trained the winners of two hunter chases some 420 miles apart from each other.
On a day of rare treats for the Point-to-Point fanbase, three hunter chases took place between the two courses.
First up, stable star Caid du Berlais, winner of two Champion Hunters Chases at the Punchestown Festival in 2018 and 2019, made all to go clear 3 out and win in his own time under former Pointing graduate Bryony Frost at Wincanton. This was the horse's first run since the Cheltenham Foxhunter of last year, but it didn't show. Winner of his five Point-to-Points to date and seven other Rules races to a value of over £250,000, he must surely be a leading contender for the renewal of the Foxhunter next week.
Up in Scotland meantime, the 100% season record was maintained by the winning performance of Captain Buck's, whose only previous run this season was a third slot behind Miss Seagreen in the Ladies Open at the Avon Vale in December. Harry Cobden took the ride. Captain Buck's is part owned by trainer Paul Nicholls, for whom Rose tutored daughter Megan through her first season's Pointing.
Nicholls was also successful in the third of the day's hunter chases earlier in the afternoon at when Alcala and Harry Cobden teamed up again to win the longer distance open hunters.
Monday was the last qualifying day for the Foxhunters, in which 24 have been entered, headed by last year's winner, It Came To Pass. Seven of these are trained in Ireland, including the Gordon Elliott trained Kruzhlinin, who will need to run under a different trainer to be permitted.
Hazel Hill, representing the Rowley stable, and winner of this race in 2019, warmed up with a victory in late January at Ludlow, whilst the same stable also has Wishing And Hoping, who hasn't been out of the first two in his three runs since Maisemore launched the Three Counties season in October.But an interesting candidate is Monbeg Gold, a neck runner-up to Silsol at Doncaster last month and trained 10 miles from Cheltenham at Jackdaws Castle. Jonjo O'Neill is enjoying an excellent season, and is perhaps the shrewdest trainer operating presently to target a horse to win in the right race at the right time.
Meantime, on the same Wincanton card, the Mulholland stable showed its wellbeing with a double.