To report that the Pytchley meeting at Guilsborough was eventful would be a grievous understatement. The headlines are doubles for Dale Peters – who scored on both Law Of Gold in the Restricted and Dido in the PPORA Club Conditions race, Jack Andrews – Pelegrine Falcon in the Open Maiden and According To Dan in the 8YO+ Conditions – and for trainer Stuart Morris, with Pelegrine Falcon and According to Dan, but there is much to report, including a rare dead heat.
First, a mention for Robert Johnson and his team for the work put into the course at Guilsborough. The varying flood plain soils mean that the ground takes and retains water differently in different areas. Many thanks to them for the selective watering which was done to provide such a consistent racing surface around the course.
Thank you too, to the dedicated parents of our pony racers, many of whom had travelled a great distance to take part in three races which took place before the main card began.
The first of these, for novice riders, was won by Follow The Fox and Harry Greasby. The winner was chased hard by Captain Hurricane (Kaitlin Perks) who made the early running and Princess Propellor (William Flinton) who took second at the line.
The second race, the 138cm Open, was a good contest between well-matched ponies Churchill (Tom Hutsby) and Little Galway Girl (Zak Kent), with the former taking the win after a good ride by Tom Hutsby.
The third and final pony race was for 148cm Open ponies and produced another good finish. The field were tightly packed until about two furlongs out when Madame Mimi (Henry Main) and She’s A Lady (Fern O’Brien) broke free to contest the final stages. She’s A Lady won a good run-in.
The feature race of the day was the Mixed Open race which brought a quality field of seven to the start. Nearly all of these led the race during the first two laps and the race was wide open as they entered the final straight. Western Diva (Claire Hardwick) led at this point but was headed by Black Valentine (Will Thirlby) over the next, with Midnight King (Jack Andrews), Burtredgipandgump (Archie Wright) and Thetalkinghorse (Tom McClorey) all vying for position. An excellent finish saw all five of these separated by a total of five lengths with Black Valentine taking the race by half a length. This follows a very impressive win at Brafield-on-the-Green last month and takes the 8-year-old’s impressive record to 4 wins from six outings.
The first race, the Hunt Members, left onlookers chuckling and scratching their heads in equal measure. Spanish Fleet, a one-off ride for Archie Wright, wasn’t keen to start. With them left behind, the race became a contest between three horses. Jack Andrews on Teeton Power led John Russell and Gunmoney and Berties Desire (Will Thirlby) for half the race, with Gunmoney eventually pulling away with three to jump. The 14-year-old, trained by Gerald Bailey, then began to idle. Archie Wright and Spanish Fleet, some way behind, were enjoying a good fast run home, and saw an opportunity. Russell, becoming aware of Wright’s progress at the last, was able to extract some acceleration from Gunmoney, and there was a frantic dash for the finish, during which Russell lost him whip. Spanish Fleet got up just in time for the 2 to finish literally neck and neck. A dead heat.
Since returning to trainer Lizzie Collins after his career under rules, Spanish Fleet has been living in the field and ridden out by Pytchley Huntsman Dan Cherriman. Dan would have been in the plate for this meeting were he not on duty, and plans to race him from now on.
The second race was a maiden for 4, 5 and six-year-old horses won by the four-year-old Whateva Next and James King, another successful Dubai Destination-sired store horse for Francesca Nimmo and Charlie Poste. Much of the race had been led by Teeton Surprise (Jack Andrews) who might well have won had he not been tracked by two impressive four-year-olds with an 18lb weight advantage and he surely will not be a maiden for long. Likewise the ante-post favourite, four-year-old Go Go Geronimo, who also impressed, and looks a promising prospect for the Chatfeild-Roberts/Bailey partnership.
The Open Maiden was won easily by Pelegrine Falcon, the mount of Jack Andrews and trained by Stuart Morris. They made much of the running and pulled away in the run-in to record a 15 length victory over Prince of Thieves (Max Chenery).
There were at least five horses in contention as the Restricted race neared its conclusion with three to jump. As the group rounded the bend at the end of the course Harmoney Row (A. Chadwick) slipped up and brought down Blue Bay Boy (Max Chenery) and badly hampered Cornerman (Jack Andrews) who was making progress at the time. The latter pulled up, leaving a strong running 6-year-old Law Of Gold (Dale Peters) to finish well and record a victory for David Kemp. Alburn (Phil Armson) was second and Almost There (Archie Wright) in third.
The penultimate race on the card was the PPORA Club Members Conditions race which was eventful to put it mildly, as two of the six starters finished the race. Much-fancied Teeton Kato was ante-post favourite but unseated jockey Tom McClorey early on in the race, followed shortly afterwards by Storm Lantern, who lost Jennifer Harbison. The two loose horses played a part in the rest of the race and had to be avoided by the remaining runners on several occasions before they decided to leave the course and head off across Pytchley country, with Huntsman Dan Cherriman in hot pursuit. Susquehanna River (Harry Arkwright) led for much of the remainderof the race with Dido (Dale Peters) close behind. Peters forged ahead with half a lap to run and Arkwright fell with three to jump leaving Dido two fences ahead of Flicka’s Witness (Will Thirlby) in second place.
The final race was a Conditions race for horses of 8-years-old and older. Wither Or Not (Dale Peters) led for much of the race until headed with three to jump, leaving According To Dan (Jack Andrews) and After Hours (James Brace) to battle out the final stages, with According To Dan defying his 14-years and lowly rating to win by half a length. Jack Andrews was a last minute replacement take over a ride from the owner, who was among seven ex-jockeys cheering on the winning partnership from the back of a truck on the overlooking hill.
The next Midlands fixture is Revesby Races on the 14th April, for which tickets are available online at midlandspointing.com. We look foward to seeing you there.
Results from Guilsborough
Race 1 – Club Members Conditions
1st= Spanish Fleet (Archie Wright) 12/1
1st= Gunmoney (John Russell) 5/2
3rd Bertie’s Desire (Will Thirlby) 8/1
Race 2 – Maiden
1st Whateva Next (James King) 3/1
2nd Teeton Surprise (Jack Andrews) 5/2
3rd Go Go Geronimo (Tom Chatfeild-Roberts) 7/4F
Race 3 – Maiden
1st Pelegrine Falcon (Jack Andrews) 2/1
2nd Prince Of Thieves (Capt. Max Chenery) 14/1
Race 4 – Restricted
1st Law Of Gold (Dale Peters) 4/7F
2nd Alburn (Phil Armson) 6/1
3rd Almost There (Archie Wright) 3/1
Race 5 – Mixed Open
1st Black Valentine (Will Thirlby) 5/4F
2nd Midnight King (Jack Andrews) 20/1
3rd Burtredgipandgump (Archie Wright) 12/1
Race 6 – PPORA Club Members Conditions
1st Dido (Dale Peters) 5/1
2nd Flicka’s Witness (Will Thirlby) 9/1
Race 7 – Conditions 8YO+
1st According To Dan (Jack Andrews) 14/1
2nd After Hours (James Brace) 7/2
3rd Dusk Till Dawn (James Martin) 4/1