A large crowd enjoyed some fantastic Point-to-Point racing which took place in fine spring sunshine at Garthorpe on Saturday. Fifty four runners contested seven races. There was also a children’s play area, a good number of trade stands and an excellent bar run by the Cottesmore Supporter’s Club where champagne could be bought to celebrate winnings. The course as usual had been prepared to a very high standard and the official going was described as “good to soft”.
The first race of the day was the PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders kindly sponsored by Richard Speck of Speck Farrier Services Ltd. Nine horses went to post. National Petition and Aztec Warrior were always at the head of affairs and George Henderson set sail for home on Aztec Warrior five fences from the finish. The Antonia Bealby trained gelding soon went a long way clear winning unchallenged by a distance from National Petition and Fred Bethell. This gave 17 year old A-level student George Henderson his second winner and took him into the lead in the D & M Barthorpe Novice Rider Championships for the Midlands Area. Owned by George’s father James Henderson, Aztec Warrior was formerly trained by Henrietta Knight for Tim Radford. Henrietta Knight had recommended the horse as a schoolmaster; a role he has fulfilled very well. This race was a qualifier for the £1000 Dodson & Horrell PPROA Club Members Novice Riders Series Final at Tabley on Sunday 16th May.
Winning owner James Henderson and trainer Antonia Bealby followed up with a double when the five year old Canticle won the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate race decisively. This horse is unbeaten in 3 starts, has quickly progressed through the ranks and was ridden by Adam Wedge. Canticle is homebred, the dam Litany having won four staying handicaps on the flat and is a first foal, “If he’d been slow I’d have been a bit depressed,” said a delighted Henderson. Margaret Moody’s Pleasure Shared was twenty five lengths behind in second place and Ballyeightra Cross was ten lengths further back in third. The first four past the post in this race are now eligible for the £7000 3miles 1 ½ furlongs Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Point- to- Point Championship Final at Cheltenham on Wednesday 5th May.
Adam Wedge had scored earlier on The Camerengo in the Member’s race kindly sponsored by W. Spence & Son (Blacksmiths) Ltd. This horse disputed the early lead with Picabo Kid ridden by Johnny Bailey. However, The Camerengo was travelling so well that Wedge let him go on at the twelfth fence. Picabo Kid didn’t give up though and was closing at the line but The Camerengo held on by 2 ½ lengths. This chestnut gelding who recently won at Kingston Blount is owned by Mrs Felicity Macfarlane and trained by her grandson Andrew Corbett. Corbett who is assistant trainer to Chris Bealby was full of praise for Adam Wedge, “We’ve found the key to The Camerengo now; it’s the jockey more than anything,” he said.
Five horses went to post for the Henderson Global Investors Mixed Open race in which Denvale and owner/ rider Richard Hunnisett recorded an easy third success of the season beating Wee Forbees by twenty lengths. Denvale was always going nicely with his ears pricked and as usual made most of the running. “I wake up in the morning and look forward to riding him,” said Hunnisett who only had a loose horse for company on the run in. This race was the second in the Garthorpe Open Race Bonus Accumulator – Owner / Trainer Championship Series. Richard Hunnisett and Joan Tice are now in joint first place with three points each. The series continues at the remaining three Garthorpe meetings in 2010, the next is the Quorn Point-to-Point on Sunday 18th April.
Richard Burton who rode Wee Forbees to finish second went one better in the Martin Arms of Colston Bassett sponsored Restricted race. This time he was riding the front running Enigma Variations who was following up his win at Garthorpe earlier in the month. Burton was deputizing for Tom Ellis who usually rides the horse but had gone to the Heythrop meeting. Jake Greenall was three lengths behind Enigma Variations in second place riding Brave Admiral and Gerald Bailey’s Hardwick Wood ridden by his son Johnny was third. Both the second and third placed horses looked capable of winning a Restricted race in the near future.
Jake Greenall went on to complete a double in the concluding Maiden races. In the Gypsum Supplies Group Open Maiden race Greenall teamed up with the David Easterby trained Spirit Of Man. The nine year old went up on the inside to take the lead at the penultimate fence and went on to win beating the long time leader Front Street and Richard Burton. Owner Eric Brook had gone to Stratford so Lady Daresbury and Mrs Weatherby collected the prizes. David Easterby had dual entered his horses and with the Badsworth & Bramham Moor meeting abandoned they re-routed to Garthorpe. With Jake’s brothers Tom and Toby injured and Ollie riding at Newbury, Jake was able to benefit. “It’s obviously the change of jockey that made Spirit Of Man win today”, he joked after the race.
In the concluding Shipley’s Structures Ltd Four, Five, Six and Seven Year Olds Open Maiden race over 2 miles 4 furlongs David Easterby’s sister Cherry Coward saddled the six year old gelding Minellity. Jake Greenall was once again in the saddle and had the horse prominent from the start. Minellity was able to go on into the lead two fences from home to beat the five year old Iron Cross by a length and a quarter. Pipsacre was third giving Heidi Oldershaw her first ride in Point-to-Points. Minellity’s owner Lord Daresbury was full of praise for the facilities and organization at Garthorpe and Cherry Coward was grateful to her brother for having the idea to make entries there.
There are two Point-to-Points in the Midlands Area over the Easter Weekend; the Woodland Pytchley on Easter Saturday 3rd April and the South Notts at Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday 5th April.