Ellis team continue to dominate and some old campaigners back bounce to form thanks to a new career direction

  • Point-to-point highlights from two of the the three meetings that took place over the weekend (26–27 February).

    Tom Ellis celebrates a strong weekend, where he sent out five winners, while some old campaigners are rejuvenated by a switch back to pointing after their careers running under Rules

    Kingston Blount Racing Club, Kingston Blount, Oxon

    The Tom Ellis-trained team continued its winning ways when taking four of the seven races at this meeting – three of those came with his wife Gina Andrews aboard and the other with Zac Baker.

    “Saturday was a great day and even the horses who didn’t win ran brilliantly in defeat,” said Tom.

    The six-year-old Every Minute broke his duck on the first time of asking in division two of the maiden for his owners Mr J Docker, Mr S Howlett, Mrs J Morris-Lowe and Mr M Wills.

    “He was very impressive – he ran and jumped really well – Gina said she was in first gear all the way,” explained Tom. “He had a wind operation when he arrived in the autumn and it seems to have done the trick, so hopefully he’s got a bright future.”

    Al Shahir cruised home under Zac in the men’s open, winning by 15 lengths, for the Ice and a Slice Racing Club.

    “He’s a fun horse and finished his race out well as he had his problems in training under Rules, but touch wood, we seem to have ironed those out,” explained Tom.

    Master Templar then continued his good run of form, with his 2022 form figures now reading 121, to take the restricted for owner Mrs RC Hayward.

    “His homework has been really good, but he’s a quirky little thing who has his own mind in which direction he’s going. But he’s talented, he did it nicely and I think it was quite a warm race,” said Tom.

    Finally, Latenightfumble powered home 40 lengths clear in the intermediate for owner Pippa Ellis.

    “She’s improving like her brother did,” said Tom of this mare, who shares a mother with the Ellis’s highly successful Latenightpass. “She’s improved every time and won this really impressively, and I think we’ll have a go at the intermediate final at Cheltenham with her.”

    Alice Homer, who has grown up enjoying a very successful showing career, took victory in the ladies’ open aboard Agamemmon for her grandfather, prolific showing judge David Tatlow.

    Buachaill Dana, a five-year-old by Milan, got off the mark on his third attempt when taking division one of the maiden for trainer David Phelan, under F Mitchell for owner Paul Burden, while Castle Trump took the conditions level three under Alex Chadwick for trainer Rob Cundy and owner Charles Buckle.

    Courting Flow off the mark

    COURTING FLOW and Christy Furness win the Maiden Race at CV & NN Hunt Point-To-Point , Alnwick 27/2/22 GROSSICK PHOTOGRAPHY The Steadings Rockhallhead Collin DG1 4JW 07710461723 www.grossick.co.uk JOHN GROSSICK

    Courting Flow and Christy Furness

    College Valley & North Northumberland, Alnwick, Northumberland

    Courting Flow easily saw off 13 rivals in the maiden under Christy Furness for trainer Jack Teal and owner Mr JW Furness. The six-year-old by Court Cave broke his duck on his second attempt, winning by 12 lengths, following a second place at this racecourse in January.

    “I thought he ran very well and he came on a bit from last time,” said Jack. “We’ll have a nice time going forward and it’s great to have a horse like him who we can keep running.”

    Gina Andrews added a fourth win to her tally over the weekend’s fixtures when taking the ladies’ open with Dundrum Wood, who is trained by her husband Tom Ellis and owned by Shona Westrope.

    “He travelled on the bridle to the last, Gina gave him a kick and he shot off,” said Tom. “He’s a smart horse with a bit of class and he’s not got that much experience, so if we can give him some confidence, I think he’ll be a nice horse.”

    Jack Power, a young jockey originally from Ireland, who had waited three months to ride his first winner, has now ridden two in two successive weekends. The latest coming in the restricted aboard Ballydonagh Boy, with whom Jack won last weekend too, and who is owned and trained by Cherry Coward.

    Lyall Hodgins clocked the fastest time of the day when riding Señor Lombardy to a 20-length victory in the NPPA conditions level two. The consistent nine-year-old is owned and trained by Kelly Harding, with Brian Harding and Adam and Kate Thompson also owning shares in this horse.

    Eleven-year-old Sartorial Elegance took top honours in the men’s open under John Dawson for trainer Alice Dawson and owner Mrs S Barker, while the Flat race for four-, five- and six-year-olds was won by Top Cloud, a five-year-old trained by Susan Grant, ridden by Joe Wright and owned by exors of the late Trevor Hemmings.

    Freddie on fire

    Captain Buck's, Freddie Gordon (1st) Conditions Novice Riders

    Captain Buck’s and Freddie Gordon

    South & West Wilts, Larkhill, Wilts

    Freddie Gordon, 16, continues to get his fledgling career in the saddle off the ground, thanks to riding a double on the day. He has so far ridden three winners from 12 runs between the flags.

    Captain Buck’s secured victory under Freddie in the conditions level three for novice riders, while Highway One O One, who is enjoying a step back from his days running under Rules when trained by Freddie’s father, Chris won the 9yo&up veteran horse conditions level two. The 10-year-old, owned by Anthony Ward-Thomas, clocked a second victory from three runs so far, with the latest coming in the 9yo&up veteran horse conditions level two. Both of Freddie’s winners are trained by his mother, Jenny.

    “We had a really good at Kempton on Saturday, winning a Grade Two, but Freddie’s double was pretty good too!” said Chris. “Freddie has worked out how to ride Captain Buck’s now and we’ve taken Highway One O One hunting a couple of times and it’s cheered him up immensely.”

    Zac Baker also rode a double, enjoying three winners in total across the weekend, after making a comeback from a broken collarbone (check back to the Horse & Hound website to find out more). His victories came aboard Far From Over (owned and trained by Maurice Linehan) and Kauto No Risk (trained by Joanne Priest and owned by John Hargreaves) in both divisions of the 5yo&up maiden.

    Fourteen-year-old Southfield Theatre shows no signs of wanting to stop and added a fourth victory from four runs this season in the mixed open under Lily Bradstock for trainer Sara Bradstock and owner Angela Yeoman, while Finistere made it two from two so far when taking the restricted under James King for owner/trainer Julie Wadland, who co-owns this horse with Janet Bird.

    My Little Toni was the sole finisher of the four-year-old TBA Early National Hunt Racing Initiative maiden under her trainer Bradley Gibbs and for owners, Ratkatcha Racing.

    Divisions one and two of the Flat race for four-, five- and six-year-olds were won respectively by Hilltown, ridden by Paddy Barlow and owned and trained by Seamus Mullins, and Nairobi Girl, ridden by Luke Scott and owned and trained by Sarah Bailey.

    ‘He is a real star’

    East Cornwall Foxhounds, Great Trethew, Cornwall

    Darren Edwards also enjoyed riding a double, with Honest Opinion taking division two of the seven-year-old and up maiden by a neck for trainer Dean Summersby and owners Nicholas Banks, Tony and Jenny Boon, John Burrow and W. Britton.

    “She’s been knocking on the door for two seasons as she kept finishing second – it would be easy for people to look at her form and think she’s ungenuine, but she has just been unlucky bumping in to ones better than her on the day,” explained Darren. “She deserved to get her head in front today and it’s good for her owners as they have been patient with her.”

    Darren then took the next race – the INEOS Grenadier mixed open – with 13-year-old Sykes, trained by Nicola Martin, owned by The Bradley Partnership and who has returned to pointing after a successful career under Rules.

    “Sykes is a real star. What is funny with him is that I started him off and he’s gone full circle,” said Darren. “He started life in point-to-points and I won a maiden on him eight years ago. He then went tp Phillip Hobbs’ for a season or two and won some hurdles then went back to Nicky Martin, who is in the partnership that has owned him all the way through. He was rated 147 over hurdles – he was so consistent, which meant he was always at the top of the handicap, which didn’t help him.

    “He’s still so enthusiastic about life – he wants to be the first one out of the yard in the morning, the first one to the top of the gallop and the first one back to his stable – he is just one of those characters in life that if he was a person, you would want him to be your friend as he is so genuine and positive about life.”

    Darren explained how pointing is perfect for Sykes, as opposed to going over fences under Rules.

    “He used to take chances over the bigger fences under Rules, but over smaller point-to-point fences he thrives. There is no plan just for him, only for him to enjoy himself and he will tell us when he wants to run again.”

    Joshua Newman enjoyed a double on the day with one of those coming in division two of the maiden for four-, five- and six-year-olds aboard Sake Of Secrecy. The six-year-old trained by Neil McLean and owned by Mrs R. Kealey.

    “He’s not necessarily the best of travellers [through a race] and won it slightly behind the bridle and saving himself,” said Josh. “He definitely knows how to look after himself.”

    Josh’s other winner came aboard Valereum Bridge, who he also trains and who is owned by Mr I. G. Thompson.

    “She doesn’t show a lot and runs quite behind the bridle as well,” explained Josh, who also says that this mare will be for sale. “We’ve taken our time with her and she will only strengthen up from now on. We bought her at Doncaster Sales in 2020 and she was a bit backwards so we gave her an extended break to let her mature and then got her in early this season. You can’t be too hard on her as she’s a mare so we’ve just guided her along.”

    Four-year-old Doc McCoy won on the first time of asking when coming home 20 lengths clear in division one of the four-, five- and six-year-old maiden under Charlie Sprake, for trainer Ian Chanin, who also owns this horse alongside Tom Hooper, Peter Kingwell and Mark Booth, while Say About It got off the mark on his sixth attempt in division one of the seven-year-old and up maiden under Vinny Webster for owner/trainer Roy Smith.

    Other winners on the day were Broadclyst in the PPORA Club members conditions for novice riders. The 10-year-old was ridden by Anna Johnson, is trained by Leslie Jefford and is owned by Mrs S. M. Trump.

    Jeremy Central won the final race on the card – the restricted – under Will Biddick for owner/trainer Tom Malone.

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