Melton Hunt Club at Garthorpe - preview

Kelly Morgan riding Lough Inch

The Melton Hunt Club Point-to-Point meeting is at Garthorpe racecourse, outside Melton Mowbray, on Sunday 8th May. The seven-race card includes the prestigious Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Novice Riders Championship Final which will start at 3.45pm. There are a total of 138 horses entered for the seven races. There will also be three pony races preceding the main card.

All the horses entering theDodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Novice Riders final have qualified around the country in a series of  races leading up to this final. We are therefore in for a treat as, although the riders might be novices, the horses certainly are not. Real Milan (J. Jones) is the highest-rated of the 14 possible runners and won on the 24th April at Whitfield, another right-handed track. The two runs previous to that were not as successful, with Jack being unseated on both occasions, so his jumping might cause concerns on the wrong ground. If local favourite Lough Inch starts it will be with the very talented Jack Andrews on board. This horse loves Garthorpe and if the going is good or better he will be difficult to beat. Another local interest will be Qoubilai (Miss C. Crane), a horse which you can be certain will front-run, but whether or not he stays the full three-miles is another matter. Other horses to keep an eye on would include Be Definite (G. Levinson), In the Dock (J. Jeavons) and Susquehanna River (P. Bullard). It should be a great race.

The first race of the day, at 2pm, is the Melton Hunt Club Members Conditions race and there are 37 entries so I make no promises about choosing likely winners when many of these horses have other entries elsewhere over the weekend. Top-rated is Third Of The Third (S. Davies-Thomas) which makes the trip over from Shropshire but is also entered for the Mixed Open. Theodore Lamb (H. Nugent) won at the Quorn meeting here but fell last time out. Proximo is another to win at the Quorn meeting; he will have Jack Andrews driving. Grumblers Holt (T. McClorey) will be looking to make it 19 wins this season for trainer Gerald Bailey, while his Son Johnny is piloting Credit Crunched if it joins us from the VWH country. Tim Thirlby brings Arkose (W. Thirlby) which has been impressing this season.

The Restricted race follows. Champion Lady Jockey Gina Andrews has a choice of three rides here and may ride either Celtic Silver or Quick Oats, both of which have won very recently at this course. Others to watch might be Red Renard or Don't Be Fooled which will like the better ground.

The Thoroughbred Breeders Association Club Members race for Mares and Fillies has three entries from horses rated over the hundred mark in Fruit Fayre (P. Gerety), Popaway (I. Robinson) and local horse She's Real (T. Chatfeild-Roberts). The first of these won last weekend so may not make the trip and Popaway won a few days before that at Cheltenham but is not entered anywhere else. Others to watch are the Henderson's Dream Mistress (F. Henderson); Claire Hart's improving ride Kazuri Kate and the Richard Pringuer-trained Velvet Royale.

The Mixed Open which follows the Novice Riders final has attracted 19 entries, including the prolific Palypso De Creek (Miss C. Hart) but I fear the ground will be too fast for him by the weekend so Claire may instead ride Alwaystheoptimist which she trains for Alan Bosley. Mrs Moody's Bailey-trained Thetalkinghorse is a very strong contender in this one and will go off as favourite in Palypso De Creek's absence, while Farmer Matt is also well rated but lacks recent form over this distance. In The Dock (J. Jeavons) and Third Of The Third (S. Davies-Thomas) both have this race as an alternative to other races so could feature. Visitors include Irish Anthem (P. Gerety) from Shropshire and Be Definite (G. Levinson) from Gloucestershire - both in good form - and local interest takes the form of L'Eldorado (T. Chatfeild-Roberts) and Otto The Great (F. Henderson), either of which would be popular winners.

33 horses are entered for the 3m Open Maiden and many of these have little or no form to go by. Hurricane Vic (T. Strawson) battled hard when losing to Celtic Silver by a couple here a fortnight ago so will be looking to go one better. Velvet Cloud (Miss E. Raven), Oryx Falcon (J. Martin) and Fayre Enough (Miss C. Crane) have all showed promise too. Shempas Iron represents the Bealby/Chatfeild-Roberts team who are often successful on this course.

Finally we have a 2m 4f Maiden race for 4, 5 and 6-year-old horses with nine on the card. Fayre Enough (Miss C. Crane) has this as an option and another to watch might be Honest Intent. From the same yard is the confidently-named Odds On Oscar. if Bluebottle or Getting Back To Me (S. Davies-Thomas) make the trip from Shropshire then it will be for a reason, while the Hendersons may bring forward Holy Dancer (F. Henderson).

There will be the usual array of trade stands and non-equestrian entertainment for all the family as well as a licensed bar, bookmakers and the Tote. Tickets are available in advance and include a free (normally £3) racecard -

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