A large bank holiday crowd enjoyed some good racing action at the South Notts Point-to-Point held at Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday. This was one of eleven meetings that went ahead on Easter Monday and thirty four runners contested the seven races. After the recent wet weather the official going was described as “soft”.
The first race on the card was the Anne Jepson Memorial Confined Race run in memory of the longstanding secretary of this meeting. The veteran Nautical Lad made most of the running but was challenged by recent Garthorpe winner The Camerengo. However, the fifteen year old stayed on resolutely to win by four and a half lengths. Nautical Lad was partnered by Joe Docker who has ridden the horse in all seventeen of his Point-to-Point successes. This was a very popular result and connections were delighted. Roger Jackson’s Iron Hague was awarded the Jim Seely Challenge Cup for being the first South Notts qualified horse past the post.
Gemma Hutchinson who came to grief at the Open ditch in the first race when riding the favourite Zilcash quickly made amends in the second race the Bournston Group Ladies Open race. The troublesome Open ditch was omitted for this and later races due to a patch of false ground. This time Gemma Hutchinson was riding the twelve year old Limerick Leader who had previously finished third to Christy Beamish at Bangor. Gus, who was judged to be the best turned out in the paddock, and jockey Kelly Morgan set the pace in this race before Limerick Leader took the lead five fences from home. Limerick Leader soon went clear and Gus was able to take second place after Emma Garner parted company from the grey Moustique De Lisle at the last fence.
The most eventful finish of the day came in the Newark Livestock Market Men’s Open race. Richard Hunnisett and The King Of Angels took the lead before the penultimate fence and looked like they were going to win comfortably. However, Aztec Warrior who had looked beaten, rallied and snatched the lead close to the finishing post. This former Henrietta Knight trained gelding was giving seventeen year old George Henderson his third success of the season. George is in the lead in the D & M Barthorpe Midlands Area Novice Rider’s Championships.
The Jackson’s Butcher’s Intermediate race turned into a match between Margaret Moody’s Pass The Parsel and the mare Banbury Babe. Dickie Barrett rode Pass The Parsel and Adam Wedge came in for the ride on Banbury Babe after Ben Poste arrived late having being stuck in traffic. The two horses were neck and neck for much of the way but Banbury Babe went clear at the last to win by three and a half lengths. Owner Colin Gittins bred Banbury Babe and has had three more foals out of the mare Banteer Bet in his field at home. Connections had travelled from Shropshire, by- passing their local meeting where there was no intermediate race, in favour of a longer track to suit the mare’s staying qualities. Banbury Babe is now eligible for the £7000 Connolly’s Red Mills Hunter Chase Final at Cheltenham on Wednesday 5th May.
Adam Wedge looked like he was going to complete a double in the Frank Key Builders Merchants Restricted race. Wedge’s mount Harlaxton made much of the running but had no answers when Duke Of Kentford challenged and went clear to win by a distance. This horse is owned by the Joule family famous for their clothing range and trained by Stuart Morris. Morris announced his retirement earlier in the week having ridden one hundred and sixty one Point-to-Point winners and twenty seven winners under rules. Morris had engaged the services of his friend Nick Pearce who rode Duke Of Kentford.
Nine runners went to post for the Fernwood Group Young Horse Open Maiden race. Roger Jackson’s Propriano Du Bourg looked the likely winner in the back straight but it was Joan Tice’s homebred Teeton Coral who went on to win by two lengths. Jockey Lizzie Harris, who works for the winning owner, gained her second win and said afterwards that she had benefited from Stuart Morris’s retirement as he normally rides the mare. Teeton Coral is the last foal from Teeton Frolic and was always travelling and jumping well in the race.
Twenty four year old Ollie Finnegan was also gaining his second winner when Longwood Lad won the Eight Year olds and over Brydon Properties Developments Open Maiden race. Originally from County Meade, Finnegan now lives just outside Newark at Kersall and Longwood Lad is owned by the Loughlin family. The even money favourite in this race Anamcqueen finished second for Mark Barthorpe and should win a race soon.
Following the last race, the Buster Marquees South Notts Challenge took place. The winner here was Emma Powell riding Society Scandal, this pair was first past the post and within a second of the optimum time.
The next Point-to-Point in the Midlands Area is the Pytchley at Guilsborough on Sunday 11th April.