At Whitfield evening racing was enjoyed in glorious sun shine on Saturday for The Grafton Hunt point to point, the last meeting in the South Midland Area for the season.
Biggest cheer of the evening came in the opener where Mick Wills, Grafton Huntsman won the opening Members race aboard PHARANTO whom he acquired from Lynn and Mervyn Loggin. When Favourite Crooked Smile appeared to not be travelling well Mick took advantage. Mick, whose only previous race experience had been in the countryside alliance charity race at ascot in April where he was 4th was encouraged to ride in the members by friends, he said 'I will quit whilst I am ahead!'
Jake Greenhall was here in his bid to keep tabs on John Mathias and Richard Woollacot in the Mens title but could only secure one win aboard Sea Senor in the Intermediate. A horse who is clearly on the upgrade carried a 5lb penalty, although only winning by a length in the end, he and the second SIR RONAN had drawn well clear of the third horse.
Hannah Lewis enjoyed another winner here aboard AVESOMEATHAT in the Ladies open which was by far the fastest time of the day, This was Hannah 's third of the week following wins in the Champion Ladies Hunter Chase at Stratford and at Chaddesley the previous Saturday and Monday. She reported that AVESOMEATHAT was much happier to be back over the smaller fences following a disappointing run in a worcester Hunter Chase ten days earlier and said she was delighted to be ending the season with a winner. Favourite SHERNALLY was disappointing and hopefully she can return to winning ways another day.
Only four went to post for the Mens Open where favourite MY OLD PIANO fell early on so it left the way clear for second favourite WAYNESWORLD and Tom Weston, in the end the winning margin was a distance. The race for second was more exciting where PRESENT GLORY got the better of NIEMBRO.
Phillip York completed his double century when DAWN DISPLAY won the Restricted in an exciting finish, Phil was a little dubious when he bought him as he was an unraced 7yr old but luckily things have gone to plan and this was a good follow up to his maiden win back in March. By finishing second here, MOSCOW MULE gained enough points to put owner Bromwyn Hurley at the head of the owners table in the area.
James Richardson a trainer who has enjoyed a good season saw his 4yo IMPERIAL CIRCUS win the Open Maiden in fine style. He was making amends having fallen at Ashorne a month ago when going well, Tom Ellis was the winning jockey here and drew further clear in the area Mens title. CAUGHT IN TIME, who was runner up was giving the winner 21lbs deserves to win next season.
A thrilling finish in the PPORA Conditions race where only a length covered the first three, on the line it was STRONG WELD who got there first, BUCKINGHAM BILL second and PASS THE CLASS third.
STRONG WELD and Owner/rider Rhys Jenkins have enjoyed a brilliant season and this was their fifth win together.
A super evening to end the South Midland area racing for the 2009/10 season. Highlights for me were Mick Wills in the Members race, a true amateur winning on his first ever ride and the Maiden win of Imperial Circus who is a 4yo likely to go places.