A large crowd enjoyed fabulous weather for the Pytchley’s Point-to-Point at Guilsborough on Sunday with two pony races and six horse races on the card.
Proceedings got under way with a race for novice pony riders on 138cm and 148cm ponies which was won, on her racing debut, by ten-year-old Molly Turcan on her pony Spring. A second open pony race for more experienced combinations was won by Nia Kerslake on Pick Pocket.
The first horse race of the day was a Members race which was contested by three runners. The early pace was set by Smiths Hill (Joanna Hewitt), fresh from a maiden victory at Garthorpe at the Belvoir meeting, with Easythingsarebest (John Russell) and odds-on favourite Neumond (Jack Andrews). The latter made some mistakes and couldn’t respond when John Russell’s seven-year-old hit the front in the final half lap, leaving Easythingsarebest to win by 20+ lengths in the fastest time of the day. It was only Russell’s second completion on this horse, having been forced to watch it being ridden by Tom McClorey last season while he was out of action with an injury. “I learned a lot by watching videos of Tom racing him last season and consciously set out to ride him much more positively today,” John told me, “It definitely helped.”
The PPORA Club Members race provided a straightforward victory for Facile Bien and Sam Waley-Cohen, who appeared to be none the worse for his fall in the Grand National the day before. the early pace was set by Treacyswestcounty (Jack Andrews) and Somethingwonderful (Tom Strawson) with Love Manhattan never really in the frame on this occasion. When Facile Bien pushed ahead late in the race Treacyswestcounty briefly looked like they might make a race of it but the odds-on favourite went on to win by 14 lengths. Not for the first time the winner looked a little tired on the run in and it will be interesting to see how he reacts if challenged late on.
The Ladies Open race can only be described as processional, as the ever-impressive multiple Hunter Chase winner Popaway once again showed her class under Immy Robinson, beating Breezy Kin (Lucinda Ticehurst) and John Clayton (Lucy Wheeler) by the distance between two fences in a time of 6m 29s.
The next race, however, provided better racing, as the Mens Open was contested by eight runners. It was joint-favourite Woodview Prince (Joe Hill) who led the fairly compact field around the first couple of laps, with a fresh-looking Proximo (Jack Andrews) close behind him. However when the other joint-favourite Brackloon High (Andrew Barlow) drew upon their reserves in the final straight the other two didn’t have quite enough pace to respond, and the Barlow’s multiple open winner went on to win a third on the bounce by two and a half lengths from Woodview Prince, with Proximo a similar distance third.
Favourite Teeton Kato was impressive in victory in the Restricted race, under Tom McClorey. Joan Tice’s seven-year-old jumped very well and had the speed to pull away from Glory Hunter (S. Lee) and Allie Beag (Joe Hill) and record a nine-length victory.
The final race on the card was an Open Maiden which provided a great finish as Middleton’s Minx (S. Canning), Harodale (Jack Andrews) and The Glover (Tom McClorey) all jumped the last together. The latter of these fell and Middleton’s Minx pulled away to record a one-length victory for Claire Hardwick and her Happy Club, with Harodale second and Curlieu Warrior (G. Hopkinson) not far behind in third. This win was all the more impressive when you bear in mind that Middleton’s Minx had been hampered at the start by a non-starter and had to make up some distance to get back to the field.
Next weekend is a busy one in the Midlands fixture calendar, with two Easter meetings. The Woodland Pytchley hold their meeting at Dingley on Saturday and the South Notts welcome to you Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday. E-tickets for both are available from our shop – www.midlandspointing.com.shop – and include a free racecard which would be £3 if bought on the day. We hope to see you there.