Racing: Cottesmore to open Garthorpe point-to-point season

The Cottesmore Hunt Point-to-Point gets racing off and running at Garthorpe on Sunday. Photo: Nico Morgan Photography EMN-190220-123245002
The Cottesmore Hunt Point-to-Point gets racing off and running at Garthorpe on Sunday. Photo: Nico Morgan Photography EMN-190220-123245002
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Garthorpe Racecourse hosts its traditional point-to-point season opener on Sunday with the Cottesmore meeting.

The course is in superb condition for the first of five meetings, with the going good everywhere on the course at the time of writing is and a sunny weekend predicted.

A full card of seven races starts at noon, but gates open at 10am when trade stands and food stalls, bar, bookmakers and Tote will all be open.

There will be entertainment for children (under 16s are admitted free), and dogs on leads are welcome.

There are 21 horses entered for the first race where Blackwater Bramble stands out from the crowd with three wins in similar races this season.

Burtredgipandgump won at this meeting last year and also won in January, at Higham, while Lily’s Got Wings won at Barbury at the very start of the season, and the promising Lucarno Express won their maiden at Cocklebarrow three weeks ago.

Leading female jockey Gina Andrews has the choice of three rides, while brother Jack has two.

* The Novice Riders race has 17 entries, including locally-trained Minella Friend who has two wins this season under jockey George Chatterton.

Silvergrove was a four-time winner in 2017 before having a season off, while Storm Lantern won a race in this series in January.

* There are 12 possible runners for the Men’s Open including Cousin Pete, the highest-rated horse on this card who should love the undulations of the Garthorpe course. Facile Bien is a quality horse on good ground, and second last year to TheTalkingHorse when it was softer.

* The Ladies’ Open could include several of the horses entered for the Men’s Open previously.

Gina Andrews again has three possible rides, with Haymount the best-rated, having beaten Golden Tobouggan, also entered here, at Sheriff Hutton.

Can Mestret and Blue Mountain Boy are other options for Gina, while Claire Hardwick has Golden Tobouggan or Midnight King.

* The nine-year-old and over Conditions race has 25 entries, many of whom could appear in other races.

Aunty Joan had a great season last year and will carry slightly less weight, while Bertie’s Desire has had a break but shouldn’t be discounted and Burtredgipandgump is a recent winner.

* The penultimate Restricted race brings a possible 17 starters to post, including three who had their maiden win recently: Classico Dais (at Chaddesley Corbett in December), HadMeAtHello (at Thorpe Lodge in January) and Lucarno Express (Cocklebarrow, also in January).

* The Open Maiden race, closes the meet with 29 possible runners featuring some racecourse debutantes and some coming to point-to-point racing from a career under rules.

Rapaport won a flat race at Garthorpe during the Quorn meeting in 2018, and James Henderson may declare Bespoke Cave for its racecourse debut.

Notorious Connor and When I’m Ready are also first-timers.

Tickets on the gate are £15, or £13 if purchased in advance at www.midlandspointing.com where you can also read more about individual races.