Mendip Express belied his inexperience to win the Coronation Cup, one of point-to-pointing's four classic races, at Larkhill on Saturday. The seven-year-old quickened clear of 2012 winner Divine Intavention, whose jockey Mark Wall had ensured a true run race. "Mark kept quickening the pace and Divine Intavention is a good horse, so I couldn't let them get too far in front," said Will Biddick, celebrating his first Coronation Cup success.
The win was the middle leg of a treble for Will and trainer Richard Barber, completed by Bellsinni Ron in the Restricted and course debutant Bitofapuzzle in the Jockey Club PPORA Mares Maiden race. "I'll talk to Richard to see if she should go into training with Harry Fry after this," said breeder Allan Munnis, of Beech Tree Stud, near Frome.
Rachel King credited sidelined Gina Andrews with her Ladies Open win on Isle of Wight owner Hazel Goody's Quedillac: "Gina said I should hold him up, as he only just gets three miles, but he kept jumping past the others; I thought we were in front too early, but he's stayed on well." The win was trainer Stuart Penny's first since his move from the late John Dufosee's yard to Richard de Pelet's premises at Inwood, Henstridge, where Miss Augusta Guest hunted her private pack for 40 years before its 1954 amalgamation with the Blackmore Vale.
First season Hungerford owner-trainer Ed Magor, 27, notched his first win with Boardwalk Empire in the second Maiden (Horses and Geldings). Dead Or Alive put up a superb front running performance to land the Club Members' race for owner-rider Felix Wheeler. Parstara landed her third Larkhill success for owners Audrey Kley, Carol Williamson-James and Anne Tory in the Intermediate.
Harriet Besent, 24, made the perfect start aboard her mother Carol's Deimne in the Royal Artillery Hunt race. "She jumped beautifully apart from one mistake, although I did take the last two steadily," admitted Harriet, who trains the mare on the family dairy farm at Melcombe Bingham, four miles from the Milborne St Andrew track.
The Paul Wildish-trained Cognac provided owner Claire Blakiston and rider Lauren Bould with first-ever wins after making most of the running in the King's Troop RHA Club member's race.
The next Wessex meeting will be the Countryside Alliance Club at Badbury Rings, on 24th February.