Pytchley with Woodland at Guilsborough 2024 - Report

The Pytchley at Guilsborough

A week of drying weather in the run up to the Pytchley with Woodland fixture at Guilsborough ended with heavy overnight rain across the area on Saturday night and social media was awash with cancellations of equestrian sport on the morning of 10th March. It is a great testament to the team at Guilsborough that our meeting was able to go ahead and we are very grateful to Clerk of the Course Robert Johnson and his team on the ground for keeping the course safe to race.

Heavy ground inevitably put some runners off and sadly the first race of the day - the Goffs-sponsored Maiden for four and five-year-old horses - saw no declarations and the race was declared void. In addition to the heavy going, races like this are for store horses aimed at sales and trainers feel it does not benefit the horse to win races with small numbers of runners.

Ragnar Lodbrok is an impressive pointer which has won eight out of his eleven starts for owner Gerald Bailey and friends. Now 9, he went off as odds-on favourite for the Berrys Mixed Open, the feature race of the day, and won comfortably under Alex Chadwick, to complete a back-to-back double. This was a tactical race, as the time of over eight minutes will indicate, with the trio of runners being led by Salty Boy for some distance before a mistake saw jockey Tom Hutsby unseated. Who's In The Box (James King) then took over but they couldn't challenge in the final stages and finished about seven lengths behind the winner.

It was a good result for Christian and Geri Horner in the second race, the Billings Finance Maiden, when their Maxine Filby-trained Look At Mee made all to win unchallenged in the experienced hands of Jack Andrews. The only other finisher of five runners was Bellshazzar, ridden by trained by Fred Hutsby and ridden by Tom Hutsby.

The third race of the day was the Restricted race, kindly sponsored by Mr & Mrs Latilla-Campbell. This produced the first win of a double on the day for Alex Chadwick riding Trevada, a first win between the flags for the eight-year-old by Kayf Tara trained by Francesca Poste. Second place, eight lengths behind, went to the 12/1 shot Well P, ridden by Ellie Callwood and trained by Dawn Ball. Third to the evens-favourite Artiste d'Ainay, ridden by Jack Andrews for Tom Ellis.

Six runners started the PPORA Club Conditions race, sponsored by The Hawthorns, Northampton, but Muckamore (Harry Arkwright) was an early faller and several pulled up in the final stages leaving just the favourite Champagne Glory (Jack Andrews), trained by Stuart Morris) to challenge the Kelly Morgan-trained Bothwell Bridge (Ellie Callwood). This was very much an all-Midlands affair which was won easily in the end by Bothwell Bridge for the Fernie Dingley Syndicate, where we may see this nine-year-old next. “I do everything with him at home, I adore the horse. It’s just so nice to see him with his head back infront. It will have done his confidence the world of good,” Ellie Callwood said.

Finally a conditions race for older horses of eight years old and upwards brought the card to a close, with eight runners starting this contest kindly sponsored by Sibbertoft Manor. This one also produced one of the best finishes of the day as one horse trained by Dale Peters challenged anoither ridden by him. The battle of the trainers was won by Francesca Poste, though, as Dale piloted the favourite In Our Dreams to a three-length victory over 3/1-shot Port of Mars, ridden in only his second race by Ethan Dawes. Kilpin, ridden and trained by George Edgedale, was a distance back in third.

As we all wonder whether Spring will happen this year, preparations are under way at Garthorpe for the next Midlands meeting of this season, The Belvoir on the 23rd March. Tickets are available and selling well for this and the Easter weekend fixtures at Dingley on Easter Saturday, and Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday.

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