CHIPPENHAM trainer Mike Hawker saddled two horses for the Members' race at the Duke of Beaufort's point-to-point over the Didmarton course last Saturday – but it was Loose Preformer, ridden by Hawker's nephew and godson Robert, who got the better of the Mark Wall-partnered favourite Numbercruncher.
Coln Rogers-based point-to-point champion Wall adopted front running tactics on Numbercruncher but they could never shake off the opposition and were caught and then passed by Loose Preformer on the downhill run to the fourth from home.
Robert Hawker’s mount looked vulnerable when Punter Friendly mounted his challenge coming to the second last, but a mistake at this obstacle lost them two lengths at a vital stage of the race.
Robbie Henderson renewed his effort on Punter Friendly but having been handed the advantage Loose Preformer was not going to give it back easily and the runner-up was unable to claw back the deficit.
Trainer Hawker said: "We brought him privately. He used to be trained by Nicky Henderson for the Lloyd-Webbers and Abba's Björn Ulvaeus. That’s the fifth time I have won this race.”
Wall did get among the winners when partnering Maybe Plenty in Division II of the 4-5-6-7-year-old Maiden.
He’s A Bully was still going well when he unseated Robbie Henderson at the 16th and Rise To It looked the most likely winner at the next, but Wall’s mount showed great tenacity and came with a renewed effort around the final bend before outpacing his rival as they raced towards the line.
The Area Conditions' race went to the favourite Irish Anthem but an upset looked on the cards because Forget Bob still held a useful lead when making a bad mistake at the third from home. Aldsworth's Nick Phillips did his utmost to retain the partnership before gravity finally took over.
The Mixed Open saw a return to form for Petit Lord who was steered to victory by Lucy May Turner, who went on to complete a double later in the afternoon on Idole First in Division II of the Novice Riders.