A large Easter Monday crowd enjoyed the spring sunshine at Thorpe Lodge when the South Notts held their Point-to-Point and celebrated 40 years of racing at the course. The highlight of the day was a treble for Midlands Area leading rider Tom Strawson.
Returning to the scene of his first double twelve months ago which was followed by a treble at Garthorpe the following weekend, Strawson started the day riding Gonalston Cloud for South Notts Chairman Roger Jackson in the Anne Jepson Memorial Confined race. This eight year old grey has gone right through the ranks this season after winning his Maiden at Thorpe in February, taking in a Restricted and Intermediate as well as being placed second in an open. Strawson had him settled off the pace before coming through to beat the pace setting Thetalkinghorse and Tom McClorey by four lengths with Bench Warrant in third. "Gonalston cloud will run next at Cheltenham (in the £7000 Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Point-to-Point Championship Hunter Chase final) for which he qualified for at Garthorpe which is really exciting. I also think I better order some tickets for the Midlands area awards dinner!" said the delighted Roger Jackson in the winner's enclosure. Gonalston Cloud looks like being both the leading horse and leading novice horse of the season in the D&M Barthorpe Championships.
Strawson then teamed up with one of his 2014 winners, another grey Roby De Cimbre in the Newark Livestock Market Men's Open race for the Robinson family. This time he had Roby De Cimbre prominent throughout the race before taking clear lead three fences from home. Now a twelve year old, Roby de Cimbre then swished his tail in the manner of the Robinson family's old favourite The Big Wheel as he went on to beat Teshali by thirty lengths.
The final leg of the Strawson treble came in the Fernwood Group Four, Five, Six and Seven year old Open Maiden, a qualifier for the DBS Spring sales P2P bumper. Here he was on board No Alterations for Victoria Cottingham and Jane Kent; this horse ran at Garthorpe where his saddle slipped last Sunday but there were no such problems this time and No Alterations went on to win by eight lengths. Victoria Cottingham's green and pink colours were chosen because her father Kit had so many successes in his pink and black colours. She also has Ivan's Back in training with Nick Kent at his base close to Brigg. "I am delighted with this horse and hopefully we will run in the Restricted race at Garthorpe in a few weeks time." She said. The second horse, Gerald Bailey's Fearsome Fred showed a lot of promise on his racecourse debut and is one to note when he runs again. Speaking of his treble Tom Strawson who is sponsored by AGHAUL Ltd Haulage Contractors said; "Last year when I rode a treble at Garthorpe lots of people said I would never manage such a feat again but here I am and I have! It's been a great day and there will definitely be champagne and a party tonight!" Stawson has 35 points in the Midlands Area Championship with Tom McClorey his nearest pursuer on 13 points.
The Gerald Bailey stable had enjoyed success earlier in the afternoon, continuing a fantastic run of form for the yard when Mr Madeit won the Silcock and Partners Intermediate race. Ridden by George Greenock, who is sponsored by Lycetts, for his Mother Countess Cathcart, Mr Madeit was a fairly easy winner beating Uber Alles and Dicky Collinson by six lengths. "I am delighted; the horses are running well. We nearly went to Fakenham for the Hunter Chase but unfortunately George couldn't do the weight." Said winning trainer Gerald Bailey. Both the winner and the second qualified for the £7000 3 miles 1 ½ furlongs Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Point-to-Point Championship Hunter Chase final at Cheltenham on Wednesday 29th April.
Earlier in the afternoon, Lottie Crane supplemented her win on Mister Philson at Dingley on Saturday with an easy victory on Qoubilai in a match for the Millside Country Store Ladies Open race. Both Lottie and Sam Klug the rider of the second horse Viking Ridge scored points for the AGA iTotal Control Championship. Lottie is currently in second place behind Kelly Morgan for the D & M Barthorpe leading Lady rider Championship in the Midlands area.
Another rider to follow up a success at Dingley, Toby Betambeau, who won on Empyrean on Saturday, rode Lady Barfad to a one length success in the Frank Key Builder's Merchants Restricted race. Trained by Pauline Harkin, the seven year old mare who won her Maiden at Kingston Blount in March has qualified for the Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series Final at Stratford on Friday 29th May. Pauline Harkin also trained the second horse Val d'Auberge and Roger Jackson's Lord Golan was third.
There was a first ever winner for seventeen year old Sam Lee who rode the nine year old Tannerman to victory in the final race the Brydon Property Development eight year olds and over Open Maiden. Tannerman is trained by Sam's Mum Katie alongside the family Dairy farm and owned by Steve Brown and Kerry Hollowell who were delighted with their success. Lucky Sun was a length away in second place and Upper Deck was third.
The next Point-to-Point in the Midlands Area is the Pytchley at Guilsborough on Sunday 12th April, first race 2pm.