Belvoir at Garthorpe 2024 – Preview

Caryto Des Brosses (Dale Peters)

There are 56 entries across six races for the Belvoir point-to-point meeting at Garthorpe, Leicestershire, on Saturday 23rd March.

The loss of the Cottesmore meeting means that Garthorpe has fresh ground around the course for this Belvoir fixture. The ground at the time of writing is heavy, but the forecast is for a mild week of dry weather and the Clerk of the course Jim Culloty is confident that by next weekend we will have soft ground.

Garthorpe is on the B676 just West of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. Tickets for the fixture are available online for £13 but will be £15 on the day. Gates open at around 10am with racing due to commence at 12:30 pm.

The Belvoir point-to-point is always busy with trade stands of all sorts, bookmakers, children’s amusements and catering units. There will be a licensed bar open for the whole meeting, and we would encourage families to make it a day out, bring friends and a picnic.

The feature race of the day is the Mixed open race at 1.50pm, the third race of the day and there are 13 horses entered. Caryto des Brosses is the top-rated horse in this line up, a regular here at Garthorpe where he has won multiple times before for trainer David Kemp. He was second here to the excellent Fier Jaguen at the Melton Hunt Club fixture and normally improves after a run out. David Kemp also has Clara Sorrento, a multiple point-to-point winner but yet to have a run this season.

Camdonian is one of several Yorkshire raiders in this line up and must be considered a challenger, with two wins this season, the most recent at Charm Park in early March. Ballydonagh Boy, trained by Samantha Coward in Middleton country, is another multiple winner, and they may face their local rivals Buster Valentine, trained by William Milburn for the Buster Valentine Club. Others to consider in this group of similarly rated horse include Hung Jury, trained by Sian Brooke and placed several times this season; Jetaway Joey, trained by Gina Ellis (get used to this) for Barbara Hester, a multiple winner last season; and No Hassle Hoff, another who knows the Garthorpe track very well as a regular visitor from Suffolk.

The card begins at 12.30pm with an unusual Conditions race for veteran and novice riders sponsored by W. Spence and Son. Jockeys must have not won five races or be over the age of 40. On paper this should probably be a contest between First Preference trained by Luke Price (currently no jockey booked), and Muckamore trained by Francesca Poste for the Arkwrights and ridden by Harry Arkwright - both are established pointers. Isla John trains and riders Wishful Dreaming, third last time at Charm Park but a winner last season. Making the trip from Cheshire is Felix Barlow who rides The Dubai Way, while Tim Vaughan trains Siberian Star, registered in Glamorgan. Striking Out was third behind Muckamore at Horseheath in February but is regularly placed. Ethan Dawes has only raced in two points but has impressed and has the ride on Port of Mars under the excellent eye of Dale Peters.

The second race of the afternoon is the Roythornes-sponsored Intermediate race for horses who have one a maximum of two conditions or Intermediate races. A number of horses entered would get weight allowances for their age or because they are mares, while In our Dreams carries an extra 5lbs. Some of these have won their last races, or won recently, and some have not completed a race between the flags for a while.

The Mixed Open follows this and after that we have a Ladies Conditions race sponsored by Skelton Farms which is for horses which have not won under rules or in an open race in the last 18 months. There are six horses entered including two from the Ellis stable, now trained by Gina since Tom acquired his profession licence. Spellbound is a high-class pointer with four wins from seven starts, Loughan is also a multiple winner. Meisha Micklewright rides veteran pointer Blazing Tom for local trainer Kelly Morgan and Belvoir landowner John Chatfeild-Roberts, hoping to add to his 13 wins from 23 starts, while Julie Wadland has another veteran entered in the form of Golden Tobouggan. Immy Robinson, who won the Melton Hunt Club Ride in the Belvoir country this season, has the ride on Fabrique En France, which hasn't won for a while. Mix of Clover is a bit of an unknown quantity, being a first season pointer who was a winner as a chaser but is yet to complete in a point-to-point.

The card is completed by the now familiar pair of maiden races for horses yet to win between the flags.

The first of these is the Goffs-sponsored two-and-half mile maiden for four and five year old horses with six entries. Of those who have completed, Occupied Territory has a second in his only run and Kilaro a third. Both Jack Andrews and Zac Baker have more than one ride booked so declarations will be key to watch. See you Kauto is yet to finish in points while four other horses, Big Bert, Chuggy, Rocks Up Late and Vadavvero are making their racecourse debut.

Eight horses are down for our final formal race, a conventional maiden, run over three miles and without weight allowance for age. This one is kindly sponsored by Teigh Bed & Breakfast. Occupied Territory has the option to run in this one instead of the previous race. Colemanstown Lad has one race under his belt as a pointer but was placed multiple times under rules, while Gallonray is making his point-to-point debut after a brief hurdling career. Islo is another first season pointer with rules experience, while Lavorante has been between the flags for two seasons and has a couple of seconds among his results. Lockdown Ludo counts third place as his best to date, while Maska du Morvan - recipient of a 7lb allowance - is yet to match the second places he achieved pointing in Ireland. Oldnewborrowedblue has a great name but is unlikely to challenge on recent form.

After racing there will be schooling races which are non-competitive opportunities for trainers to run their horses over a proper course of fences. Jockeys will not wear colours, horses will not be identified and there will be no commentary on these. The number of races will depend on any last minute entries.

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