Woollacott takes national lead

PUBLISHED: 18:06 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 14:04 09 August 2010

Richard Woollacott took the outright lead in the National Men s title race with a Holnicote treble on horses from his Rose Ash, South Molton, stable on Saturday, writes Brian Armstrong.

Minehead Harriers & West Somerset Hunt

at Holnicote - 8 May 2010

Richard Woollacott took the outright lead in the National Men's title race with a Holnicote treble on horses from his Rose Ash, South Molton, stable on Saturday.

Richard led off in the Open Maiden with Jopero, who looked booked for third until the Louise Rycroft-trained Thank Evans (Ryan Mahon) fell at the last and impeded Wayward Leader (Matt Griffiths), who recovered to finish second. "I deliberately went round the outside to give my horse a clear sight of the fence", said Richard. "We wouldn't have won, but it's all about the jumping".

Come What Augustus, Richard's second winner, made it seven wins from seven outings this season in the Mixed Open. Who Else Knew (Will White) looked a major danger when jumping into the lead four out, but Come What Augustus was back in control in the straight. The win left the eight-year-old well in contention for the season's Leading Horse Award. Thomas Flint's Iris's Prince, winner of the 2007/08 Award with 10 wins, was made favourite on Saturday, but never really threatened in fourth.

Richard completed his treble and reached the 29-winner mark on Henri Prends Garde, who took a thrilling Confined race where four of the five starters jumped the last fence virtually in line. "We've done a lot of work on his back since we bought him", confided Richard. "He jumped fantastically today and he's a perfect gentleman of a horse".

Seven-time National Champion Polly Gundry joined Claire Allen at the top of this season's Ladies' list on Stan and Sally Rawlins' Intermediate winner Righteous Glory, although the seven-year-old was slow at the last and only just held Malcolm Harding's renewed challenge on Shady Hollow by a neck. "He's won a Restricted and an Intermediate in a fortnight but he'll go out in the field now", said Sally, looking forward to a Ladies' Open campaign next season.

Fully Loaded (Lucy Pugsley) made it eight wins from 10 outings this season in the Novice Riders' race to retain his one-win advantage over Come What Augustus and the Northern-trained Indian Print in the Leading Horse Award table. The ten-year-old led after three out and was always holding frontrunner Le Forezien (Richard Hawkins) up the straight. "He pulled his way to the front going down the hill on both occasions", said Lucy, now on the six winner mark, two behind leader Claire Douglas in the National Lady Novice Riders' list. The winner may reappear at Bratton Down on Saturday.

Saint Romble and Katherine Hobbs shot clear of their rivals from the second last to repeat their 2009 win in the Hunt race. "We all adore this horse at home", said Katherine's mother, Sarah Hobbs. "He hunted with the VWH earlier in the year, loved the hedges and banks, and could run in the Ledbury Golden Button race on New Year's Day".

Vintage Class and Sam Allwood turned the Restricted race into a procession after taking the lead four fences from home. "He's run six races for me, won twice and been in the frame on the four other occasions, so you can't ask for better than that", smiled Beaminster owner Bill Dupont.

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