Review by Emma Forman
Photos from this meeting available here.
The Belvoir Point- to- Point races took place at Garthorpe on Sunday where a fair crowd watched some competitive racing in fine but cool, early spring weather. The ground was officially described as “good” and highlights included a double for leading lady rider Gina Andrews, taking her tally of wins to 28 for the season.
The opening race confined to Belvoir and South Notts qualified horses saw a close finish with She’s Real getting the better of Distime by a quarter of a length. Owned by John Chatfield-Roberts and ridden by his son Tom, the eleven year old mare was recording a seventh course win and a return to form. “Helen (Connors who trains She’s Real) has been puzzled as to why she has been out of sorts; she clearly hated the wet at Dalton Park recently but loves this track and ground.” Said the delighted winning owner. Purchased by the Chatfield- Roberts following her initial racing career in Irish Point- to- Points, the Definite Article mare has provided them with plenty of fun and may go to stud at the end of the season.
George Chatterton who finished runner up on Distime had to settle for second place once more in the Teigh Old Rectory Bed & Breakfast sponsored PPORA Club Members’ race for Novice riders. This resulted in an even closer winning margin with just a head separating the winner Susquehanna River and Harry Arkwright from the second horse Minella Friend in an exciting finish. The riders of the first three horses past the post scored points for the Harley Racing Novices Riders’ Championship and the first four are eligible to run in the £1000 PPORA Novice Riders Final at Edgcote on Sunday 19th May.
Nine of the eleven entries for the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate race went to post and it was Christina Blockley’s progressive 6 year old Tully’s Touch that ran out the 5 length winner. Ridden by Gina Andrews, Tully’s Touch came to the last fence 3 lengths to the good of Hadmeathello and Dale Peters, drawing clear as he approached the line. Purchased from Ireland by Aiden Kennedy, Tully’s Touch skipped a grade winning a Restricted race but not a Maiden and has been doing a lot of grid work with trainer John Ibbot. “We just take every day at a time and we will see how he comes out of the race, a Ladies Open race could be next on the agenda.” He said.
Very similar tactics were employed by Gina Andrews in the later Roythornes Restricted race; she had General Arrow in a clear lead at the final obstacle although this time Dale Peters and Law of Gold were closing the gap in the final furlong. “He jumped superbly but he doesn’t do anything once he hits the front.” Confirmed Gina. “He came from Sam Curling in Ireland last May and prefers a right handed track.” she added. General Arrow is owned by the Odd Sock Partnership headed by John Docker and trained by Gina’s husband Tom Ellis who was not at Garthorpe as he was attending Harry Skelton’s stag party, a skiing holiday in France.
Dale Peters tasted victory in the feature race of the day; the Timico Mixed Open with an impressive win by Caryto Des Brosses beating the enigmatic Golden Tobouggan and Jack Andrews by 3 lengths. “He struck into himself and had a 5 week layoff in January and early February so is probably only 80% fit, but I had to run him while the ground is right.” Explained winning trainer David Kemp. The 7 year old will most probably be seen next in a Hunter Chase. Golden Tobouggan was mounted on the track and was making amends for some unruly behaviour that prevented his participation in a Hunter Chase at Stratford recently. Newsworthy and George Henderson were in third place. This race was a qualifier for the Timico Mixed Open Final Hunter Chase at Cheltenham and the Skinner’s Ladies Open Final Hunter Chase at Stratford both in May.
The biggest field of the day lined up in the Fox Landrover Open Maiden race with 14 runners facing the starter. The 5 year old The Triple Pillar scored at the fourth time of asking in the hands of Tom McClorey. Purchased from Tom Lacey by owner Charles Dixey at Goff’s UK sales in Doncaster, The Triple Pillar had been second to Restricted winner General Arrow in a competitive Maiden at the Cottesmore meeting and beat the 4 year old Sabbatical who was in receipt of a stone weight for age allowance. Winning trainer Gerald Bailey was not present as he was at his grandson’s Christening, however, his wife Caroline commented; “This is a nice horse who still needs time to mature, he may run again in a month or so but he wouldn’t want ground any quicker than this. He will stay pointing as Mr Dixey is a pointing enthusiast.”
The 4 year old Staithes made a winning debut for Tom and Sophie Lacey in the concluding 2 and a half miles Chandlers sponsored 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds Open Maiden race, beating Signed And Sealed by 4 lengths. “He ran a bit green on the first circuit; the sun was casting a shadow on the fences. It was plain sailing after that and the result was never in doubt.” Said the winning rider Tommie O’ Brien. The gelding is by the Irish stallion Watar and is likely to go under the hammer at the Goffs UK Aintree Sale in 2 weeks’ time.
The next racing in the Midlands Area is the Pytchley Point-to-Point at Guilsborough on Sunday 7th April.