Local trainer Lynn Redman saddled a double at the sun-drenched Kimblewick Point-to-Point at Kingston Blount on Sunday. Progressive fillies Hot to Trot and Loveyoutothemoon, both parterned by Gina Andrews, provided Redman with the brace twelve years to the day after her last winning pair – mares Homebymidnight and She's A Terror – scored at the venue in 2007.
Despite having her own ideas on her way to post, five-year-old Hot To Trot made light work of the The French Horn Restricted after runner-up Brass In Pocket blundered away his chance three out. A half-sister of Silver Token, the daughter of Brian Boru was bought from David Brace as foal. "She's hot headed, so is aptly named!" said Redman, who trains just five miles west of the course at nearby Tetsworth.
Despite finishing alone, Loveyoutothemoon produced a taking performance in the Meadowbrook Farm Holiday Cottages Intermediate to record her second course success. The race had yet to unfold when favourite Captiva Island, challenging upsides, unseated James King four out to leave the winner in isolation. Although eased down up the run-in, a reasonable time was clocked. "She can't travel very far for her races," said Redman. "She's a bit of a diva. The plan has always been to run her locally at Kingston and Kimble. She likes it here, so we'll be back in two weeks for the Mixed Open."
The trainer, also keen to praise Charlotte Drury, who rides out her horses daily, added: "Tabitha (Worsley, previous rider), was brought down at Fontwell in the week but I'm lucky to be able to call on Gina. Next season we will have horses with her and Tom (Ellis) and some with Alan (Hill), but Loveyoutothemoon will stay with us."
Winning owners 'The Back Of The Car Club', comprising Redman, husband Martin, and longstanding supporter Maurice Thomas, lived up to their billing with an impressive assortment of refreshments ensuring celebrations lasted for several hours after racing at the foot of the Chiltern Hills.
Arriving here after another double at Peper Harow on Saturday, Champion Rider Gina Andrews extended her winning tally to 53 for the campaign. She now lies just 15 winners shy of Will Biddick's season record of 68, set in 2014/15. Five weekends remain.
Alan Hill's seven-year-old Back Bar (Izzy Marshall) was a visually impressive winner of the Bull & Butcher Pub Ladies Open. Completing the hat-trick after scoring at High Easter and Edgcote, the bargain purchase easily saw off fellow ex-Gordon Elliott inmate Free of Charge. The victory helped Hill narrow the gap in the Foran Equine Trainers' Championship, where he now trails Tom Ellis by five.
"His jumping put the race to bed," said Hill. "He's been a superstar and I think he's a proper horse. David Minton felt he needed buying and at £1,000 he's been a steal. Start Royal was £4,000, Broken Eagle was £2,600. It's early days, but this one could prove to be the best value."
Comparing the Cranfield family-owned winner to two horses that have won 48 races between them is high praise indeed. Hill added: "We knew we had the stamina to take on the favourite over three miles. Two years ago, Izzy (Marshall) was a long way behind Gina (Andrews) but she is now riding at the top of her game and the gap is definitely closing."
Hill suffered a reversal in the West Berkshire Racing Club Conditions as odds-on favourite Hawkhurst, bidding to follow up his success in the event last year, was outgunned by Sally Randall's upwardly mobile Cheltenam De Vaige.
"He started this season as a maiden, so he's done really well to go through the grades," said winning rider Hannah Lewis, whose decisive injection of pace three out enabled her mount to score by half a length. "It's beautiful ground, they've done a wonderful job. He learned a lot last week in Open company as they go that shade faster. He was swifter through the air today. I'd imagine the Restricted Final at Stratford would be a possibility, if the ground came up good."
Jubilant owners Matt and Sally Burford, based in Birdlip, have owned the gelding since he was a yearling. After an unsuccessful spell under rules, Point-to-Pointing now has their undivided attention and they hope the gelding can live up to his name by taking them to Cheltenham's Hunter Chase evening next season. "When you see them grow up like we have, they really are yours," said Matt. "He's one for the future as he's still only seven. We love Point-to-Pointing. It's a brilliant day out and very easy to attend the meetings as they're at weekends! He only ran last week but Sally said he came out of it well, so we were happy to come!"
The 2m 5f College & Country Mens Open looked tailor-made for short-distance specialist Gabrial The Great, and so it proved as 'point and shoot' tactics from owner/trainer/rider Tom Murray resulted in an unchallenged four-length victory.
Murray, a farrier based in Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, celebrating his fourth career winner, said: "We've had a difficult season with him. He was kicked before he picked up a virus, which was why his first two runs were so disappointing. I wanted to make the running as he has a relentless gallop. He's not a three-miler as he's too keen but there's another 2m 5f race here in a fortnight, so we'll come back!"
Although an excellent job was done by ground staff to ensure good ground was produced, the Farming Ahead Open Maiden and Richardsons Chartered Accountants Hunt Members races were walkovers. Max Young's Gogetthat was the beneficiary in the former while Alan Hill's evergreen Ravethebrave, who may now head to Hexham on Saturday, collected the latter.