The annual Brocklesby Point-to-Point races took place on Sunday at Brocklesby Park where 7 races took place on "Good to Soft ground with soft patches" and black armlets were worn by the riders in honour of prolific winning Lady rider Jill Dawson who died recently. A brisk wind continued to dry the ground throughout the afternoon and a reasonable sized crowd enjoyed some good racing.
Following on from a win and a second place at the South Wold meeting at the Brocklesby course it was Harry Banister who picked up the Lilian Pickering leading rider award at the meeting. Bannister had the ride on Carlton Ryan in the Men' open race, a race sponsored by Singleton Birch Ltd who this year celebrate 200 years of business at their Melton Ross Quarries. Carlton Ryan ran away the eight length winner from Empire Builder who took second place with Camden in third. "Despite the tacky ground, he still has gears and he has won easily in the end." said Bannister of Steve Hollings gelding who is trained by Steph Easterby. Carlton Ryan qualified for the £7500 3miles 2 1/2 furlongs Bonham's Men's Open Point-to-Point Championship Final at Cheltenham on Wednesday 29th April.
Bannister went on to complete his double on the card with Fortunata Fashions who took the Jockey Club Open Maiden for Mares sponsored by The Jockey Club and St Hugh's Hospital from Two Smokin Barrels. Fortunata Fashions took it up at the final ditch and the five year old went on to win fairly easily for Francesca Nimmo. The first three horses past the post scored points for the Jockey Club PPORA Club Members Mares Maiden Series.
Francesca Nimmo's Magic Sky won the earlier Ladies Feature race sponsored by DDM Agriculture from Don't Back Down and Gina Andrews. Just three runners went to post and Magic Sky put in a superb round of jumping to come out on top. The riders of the first three past the post scored points for the AGA Lady Riders iTotal Control Championship.
The Nunn's Mitsubishi Ltd Restricted race went to Gonalston Cloud who followed up from an easy Maiden win at Thorpe in February to beat Desert Sting by twenty lengths for owner/ trainer Roger Jackson. "That's what you call exciting." said rider Tom Strawson who is sponsored by AGHAUL ltd Haulage Contractors after dismounting.
Strawson had earlier finished runner up twice firstly in the opening Member's race sponsored by the Ashbourne Hotel. Riding Over The Thyme for his father Paul, Strawson kept tabs on Tom Broughton and Cian Boy in the early stages. However, the 9 year old Cian Boy forged a fair lead after turning out of the back straight giving the 17 year old Tom Broughton a first winner by two lengths. Broughton who is sponsored by ARP Grain said "This is a dream; it's what I have always wanted." Cian Boy will continue to run in Point-to-Points with the long term aim of running in summer jumps races under the care of Nick Kent for whom young Broughton has been riding out for a number of years.
Strawson again took the runners up place when Galant Nuit finished second in the Midlands Area Club race sponsored by Clark Weightman; owned by the Brocklesby Boys Partnership Galant Nuit was two lengths behind the winner Charles Clark's Topaze Collanges. This 8 year old grey took up the running at the last fence under Jack Teal. "We bought him from Charlie Longsdon who told us he would like soft ground and two and a half miles. His next race could well be in a Hunter Chase." said winning owner/ trainer Charles Clark.
The final Open Maiden race sponsored by Paul Wiseman Electrical Contractors Ltd went the way of Banderitos, owned by Sarah Easterby and ridden by Will Easterby whose brother Thomas was in the winner's enclosure. 9 year old Thomas was accompanied by Mini a young black and tan terrier puppy who always goes racing with the team. Andante was second and Shabach was third.
After the last race the Lilian Pickering Memorial Perpetual Challenge Trophy for the leading rider at Brocklesby Park for 2015 was presented to by Wendy Forman to Harry Bannister and the Lilian Pickering Achievement Award was presented to Harry Thorpe in recognition of the work he had done to get the course e ready for the event.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Cottesmore Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on Sunday 8th March, first race 12 noon.