The crowds at Garthorpe enjoyed fine weather and good finishes at the Belvoir’s point-to-point meeting on Saturday.
Pauline Harkin’s yard enjoyed a double and a promising young jockey opened their account in style on the seven-race card.
Despite 10mm of rain in the days preceding the meeting, Brian Crawford and his team produced a track which started the day soft, but dried steadily through the afternoon.
The meet opened with the PPORA Club Members race for Novice Riders and set the tone for things to come with several horses making the running at different stages only to run out of stamina on the holding ground.
Beggar’s Velvet opened up a big gap on the last lap, but weakened as he approached the last and had little left to give when caught by Smiths Hill in the run-in.
It was an impressively ridden maiden victory for 16-year-old jockey Joanna Hewitt, part of Caroline and Gerald Bailey’s team at Holdenby North Lodge in Northamptonshire.
* Tom Chatfeild-Roberts and Love Manhattan won the Garthorpe Hunts Club Members race after riding a sensible pace which left the seven-year-old with enough in the tank to fight off the challenge of Sandpipers and Alex Vaughan-Jones on the run in for his first victory since 2015.
* Alex Vaughan-Jones and Ignite A Light led the Intermediate race for much of the way round, but as they reached the last, the tank ran dry and they all but stopped, allowing the stalking Nelson’s Legend and Tom McClorey to steal this one in the last few yards.
Agent For Chaos, a tricky ride piloted by William Marshall took third place and, Dream Mistress (Tom Chatfeild-Roberts) was fourth.
* The feature race was the Mixed Open, part of the Mixed Open Gold Cup series, and provided the day’s most impressive display.
Nine-year-old Hazel Hill is yet to be beaten in this country and never looked likely to on this occasion.
Alex Edwards judged the ride beautifully, sitting in behind the front runners for much of the race before easing into the lead around the final bend and winning with ease.
Bravo Riquet (Huw Edwards) and Expanding Universe (S. Bowen) both did much of the front running and deserved second and third places respectively, having both gone off at 33/1.
* The Restricted race provided more than a hint of deja vu as Hurricane Vic (Tom Strawson) seemed to have judged the race to perfection, only to run out of steam at the last.
The seven-year-old ran right, giving View The Dance, piloted by co-owner Kara Gregory, the chance to ease past and give Pauline Harkin a double.
* Tom Strawson’s frustration was short-lived as the Open Maiden (3m) went to his mount, the Tim Tarratt-trained Quizzacle Nomad.
The sticky ground suited the mare who was the only one to stay the three-mile course, giving owner Sue Smith her first win with this horse.
Unseen was second and Cakewalk (B. James) took third place.
* The day’s final race, a two-mile, four-furlong maiden race for four to seven-year-old horses, went to Shamat, ridden by Richard Collinson, who overtook the impressive unraced four-year-old Daydream Aulmes (Leo Mahon) on the final run in.