Belvoir at Garthorpe 2024 - Report

The ground at Garthorpe dried well throughout the week leading up to the 2024 renewal of the Belvoir point-to-point at Garthorpe on Saturday 23rd March, and a big crowd of racegoers braved some icy hail showers and a typically arctic prevailing wind and partied in the bar long after racing had finished.

Clerk of Course Jim Culloty recorded the ground as officially soft at the start of racing, adding that there were areas which were probably good to soft and others that were on the heavy side of soft. Jockeys complimented the going all day and much credited should be given to the hard working team who had been there every day last week.

The much anticipated move by Tom Ellis to training under rules meant that Gina Ellis was started her G&T Racing point-to-point training career this weekend and did it with three wins on the bounce in the second, third and fourth races on the card.

The first of these was as rider and trainer as she piloted the mare Arctic Oscar to victory in the Intermediate race for the Ice 'N' Slice Racing Club, possibly one of the most successful syndicates in pointing. Courting Flow was three lengths behind her in second, while Ocojohn (Ed Vaughan) had pulled up. "Jack bought her at Doncaster but unfortunately she picked up and injury and missed last season. She actually beat Courting Flow in her maiden [Percy at Alnwick] and now she has done so again in her intermediate," Gina said, and suggested that this horse might go to the Hunter Chase evening.

Gina Andrews and ARCTIC OSCAR
ARCTIC OSCAR (right) and Gina Ellis in the Intermediate

Immediately following this Jack Andrews added a quickfire second win to her training career as Jetaway Joey won a competitive match race for the Mixed Open, beating Clara Sorrento (Rupert Stearn) by two lengths.

To complete the training treble Gina rode Loughan to win the Ladies Conditions race in impressive form by beating Izzy Marshall and Golden Tobouggan by a distance. "When we got him off the Skeltons Harry told me that when's he at the front he wants to be at the back and when he's at the back he wants to be at the front. Now I think he probably likes to be at the front," Gina explained. "He's a free-going, enthusiastic horse and a very good jumper".

Gina Andrews and LOUGHAN
Gina Ellis and LOUGHAN, Ladies

The opening race was a new one for Garthorpe in recent years, a conditions race for novice riders or veterans sponsored by W. Spence and Son, and as it happened it started as a match race between two novices in George Case and Ed Vaughan. Ed Vaughan's ride was First Preference which went off as hot favourite, having won three out of four starts, but pulled up with three to jump, leaving Phillippa Taylor's Elmdale to complete and win for the second time in seven days.

The first of two maidens, the Goffs four and five year olds race, produced the best finish of the day as Josh Newman and Big Bert caught long time leader Holeshot (Ed Vaughan) in the run in to win by a length for the Shannon Lodge Racing Club after a long trip up from the west country. "He's a lovely stamp of a horse," Newman said. "When we bought him, we didn't think we would get him to the track until autumn of next season. We've not been putting pressure on him but he just came to hand and we thought we would give it a go. We'll see what everyone wants to do but if he's accepted he'll probably go to one of the sales now."

Josh Newman and BIG BERT

The three-mile maiden, sponsored by Teigh Bed and Breakfast, was the last formal race of the day and saw Ed Vaughan cap a slightly frustrating day with a win on Lavorante for trainer Luke Price, beating favourite Occupied Territory (Jack Andrews) by eight lengths.

Sadly the Woodland Pytchley meeting on Easter Saturday has succumbed to the recent bad weather and the has been abandoned for this year, so the next Midlands Area meeting will be at Thorpe Lodge on Easter Monday, where the South Notts will be our hosts. This fixture will also now host a Goffs Young Horse Maiden for four and five year old horses, to replace similar races lost at other meetings recently.

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