A large crowd attended the Atherstone Point-to-Point races on Sunday where the highlight was a double for trainer Tom Morgan in the final two races of the day.
Shutthebackdoor, a five year old half-brother to Shutthefrontdoor who provided AP McCoy with his final Grand National ride and fifth place, started the 2-5 favourite for the BRI Wealth Management Restricted race, a qualifier for the Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point series final at Stratford on Friday 29th May. Ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas he gained a length victory over Annamult with Fermat in third. "He did it nicely; he's an out and out stayer so the track didn't really suit him. He ran a bit green but then he is only five and there is a lot more to come from him." Said the winning jockey. These comments were confirmed by Tom Morgan; "This horse only ever does enough. He will be roughed off now and we will look forward to next season with him." He said. Indeed with two wins and a second from three starts Shutthebackdoor is clearly an exciting prospect for owners Dave Cook and Tom's partner Lizzie Harris.
Part And Parcel's CV didn't look quite so good going into the Open Maiden race with BFP in front of his name making his starting price of 4-1 not look very generous. Seven horses went to post but it was Part And Parcel and the second horse No Dosh who were left to fight it out in the final mile with Part And Parcel getting the upper hand by four lengths. Now a seven year old, Part And Parcel who is owned by the Jackson Five group and was ridden by Dale Peters, had finished second in an Irish Maiden as a four year old so had the benefit of experience. Gerald Bailey's No Dosh was having only his second run and surely is a winner waiting to happen. Bearfacedcheek and Natty Higham were third. After the race Tom Morgan said: "It's great to win for such a great bunch of owners and the horse deserved that. Smith's Hill has also won for us this afternoon under a vintage ride from Gina Andrews at Fakenham. The Royal Horse Shoes will know we are in there tonight!" He said referring the fact that his Waltham-on-the-Wolds Stable had completed an across the cards treble.
Earlier in the afternoon the Gerald Bailey stable had gone one better with The Talking Horse taking the Howkins & Harrison Confined race in the hands of Tom McClorey. His task was made easier by the fall of Flicka's Witness at the last but looked like he had the upper hand. Picaroon and Jack Day were second and Checked Shirt was third. Owned by Margaret Moody, The Talking Horse has only been out of the first three once in twelve races and that was when falling at Brocklesby. "He's a smart horse but quite lazy; I think he won quite easily really. He has won two Confined races now so I suppose we will have to look at an Open race for him next." Said winning trainer Gerald Bailey after the race.
The biggest field of the day was the twelve runner Sharnford Tractors Ltd Mare's Maiden race where the well-backed Inside Out and Charlie Marshall scored for trainer Nick Pearce. Inside Out, who had finished second in a Member's race on her previous outing, raced prominently and found plenty when challenged by Clonmore Dew who finished second and Shales Home Mix who was third. The first three past the post scored points in the Jockey Club Maiden Mares Series.
Racing started with an easy win for Lottie Crane and Defying Gravity in the opening MTS Ltd Member's race with Leprechaun's Gold and Tommie O'Brien the only other finishers in second place. This win put Lottie into a two points lead over Kelly Morgan in both the D&M Barthorpe leading Midlands Lady rider award and the Novice rider award.
Unfortunately the turnout of runners for the Open races was very poor with Popaway and Joe Docker walking over in the A Davenport sponsored Men's Open and Nightcap Jack and Lucy Wheeler doing the same in the James Bennett Ltd of Hinckley Ladies Open. The winning horse in the Men's Open qualified to run in the £7500 Bonham's Men's Open Point-to-Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday 29th April.
The winning rider in the Ladies Open race scored points for the AGA iTotal Control Championship.
The next racing in the Midlands Area is the Quorn Point-to-Point on Saturday 25th April, first race 1pm.