Anna Pycroft rode her first winner when former top chaser Idle Talk fought back to deny Martin Pitchwood (Alice Mills) in Sunday's Taunton Vale Harriers Ladies Open at Kingston St Mary. Idle Talk completed the Grand National course on two occasions. "I got him privately from Sian McCain after seeing an advertisement on the Jumping For Fun point-to-point website", said Anna, who is in her third season with the horse's trainer, Marie McGuinness. She received the Joseph Coate Memorial Trophy, for the day's best performance by a novice rider.
The Coate family – Michael, Anthea and Natasha – had earlier enjoyed a popular success with Over The Creek, who finished alone under Jo Buck in the hunt race. Jo is now on the six-winner mark and shares the lead in the National Ladies Championship table.
Bishops Nympton trainer Keith Cumings had a double with Gone That Way (2m-4f Maiden) and Certain Flight (Confined) who benefited from the departure of last fence leader Pertinent after the pair had duelled throughout the final circuit.
Tres Bien rewarded "outsider of three" backers by fighting back to deny odds-on Paddy The Piper in the men's open.
Paddy The Piper's rider Michael Heard went one better aboard commentator's nightmare Googoobarabajagal in the Restricted. "A gutsy horse, not too big, and one who doesn't get his feet stuck in tacky ground", summed up Michael's father John, who trains the six-year-old for himself and his father, Ken.
Michael Nolan, who pipped Michael Heard for last season's National Novices crown, was in the winners enclosure after Great Tusker, owned and trained by Philip and Sarah Hobbs, took the 3-mile maiden.
Diptford Moonwalker and 12-year-old William Cox took the 13.2hh Pony Race, and the 14.2 winner was Megan Nicholls on Cool Runner.
New Forest Hunt at Larkhill, Saturday 10th March
Quedillac can complete a hat-trick for Isle of Wight owner Hazel Goody and in-form Nyland trainer Stuart Penny in the Mixed Open. The 8yo won here in January before putting up a fine performance to hold off subsequent Taunton Hunter Chase runner-up Logans Run at Ston Easton. Stuart could also be represented by Tweseldown winner Who Else Knew.
The 15 entries for the Novice Riders' race include Presentandcorrect and Woodbridge Quest, a winner at the Countryside Alliance (Wessex) meeting - Barneys Mate is the selection.
Righteous Glory can take the opening Confined race.
The Intermediate is a potentially cracking contest with Hincheslea Moor, who impressed when beating a big field here in January, Dinnie O, who has won two outings this season and I'm The Article, a 2012 winner here and at Milborne St Andrew, but Bedrock Fred, a Cottenham winner, may be a sporting alternative.
Picks for the two Maiden contests are Trouble Digger in the 3-m contest and Parstara in the 2m 4f event. First race 12.30pm.
Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt at Charlton Horethorne – Sunday 11th March
Keppols Hill can continue his rise through the ranks by overcoming a high-class field in the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Men's Open on Sunday. Opposition may include former Munster National winner and Hennessy Gold Cup fourth Dear Villez, 2009 John Corbet Cup winner Dennis The Legend and Mahonia, a dual winner in Jim Lewis's Best Mate Gold Cup-winning colours under Rules. Silver Monarch and Pastek, popular winners at the Countryside Alliance (Wessex) meeting are among the 10 entries. Keppols Hill gets the vote with Mahonia fancied for the forecast.
Diana and Jane Williams' Swift Counsel is the choice for the Ladies Open. Stuart Penny has entered Quedillac, who is on a hat-trick after wins at Larkhill and Ston Easton, and Silver Monarch, who came back to his best at his favourite Badbury Rings course two weeks ago. Riders of the first three past the post will score points for the AGA Lady Riders Championship.
Keppols Hill would also be the selection if running in the opening Hunt Members race, where Mahonia, Quedillac and Silver Monarch are also among the entries which also include Marky Bob, who came good at Tweseldown on Sunday.
Comeonginger never came off the bridle when winning at Ston Easton and is a confident selection to follow up in the Restricted.
In the two Maiden contests. Dancingtilmidnight, and Ston Easton runner-up Lapin Garou may be two to consider for the 2m 4f event. Provo and Sueski are two possibles for the 3m event.
The Blackmore & Sparkford Vale hounds will parade after the third race. The Dufosee Trophy, in memory of John, Jane and Jason, will be presented after the last race to the most successful rider on the day, followed by two pony races, qualifiers for the Wessex Finals in May.
The course is off the B3145 between Sherborne and Wincanton. First race 12.30.