The annual Brocklesby Point-to-Point races took place on Sunday and despite the cool showery weather a fair sized crowd turned out to enjoy the racing action.
Just 36 horses contested the seven races but there were some good finishes nonetheless with the ground officially described as good, good to firm in places.
The Symes Bains Broomer Solicitors Brocklesby Member’s race opened proceedings in what turned out to be a re-match of the 2013 contest with the same three horses going to post.
This year it was Murphys Promise, who was third last year, that turned the tables on both his rivals.
Murphys Promise, who started favourite, was bought from a field in Ireland by Mark Burt with the intention of winning this race. The seven-year-old Brian Boru gelding was carrying a 5lbs penalty having won a Maiden race at Garthorpe three weeks ago and gave rider Harry Burt his second winner.
Geoff Hunter’s grey mare Pollyanna Steele was placed second, ridden by Harry’s house mate Tom Strawson.
David Kemp’s six hour round trip paid off when the East Essex qualified Master Workman scored in the Clark Weightman Midlands Area Club Members race, beating Byways Boy who could have been closer but for a few jumping mistakes.
The eight-year-old Master Workman won a Restricted and an Intermediate race last season. “He likes fast ground and there was no race suitable for him in our area so we came here,” said Kemp, who trains Master Workman for the Oak Partnership which consists of Giles Sim, Chris Jones and Helen Robson.
Ockey De Neulliac got back to winning ways in the DDM Agriculture Ladies Open race following a disappointing run in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham when unseating rider Catherine Walton at the second fence.
“I just wanted to get him jumping today which he did and I am delighted that he has recorded his fourth win of the season,” said Catherine, who is a work rider for Mark Johnston, and was visiting Brocklesby for the first time.
This race qualified the winner for the £10,000 AGA Ladies Open Point-to-Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at Stratford in May.
Thunder and lightning preceded the Singleton Birch Men’s Open race where a close finish saw Monsieur Jourdain beat the favourite My Old Piano by just half a length.
An eight-year-old, Monsieur Jourdain was ridden by Newcastle University student Will Easterby, but is trained by his mum Sarah, who rides him out every day.
A thorough stayer, Monsieur Jourdain will be aimed at the Grimthorpe Gold Cup that will be held for the last time at Whitwell on the Hill in two weeks. He also has the option of a visit to Cheltenham having qualified for the £7,500 Bonham’s Men’s Open Point-to-Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at the end of April.
The Nunn’s Mitsubishi Ltd Restricted race was a tactical affair; with just four runners it was The Tinkerater who made most the running, putting up a fantastic display of jumping.
However, it was Abbeyview and Paddy Gerety who quickened clear after the second last fence to score by five lengths with Ocean Venture in second place.
Pamela Lewis finished alone in the Jockey Club Open Maiden for Mares sponsored by The Jockey Club and St Hugh’s Hospital.
The seven-year-old, who is a full sister to Charlie Longsdon’s Loose Chips, a five time winner under National Hunt rules, was racing over fences for the first time.
Owned by Judy Holt and Tim Tarratt, Pamela Lewis had previously run twice in bumpers and was ridden by Jack Day. Tim Tarratt was presented with the Lilian Pickering Acheivement Award for this training feat.
The final Open Maiden race, sponsored by Paul Wiseman Electrical Contractors Ltd, saw the biggest field of the day with nine runners going to post.
Here The Ketchup Kid and Jacqui Coward beat Shabach in a good finish. Trained by Cherry Coward, who remains in Malton hospital following a riding accident, The Ketchup Kid is owned by the “On Holiday” club, which consists of Martin Hicks and John Goodrick.
After the last race the Lilian Pickering Memorial Perpetual Challenge Trophy for the leading rider at Brocklesby Park for 2014 was presented to Tom Strawson by Wendy Forman, who was assisted by her great niece and nephew Annabel and Henry Cooper.
Strawson, who is sponsored by AGHAUL, local haulage contractors, had two second places and four third places at the two Brocklesby meetings which gave him the most points overall.
The next meeting in the Midlands Area is the Belvoir Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on Sunday, March 30, first race 1.30pm.