Decent Spring weather, good ground conditions and some quality Point to Point racing, got the first Leicestershire meeting of the season off to a good start at Garthorpe. With new style fences set in place for the meeting, both trainers and jockeys gave the thumbs up and no fallers were reported during the seven races.
Although racing was delayed for half an hour, first race up was The Cottesmore Hunt Members race, which was kindly sponsored by Moores Country & Equestrian Homes and Mallard Jewellers/Pawnbrokers. Only four horses went to post. However this resulted in a win for the Holly Campbell trained, Oscar Buck, who started favourite but only had a head to spare on the line following some urgent riding from jockey, Joe Docker.
Second race on the card was The Dickinson & Morris Confined race, which attracted an entry of nine. This went to the eight year old mare, True Friday, already a winner three times at Garthorpe. Rider Richard Armson took up the running just after halfway and never looked likely to be caught. Cheyne from the Bailey stable and Belvoir gelding, Eskimo Pie took the minor placings.
Marshall Land Rover were sponsors of The Mens Open race and five runners went to post. The Gerald Bailey trained, Denvale, who had changed hands recently, and was ridden by new owner, Richard Hunnisett, proved too good for hot favourite, Steppes of Gold, who lost second place on the run in to the unfancied nine year old,Gabor. The winner of this race is now eligible to run in the £10,000 3m ½ f Volkswagen Touareg Champion Hunter Chase Final at Towcester in May.
A field of four was declared for the Ladies Open race, this being sponsored by Sturgess Jaguar of Leicester. Recent Cottenham winner, Fullards, took up the running from long time leader, Oh So Lively, and held off the late challenge of the Sarah Phizacklea ridden Tooley Park.
Fifth race up was the TBA/MFHA PPORA Club Members for Mares Only, and here seven mares went to post. This resulted in a comfortable win for the seven year old, Paulinski, who was well ridden by Stuart Morris. Who Let The Fox Out, ridden by Patrick Millington and Tunnel Breeze, the mount of Rilly Goschen took second and third placings.
J and A Young kindly sponsored the Restricted Race and here ten went to post. This race produced the closest finish of the day. Hot favourite, Walters Laddie, ridden by previous race winner, Stuart Morris, looked to be going best turning into the final bend but the Fernie six year old, Carbon Footprint, ridden by James Turcan got back in front to win by a short head.
Final race on the card was the Open Maiden race, for 5,6,7 & 8 year olds and this was sponsored by Stone Lodge Industries. 10 horses went to post. This was won by Victor Victorious, the Hursley Hambledon gelding, who fought off both, Streets of Laredo and Jubilee George in an exciting finish.
Next local Midland Point to Point meeting is the Fitzwilliam at Cottenham, near Cambridge on Saturday 15 th March.
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