The Brocklesby Point to Point took place on Saturday at Brocklesby Park, Habrough. A large crowd was in attendance causing the car park to overflow into an adjacent field. Most of the racing took place in glorious early spring sunshine with 81 horses contesting the 8 races. The official going was good to soft, soft in places. 6 of the 8 races were won by Yorkshire horses.
Racing began with the Robinson’s Interiors Brocklesby Member’s race for which three horses were declared to run. Lord Yarborough’s runner Essenbee, ridden by Mark Bennison made the early running. However, when 8-11 favourite Lord Adonis took the lead after a circuit, quickening the pace, Essenbee had no answers and finished second. The Nick Kent trained and ridden Lord Adonis went clear before the last fence and won easily. Kent said after the race that he had been very impressed by Victoria Branson’s six year old gelding who will now step up to a Restricted race. Lord Adonis won best turned out but the third placed Bellapais Boy also looked immaculate in the paddock. Owned and trained by Geoff Hunter, whose daughter Alison flew in from Ireland to watch the race, Bellapais Boy shaped well for a five year old. He will hopefully run again in the Maiden race at the South Wold meeting at Brocklesby Park on Saturday 14th March. Mark Bennison’s luck was out on Saturday as later on he took a crashing fall from Lord Yarborough’s other runner B Keen in the Ashbourne Hotel Mare’s Maiden race. Bennison was taken to hospital having sustained a shoulder injury. This race was dominated by Yorkshire horses with the three finishers all trained north of the Humber. Poppy Day, who had shown promise when finishing second at Sheriff Hutton in January, took the race for the Mason family, winning by two lengths ridden by Joanna Mason.
The Mason family had earlier been successful in the DDM sponsored Ladies Open race. Well Presented, a noted stayer, relished the conditions to score by three quarters of a length from Flashy Boy.
A strong pace was set in the Clark Weightman Confined race. The Nick Kent trained and ridden Gun Smith was always in contention, leading into the home straight only to be overtaken before the last by 16- 1 chance Johnny Venture and Mark Walford. However, Gun Smith who had to settle for second place on this occasion had won the intermediate race at Thorpe Lodge in January and should improve further. Blandings Castle ran his best race for a long time to finish third for Pip Tutty and the fourth horse Autograph now goes for the Grand Military Hunter’s Chase at Sandown in March with Leeds University student Oscar Churton. This race was run in a time of 6 minutes 39 seconds, just two seconds slower than the Ladies race in which runners carry a stone less weight.
Johnny Venture was the first leg of a double for Yorkshire jockey Mark Walford who also took the Nunn’s Mitsubishi Restricted race on Keen Whip. Owned and trained by the Brader family, Keen Whip who raced seven times last season without winning, surprised connections but also rewarded them for perseverance when winning at 16-1. The second horse Ballyclement looked like winning on the run in for the Robinson family from Linwood. Earlier in the week they had a good second with Burton Men’s Open winner Menchikov in a Hunter Chase at Huntingdon. This horse that was only beaten by a narrow margin has now qualified for the Christies Foxhunter Steeplechase at the Cheltenham festival and may well go there.
Last year’s Christies Foxhunter winner Amicelli lined up in the Singleton Birch Men’s Open race. Partnered by Tom Greenall, Amicelli had won the equivalent race in 2008 when ridden by Tom’s brother Ollie. However, on this occasion he failed to complete the course after falling when going well. This left the race open for the game mare True Friday who found conditions just to her liking. True Friday was winning her eighth Point to Point and was partnered by Richard Armson. Over To Joe ran well finishing second for Miles Seston and the third placed horse Forty Shakes may well be returning to form after a below par 2008.
Tom Greenall’s day improved later on as he completed a double in the Maiden races, both of his mounts setting off as the market leaders. In Division One, sponsored by St Hugh’s hospital Master Wolfe hit the front after the third fence from home and was never headed. The winning margin was twenty lengths and this was the fastest division of the race. It should be noted that the Andrew Sansome trained Henry Beauclerc looked like the winner before taking a crashing fall. If he hasn’t suffered any ill effects he will be one to watch in the near future. In division two, sponsored by Paul Wiseman Electrical Contractors, Impact Zone led approaching the last and won by four lengths. Impact Zone, like Master Wolfe is trained by David Easterby in Yorkshire. The runner up Kingman Reef, having only his second race, is only a five year old and trained by Antonia Bealby he should be able to score in the coming weeks.
The next meeting at Brocklesby Park is the South Wold Point to Point on Saturday 14th March, first race 12.30pm. The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Blankney Point to Point at North Carlton on Sunday 1st March, first race 11.30am.