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01 March 2012 Preview: Taunton Vale Harriers - Kingston St Mary

by Brian and Gill Armstrong

PADDY THE PIPER: The Heard family's evergreen runner could be the one to beat
photo: Tim Holt

Paddy The Piper, who pulled up behind For The Staff in Buckfastleigh's £1,000 West Country Champion Chase Mixed Open, can belie his 15 years by taking the Taunton Vale Harriers Mens Open at Kingston St Mary on Sunday.

The bay has won 10 races since being bought by the Heard family, including six last season, and seems to find his best form in the Spring. Opposition may include Ideford Arch winner Tres Bien, Massimo, a good third to For The Staff at Chipley Park in January, and grand campaigner Touch Of Flame, who won his Restricted here seven years ago, but Paddy The Piper is the sporting suggestion.

Double Mead, who trotted up at Milborne St Andrew a fortnight ago, is the automatic selection for the Ladies Open. The Smith-Maxwell family has also entered Winning Counsel, while last season's first and second Own Line and Bucket Awl may renew rivalry. Former high class chaser Idle Talk and Welsh raider Naughty By Nature may be the two to complete the placings.

Idle Talk is among the 15 entries for the Confined contest. Certain Flight, who put up a tremendous performance to win a 17-runner Restricted here last season, and course winners Croix De Guerre and Three Half Crowns are three to consider. The two to choose from are Pertinent, who has been absent since falling at Newton Abbot in May 2010, and Mustangsallyrally, yet to win a Point-to-Point but with a whole string of high class placings behind him including a narrow defeat in the 2010 classic Coronation Gold Cup, though with a Taunton Hunter Chase run today (Thursday), is unlikely to show.

The Restricted has attracted 21 entries and looks difficult to solve. Fairhaven impressed at Buckfastleigh and can hold off Ideford Arch winner The Mamur Zapt.

The Hunt race entry includes Torken, who was third at Great Trethew on Sunday, but Bedlam Boy showed high class form under Rules and can make a winning debut between the flags.

The card also features two Maiden races. Persian Shadow and Themanfromcork are two suggestions for the 2m4f contest. Great Tusker finished runner-up over course and distance 12 months ago and can go one better in the 3m event.

Two Pony Races, qualifiers for the Wessex Finals in May, complete the day.

The course is at Fennington Farm, 3 miles N of Taunton off the A38 or A358 (TA2 8AS). First race: 12.00 noon. Admission: £20 per car including all occupants, £10 car and driver only, £5 pedestrians.

For going updates and meeting information, call Talking Point on 09068 44 60 61. For a list of entries via fax, call 09068 44 99 88. All calls cost 61p/min plus network extras.

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