Some exciting racing took place on Sunday when the Blankney held their Point- to- Point races at North Carlton racecourse. 64 runners contested 8 races and a fair crowd was in attendance. The course was in excellent condition and the official going was "good".
Local success came for Blankney supporter Martin Wells who saddled the first and third home in the Equity Shoeing Ltd. Blankney and Burton Member's race. Nadover was perhaps the more fancied of the two Wells runners and this horse, ridden by Miles Seston, made the early running. However, Jo Mason from Yorkshire was happy to sit off the pace on Yanns until the third fence from home when she hit the front. The Robinson family's runner Exit To Luck gave chase but made no impression and the veteran Yanns went on to win by two lengths. Stable companion Nadover was third. "This is going to be Yanns last run" said Jo after the race. Having racehorses is a family affair for the Wells team who were missing daughter Izzy who was on a school ski trip. After the last race Martin Wells was presented with the Vulgarion Perpetual Trophy for owning the leading horse at North Carlton in 2011.
Jockey Tom Greenall rode a treble and went on to collect the Frank Theaker Memorial trophy for being the leading rider at North Carlton in 2011. Greenall's first winner came in the second race the Dengie Confined race. Great Grimsby and Samantha Klug made much of the early running and the pair looked like they were going to win two fences from home. However, Valance and Tom Greenall who had been off the pace for much of the race challenged approaching the last fence and went on to win by two lengths. Owner Johnny Weatherby was delighted with the victory and was keen to point out what a good training performance it had been for Laura Pomfret to get the horse ready to win first time out following a season on the side-lines. Valance has won under all codes having won on the flat when ridden by Frankie Dettori, in novice hurdle races and also in Point- to- Points.
Tom Greenall teamed up with David Easterby in the Gleadell Agriculture Men's Open race. He again tracked the leaders in the early part of the race on Tom Bannister's My Old Piano. Oscar Churton took the advantage by getting first run up the inside after the third last but My Old Piano lead approaching the second last, winning by two lengths. Tom Bannister was delighted after the race and said he was very honoured to own a horse like My Old Piano.
The third leg of the Greenall double came on another Easterby horse; the six year old Bitter Blue in Division 2 of the young horse Maiden race sponsored by Humber Grain Ltd. Seven Tors and Amanda Soar were in the lead three fences from home until Bitter Blue challenged and went on to win by a length. After the race Lord Daresbury said that the winner is a nice horse and will stay the full three miles distance. Bitter Blue relished the good going and will be able to operate on faster ground which prompted David Easterby to suggest that he may run at Umberleigh in June.
In the first division of the young horse Maiden sponsored by Mr and Mrs Oliver Griffin nineteen year old Sam Davies Thomas opened his account riding Robert Crosby's Moderano. This six year old gelding had finished second in a Point- to- Point as a four year old before showing nothing under rules. A return to the amateur game allowed Moderano to score by three lengths from early leader Don't Look Bach who looks likely to pick up a race in the not too distant future. Sam Davies Thomas works for trainer Caroline Bailey and is certainly a name to remember.
Another rider winning for the first time was David Hilton, also nineteen, in the Velcourt Restricted race. Hilton took Michael Gates' ten year old Zaffarani's Star to the front at the thirteenth fence and managed to shake off the challenge of Kandelin and Johnny Bailey to score by three lengths. Richard Burton, on the verge of beating Julian Pritchard's record for Point- to- Point wins was third on Alflora Dora.
The Mason family won the AL Cox & Sons Ladies Open race with Wantage Road. This horse had been ridden twice by Laura Mason but this time it was Becky Mason in the saddle. Becky was having her first ride of the season having been busy doing Physiotherapy exams at Birmingham University. Wantage Road enjoyed the good going and Ian Mason noted that he was beginning to come in his coat which is a sign of wellbeing.
In the final race of the day the Roythornes Solicitors older horse Maiden race Heidi Brookshaw trained Red O' Donnell to win by ten lengths. This made the two and three quarter hours journey from Shropshire worthwhile. Joint owner David Ellis was tasting success for the first time. This horse was purchased by Heidi at Shrewsbury Market for £400 and was ridden by Stuart Ross.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Brocklesby Point to Point at Brocklesby Park on Saturday 26th February, first race 12.30pm.