Cottesmore at Garthorpe - 26th February - Preview

Al Shahir (Jack Andrews)

The Cottesmore host the next Midlands Area point-to-point meeting at Garthorpe on Sunday the 26th February.

There is a six-race card which starts at 12pm and the going on the East Midlands course has been reported by Clerk of the Course Jim Culloty as "beautiful good ground with plenty of moisture". There was 5mm of rain on Wednesday.

Access to the course is off the B676, 5 miles East of Melton Mowbray, where gates will open at about 10am. There will be plenty to entertain the whole family so take advantage of the free tickets for under-16s and feel free to bring your dogs, as long as they are on a lead.

The first race of the day is a conditions race for horses over eight-years-old or over which is sponsored by the George Bar, a new business in Oakham. Nick Wright trains two of the best rated horses entered, Sugar Baron and Tekap. Sugar Baron has not raced for a while, while Tekap will be better for a run at Brocklesby earlier this month. Jack Andrews has the ride on a likely contender, Neumond, trained by Stuart Morris for Judy Wilson, a close second last month at Revesby. Rupert Stearn has two options in Janika and Morning Vicar, both for the Turner family and fresh from runs at Brocklesby. Alex Chadwick's ride, Ballinagore is another who will be improved now that they have had a run, in his case a 4th here at the Melton Hunt Club meeting. James Henderson's Frisson Collonges had a good run last time at Horseheath, while Michael Dawson-trained Hi Murphy is returning after a year out but is very capable of winning this one.

Others to note in the first include the Dale Peters-trained Thunderstruck, a winner over hurdles but making his debut between the flags, and Argot, the mount of Zac Baker, who is a multiple winner in point-to-points.

Twiston-Davies alumnus Elmdale should attract local support, being trained and ridden by Phoebe Jones. They will be led out onto the track by Phoebe's husband, Cottesmore Huntsman Sam Jones, himself a former jockey. Traditionalists will appreciate that Elmdale's training has predominantly taken place on the hunting field.

The Saffery Champness Mixed Open follows this, with 15 entries, some of which are entered in other races too. This could be a real treat, with the field including 11 horses rated over 110 and three over 120.

Law of Gold ran well on his first outing of the season to come second here to Premier Magic. On that occasion trainer David Kemp and jockey Dale Peters favoured him over stable mate Caryto des Brosses, yet to run this season but entered here and very capable on the right occasion. Caryto des Brosses was second on his last outing, in the Ineos Grenadier Mixed HC final at Cheltenham, to Dandy Dan, entered here and sure to feature in the betting for his first outing this year.

G&T Racing have two entered. Jetaway Joey was one of ten winners for the yard over the first weekend of February, beating Kaproyale in the open at Charing. Precious Bounty is the other Ellis-trained entry also a winner on the same day but here at Garthorpe under Ellie Callwood.

Luke Harvey brings Notre Pari, making his debut between the flags and over this distance. Rupert Stearn rides Midnight Cowboy who beat Wagner in the open at Ampton last time out. Muckamore, owned by Johnny Arkwright and trained by Francesca Poste, is a previous winner and led the open here last time for much of the race. Longhouse Sale is yet to run this season but is a very competent pointer/hunter and will have Jack Andrews in the saddle.

Jenny Gordon has two entries here. Captain Buck's is a useful pointer with multiple wins last season, while Commanche Red has a win this year. The Buckle's Castle Trump, an impressive winner in the Intermediate at Revesby Park in January, makes the step up to open company. Argot and Janika also have entries here.

The next race is part of the National series for veteran horses of nine-years-old and over very kindly sponsored by the Retraining of Racehorses and The Jockey Club. This is proving to be a very popular race series with owners, trainers and the spectators.

Sugar Baron, Hi Murphy and Commanche Red also have entries in this race but other notable runners include Al Shahir and Reikers Island. Gina Andrews will ride the former, third here last time out behind Premier Magic in the open, while the Alan Hill-trained Reikers Island, 7th in last year's Aintree Foxhunters, will make his season debut under co-owner, South Shropshire Huntsman Dan Cherriman. Present Ranger will be another to watch.

We are grateful to Witham Hall School for sponsoring the next race, a conditions race for novice riders who started this season with fewer than five wins. The horses, though, are very experienced. Millbank Flyer may be experiencing his first season pointing but he has progressed to open company very quickly. The only other winner last time out was Another Stowaway. Top-rated is More Buck's, a multiple winner in 2021. including here at Garthorpe, while Captain Buck's, another very competent pointer, gives Jenny Gordon a choice over Commanche Red in this race.

The penultimate race of the day is the Renovation Underwriting Restricted race, which has four entries which won last time out: Captain Biggles (Gina Andrews), Harbour Queen (C. Emsley). Mountain Assault (Dale Peters) and Penniless (Jack Andrews). Stuart Morris trains Champagne Glory under Jack Andrews and Caballo Diablo is another competent runner, with Joe Wright in the plate.

Finally, the maiden race is sponsored by the home of pork pies, Dickinson and Morris. All The Ammunition, Exmoor Gateway, Highway Hero, Miracle Millions and Ontherunagain were all second on their last outings. Other newcomers to pointing include I'm Spellbound, Mister Splash, Money Spinner, Mount Pleasant, Prince of Newton and Richmond Hill.

Tickets are still available online at midlandspointing.com/tickets/ or you can buy them on the gate with cash or card for £15 per person on the day.

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