The Cottesmore Point-to-Point opened the Garthorpe season on Sunday when 60 runners contested seven races on good ground.
Legal Legend followed up his Intermediate win last month by landing the Men’s Open feature race. The eight-year-old, ridden by Tom McClorey, took the lead in the straight but had to shake off runner-up Gonalston Cloud to win by half-a-length.
Gonalston Cloud ran an exceptional race, ridden by Tom Strawson, having moved through the ranks from Maiden to Open in three starts and in less than a month.
* A minute’s silence was held before the Ladies’ Race in memory of prolific Garthorpe winner Jill Dawson.
Top Smart unseated his rider at the last fence, handing victory to It Was Me who finished alone for owner Nick Wright and rider Carey Williamson.
She said: “I love this horse; he jumps so well and it’s nice to come to Garthorpe and have a winner as I’ve had a bit of bad luck here.”
* Another horse to jump superbly was She’s Real who took the opening Garthorpe Hunts Club Members’ race for Helen Connors, and John and Tom Chatfeild–Roberts.
She’s Real and third finisher, the pace-setting Elsafeer, gave the Belvoir an early lead in the Garthorpe Championship, while second-placed Bach To The Wall scored points for the Cottesmore.
* There was a local winner in the PPORA Club Members’ race for novice riders when Lough Inch and Kelly Morgan made most of the running to beat Jetnova by four lengths, with Stonethrower in third.
The winner is trained by Kelly’s brother Tommy at Waltham-on-the-Wolds and owned by Tommy’s partner Lizzie.
It was Kelly’s first ride and first winner of the season. She said: “This horse is a family horse; everyone loves him and everyone rides him which is what makes it so special.”
* Trainer Gerald Bailey saddled the first two home in the nine-year-olds-and-over Midlands Area Club Members Conditions race.
Mr Madeit won for Countess Cathcart and was ridden by her son George Greenock. Sandpipers, a recent runner-up in a Hunter Chase at Leicester, took second again for Alex Vaughan-Jones with In the Dock in third.
* Bailey’s son Jonny was delighted to win the closing Open Maiden race with Push Ahead for owners Jo and Robert Hankey, and trainer Gary Hanmer.
Dream Mistress looked the likely winner at the last before running out through the wings, leaving Push Ahead to fight out the finish and beat Black Sambuca by three lengths.
It was a first winner of the season for the former Midlands Area Leading rider and the first since Bailey injured his back last January.
* Rocky Island was given a confident ride by novice jockey Tommie O’Brien to take the Restricted race by six lengths from Carrigkerry and Page Fuller. Dickie Barrett rode Silver O’ Reilly to third.
* The next meeting at Garthorpe is the Belvoir Point-to-Point on Sunday, March 29, first race off at 1.30pm.