Some good racing took place on Sunday when the Midlands Area Point- to- Point season got underway with the Burton meeting at a windswept North Carlton. 46 runners took part and it was a good day for favourite backers with 5 of the 7 races going to the market leader. The ground was officially described as “good to firm”.
Local owner Milson Robinson teamed up with rider Richard Armson for a double with Menchikov and Dontupsettherhythm who were both saddled by his son, Simon. Menchikov was always prominent in the opening 6 runner Lincolnshire United Hunts Club Members race, before taking up the lead from the grey horse Hansom Prophet 4 fences from home and going on to win by a length. This provided 48 year old Richard Armson with his 100th winner. Armson’s 50th winner came at Garthorpe in 2005 on board Silver Streak who was also saddled by the Robinson family. The second horse, Hansom Prophet was having his first run for George Pickering, who purchased the gelding at Ascot sales in November, and looks capable of losing his maiden tag in the near future. Hansom Prophet was the first Brocklesby horse past the post so George Pickering collected the Charles Pickering Memorial Trophy which was presented by his sister Wendy Forman in memory of their father, a keen hunting farmer and timekeeper at the Lincolnshire Point- to- Points.
The second leg of the Robinson/ Armson double came in the Brewin Dolphin Ltd Restricted race with Irish maiden winner Dontupsettherythm. Different tactics came into play here; Armson had the seven year old settled towards the rear before making up ground with a circuit to race. His task was made easier when early leaders Adin Abroad and Mr Wickham both came to grief 3 fences from home although the result was never really in doubt. Milson Robinson is the leading owner at North Carlton; this being his seventh winner on the course since racing began there in 2009. Oaklands Robbie was a distance away in second but this was a respectable debut for his rider Leeds University student Christy Furness.
Don Cantillon and James Owen made the journey from Suffolk and teamed up for the second double of the day in the Maiden races. In the Hodgson Elkington Chartered Surveyors Maiden (division 1) the 8 year old Dancing Jack took up the lead with a circuit to go and won readily by 10 lengths to Johnstown Castle.
Blue Sky Mortgages kindly sponsored the Maiden race (division 2) and this time it was the homebred five year old Hightown who once again won readily in the faster of the 2 divisions of the race. “Both my horses have been given the brilliant ride by James Owen today.” Said owner/ trainer Don Cantillon. “Hightown may run again but will be entered for the Ascot sales at the end of February.” He said. Alcarson was 4 lengths away in second and Regal Reign ran nicely to finish third.
Forge Valley made all to win the Junction 4 Pallets Confined Hunts race for Mary Sowersby and the Lucky Seven Partnership. Mary’s husband Mike has enjoyed quite a few days hunting on Forge Valley but it was Max Johnson who was in the saddle on Sunday. Johnson is a work rider for Mick Easterby and also works for McClarren’s Insurance Brokers of Malton. Kandelin finished second ridden Midlands Area leading rider Johnny Bailey who then headed off to Towcester to partner Galway Jack to finish fourth in the Hunter Chase.
Leac An Scail followed up an impressive debut at Cottenham with success in the F B Watson Ltd Ladies Open race. Sam Drake who owns, trains and rides Leac An Scail purchased the eleven year old from Sue Smith’s yard where she rides out. “A Hunter Chase at Wetherby is next on the agenda”. She said.
Oliver Pimlott rode his first winner when Just Smudge got the better of favourite Dream Garden in the Just Automobiles Mens Open race. Sally Cammidge and Susan Jefferson bought this horse from Doncaster Sales last May and he is trained for them by Oliver’s father Chris. Oliver is 21 and works for trainer John Quinn and also does some race commentaries for the William Hill radio.
The next Point- to- Point racing in the Midlands Area is the Midlands Area Club Point- to- Point at Thorpe Lodge on Sunday 29th January, first race 12 noon.