The Point-to-Point season has stuttered into life, but the wet autumn is playing havoc with autumn fixtures. Both the Carmarthenshire and Knightwick were forced to reschedule their events in November, and the wet weather doesn't appear to be relenting.
Despite this, Gloucestershire has achieved some success in the fixtures that have taken place. The Portman fixture at Badbury Rings on November 12th saw ground lauded by all connections, but which deteriorated as the afternoon progressed. Nevertheless, the Hendy Jaguar Land Rover Maiden race provided compensation for trainer Max Comley whose Wagner had been beaten earlier when Jay Bee Whiskey ridden by James King recorded a seven lengths win over Horizon D’Ainay ridden by Toby McCain-Mitchell.
Previously owned by James, he was sold at the end of last season to Kevin Crawford who sadly missed the win as he was away on holiday. Max currently has 30 horses in his yard in Naunton and explained that he had been very hopeful that this gelding would go well for his connections.
The hugely competitive November fixture at Cheltenham saw the big prizes scooped up by Irish yards and the goliaths of Ditcheat and Seven Barrows. Nevertheless, every race is valuable over these three days, and Nigel Twiston-Davies and Jonjo O'Neill both kept the home flag flying.
Broadway Boy and Tom Bellamy teamed up to win the listed From The Horse's Mouth Podcast Novices Handicap Chase, formerly run on the Friday for the Naunton handler, whilst he also produced the runner-up Weveallbeencaught.
An altogether closer affair was the Intermediate Handicap Hurdle won by family team Jonjo O'Neill. Justifying 85/40 favouritism, Springwell Bay's 1 1/4l victory looks closer than it actually was. The six year old in the ownership of Gay Smith was idling in front, and may readily win again under a penalty.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Friday, a forgotten man of British racing also resurfaced. Slad-based Tom George has sent just 33 runners racing this term to date. His primary focus nowadays is supporting a burgeoning French operation fronted by son Noel and Amanda Zetterholm in Chantilly. They enjoyed an outstanding performance from stable star Il est Francais at Auteuil's November two day fixture, now headed for one of the key novice chases at kempton's Christmas meeting. George runners in the UK are like hen's teeth, but Rascal produced a staying performance in a maiden hurdle at Doncaster on Friday, and is as likely to head south toward Paris as east toward Cheltenham for his next outing.