By Emma Forman
The annual South Wold Point-to-Point took place at Revesby Park on Sunday opening the season in the Midlands area.
A fair crowd enjoyed some thrilling racing action that took place in bright winter sunshine, one of the highlights being riding doubles for Tommie O’Brien and Dale Peters, with the latter bringing his career tally to 100 wins. The new left hand direction and course layout was a success by popular opinion and racing took place on ground officially described as “Good to soft, good in places.”
Tommie O’Brien, having his first experience of riding at Revesby, started the day well in the opening PPORA Club Members Conditions race for 5 year olds and over, kindly sponsored by Pedersen Contracting Ltd, a race that was put back by half an hour to allow for the overnight frost to come out of the ground. Here O’Brien teamed up with Angela Slatter’s Waterloo Warrior; the pair took up the lead on the home bend and went on to beat George Chatterton and Some Kinda Lama by a short head. Teeton Turnip was third for Mark and Pat Barthorpe. The winning trainer, Jake Slatter, has 3 pointers alongside horses he pre-trains for Fergal O’Brien at his stables near Cheltenham. “Waterloo Warrior goes on any going but he is better on softer ground as it slows the others down. He was a bit outpaced at Larkhill last time but the 3- hour journey was well worth it today. “he commented.
O’Brien had to wait until the final race on the card to secure his double; this was a Point-to-Point flat race over 2 miles, the first time a race of this kind has been staged in Lincolnshire. O’Brien teamed up with Max Pimlott’s 5-year-old Ragamuffin and the pair dominated from the front, making every yard of the running and going on to win impressively by 12 lengths. Deremich and Jack Andrews were in second place with Gina Andrews and Annie Flower in third. Ragamuffin is trained by Ollie Pimlott and named after his father, Chris Pimlott’s first winner. Ollie, who works as an assistant trainer to Tim Fitzgerald, purchased the Arcadio gelding at Tattersalls Ireland Fairyhouse sale 2 years ago. It is likely that Ragamuffin’s next engagement will be when passing through the sales ring once more at one of the UK auction houses sometime in the spring.
Dale Peters’ brace of winners came in close succession, starting with Bask In The Glory in the NFU Spilsby (Philip Odling) sponsored Restricted race. Again, this was a front running dominating performance. “Once he was in a rhythm he was good; he has a cracking cruising speed. The only issue was the sun casting a shadow on some of the fences and making him back off a bit.” Said Peters who also trains the 7-year-old for the Hunter family. Aclassagold who looked well in the paddock, ran on gamely to take second place close home for Martin and Jane Wanless, while Pelegrine Falcon gave Jack Andrews another placed effort in third.
The double was completed to give 27-year-old Peters’ his century of winners in the following race, the Veteran Horse Conditions race kindly sponsored by The Jockey Club & Retraining of Racehorses, with Newsworthy. Winning owner James Henderson was not present but had sent the 10-year-old gelding to Dale Peters’ Cambridgeshire stable in November. “Mr. Henderson just said to do what I could with him; he is a monkey and has been frustrating. He is inconsistent in his performance and needs a good routine. He certainly would have been better with more runners so I could have tucked him in.” Said Peters. Speaking about riding his 100th winner he added; “I am so lucky to have such lovely owners, we have 13 horses in and I am also riding for David Kemp this year.”
Perhaps the most popular winner of the day came in the Melvyn Leach Open Maiden Memorial race kindly sponsored by Ian Wilson. Here it was a case of moving to plan B as the race unfolded; rider Gina Andrews was going to drop Benefaktor in behind other runners, however, with a slow early pace she had to make more use of him. The 7-year-old is trained by Gina’s husband Tom Ellis for a group of owners including Brian Crawford in whose red, white and light blue colours he runs. “It is 24 years since I had a winner, the last horse to win in those colours was Oaketee. I was more nervous this morning than I am when I am doing the clerk of the course job at Garthorpe!” Said the delighted Crawford. Benefaktor showed a tendency to jump out to the right, losing some ground, so may be better suited by a right handed track for his next race.
Tom Ellis also saddled Cheltenham intermediate final winner Latenightpass to walk over in the Skinners Ladies Open race for his Mother, Pippa who also bred the 7-year-old. “A long stiff track suits him, he was fourth at Larkhill, only beaten four lengths and both the winner and the second have won since. There is a Hunter Chase at Wetherby on 1st February which could be an option for him next.” Said Ellis.
The Men’s Open race sponsored by Asher Swimpool Centre Ltd, turned into a match between Big Georgie and Thyne For Gold. After hunting round for the early part of the race, a sprint for the finish ensued and in the closing stages it was Big Georgie who prevailed. This horse is trained by James Ridley in Worcestershire for Mark Middleton and Ridley was also in the saddle. “Zac Baker rides most of the horses I train and this is the only one I will be riding. We will look for another race in the mud as the softer ground really suits him.” Explained Ridley.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Club meeting at Thorpe Lodge next Sunday.