Fair weather and good ground were the order of the day for the Melton Hunt Club’s annual point-to-point meeting at Garthorpe.
The seven-race card opened with the Melton Hunt Club Member Conditions Race which attracted a field of 12 runners and provided a great race.
The running was made, from the outset, by Ballalough and Sam Davies-Thomas, while favourite Shantou Prince bided their time in the chasing pack. Shantou Prince made their move late on, but it wasn’t enough, as Davies-Thomas fought off the challenge to win it by a couple of lengths in the second fastest time of the day, 6min 13secs.
* The Restricted race brought six horses to post and looked to be producing another win for Gina Andrews and Distant Rain.
But as they reached the last, Demood, the mount of James Martin, reeled them in and timed a perfect finish to win by less than a head.
Richard Pringuer had been confident of the ability of the mare which cost £600 in the Ascot sales.
“The plan was to stay within reach of Gina and Distant Rain and we always thought he would get there,” he said.
* Double Handful (Joe Hill) won the 2m 4f PPORA Club Members’ race for horse of 10 years old and over.
They took over from favourite Ring Ben (Alex Edwards) as they entered the final turn and held off a decent challenge from Gallox Bridge (James Martin) in the run-in.
* The day’s feature race was the PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders Championship Final.
Three very similarly-rated horses took it in turns to lead the way at different points before the distance started to tell.
Creepy (C. Dee) was first to weaken and as they approached the last, favourite For ‘N’ Against (I. Marshall) could not hold on to Beggar’s Velvet and Amy Cox who stayed on well to win by 15 lengths.
The family horse had almost refused to go into the paddock before the race, but jockey Cox was pleased with their planning.
“You have to ride him tactically,” she said. “The plan had always been not to go too fast and I think we had our perfect race.”
* The Mixed Open saw two of the best horses around coming to post in what promised to be a fascinating contest.
Hazel Hill (Alex Edwards) was looking to add a ninth straight win, while TheTalkingHorse boasted multiple wins at Garthorpe and had regular jockey Tom McClorey back on board after a recent injury.
As the race entered the last half-mile, Hazel Hill, carrying 3lb less, started to pull away and went on to win by 12 lengths from his rival.
* It was the part of a quick-fire double for Edwards and trainer Philip Rowley as they then won the Open Maiden for Mares and Fillies with home-bred four-year-old Gadrose.
Despite her size she made the most of a 21lb weight advantage over her rivals to win comfortably.
* The final race of the day, the three-mile Open Maiden, had to be voided after a fall for Richard Collinson on Drive on Joe left the running rail damaged and the jockey sore, but not badly hurt.