Oliver Greenall rode his 100th Point- to-Point winner and at the same time trained his first at Garthorpe on Saturday when Lough Inchiquinn won the Open Maiden race sponsored by Mr and Mrs R Coney. Brian Crawford and his team had done a fantastic job preparing the course and the official going was "good, good to firm in places" following watering. Fifty runners contested the seven races and five of the races were won by favourites.
Greenall brought the six year old Lough Inchiquinn, whose only previous form was a second placing in a bumper, from his Cheshire base where he began training at the start of the season. "The winners have been slow coming" said Greenall who passed Showman and Johnny Bailey on the run-in to win by two lengths. "Being by Tamure I thought he would like bottomless ground. He certainly wouldn't want ground any quicker than this." he said.
Johnny Bailey had visited the winner's enclosure earlier in the afternoon having won the Mowbray Mountain Agricultural Waste Recycling Restricted race on Margaret Moody's Kandelin trained by Gerald Bailey, in the closest finish of the day. A neck separated Kandelin and stable companion Jonny Rye who joined the Bailey team just ten days ago. The third horse Ted Gunther was a head away in third for the Peter's family.
Racing began with a win for the Yorkshire stable of David Easterby when Oedipe gave rider Jack Greenall his third win of the campaign in the Speck Farrier Services PPORA Club Members race for novice riders. Carapuce and The Hairy Lemon set quite a fast pace and Oedipe was happy to track the leaders until starting the make up ground in the back straight. "I've been busy with my university dissertation but I can concentrate on enjoying my racing now" said Greenall who needs just one more winner to lose his novice rider status. This race was a qualifier for the £1000 Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Novice riders Series Final at Tabley on Sunday 15th May.
The Hunt Members race sponsored by the Duke And Duchess of Rutland
George Henderson rode the favourite More Than Hopeful in the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Race but had to settle for third place behind Silver Tenor and the winner Ballyeightra Cross. Steven Evason's gelding who is trained by Gary Hanmer was always travelling well and led at the penultimate fence. "He's been ready to run for about a month but we have been waiting for the right ground" explained Hanmer. The winning owner Steven Evason, who is a builder from Cheshire, said he was keen to go for the £7000 3 miles ½ furlong Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Point- to- Point Championship Hunter Chase Final at Cheltenham and possibly the John Corbett Hunter Chase at Stratford. Winning jockey Miles Seston was delighted with his second winner of the season, "They have been a bit slow coming this year" he said.
The easiest victory of the day was Garthorpe specialist Zilcash who ran out a twenty lengths winner of the W. Spence & Son Mixed Open race. The winning time was a fast 6 minutes 6 seconds and was very impressive. Gemma Hutchinson had Zilcash settled in behind the leaders Van Ness and Moment Of Madness. She then made up ground in the back straight and the race was over two fences from home. Richard Hunnisett's Van Ness, who went on to finish third, may line up next in the Foxhunter's Chase at Aintree.
A Henderson double looked on the cards in the final race the Henderson Global Investors Four, five, six and seven year olds Maiden race. George Henderson hit the front two fences from the finish on the homebred Say No but was joined by Penmore Mill and the in-form Tom Ellis who went on to win by three lengths. Both the winner and the second were making their racecourse debuts. Penmore Mill, who had been sourced in Ireland by Victor Lowe, had been sold by Fred Hutsby to his father Ken, just two days before the race. "He picked up the bridle turning in and then took off" said Tom Ellis on dismounting. The six year old Penmore Mill may return to Garthorpe for the Quorn Point-to Point on April 17th.
A presentation was made to Ian Manchester the long serving clerk of the scales in recognition of many years of service. Manchester's father had undertaken the role when racing at Garthorpe began in the 1950's.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Grove & Rufford Point- to- Point at Welbeck on Sunday 3rd April, first race 1.30pm.