An estimated crowd of 9,000 visitors at today's Cazenove Capital Point-to-Point and Country Day at Lockinge were treated to bumper day of sport with six races, two pony races and Coneygree 2015 Cheltenham Betfred Gold winner making a special guest appearance to begin proceedings.
Father and son team, trainer James and jockey Fred Henderson enjoyed a fruitful day bagging a double across the card. Oliver James (the horse) kicked off the first leg by winning the opener (member's race), with Otto the Great managing to get his nose in front in a three-way photo finish in the mixed open (3rd race). Fred, who is studying history at Newcastle university said;
"We moved to the area last year from Grantham, Lincolnshire and it's great to have such a successful day at our local point-to-point. Otto the Great seems to be really enjoying his racing now, he won last time out which has given him confidence and he really gave his all today".
Port Golan finished in a close second (3rd race mixed open) for Henrietta Knight who was saddling her first point-to-point runner in 25 years. She was a champion point-to-point trainer, before turning her attention to professional racing, with equine legends, triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate and Champion Chase and King George Chase winner Edredon Bleu running under the banner of the Knight stable.
Midnight King continued the family theme when taking the second race (confined) for the Mann team. The horse is owned, trained and bred J Mann and booked her son Peter to ride. The trainer, who is based in Warwickshire commented;
"Midnight King hasn't raced the past couple of season's due to injury and this is the first time he's won following his lay off, he is a terrific horse and this marks his seventh career win".
Just as Irish amateur Katie Walsh was securing her first Irish Grand National, Kate Derrick, a swimming teacher at Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire rode her first ever winner in the PPORA members race (fourth). The race provided another fantastic finish, with Katie riding her own Rivazza holding on to win. Kate also owns and trains the horse.
"What a fantastic feeling! Last season, didn't go so great as I lost my first horse and I considered giving up, but Rivazza has given me back my confidence and I am delighted for him and looking forward to celebrating my first winner", Kate said.
Laura Thomas from Marlborough, Wiltshire, trained Swingbridge, the winner of the restricted race (5th race). Jockey Tom Ellis managed to fend off a late surge from Carnglave Cat and Kate Lyons to make it three wins from three rides for Thomas.
Speaking after the race Ellis said: "Laura and I have struck up a successful partnership, she is very good at getting horses fit and jumping well, but this game is a great leveler and as a jockey you never know what around the corner so I'm going to savor this while it lasts".
The last race, also came down to nail biting finish with Bingo Tiep, a half-brother to the smart Irish chaser Pomme Tiepy taking the honours. The owner Tom Lacey said: "He is a horse that does himself really well and it has just taken time to get him fit. He is probably a horse we might go on with or we might sell him."
Jockey Charlie Deutsch was riding his first winner (Bingo Tiep) since returning to the amateur ranks after having a spell as a conditional jockey. The 18-year-old said: "I went conditional and now I am back as an amateur, so that was my second ride back as an amateur".
Two competitive pony races kicked off the day's racing; Eleven year old Eliott England riding Diptford Moon Walker was the convincing winner of the 138cm race and Isabel Hunt on board Barboza managing to hold on to win the 148cm race.
The popular Easter Monday fixture at Lockinge dates back to 1830 but the Old Berks hunt hosted its first race at the current Lockinge location in 1953 and has become a local sporting and social institution ever since.
Rchard Manners, chairman of the Point-to-Point said; "This event is a very important fundraiser for the hunt and it's fantastic to see so many enjoying a great day of horseracing in the Oxfordshire countryside".