BARBURY racecourse was clear and sunny, but crisp and cold last Sunday for its first of four meetings this season, the Owners and Riders Club point-to-point.

A fair-sized crowd was rewarded with an excellent turnout of 85 horses entered, 65 took part.

The highlight of the card, both on paper and on the day, was the Mixed Open – sponsored for the first time by Equine Health Centre Ltd.

Of the 25 entries, 19 stood their ground, including John Corbet victor Now Ben, Lilbitluso – who had such an outstanding season in 2015 – and Ericht, useful under rules for Nicky Henderson, who was present to watch daughter Camilla ride.

The spoils, however, went to Iberico, following up last year’s success in the same race and initiating a double for rider Sam Jukes and owners Clive and Eileen Bennett.

“It was worth cleaning the cup after all,” laughed a delighted Clive. “When we saw the entries, we thought we had no chance this year, but that was extraordinary. He’s 11 going on 12, but he’s still improving.”

Iberico is likely to stay pointing, but the winning trainer-rider refused to be drawn on plans, saying only: “We’ll see how he comes out of the race. He’s direction-dependent – he wants a flat left-handed track and soft ground is best.”

Emma Alvis, owner-trainer of Big Casino, was responsible for the Bennetts’ and Sam’s second scorer – Chasforgold in the Tony Kemp Memorial Intermediate, a competitive 10-runner contest.

Winning owner Eileen Bennett said that, despite all the years she and Clive have been owning pointers and the 80+ winners they’ve owned, this is only their second ever double.

After Sam and the Bennetts, the hero of the day was 16-year-old Connor Brace, who rode his first winner over fences just seven days after having his first rides in points. He was successful on William Money – on whom he was second last week – for his grandfather, long-time pointing supporter David Brace, in the 12-runner Dodson & Horrell Novice Riders race.

“That was fantastic – the most pleasure I’ve ever had from a race,” was a visibly emotional David Brace’s first reaction afterwards. “Connor rode a lovely race.”

The next meeting at the track, the Barbury International point-to-point, is on Saturday, January 20.

Visit for full results from this meeting.