Review: Woodland Pytchley point-to-point on Easter Saturday

Dingley Races on Easter Saturday. (Picture by Steven Hickey).
Dingley Races on Easter Saturday. (Picture by Steven Hickey).

Review: The Woodland Pytchley point-to-point races at Dingley, Saturday, April 19, by Emma Forman.

Record crowds flocked to Dingley to enjoy the races and spring sunshine, with Easter Bank Holiday traffic congestion causing the first race to be put back by 30 minutes to allow horseboxes to access the course.

Dingley Races on Easter Saturday. (Picture by Steven Hickey).

Dingley Races on Easter Saturday. (Picture by Steven Hickey).

A total of 37 runners contested the seven races and the jockeys were full of praise for the ground staff who had watered the going during the recent dry spell.

Jockey Dale Peters started the meeting with a quick double beginning with the opening Woodland Pytchley and Fernie Members’ race with Toby Hunt’s Nightcap Jack.

The seven-year-old started the 1/5 favourite in the five-runner contest and supplemented his Whitfield Restricted success with a facile victory over Primitive Dancer and Dickie Barrett.

“That was no more than a canter round for Nightcap Jack; hopefully he will run again at Thorpe on Monday,” said Peters after the race.

In the following Confined race Peters was on board Victor Grumps for his father Michael. Empire Builder and George Greenock started favourite but Peters and Victor Grumps went on in the back straight setting up an unassailable lead and although Empire Builder was closing at the line, he couldn’t be caught.

“He’s been disappointing all year but finally got his act together today and just idled a bit in front after the last,” said Peters on Victor Grump’s return to form and third win at Dingley.

Peters went on to record two second places later in the afternoon putting him in the lead for both the Morrison Cup (the leading Dingley rider award) and also the D&M Barthorpe Award for the leading Midlands area rider.

David Kemp recorded an Easter Saturday riding/training double in the two Maiden races. Starting with the Open Maiden race for four, five, six and seven-year-olds over two-and-a-half miles, it looked like a Peters treble was on the cards as his mount Clondaw Island set up a big lead early on.

However, the mare My Nosey Rosey and Kemp took it up at the last and held on to win. The second horse Clondaw Island is a six-year-old by Heron Island who was placed in an Irish Maiden last season and certainly looks one to note next time out.

In the Open Maiden it was the seven-year-old Duffryrover who got his head in front following a second place at this course last season. Dickie Barrett and Clondaw Perk made much of the running but Duffryrover won with plenty in hand.

Kemp was pleased to get a win from this horse; he has been a little inconsistent and looked like winning at North Carlton earlier in the season when landing Kemp in hospital with concussion following a fall at the last fence.

The Gabe Mahon-trained Lake Legend maintained his 100 percent record in point-to-points when scoring in the Mixed Open race – his sixth straight win spread over this season and the 2012 campaign.

Ridden by Leo Mahon for Messrs Wright, Preston and Wilson, Lake Legend disputed the lead with Say No for much of the early part of the race before he dropped away. It was then Shillingstone and George Greenock who put up a challenge which was easily dismissed by the classy Lake Legend for whom a Hunter Chase is likely to be on the cards for his next outing.

“He put up a game and classy performance and pinged out of the genuinely good jumping ground that Dingley provided. He will be freshened up for two or three weeks with the aim of a Hunter Chase next,” said winning rider Mahon afterwards.

Even-money favourite Life Long followed up his Pytchley Confined win with success in the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members’ race for Novice riders. Always up with the pace, Jo Messenger’s ten-year-old ridden by Faye Conway ran out a comfortable winner from the consistent Roi De Garde and Jamie Hepburn.

The riders of the first three horses past the post scored points for the Harley Racing National Novice Riders Championship and the first four horses and riders are eligible to run in the £1,000 Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders at Tabley, Cheshire, on Sunday, May 18.

Another Pytchley winner to score again on Saturday was Sally Holloway’s Katkolys who recorded an impressive victory in the Restricted race. Trained by Stuart Morris, this six-year-old French-bred gelding easily beat Miller’s Glen and Peters. It was the third winner of the week for jockey Sam Davies-Thomas, who on Wednesday rode his first Hunter Chase winner on Bay To Go at Southwell in Nottinghamshire, bringing his tally for the season to 14 winners in total.

“He will be a better horse off a stronger pace but that was a very polished performance beating a nice horse and he must have a massive future,” said Davies-Thomas.

The next meeting at Dingley is the Fernie point-to-point on Sunday, May 4, with the first race starting at 2pm.

The final meeting will be the Fitzwilliam point-to-point on Sunday, May 25.

Review by Emily Forman

For more details see the Dingley Races website or follow Dingley Races on Twitter, @dingleyraces.