HORSE RACING: New year Point to Point kicks off at Brocklesby Park

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The South Wold Point-to-Point went ahead at Brocklesby Park on Sunday despite an overnight frost and “soft” going following the week of snow and bad weather.

Threapwood landed the D&M Barthorpe Mixed Open race for the Crown Partnership. Following on from a restricted success on the course, Threapwood benefitted from Doctor Kingsley and Palypso De Creek staying away, but taking away nothing from the winner trainer rider Oliver Greenall said “Today was his day.”

The eight-year-old beat the 13-year-old My Old Piano and last year’s winner Court Red Handed.

This meeting was the first of the season in the Midlands area so it was fitting that Midlands Chairman Gerald Bailey should train a winner.

This came in the form of Empire Builder, a 20-length victor in the Connollys Red Mills Precision Nutrition Intermediate Race, a qualifier for the £7,000 3miles 1/2f Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Point-to-Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday April 29.

“We’ve got options now and that may well include a crack at the final,” said the winning trainer. Ridden by George Greenock for his Mother Countess Cathcart, Empire Builder beat Minella Friend. He was quickly away and put in a good round of jumping.

The Welton Aggregates Confined race saw a success for another progressive horse, Carlton Ryan, trained by Steph Easterby for Steve Hollings.

There was a fairy-tale success after the Novice riders’ race when Gemma Garton landed the Midlands Area Club Members race for Novice riders.

Garton, who rode the 12-year-old Kiestown Chief, owned and trained by her family in Cheshire, has recovered from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since last season.

The Gleadell Agriculture Midlands Area Club Members race for Novice riders was a qualifier for the £1,000 Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members race for Novice riders Series Final at Tabley on Sunday May 17.

There was a popular winner in the Restricted race for Murphy’s Promise and Harry Burt. Burt was enjoying his third winner on the eight-year-old who beat I Believe by a length.

NFU Spilsby sponsored the Restricted race and the winner has qualified for the Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series final at Stratford on Friday May 29.

The opening Open Maiden race, sponsored by Richard Sanderson (On Course bookmaker), was divided at declaration; the first division was the fastest and won by the ex-Irish Stonefield, who is owned by a syndicate of 10 members headed by John Bruce. Trained and ridden by Tom Weston the 10-year-old Cloudings gelding loved the soft ground and jumped really well.

Division 2 was run in a slightly slower time and won by Christine Osborne’s Kristian Gray, ridden by Tom Ellis who is sponsored by NFU Mutual.

At the end of the meeting no rider had ridden more than one winner, but Harry Bannister had ridden a winner and a second putting him in the lead for the Lilian Pickering Memorial Perpetual Challenge trophy, to be presented at the end of the Brocklesby meeting on March 1.

The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Midlands Area Club meeting at Thorpe Lodge on Sunday, February 15, first race 11,30am.