17 March 2011 Preview: Quantock Staghounds - Cothelstone
by Brian & Gill Armstrong
Croix De Guerre must repel a strong West Midlands challenge if he is to retain the trophy for Sunday's Quantock Staghounds Ladies Open at Cothelstone.
The winner of 14 races, including six under Rules, Croix de Guerre looked on good terms with himself when making a winning reappearance at Kingston St Mary a fortnight ago. Sunday's opposition could include the Smith-Maxwells' Double Mead, who overcame a three-month absence to cruise home at Didmarton, Kicks For Free, who was unbeaten in two early season Cottenham outings and Rocklandslad, who made a winning debut for the Julie Houldey stable at Higham. Croix de Guerre will get the local support, but Double Mead and Kicks For Free may fight out the finish.
Course winner Johnny's Way, who is unbeaten in his four completed Point-to-Points, can complete his nap hand in the Mens Open. East Devon winner Quaddick Lake and Hunter Chase winners Sesame Rambler and Nobody Tells Me, who was upsides Croix de Guerre when blundering at the last in the 2010 Ladies contest, may be the three to contest the minor placings.
Quaddick Lake also holds an entry for the Confined, which has attracted 26 Entries. The Hobbs family could be represented by Chiaro, who has yet to make his mark in Point-to-Points, or their stalwart Saint Romble, who always goes well when fresh. Benedictus put up an improved display to take the East Devon Restricted and is the sporting suggestion to get the better of a high-class field.
Chiaro is among the eight Entries for the opening Hunt race and will get the vote if facing the starter. The consistent Just Gladys and Ideford Arch winner Lethal Dream can provide the strongest opposition.
Roisini Bay was leading Benedictus when unseating two out at Ottery St Mary and can gain compensation in the Restricted race. Course winners Amber Love, Job Two, Nicholas The Spark and Sew On Target may be longer-priced alternatives.
Three Maiden races complete the card. Hilda Wild was in contention when falling at the last at Great Trethew and may be the one for the 2m4f event. Bratton Down runner-up Denise's Dip and Strong Saddler may take the two three mile contests.
The course lies north of Taunton off the A358 (TA4 3DT), 3 miles NE of Bishops Lydeard. First race: 12.30pm. Admission £20 per car and all occupants; £10 single occupancy; £5 pedestrians.
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