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Meynell & South Staffs
Sunday 23rd May 2010
by Emma Forman

A large crowd enjoyed the Meynell and South Staffordshire Point- to- Point and Countryside Raceday which took place in glorious summer weather at Garthorpe on Sunday. A large entry resulted in seventy six runners contesting the eight races. This high turnout was largely due the excellent “good to firm” racing surface and owners and trainers were full of praise for clerk of the course Brian Crawford and his team. The secretary Major Moore was also complimented for a very well organized and varied meeting.

Other attractions on this successful day included Pony Racing and the very entertaining camel racing. “The Grumpy Huntsman” licensed bar run by the Cottesmore Supporter’s Club proved very popular serving champagne and Pimms as well as the usual drinks. There was a large selection of trade stands and a children’s play area. Many people enjoyed having a picnic in the beautiful surroundings at Garthorpe.

The first race on the card; the Richard Winterton Open Maiden race was divided at declaration. Division one was the faster run race and this went to Danarama and Joe Docker who took the lead at the final fence to win by three lengths from Jolt and Henry Kinchin. The homebred Danarama has reverted to racing following some intermediate eventing with Matthew Wright. The winning owner Jeremy Young rode Danarama’s dam Ballyannagh at Garthorpe twenty years ago almost to the day. Holly Campbell, the winning trainer was recording her third winner of the season. The second division resulted in a very popular win for nineteen year old Chloe Kirkby and Essenbee. This was the twelfth time this pair had lined up together and was a much deserved win. Essenbee who is owned by Chloe’s Dad, Laurence is at his best on a sound surface.

Essenbee was the first of two Brocklesby qualified winners during the afternoon. Heidi Oldershaw’s Pipsacre is also a Brocklesby horse but is trained in Yorkshire by David Easterby. This mare had won a Maiden at the Middleton meeting prior to falling at the Melton Hunts Club meeting and was sent off the 7-4 favourite for the Cottage Inn Point to Point Owners and Riders Association Club Members race for novice riders. Heidi Oldershaw and Pipsacre were soon in command and came home in a fast time of six minutes and five seconds.

David Easterby went on to complete a training double as he also saddled Brian Dunn’s Sea Senor to take the Fisher German PPORA Club Members race. This front running eight year old relished the fast ground and right handed track and scored by five lengths to give Jake Greenall his twenty ninth winner of the season. Sea Senor, who was bred by Thorpe Lodge secretary Mary Cherry Downes, has progressed nicely this season. David’s father Mick, who said this was the best maiden in David’s string when he won at Charm Park in March, has been proved correct in this judgement.

David Easterby’s sister Cherry Coward also completed a training double and provided Jake Greenall with the first leg of his double. This came on board Dominic Curran’s Noble Ben in the Bowcock & Pursail Intermediate race. Noble Ben was following on from his success at the Melton Hunts Club meeting and beat Oscar D’ Angron and Richard Burton by one and a half lengths. Dominic Curran was delighted with this success having broken down and failed to reach Garthorpe for the last meeting. “I set off early today to make sure I got here. We won’t run him again now, it’s a long way to the Torrington Farmers”, joked Curran in the winner’s enclosure.

Cherry Coward teamed up with her daughter Jacqui in the Countryside Insurance Services Restricted race for which thirteen runners went to post. The Coward runner, Chancery Lad looked beaten but rallied at the last obstacle and ran on to get the better of Newnham Rambo and Tom Ellis by a neck. “He’s had all sorts of problems this season” said Mrs Coward of her 20-1 winner; her patience has certainly been rewarded.

The racing highlight of the afternoon for many was the Cawarden Holdings Mixed Open race. This race was the final race in the Garthorpe Open Race Bonus Series Championship which has been running throughout the season at Garthorpe. At the start of the race Denvale and Richard Hunnisett were in the lead with seven points, closely followed by Ann Arthurs and True Friday. These two horses have enjoyed a close rivalry this season but in the end it was Gemma Hutchinson and the 10-11 favourite Zilcash who took up the running in the back straight and went on to win by ten lengths in a fast time of six minutes and three seconds. True Friday and Denvale both put up their usual game performances to finish second and third. This result led to a tie with both parties on eight points. The winning pot which stood at £1205 was split equally with Richard Hunnisett taking the trophy. The veteran owner / rider is already looking forward to next season having purchased Van Ness at the recent Cheltenham Sales.

The final race of the day was the Joint Masters Young Horse Open Maiden race over two and a half miles. This race resulted in a very exciting finish with three horses spread across the track in the closing stages. In the end it was Kevin Tork’s Surrey Union qualified horse Westcoat Lad who got home in front by a narrow margin from Twysog and Victor.

This meeting completes a very successful season at Garthorpe. There is still one more Point to Point left in the Midlands Area; the Harborough Race Club at Dingley on Saturday 29th May, first race 2p.m. Dickie Barrett, who is now fit again following a hand injury will be hoping that he can hold on to his narrow lead in the D & M Barthorpe Leading Midlands Area Gentleman Rider Championship.

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