THE Stevenstone fixture at Vauterhill, High Bickington, was blessed with welcome Spring sunshine and a good crowd, but only small fields, being the third of the busy West Country fixtures scheduled over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

Humaniste has won his share of races for owner Keiran Johns and Stoodleigh trainer Danielle Kenealy and added the Mixed Open to his CV here.

It looked as though Josh Newman had timed his effort on Sixteen Letters to perfection at the penultimate, but the 12-year-old got very tired after jumping the last and Will Biddick seized the opportunity to edge past on Humariste 75 yards from the line. 

Humaniste has not always been straight forward, but has had enough talent to win over hurdles and on the flat plus five point to points. 

“He has been a saint for us and I think he enjoys it. He will probably go to Bratton Down,” remarked the trainer, who might even be tempted to return to the flat at Bath in the summer where he was placed last August.

Josh Newman soon earned compensation, firstly as a trainer and then in the saddle. The Woolminstone handler sent out John Gardener’s mare Bang on Target to share the spoils with Jubertilee in the four-runner Grass Roots Conditions event as the duo fought out a desperate neck and neck battle up the finishing straight. 

“She is an honest mare and has been in some competitive races,” remarked Kayley Woollacott. Bang on Target’s rider Rob David is a bit of a dead heat specialist, three of his 10 winners coming in this way. 

The betting market almost predicted a dead heat with the winner marginally preferred at 6-5 to runner-up Jubertilee’s SP of 5-4. 

Charlotte Summersby was partnering her second winner of the season and ninth of her career including two under rules, saying: “It was perfect for him. We got an easy lead and he jumped well although he was going a bit left all the time and I was glad that Rob was on my outer.”

Five of the six runners in the Mares Maiden went to the second last with a chance, but Newman’s mount Did Ja Ever soon asserted and was comfortably ahead reaching the judge. 

This six-year-old mare runs in the colours of the 10-strong Blackmore Racing Club and will probably go hurdling now. The National Trainers Championship is hotting up and this winner helped to add to Josh Newman’s bid.

Pileon appreciated a drop in class to take the Hunt race after a hard-fought dual with Joey Steel. 

Natalie Parker’s mount got the upper hand on the run-in. “He idles a bit on his own and I was glad that Fly (Martin McIntyre) came up to me along the top,” said the winning rider, edging her way towards a half century of pointing winners. Natalie’s sister Laura Jones trains Pileon for owner Julia Batho, who looked after the Yeats gelding when with Philip Hobbs and is now travelling head girl for Paul Nicholls. 

Only three turned out for the concluding Maiden which saw Deborah Treneer’s Treacy’s Jim cruise clear of Talkin’ Tennessee as the favourite Bud Success came to a halt with a circuit to go. “We bought him from Jimmy Frost to replace Static Jack who we lost at Buckfastleigh last year”, said the owner. whose son Michael was in the saddle. The jockey rides out for Jamie Snowden and faces his final assessment to qualify as a chartered surveyor at Reading shortly.