There was a surprise winner and home success as Garthorpe’s 2017 point-to-point season opened with the Cottesmore meet on Sunday.
Classy mare Popaway, ridden by Immy Robinson, upset the form books by winning the Ladies’ Open race, ending a run of eight straight wins for favourite Palypso De Creek who struggled to compete.
The 12-year-old winner, trained by Pauline Harkin, almost pulled out of the race earlier in the day because the ground wasn’t quick enough.
“She needed a race,” the trainer said. “And she is just getting better with age. I think this is the best she has ever been.”
Waltham-trained favourite Robin De Boss took the early spoils by winning the Members’ race under Dale Peters.
The seven-year-old chalked up another win for trainer Tommy Morgan and is owned by a Rutland syndicate headed by Oakham solicitor Paul Browne.
The Men’s Open race was contested over the shorter 2m4f distance and was won in some style by Silver Roque (H. Morshead).
The well-backed favourite wasn’t challenged, beating Old Pride by about 12 lengths, making the long drive from the Cotswolds worthwhile for the Vestey team.
The bookmakers’ woes continued in the second race of the day when another favourite, Golden Tobouggan (Claire Hardwick), made it three wins from three this season.
After a good challenge from En Passe (T. David) the six-year-old gelding pulled clear and showed he had plenty left to give.
The last three races of the day attracted the biggest fields.
The first of these, the Conditions race for nine-year-olds and upwards, was won by Hi Vic after the race had boiled down to a head-to-head with runner-up Helpston (G. Andrews).
Winning owner Nicholas Wright is the Cottesmore chairman and the horse was ridden by his son Archie.
The Restricted Race served up a three-way battle between favourite Teeton Power (D. Peters), Lord Golan (T. Strawson) and Tailspin (T. David).
Teeton Power had made the running, but Tailspin proved he still had reserves as the race developed. Lord Golan impressed in finishing second after a season off.
The meet culminated in the Maiden race which provided one of the best performances of the day by Emtidaad (D. Mansell).
The impressive four-year-old seemed to relish the dead ground to win well from Rainbow Bucks (J. Martin) and Le Fou Royal (A. Wright).
* The next meeting at Garthorpe is the Belvoir on Saturday, March 25.