The Easter break might have started in glorious sunshine but rain through the night on Sunday evening and into Easter Monday morning caused a few concerns at Thorpe Lodge.
The course itself, however, held up well, and the public arrived in numbers to support this popular fixture, which offers excellent viewing.
Martha Reeve and her Grandmother Shona Westrope’s Dundrum Wood made all in the Ineos Grenadier Mixed Open, our feature race, pulling away from Badbad Leroy Brown (Paddy Barlow) and Desire De Joie (Archie Wright) in the final stages. This was the combination’s 3rd win from 4 starts (the other was a second) and the talented horse’s 7th win from ten in points.
In true April fashion, the Frank Key-sponsored Ladies Conditions, which was first on the card, started in overcast conditions, endured a biblical storm in the middle, and completed in light rain. So heavy was the hail which battered the runners that Gina Andrews told me afterwards that her ride, Tigerbythetail, had locked his head to one side and slowed to a canter at one point “I’ve never raced in anything like it,” Gina said. Lucy Wheeler and Early Retirement pulled up.
The Triangle Kia Intermediate race, next on the card, gave us a dramatic final run-in, as three of the four starters battled hard to produce a great finish. At the flag, Paddy Barlow, riding Runwiththetide, stayed on well to deny the runner-up, The New Kid (Dale Peters) by 3/4 of a length. This time it was third for Gina Andrews and favourite, Itsallintheclouds, two lengths behind. Runwiththetide has started with two from two between the flags and must surely be one to watch.
The Jon Barlow-trained Fortunes Hill and Joe Wright were the first of three home in the Frank Key Restricted Race, finishing a comfortable 12-lengths clear of Classic Ruler (Dale Peters for Stuart Morris). Favourite Money Spinner (Archie Wright), a good winner last time at Garthorpe, was pulled up.
The last of our five point-to-point races was the three-mile Maiden, sponsored kindly by the Arable Alliance. Sadly only one of our three starters completed this one, as Joe Wright recorded a quickfire double on favourite, Crobally Boy, previously a runner at both Revesby and Brocklesby. Lord Pethers unseated his rider Ellie Callwood on the second lap and Biddy’s Wild Child was weakening when he fell at the second last.
The day ended with a light-hearted Hunt Challenge, which saw six non-racing jockeys compete over a lap and a bit of the point-to-point course, trying to get as close as possible to a bogey time, set by the organisers and sponsors, Fernwood. Georgie Grace was deemed to have been the closest to the time on her horse, Captain Scarlet.
Midlands Pointing returns to Garthorpe in a fortnight’s time as the Quorn host their point-to-point on the 22nd April. Their six-race card includes a Novice Riders Conditions race and a Goffs UK-sponsored Maiden for 4 and 5-year-olds. After racing at Garthorpe there will be a schooling race, for which you can find details on our social media channels.