The next meeting in the Midlands area is at Garthorpe on the 29th April, when the Quorn will be our hosts for the day. It looks set to be a great day, with excellent entries for the seven-race card, a set of trade stands which Burghley Horse Trials would be proud of, and food and drink galore for all the family. If you are planning to join us then you will find Garthorpe on the B676, 5 miles East of Melton Mowbray. The postcode for satnavs is LE14 2RS and the gates open at 11am. After racing there will be music in the bar area for those wishing to make a night of it.
The first race of the day (1.30pm) is the Garthorpe Hunts Club Members Conditions Race and the market for this one is likely to be led by Ignite A Light and Dream Mistress. Ignite A Light has been third and second on his last two outings this season, while Dream Mistress has a third and fourth. Tulsa has been getting progressively better this season and trainer Tommy Morgan has a fabulous record at this course, only a few miles from his yard. Bravehearted Harry won here at this meeting last year but hasn’t since and Mister Philson records a victory at this time of year every season, so don’t count him out. Pay The King is another who could feature.
The Midlands Area Club Race is the second on the card and sets off at 2.05pm with a really strong field on paper. Claire Hardwick and Golden Tobouggan won well here in February but were beaten last time out by the promising Facile Bien. Queen Olivia won a similar race at the Atherstone meeting earlier this month, as did Brunswick Gold at Godstone. Theodore Lamb won a fortnight ago at Hackwood Park under Harry Wallace but they have a whole host of other entries this weekend. Another with multiple entries is Quick Oats, but owner and trainer Nigel Padfield has a great record here at Garthorpe and will always be welcome. There are other who I could mention but, in summary, this could be a really good race.
Brunswick Gold may instead run in the Men’s Open which follows, among a classy field which includes seven horses rated 100 or more. Conkies Lad won last time out but has other entries nearer home over this weekend, so they will choose their race carefully. The same applies to the Philip Rowley trained Grandturgeon, second last time out after a win in February on soft ground. Rowley may instead declare Hazel Hill, so far unbeaten in this country and certain to lead the market if he runs. The top-rated entry is the Gerald Bailey trained Mr Madeit, which is returning to Point-to-Points after two hunter chases this season. Bailey also trains Thetalkinghorse which could run here, but also has a run in the Ladies Open next. Proximo and Warden Hill both have recent victories and add even more class to what promises to be another fabulous race.
The aforementioned Ladies Open could see an interesting contest. Jenny Pidgeon trains Sue Busby’s Top Smart (Gina Andrews) which won here last year and is unbeaten since, and almost certain to start favourite. If Thetalkinghorse runs in this he will be piloted by Lutie Akinci and will like the good ground we are likely to see. We may also see Beggar’s Velvet who beat a good field last time out, among which was Western Diva, entered here, who will carrying a stone less than the leading contenders.
The Midlands Area Club Members race is for older horses on nine-years-old and upwards and has attracted a promising 19 entries. The conditions of this race specify that horses cannot have won any race since December 2015. Many of these have similar ratings but the best of these is Bravo Riquet who was second to Hazel Hill here at Garthorpe on his last run in March. Simon Andrews trains Can Mestret which was second to the prolific Decade Player at High Easter in their last run. This horse is also entered for the Ladies Open so may not run here. Laganbank, on the other hand, is only entered in this race, returning after a long break from pointing but well thought of. Gallox Bridge was third here last year at the same meeting. There are many other horses entered here and elsewhere so this race will be difficult to predict until declarations are made on the day.
The sixth race of the day is the PPORA Club Members Conditions race, which is for horses which have won Hunt Members, Restricted or Maiden Races only. Royal Beekeeper is entered here, and being a four-year-old will only carry 10st 10lbs in a race where some are carrying 12st 3lbs. He has raced with three different jockeys and either loses them or wins the race, which he did last time out at Kingston Blount under Gina Andrews, who is also down to ride here. Easythingsarebest is another to have won recently, at the Pytchley meeting, where he beat Neumond. Teeton Kato also won at the Pytchley meeting and will be looking to follow it up here. Bingo Star has shown promise this season and has Jack Andrews booked to ride, while Nelson’s Legend has won this season but will go off as top weight and with a new jockey in the plate. Martin Ward brings Virgo The First which is also on form but lacks a win this season. Fred Henderson has the ride on his Father’s Dream Mistress, an Intermediate horse which hasn’t won since last season either. Thomas Patrick will certainly be fresh after his recent win, which was a walk over at Thorpe Lodge a fortnight ago.
There are 15 entries for our last race of the day, the Open Maiden race. Tom Ellis trains Distant Rain, which stands out in this field; second last time out at Kingston Blount under Gina Andrew and likely to go off favourite. Another to watch could be It’ll Be Grand which was second behind favourite Bazukhov at the Atherstone meeting. Alan Hill brings Harris Garden which was second last time over the shorter 2m 4f distance but may stay well. As ever with maiden races, anything can happen!
Tickets are £10 on the gate with under 16s being admitted free of charge. If you buy your ticket in advance online you will be entitled to a free racecard on entry which would normally be £3. www.midlandspointing.com/shop.