Fier Jaguen reigns supreme at Melton Hunt Club

FIER JAGUEN (Bradley Gibbs) running in the Melton Hunt Club meeting at Garthorpe 2024

The annual Melton Hunt Club fixture at Garthorpe included one of the highest class Mens Open fields in recent years, won in dominant form by Cheltenham hunter chase winner Fier Jaguen and Bradley Gibbs. In doing so they registered the 9th win from their last twelve starts and set up a double on the day for Bradley, who also rode Tiger Tobin to victory in the 3-mile maiden later in the afternoon.

Photos of the meeting.

After an excellent day's racing in Leicestershire we were all shocked to hear the dreadful news from Charing that Keagan Kirkby had died after a fall in their last race of the day. Everyone at Midlands Pointing sends their condolences to Keagan's family and friends and wishes them the very best as they come to terms with their loss.

The first Garthorpe meeting of the year is the Melton Hunt Club fixture, supported by volunteers from the Belvoir, Cottesmore and Quorn and it began with a Conditions race for horses of five years old and upwards kindly supported by Alpha Drainage Services. Eight started but there was a three-way challenge in the run-in between favourite One For Rosie (R. Alderman), Benefaktor (G. Ellis) and the less fancied 16-1 shot Seven No Trumps (B. Durrell). Ben Durrell found the extra pace to win this finish by a length, with the favourite second and Benefaktor four lengths third.

The two-and-a-half-mile young horse maiden which followed this was part of the National young horse series kindly sponsored by Goffs. The Melton Hunt Club race was won in fine style by Dale Peters riding Designed To Win for David and Imogen Kemp, great supporters of Garthorpe. Peters said, "David has said that he liked what he had seen at home so it was nice to see him do it on the track. He'll be a lovely horse going forward. The second placed horse was Premier Fantasy (B. Gibbs), six lengths behind the winner, and third, four lengths behind that, was Mount Mason (D. Andrews).

The third race of the day produced an intermediate win for Paper Mill, in the capable hands of Charlie Case. Olly Norse (T. McCain-Mitchell) in second tried to stay with the winner when they made their move with three to jump and Happy Victory (D. Peters) was twenty lengths back in third, having led more much of the race.

The Mens Open saw a repeat of last year's Cheltenham two-mile hunter chase final as Caryto Des Brosses and Fier Jaguen headed a classy field of 8 runners. Either leading or with the leader throughout, Julian Sherriff's 9-year-old Fier Jaguen and Bradley Gibbs never really looked troubled and accelerated away to record yet another win between the flags by eleven lengths. Caryto Des Brosses (Dale Peters) and Hung Jury (T. McCain-Mitchell) fought out a close finish with the former credited with second by a short head.

ESPOIR DE TEILLEE (Fern O'Brien) on the right, winning the Ladies Open at the Melton Hunt Club meeting at Garthorpe 2024
ESPOIR DE TEILLEE (Fern O'Brien) © 2024 Nico Morgan. All Rights Reserved

Espoir de Teillee was the impressive winner of the Ladies Open, next on the card. Fern O'Brien steered home the multiple hunter chase winner for Newmarket-based Benjamin Brookhouse. "This might be his last year," Brookhouse said, "and I think we'd like him to sign off in the two-mile six furlong hunter chase at Punchestown. He'll go to Leicester [Pytchley HC, 27th Feb] first, then the Ludlow Gold Cup if it doesn't clash with Punchestown." Two lengths behind the winner was Bothwell Bridge with Ellie Callwood in the plate for Kelly Morgan, and third place went to the favourite, the Tom Ellis-trained Champagne Noir (Miss E. Holder).

TIGER TOBIN (Bradley Gibbs) - Melton Hunt Club meeting, Garthorpe 2024.
TIGER TOBIN (Bradley Gibbs) © 2024 Nico Morgan. All Rights Reserved

The final formal race of the day was a 3-mile "traditional" maiden which saw eleven runners line up and a second win on the card for Bradley Gibbs. This time it was the 5-year-old Westerner gelding Tiger Tobin who produced the goods, winning this one by ten lengths from the 25/1 shot Ildefeel du Livet (B. Lovegrove-Fielden) in second with Papillondelumiere (P. Barlow) a few more behind these.

Last year's Garthorpe schooling race was a popular informal addition to the day's racing and the entries were so plentiful this year that two divisions were possible. No horse details were published for these non-competitive 2m4f runs and jockeys did not wear colours. We are grateful to keepers for their support and hope that they prove useful going forwards.

Pointing in the Midlands moves straight on to The Brocklesby meeting next Saturday, 10th February, where there are 86 entries at this popular venue. The last going report was good to soft, good in the final straight. We look forward to seeing you there.

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