After a week’s postponement, the Midlands Area’s point-to-point season got off and running at Revesby Races on Sunday 29th January.
The Revesby micro-climate did its job and banished the stubborn frost from the Lincolnshire turf, resulting in good ground around the track and lots of happy punters.
The racing spoils were divided around, with Philip Rowley and Tom Ellis both training doubles and Jack Andrews riding both of the Ellis winners for his own.
The afternoon began with a conditions race for Novice Riders which became a two-horse race after favourite Champagne Noir unseated his rider Ellie Holder. Stuart Morris-trained Neumond (A. Jackson-Fennell) and Jonjoela (J. Parker) from Philip Rowley’s Shropshire yard were the two twelve-year-olds battling it out at the end, with the latter winning by about a length after taking the lead at the last. This was the third run on the horse for owner Josh Parker, and a first victory. The only other finisher was Soldier At War (Connor Baker), some distance behind the leaders.
It was the maiden race next and Not Bad Are You, ridden and trained by Bradley Gibbs, went to the start as the bookies favourite. Seven-year-old Walk In The Park gelding Walkonthewildside, ridden by Jack Andrews and trained by Tom Ellis went on to win this for a syndicate of well-known Midlands point-to-point enthusiasts, having hit the front with three to jump. “He looks like he should progress well up the ranks.” Tom Ellis said, “We bought him off Olly Murphy on his recommendation, and he’s a lovely big scopey horse.”
Miracle Millions, another seven-year-old, ridden by Will Thirlby, was in second, twelve lengths behind. Henry Crow, riding Crobally Boy, was third, with the favourite in fourth place.
Bradley Gibbs didn’t have to wait long to get a win on the board, though, as he won the mixed open race in impressive fashion on the horse he also trains, odds-on favourite Fier Jaguen. That’s three wins out of the last four runs for the eight-year-old chestnut gelding by No Risk At All, for owner Julian Sherriff. Dundrum Wood was a fair way behind in second, Alrightjack and Pont Aven were both pulled up.
Jack Andrews rode the marginal favourite Loughan in the Intermediate, a horse that is trained by Tom Ellis and won last time out under Gina Andrews at Mollington, while Charles Buckle bought Castle Trump up from Essex, a very capable Presenting gelding with five wins under his girth. Despite carrying the most weight, these were the two to contest the run-in, and probably the closest finish of the meeting, with the Rob Cundy-trained Castle Trump half a length clear at the flags. Forest Chimes, trained by Philip Rowley, was the third and final finisher of the five starters.
The next race was part of the National veteran horse series, sponsored by the Retraining of Racehorses and The Jockey Club. Five horses declared, with Alan Hill-trained Knight Bachelor the favourite of these. General Custard (T. L. Frogley) led the early part of the race before ceding the lead to Earlshill (L. Burton). Vango de Vaige (T. McCain-Mitchell) hit the front with Buster Edwards (H. Edwards) and Knight Bachelor in attendance but drew clear down the hill and won comfortably in the end to give Philip Rowley the second of his winners on the day.
Tom Ellis and Jack Andrews completed their doubles in the point-to-point flat race which brought the card to a close. Clover All Over was largely unchallenged here, winning by 15 lengths from Just Our Milly (M. Dodd) and Roseburg (J. Jeavons), Downbydukesmeadow was fourth. Ellis said, “This is Sarah Dawson’s first home bred winner which is lovely for her. We’ll target the bumper finals at Exeter, Aintree and Stratford now.”
The Midlands season now moves on apace with the Melton Hunt Club meeting making its debut in a new place on the calendar next weekend at Garthorpe, followed swiftly by the Brocklesby on the 11th February.