A very large crowd enjoyed some thrilling finishes when the Pytchley held their Point-to-Point races at the popular course at Guilsborough on Sunday.
Jockeys and trainers were full of praise for Clerk of the Course Gerald Bailey and his team who produced "good" going on the day and the track was in fantastic condition.
Bailey did have some incentive to do a good job as he had a number of runners from his stable taking part and was rewarded with a winner and a third in the opening King West Member's race. Here his runner Sandpipers was the heavily backed favourite and ridden by Alex Vaughan- Jones replicated the form from Dingley last Saturday beating Amithereyet and Nick Docker. The latter had to stay on resolutely to beat Bailey's other runner the fast finishing Hardwick Wood and Henry Gurney.
Fearthedark was well fancied to give Bailey and Vaughan-Jones a double in the Borneo Martell Confined race but he finished a disappointing fourth. The race went to Chardonnay and James Jackson-Stops who looked like winning fairly comfortably two fences from home before Pete Mann galvanised Colonial Boy to challenge. The leading novice horse of last season Colonial Boy was putting in his best run of 2015 but had to settle for second with Play The Market and Jonny Bailey in third.
Pete Mann did not leave Guilsborough empty handed however, as he rode Doctor Kingsley to victory in the Abbey Ross Men's Open race collecting the Dick Saunders Memorial Trophy for his efforts. The enigmatic Doctor Kingsley was recording a fourth win at Guilsborough and a third in this Open race for Doug and Pauline Harkin who collected the Lowther Challenge Cup. The 13 year old now has the option of running in the £7500 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs Bonham's Men's Open Point-to-Point Championship Final at Cheltenham on Wednesday 29th April or the four miles Open Hunter Chase on the same evening. Gun Money finished a gallant second for Richard and John Russell; his next target will be the Quorn Gold Cup at Garthorpe on 25th April, a race he won in 2013. Jonny Bailey was third on Theodore Lamb; his two third places earned him 2 more points in the D&M Barthorpe Midlands Area Leading Rider Championships putting him on 12 points a long way behind Tom Strawson who is on 35 points. "I can't catch him now and I am not even going to try to. I missed most of last season with a serious injury and I am just pleased to be back riding." Said the former Area Leading rider.
The Ladies Open race sponsored by Berry Bros saw Sagalyrique record his tenth Ladies Open Point-to-Point victory since he began racing between the flags in 2011. The eleven year old partnered by Angela Rucker beat See You Jack and Gina Andrews with Bay To Go and Lucy Wheeler in third. Sagalyrique's task was made easier after the Confined winner at this meeting last year Life Long unfortunately fell when making up ground but he and rider Faye Conway were fortunately unhurt. The first three riders in this race scored points for the AGA Lady Riders iTotal Control Championship.
Lucy Wheeler's afternoon got better as she partnered Treacyswestcounty in the Dallas Burston Open Maiden race. Kicking clear with three fences to go, Treacyswestcounty soon left the favourite Sea Rock struggling and went on to score from Miles Away who finished second with Violet Crack in third place. Lucy Wheeler has made some headway in recent weeks and is now 4 points behind Kelly Morgan for both the D &M Barthorpe Leading Lady rider and the Novice rider awards.
There was something of a surprise in the MacIntyre Hudson Restricted race where 10- 1 shot Biddles Bedouin landed the spoils. Trained by Stuart Morris for Mrs C and Mrs J Knight, this nine year old mare won her Maiden at Whitfield in March on her seventh attempt and since then was placed second in a Restricted race. "She's a very game little mare and jumps great; the penny has really dropped with her now. It's a nice spare ride to pick up!" Said the delighted winning rider Sam Davies-Thomas for whom this was a seventh winner of the season. Biddles Bedouin has now qualified to run in the Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series Final at Stratford on Friday 29th May. Fiasco finished second with Dream Mistress in third.
The next Point-to-Point in the Midlands Area is the Atherstone meeting on Sunday 19th April at Clifton-on-Dunsmore first race 1pm.