The meeting also broke new ground by hosting a schooling race, organised by Clerk of Course Jim Culloty which provided an opportunity for trainers to give horses a run in a more relaxed environment, with no betting or recorded results.
Unfortunately a bit of confusion between trainers resulted in several of them avoiding the first race, a conditions race sponsored by The Fox and Hounds in Knossington, in favour of others elsewhere. This left Ballinagore, trained by David Kemp for The Oak Partnership, as the only declared entry. Alex Chadwick completed a walkover and the horse will now head to Mollington for the mixed open there, with a view to an entry in the John Corbett as the ultimate aim.
The mixed open was our second race of the day and was kindly sponsored by Robert Whowell and Partners. Dale Peters led on Caryto des Brosses with Joe Wright on the well-backed Black Op and Martha Reeve on Dundrum Wood, both of whom looked like they could make this a good race. In the end, though, “Frenchie” showed his class to win by seven lengths to dispel trainer David Kemp’s fear that he didn’t seem 100% in the run up to the meeting. Dundrum Wood was second for the jockey’s Grandmother Shona Westrope and Emma Clark-trained Black Op was third.
Melton Mowbray Market sponsored the Restricted Race, next, which was won by the hot favourite and only finisher Paper Mill. Charlie Case rode the seven-year-old for Michael Kehoe from the Bicester with Whaddon Chase, to victory after Karismatik, ridden by Max Chenery for Nicola Smith, had fallen at the second last.
The Novice Riders Conditions race, next on the card, was sponsored by Prestwold Hall. Give Us A Swig, ridden by Cian Murphy for Michelle Bentham, showed good pace to lead for much of this race, before running out at the downhill fence, three from home. This left Wishful Dreaming in the lead in the hands of Isla John and they, in turn, were headed when jumping the last by Sum It Up and Sean O’Connor. These two then contested an excellent finish won by Sum It Up by a neck at the flags. Third place went to Thomas Easterby on Barrack Hill which had started as the bookies’ favourite.
The William Hercock Maiden Race produced a very similarly close finish between Ultra Viers and Below The Radar. Alice Stevens had brought the latter into the lead with two to jump and looked to have done enough until a spirited rally by Ultra Viers and Joe Stevenson pipped them, literally, at the post. There’s Claude and Zac Baker were thirty lengths behind these in third.
Our last point-to-point race of the day was one of the national series of maiden races for four and five year-old horses sponsored by Goffs UK and run over two and a half miles. The four finishers in this one were led by Rehill Relic, ridden by Paddy Barlow for Tom Weston, who finished ten lengths clear of Wottinger (J. Dawson) and She Won’t Mind (A. Chadwick). “I’m encouraged by that,” Tom Weston told me, “it looked like he did that nicely.”
Midlands Pointing now travels back to Dingley for the last two meetings of this season, where the Fernie will host their meeting next Sunday, 30th April, and the Fitzwilliam will bring the season to a close on the 13th May.