TOM WESTON has established an early lead in the Area Championship and he consolidated his position with a double at the Cotswold point-to-point, Andoversford .
But reigning champion Mark Wall, from Coln Rogers, is hot on his heels and will not give up his title without a fight.
Weston’s first success came in the Men's Open on the Tim Eades-trained The Magherally Man.
Wall set out to make every post a winning one on Numbercruncher but their five-length advantage at the 15th had been whittled down to just two by the penultimate fence.
The Magherally Man closed the gap on the climb to the final obstacle and clung on grimly to his lead in the home straight.
This win provided a first ever double for
The Eades double was initiated by In The Dock’s performance in the Restricted 35 minutes earlier.
Cold Knight moved into contention at the second from home but the favourite’s efforts were short-lived as James Nixon produced In The Dock with a well-timed run to secure a narrow lead at the final obstacle.
Weston’s second winner was provided by the Seanin McPherson-trained The Winking Prawn in the concluding Maiden. The favourite swept into the lead at the 17th but was followed all the way up the final hill by Sweet Like You.
Weston’s mount held a narrow lead at the last, which he clung on to on the flat.
The winner is owned by Stow-on-the-Wold-based Andrew Davis who purchased the seven-year-old at Ascot in the autumn.
First to congratulate connections was previous trainer and Andoversford Clerk of the Course Kim Bailey.
After second place on Numbercruncher Wall steered Scenic Route to victory in the Intermediate.
The complexion of this race changed down the back straight, with Anderson McAuley falling, Squirrel Esquire losing his rider and Star Of Massini being hampered by a loose horse.
Scenic Route was left to make his way home and had little difficulty seeing off the challenges of History Master and Freedom Of Choice over the final two fences.
“He’s only small and has a scratchy action and does not go left-handed, but he was won four points for us," said Stanton-based Giles Smyly representing his wife Kim.
"Mark said the loose horse helped him up the final hill and he went on again when challenged.”
Cutlass Silver was left clear when Bridlingtonbygones fell at the 16th in the Ladies' Open and he started up the final hill with an eight-length lead, but he could not sustain his effort over the final two fences.
Lion On The Prowl struck the front on the final bend, but he in turn had to pull out all the stops to hold the fast-finishing Skyhawk, with Brize Norton just a couple of lengths away in third.
Two horses lined up for the Member's in which Classic Fly was attempting to win the race for the third successive year.
With their solitary rival Powers Cross departing at the 16th the favourite was left to pick up the prize and provide a first victory for 19-year-old James Seivwright who works for Ablington trainer Peter Mason.
“He has gone skiing so I have come in for the ride,” said James.