Having lost the opening two meetings of the season at Garthorpe to COVID, we are excited that on the 24th April we will finally see horses on the well-respected Leicestershire turf for the first time since June 2019.
We will also be welcoming owners for the first time this weekend. However, the meeting is not open to the general public and security has been arranged to ensure that this fixture takes place in a safe and legal environment and doesn’t put the sport as a whole at risk.
The meeting has over 140 entries and watering has commenced today, Tuesday 20th April, with a view to providing good racing ground on Saturday afternoon. The track has not been used at all since 2019 and has plenty of grass cover. Going reports will be issued during the run-up to the weekend.
As a result of the number of entries the Maiden race has been split into two division of 18 runners to provide an opportunity for jockeys and trainers to run multiple horses.
Runners in the feature race of the afternoon, the Melton Mowbray Market Mixed Open, will compete for the prestigious Quorn Gold Cup and there are additional trophies for the leading rider from the local packs and the leading lady rider. Salvatore looks the one to beat here with wins in five of the last seven races and less weight than usual. David and Imogen Kemp’s Law of Gold, with Dale Peters in the plate, will definitely look to challenge. They have won their last five point-to-point outings with two of those victories being here at Garthorpe.
Always Lion, for James King and Jason Warner, won impressively last time out at Dingley, where he beat Fumet d’Oudairies in a great finish. James Owen-trained Just Cause was on the wrong end of a similar finish when they missed out by a neck at Revesby in a finish which many could not separate. They will be looking to even the score this weekend, but it could be at High Easter where they also have an entry. William Easterby brings Black River which would definitely be one to watch, although their last three wins in points were on softer ground and they raced on Monday at Hexham. The Ellis team brings General Arrow, fresh from wins at Charing at Aldington, while Forever Field will aim to continue their 100% record in points and Laser Beam, another East Anglian raider, will surely be in the mix too. Both these last also have entries at High Easter.
The opening Robert Whowell and Partners Conditions race looks like an open too, with seven of the 24 entries being entered in the later race. Several also have entries at High Easter on Sunday so we won’t know until declarations close on Thursday who plans to run their horse where. A number of these horses also have entries in the second conditions race as well.
Law of Gold is the stand out horse in this line up and has enjoyed previous success here at Garthorpe. Ben Sutton has the ride on Diplomate Sivola in this one, fresh from two wins in Novice Riders races. Always Lion has an entry here as well as the open. Team Ellis/Andrews has Al Shahir which won last time out at Kimble, but jockey Jack has three other potential rides in this race on Bingo Star, Neumond and Proximo, all for Stuart Morris. Sister Gina lines up on Killinkere for husband Tom Ellis.
The Roade Fibres Restricted Race follows the Mixed Open and pitches several recent winners against each other. Gina Andrews will ride LateNightFumble, impressive winner at Dingley on Easter Monday, while James King has options with the winners of bother the PPORA Maiden (2m4f) winners at Mollington, in the shape of Fan Club Aulmes and Largy Mountain. Rebel Dawn Rising is the mount of Dale Peters for the Kemp family. Nick Wright’s Tekap one last time out, albeit a year ago, when comfortably scoring at Higham. Other to consider here might be George Chatterton’s ride, Barrack Hill, Steph Easterby-trained Coniston Spa, or Winter Holiday, trained by Charlotte Fuller, curator of the excellent Between The Flags group on Facebook.
The second Conditions Race, next on the card, is for horse of nine-years and over and is kindly sponsored by Whatton House and Gardens. It has attracted 33 entries, so will be split on the day. Notable entries here include Forever Field (Archie Wright), one of six horses entered in the first conditions race and/or the Mixed Open. Well-rated pointer Bayley’s Dream will be hoping for a more successful outcome than their last trip to Garthorpe which saw them unseat the rider early on after a mistake.
Gina Andrews has a good chance on chestnut 12-year-old Free of Charge, close second at Kimble at Easter. Izzie Marshall will ride Laurium for Alan Hill. A very capable pointer with several wins under their girth. Pillowman won the Restricted race at Sheriff Hutton last weekend, clearly fit and ready. The James King/Jason Warner partnership are on flying form at present, so Mr Burgees will have been well prepared.
The first division of the Maiden Race, sponsored by William Hercock Builders Merchant, includes several four-year-olds claiming a full stone of allowance over other runners. These include Station Yard Racing’s Sure Listen, a half brother to points winner Rambling Rector. Go On Chez showed promise when second over a shorter distance earlier this month, while Dale Peters’ mount By AppointmentOnly is another from the Kemp yard which is definitely in with a shout.
Maiden Division Two (supported by Mr and Mrs Billy Foulkes and Mr and Mrs Jim Bealby) also has a few 14lb claimers, including Black Sam Bellamy geldings Singasongsam and China Hill. Gina Andrews has pointer Aztec Cosmos, hoping to improve on Irish form, while Jack has four-year-old Nothin But Thieves. Tom Chatfeild-Roberts’ ride Go Go Geronimo is trained by Gerald Bailey and is due a win after three consecutive second place finishes. Villa Moura was close second last time out and looks to go one better. Dale Peters rides his own ex-chaser Ferry All in this one.
The day’s racing concludes with a point-to-point flat race sponsored by Mrs Liz Murfitt, with eight possible runners. Not much to go on here with several racecourse debutantes, including King Arise, half brother to jumps winner Flindt, and Whitsand Bay, half brother to a slew of other winners.
Declarations close on Thursday, ticket registrations on Friday. Please don’t forget!