The car park at Dingley was full with people enjoying an Easter picnic and the excellent views of racing at the Woodland Pytchley Point-to-Point on Saturday. 7 races took place on ground described as "good to soft, good in places."
Racing got underway with the Woodland Pytchley and Fernie Member's race sponsored by Typestart Printing which resulted in an exciting finish. Dale Peters had Toby Hunt's Nightcap Jack up with the pace for much of the three miles before the favourite Arkose took command. However, Nightcap Jack rallied gamely on the run in to take the lead once more and was just headed by Arkose on the line by half a length. Owner / rider Sam Hutchinson was keen to play down his role in the preparation of Arkose. "My Mother Susan is the real trainer; I could not do it without her. We may run Arkose again in a fortnight at the Atherstone." He said. Ionisphere and Lucy Wheeler were twenty five lengths away in third.
Trainer Gerald Bailey continued his purple patch with a sixth consecutive winner in the King West Confined race with Sandpipers. Rider Alex Vaughan- Jones did have an anxious moment when approaching the last fence Sandpipers began to slow down very rapidly. "I looked round and I could see that Nick (Docker) was virtually at a standstill on Amithereyet!" he said. Both horses crawled up the run in with Sandpipers winning by five lengths from Amithereyet with We Never Give Up and Toby Betambeau in third. "I don't think Sandpipers was actually that tired; he isn't blowing that much but he does like better ground. He's a good, fun horse as he runs regularly." Commented the winning handler Gerald Bailey whose wife Caroline was saddling a runner at Haydock.
Toby Betambeau was back in the winner's enclosure in the number one spot following the Hows Racesafe Four, Five, Six and Seven year olds Open Maiden race, a qualifier for the DBS Spring Sales P2P bumper. Betambeau was riding the mare Empyrean who made all the running to beat another mare More Tricks who ran on well in the hands of Dickie Barrett who is sponsored by AGHAUL Ltd Haulage Contractors. A seven year old Empyrean is owned by Annabel Wheatly and Hilary Stratton. "Annabel and I wanted to come here and persuaded Hilary that it was a good idea at the last minute, so I am glad it worked out well." Said Betambeau for whom this was a second success of the season.
With only one horse declared to run in the Berrys Mixed Open race, there was a walkover for that horse Pristine Condition. Rider Dale Peters who is sponsored by Toby Hunt Funeral Services was required by the rules of racing to weigh out as normal, parade as normal and then canter over the line before weighing in once again. "This will have gained me some points but I am having a lean season without many good rides so I am way behind in the D&M Barthorpe Midlands Championships. Pristine Condition will be able to run on Monday now." Said Peters. Owner Philip Andrew will collect prize money as normal.
Lottie Crane and Mister Philson took the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Member's race for Novice riders beating Smith's Hill and Kelly Morgan with Mac Halen and Serena Tyler in third. Lottie Crane, who is sponsored by Wells McFarland Chartered Surveyors and Property Consultants, sustained a cut lip as Mister Philson had head butted her on the way to post but was still smiling in the winner's enclosure. The riders of the first three past the post scored points for the Harley Racing National Novice Riders Championships and the first four horses and riders past the post are now eligible for the £1000 Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Novice riders Series Final at Tabley on Sunday 17th May.
There was a popular victory for Lady Vicstar in the Restricted race sponsored by Rockingham Horse Trials and a qualifier for the Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series Final at Stratford on Friday 29th May. Owned by Susie Tarry and Andrew Sansome, the game chestnut mare was suited by the soft ground and Jonny Bailey, who is sponsored by Equimark Horseboxes, brought her home the twenty length winner with Endofdiscussion in second place. "I have been doing a rain dance as she needs soft ground! We wanted someone who would ride her just like Andrew would so I led up hoping that she would think it was Andrew getting on her back." Explained Susie Tarry afterwards.
Pauline Harkin the trainer of Endofdiscussion went one better in the final race of the day, the Berry Accountants Open Maiden race with Exclusive Rights beating Oi Oi Savaloi by four lengths. Over To You ran well to be third for Tom Strawson, Tim Tarratt and Liz Inman on only his second start. The winner Exclusive Rights had been second at Whitfield in March and the seven year old mare has improved gradually to lose her Maiden tag. "She loves the soft ground and there was no pace early so I decided to go on." Explained rider Pete Mann.
Next weekend the Pytchley Point-to-Point takes place at Guilsborough on Sunday 12th April, first race 2pm.