The Cottesmore Point-to-point is making a few changes for this season’s event, which takes place at Garthorpe Racecourse in Leicestershire on Sunday 25th February. The Mixed Open race, fourth on the card, will have a £1000 first prize on offer, kindly sponsored by chartered accountants Saffery. There will be no penalties for previous wins, a […]
The Quorn at Garthorpe - Preview
The MotorPoint Garthorpe Hunts Club Members Race is the first of the day and starts at 1.30pm. Five entered horses have won races this season and a lot will decide on which choose to enter different races and which go head to head in this one. Two of this season's most impressive horses Decade Player and Agent For Chaos are both entered for this one but are unlikely to race against each other. Bravehearted Harry (R. Bevin) won as recently as Sunday at Andoversford but six days may not be enough recovery time and connections also have My Dads Horse as an option. Dream Mistress (F. Henderson) and L'Eldorado (T. Chatfeild-Roberts) will be snapping the heels of these and must definitely be considered.
The Coppice Homes Midlands Area Club Members Race follows, with 20 entries. Several horses already mentioned are also entered in this race so please check on the day to see who has declared in each. Say No (F. Henderson) is the top-rated horse here but has also got the Gold Cup which follows as an option; the jockey may ride Oliver James here instead. In addition to these the challenge could come from Carlos Gardel (J. Wright), Grumblers Holt (T. McClorey), L'Eldorado (T. Chatfeild-Roberts) and Rocky Island. Proximo is well-rated but didn't impress on Sunday at the Atherstone meeting, but that was on very different ground and on a left-handed track. The country's top lady jockeys are both entered on good horses. Claire Hart has Kazuri Kate here, and will probably run if the ground is right, while Gina Andrews has Classic Destiny and Excitable Island, with the former possibly being more likely to declare.
The top-rated horse entered for the Melton Mowbray Market Quorn Gold Cup Mens Open race is Thetalkinghorse, trained in Northamptonshire by Gerald Bailey and ridden by Head Lad Tom McClorey. This is a strong contender who won last time out in a hunter chase at Wetherby. Brackloon High (A. Barlow) last ran in a hunter chase at Cheltenham but has two Point-to-Point wins under his belt this season and must be a good prospect. George Greenock will probably ride Countess Cathcart's Mr Madeit in this race and this pairing have prolific form with three wins this season. As if these weren't enough, Sarah Easterby looks set to bring Monsieur Jourdain to the party, another with multiple wins this year. Making the trip from further afield is Many Stars ridden by owner David Maxwell with one race and one win on their card but they are also entered for Parham. The previously mentioned Say No (F. Henderson) is also entered here, along with stable mate Otto The Great, and it would be absurd not to suggest Panama Canal (T. Strawson) has a very good chance, although recent form has possibly been influenced by softer ground. This is a wide open race with most of these horses not having had a run on good ground for some time.
If the Robert Whowell and Partners Ladies Open were a music festival then the headline act would be Palypso De Creek, an incredibly reliable performer who is unbeaten in two seasons. However, jockey Claire Hart has two other potential rides in this race, His Excellency for the same owner/trainer and All Great N Theory, trained by Julie Marles (also entered at Bitterley). Palypso De Creek is known for liking some depth to the ground so we will have to wait and see which comes forward. Gina Andrews has two possible rides in the form of Sharp Suit and Top Smart - also entered for Bitterley - both of which will enjoy the good ground, as will Qoubilai (C. Crane), who has impressed in the past but will face better horses here and may go to Whitfield instead.
The next race is for horses which are nine-years-old or over and have not won a race for 18 months and is sponsored by Kite Construction. By its very nature this is a difficult race to predict and this is not made any easier by the fact that nearly all of the higher-rated horses are entered into other races in the same meeting or elsewhere. Theodore Lamb is the best horse on paper but has other entries elsewhere, as does Noakarad De Verzee (D. Maxwell). Gallox Bridge (Miss R. Talbot) could race here but is also entered for the Ladies Open. Milemilia (T. McClorey) knows what it is like to win but didn't impress last time out on softer ground. Another who has won on good ground is Broughton Green (P. Hall). The locals would probably all love to see a final straight battle between My Dad's Horse (R. Bevin), Eastern Promise (F. Henderson) and Curnalee Coleen (T. Chatfeild-Roberts).
My Dad's Horse has a third entry in the William Hercock Builders Merchants PPORA Club Member Conditions race but the jockey also has the choice of Bravehearted Harry (see Members above) and For A Change, one of three horses entered by the sire Milan. It would be great to see Velvet Cognac (J. Hill) but there are entries elsewhere so he may not declare while Agent For Chaos (Garthorpe Members) and Grumblers Holt (Midlands Members) are in-form but have got choices to make. The latter is down to be ridden by Tom McClorey who has a pair of possible rides, the other being Velvet Royale who won last time out at Mollington. Past experience says that the Easterbys are always serious contenders at Garthorpe. Sarah may bring Four Oceans (W. Easterby) if it does not head to Easingwold on Sunday. Double Dan (Miss S. Ward) won last time out on rather different ground and under a different jockey but is one to keep an eye on. Curnalee Coleen (T. Chatfeild-Roberts) and Dream Mistress (F. Henderson) could run here so previous comments apply. Arboretum has won twice on a left-handed track so may head to Easingwold instead.
The Open Maiden race attracted 35 runners and eleven of the entered jockeys had more than one rider. The decision was therefore made to split the race in the hope that owners might run both horses. Division 1 could be a competition between horses which haven't quite succeeded and those who are unknown quantities. Robin de Boss has no form in this country but is an exciting prospect while Sunglasses Ron would be a popular winner for Midlands connections and has a great name. Misola Bird (Miss S. Walker) ran well at Guilsborough for a second place and probably now needs to prove herself while Shempas Iron (T. Chatfeild-Roberts) was also second last time and will prefer good ground. Verdasco (Miss K. Gowing) has been inconsistent.
There are lots of horses in Division 2 of the Maiden with little or no recent form but the winner may come from Alphamor (T. Eley), Celtic Silver (Miss G. Andrews), First Goodnight (T. McClorey) and Weve Got Company (J. Andrews).
After the last jump race there will be two charity flat races.
As usual at the Quorn meeting there will be lots of entertainment in addition to the racing. We have a large number of varied trade stands, food and drink in lots of different forms, a licensed bar, bookmakers and the Tote. We will be entertained by a jazz band during the day and by local folk group Growling with the Badger after racing as the after party continues into the evening.