Brockles Brocklesby Park
Overnight rain changed the official going to "soft" at Brocklesby and this led to fairly testing conditions. The highlights for a fair sized crowd were a double for jockey Tom Ellis and Optimistic Harry scoring for the second time this season en-route to the Foxhunter's at Cheltenham.
Tom Ellis's first winner came in the DDM Agriculture PPA PPORA Club Members Maiden Race for Mares and Fillies only with the eight year old mare Timarello trained by Jimmy Tarry. Tom Ellis was very impressed with her and explained that she is the best maiden he has sat on for a long time but is very difficult to handle. "All credit to Jimmy for training her; sometimes it takes fifteen minutes to put the bridle on in the morning." He said. Timarello was purchased for just £2500 at the May sales at Doncaster by the Rainbows Cook Partnership. Ellis hopes that she will run in the PPA PPORA Club Members Mares Maiden Series Final for which she is now qualified.
Tom Ellis went on to win the St Hugh's Hospital Open Maiden race division one on another Jimmy Tarry trained horse; Action Steel. This six year old gelding had finished second at Thorpe a few weeks ago and outstayed his rivals. Action Steel is owned by Funeral Director Toby Hunt who said he was quite surprised by the win. This race was the faster division of the Open Maiden race.
As the runners left the back straight for the final time in the AGA Ladies Open race, four horses were in with a chance. However, it was the winner Optimistic Harry, owned, trained and ridden by Samantha Drake, who was last to come off the bridle and went on to win fairly easily in the end by eight lengths. This horse is being aimed at the Foxhunter's Chase at the Cheltenham festival. Samantha Drake said she was also keen to run Optimistic Harry in the £7500 3miles 1 and a half furlongs AGA Ladies Open Point- to- Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday 4th May for which this race was a qualifier.
The Men's Open race was sponsored by Singleton Birch Ltd. of Melton Ross. This race was won by Rare Gold for the Peters family from Cambridgeshire. Michael Peters owns and trains this horse and his son Dale, 20, rides. This was novice rider Dale's third winner and he was very impressed with the horse's return to form following injury. "This is the best horse I've sat on so far. He's had leg trouble so we are going one day at a time with him but hopefully we can take in a Hunter Chase later in the season." said the winning jockey.
The earlier Confined race sponsored by Clark Weightman was another family affair. This time it was the Hutchinson family from Leicestershire with Mendo who repeated his win in this race twelve months ago. Rider Gemma Hutchinson, who was the leading lady rider in the Midlands Area last season, was having her first ride of 2011. "We all ride out in the morning sometimes in the dark. It's okay as long as you don't run into a Muntjac deer!" explained Mrs Hutchinson.
Gemini Ahhs made the journey from the Cotswolds to win the Nunns Mitsubishi Ltd Restricted race for owner Caroline Mackness. This horse, who is a half-brother to Comply Or Die, was chosen at the sales by Mrs Mackness because he shared the same birthday as her husband. Gemini Ahhs is trained by Fergal O'Brien who is Nigel Twiston Davies' Head Lad and the gelding ran on well to beat Boxbury and Fred Bethell on the run in.
Nick Kent's The Kings Speech made his debut a winning one in a dramatic running of the Robinson's Interiors Brocklesby Member's race. Landenstown Star ridden by Samantha Klug made the early running before coming to grief at the seventh fence. The loose Landenstown Star then carried out The Folk From The Shire Partnership's Another Grand ridden by Dale Peters, forcing him off the track. This left the five year old The Kings Speech ridden by Nick Slatter to complete well over a circuit of Brocklesby on his own. "That wasn't the plan; we wanted him to learn something." said Kent who expects to receive his professional training licence this week. Kent's partner, Jane, will continue to train the pointers from a different yard at Newstead Priory. Joint owner Wendy Wesley is from Buckinghamshire but her daughter lives five miles away from the Kent stables.
The final race; the Open Maiden race division two sponsored by Paul Wiseman Electrical Contractors was won by Gillian Burke's homebred High Ron. This six year old gelding was a difficult ride last season but trainer Holly Campbell from Leicestershire seems to have resolved the problems. "He's got so much talent but we needed to focus his brain" she said. High Ron was giving Joe Docker his first winner of the season.
The next meeting at Brocklesby Park is the South Wold Point- to- Point on Saturday 19th March, first race 12.30pm. The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Cottesmore Point- to- Point at Garthorpe on Sunday 6th March, first race 1pm.