by Emma Forman
A large crowd enjoyed some spring sunshine and thrilling racing action at Dingley on Sunday when the Fernie held their Point-to-Point and also hosted the Midlands Area Feature race; the Fernie Four Miler Mixed Open race.
Ten runners went to post for the Welland Valley Feeds sponsored contest with victory going to Lucy Wheeler riding her own Golden Milan, who took command three fences from home to win by four lengths. Staying the extended trip was never in doubt for the nine year old; “I couldn’t hold him! And he is still fresh; I think he could go round again.” Exclaimed the delighted rider whose father Luke Wheeler had done such a good job of watering the ground prior to the meeting in order to provide “good” racing ground. Golden Milan was bought at Ascot sales last November for the modest price on £600, having raced under rules for Rebecca Curtis. “We have freshened him up by taking him hunting with the Fitzwilliam and also taking him to the beach. He was a bit poor initially so we had to get some condition on him in the autumn. “Explained winning trainer Dale Peters. Both Golden Milan and the second horse High Counsel have qualified to run in the Skinner’s Ladies Open Final at Stratford on Friday 9th June.
The Sam Thompson two and a half miles Maiden race sponsored by Sharnford Tractors yielded the most impressive winner of the day and arguably the riding feat. Tom Lacey’s four year old Space Safari led with a circuit to run, but a mistake at the open ditch left rider Tommie O’Brien with no reins and no irons and Space Safari ran very wide giving up his advantage. However, O’Brien was unfazed and managed to get his mount running again to quicken up in impressive fashion and pass Emory on the run for home. After the race Tom Lacey said; “He is for sale now; he holds an entry at Goffs UK Doncaster sales later this month.” Emory’s rider Tom Strawson is maintaining a seven point lead over Dale Peters in the Midlands Area Male Jockey Championship with just two meetings left in the area this season.
Charlie Buckle celebrated his 23rd birthday by winning the opening Watling JCB Harborough Hunts Club Members race with his own Nightscape. A good jump at the last fence sealed victory for the nine year old who scored at High Easter earlier in the season. “This is a lovely track, my horse has jumped so well, he just kept galloping and gaining at his fences.” Said the winning owner / rider for whom this was a first winner of the current campaign and a fourth career win. Probably George was five lengths away in second.
Another owner / rider was successful when Farmer Matt returned to winning ways in the PPORA Club Members race for Novice Riders sponsored by Charles Stanley. Thomas Murray, who rode his first winner eight years ago, before taking time out to focus on qualifying as a farrier, made the journey from his base near Cheltenham. “We have been looking everywhere for some good ground so we came here.” He explained. Rory Bevin and Festival Bound were three lengths away in second with Limpopo Tom in third. The first three horses are now eligible to run in the £1000 Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Novice Riders Series Final at Garthorpe on Sunday 21st May.
The best turned out winner was also victorious in the Subaru Restricted race when Glory Hunter followed up his Higham Maiden win two years ago moving up to the next grade. Ridden by Sam Lee, the seven year old hit the front on the final bend and eased clear, however, the second horse, Judy Wilson’s Cornerman was closing at the line reducing the winning margin to two and a half lengths. This race was a qualifier for the Subaru Restricted final at Stratford on Friday 9th May.
Loveyoutothemoon was a popular winner of the Jockey Club and Farmers and Mercentile Mares Maiden race. The five year old, who failed to start at Parham over Easter, was ridden by Tabitha Cave and jumped the last in front beating Winola into second place. Purchased privately from Dunraven stud as a two year old, the mare made the journey from Lynn Redman’s yard near Kingston Blount to score for the Back of the Car Club. “The stewards have been fantastic today; they allowed us to send someone to the start to ensure she jumped off. Tabitha gets on well with her; she is brilliant.” Enthused the winning trainer.
The final Rod Millington Open Maiden race sponsored by Fisher German was won by another five year old, Gold Decree who provided Tom Ellis with his sixteenth winner of the season as a trainer. Owned by rider Jack Andrews and Cliff Myers, the gelding is on the market and will be going to the sales. Gold Decree who was broken in by Andrews, led at the last and looked likely to win easily, however he idled in the closing stages. “He is just green, a big baby really but this track and ground have really suited him.” Explained the winning trainer Tom Ellis.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Melton Hunts Club at Garthorpe on Sunday 21st May first race 2pm.