The Cazenove Capital OBH Point-to-Point and Country Day at Lockinge
Easter Bank Holiday Monday 17th April 2017
Thousands descended upon the vibrant Old Berkshire Point-to-Point to witness a riding exhibition from Sam Waley-Cohen as Anquetta triumphed in the Cazenove Capital Mixed Open.
The popular raceday, held annually at Lockinge, near Wantage, on Easter Monday, saw a crowd of over 7,000 roar at a thrilling finish to the day’s feature as the Gold Cup-winning rider executed tactics perfectly to hold off the fast-finishing Saint Roque by a diminishing length.
The thirteen-year-old gelding usually races prominently but Waley-Cohen, mindful of his mount’s stamina limitations, held up the winner before pinching a decisive advantage in the final mile and hugging the inside rail.
“Today meant a lot because he’s been a grand servant and this may have been his last race,” said the winning rider. “I owe him a lot because he’s taken me to all the big festivals. He’s been a great friend. This Point-to-Point is always fun and the victory was extra special as I have lots of family and friends here.”
“I really enjoyed that!” said owner/trainer Robert Waley-Cohen, father of Sam. “We wanted to sit behind early as three miles stretches him to the limit.”
Regaining the Lockinge Challenge Cup after Rumbavu had prevailed for connections in 2013, Waley-Cohen continued: “He was returning to more suitable ground today. This is the perfect place to bring a horse wanting consistent, fast ground. We may retire him now. It would be a great moment to go out on, but if he gets his conditions again before the end of the season it may be difficult to resist!”
A keen breeder of racehorses at his Upton Viva Stud, near Banbury, Waley-Cohen’s group of elite mares have recently foaled five fillies and a colt. “It would have been nice to have more than one colt out of the crop but he looks lovely,” said Waley-Cohen. The colt was foaled out of multiple listed winner Polly Peachum by Kapgarde, while former Topham chase winner Liberthine is still expecting.
Despite being denied a third successive victory in the feature race, Faringdon handler James Henderson, cousin Champion Trainer elect Nicky, saddled a double with previous course winners Oliver James and Otto The Great landing the OKA Hunt Members and Arkells Conditions races respectively.
Both ridden by the trainer’s son Fred, Oliver James, who won the Hunt race in 2015 before a surprise defeat last year, showed the best finishing pace after an indifferent round of jumping. “I rode him at Siddington last time and put him on the floor!” said the trainer. “He’s my hunter but my family told me I wasn’t allowed to ride him again after that! He’s fragile and doesn’t stand a lot of racing but he’s been a great servant. That’s his seventh win.”
Otto The Great, the winner of the Mixed Open on this card in 2015, had lost his form but returned to the winner’s enclosure for the first time in two years. “He seemed to relish the sounder surface today and it was great to see him enjoying himself again,” said Henderson.
The award for the most promising young rider of the day went to sixteen-year-old Milo Herbert, who guided Butney Rock to victory in the Cornbury Festival Veteran and Novice Riders race. Having failed to complete in his two previous rides between the flags, Herbert confidently held up the ten-year-old before cruising ahead from the final fence. Trained by Nicky Shepherd, the winner was purchased for £7,500 out of Colin McBratney’s stable last year.
Qualified with the Monmouthshire Hunt, Abergavenny-based Herbert said: “It’s just the best feeling to ride a winner. I’ve been pony racing since I was nine and my younger brother, Ivor, competed here earlier today. I’ve always had a racing connection as my grandfather was the Clerk of the Course at Newcastle and Ripon and we’ve re-ignited some old family colours. I’m quite tall so I just want to ride as many winners as possible and see where my career takes me.”
Six-year-old Very Intense routed his rivals in a competitive Bentley Berkshire Restricted race. A runner-up in this grade in each of his previous three starts, Johnny Bailey rode the gelding for the Barbury Bunch Partnership, fronted by Barbury Castle trainer Laura Thomas.
“He’s owned by a local syndicate so it’s great to win here,” said Thomas. “He’s been consistent but this is the first time he’s had genuine fast ground and he’s done it well. He’s appreciated the drop back in trip today too so I’ll be keeping my eye out for Intermediate races over shorter distances.”
Although last of three in the race twelve months ago, Spessartine capped an excellent weekend for rider Katy Lyons by winning the closing ProCam Open Maiden race. Having ridden a winner for Tim Underwood at Kimble on Saturday, Lyons denied the trainer of further weekend glory with his Kicker King only second. The seven-year-old Duke of Marmalade gelding is trained a stone’s throw from the course at Steve Barry’s breaking-in and pre-training centre at Lockinge Stud.
“This is the first time we’ve had him right this season and I’m glad he’s got his head in front,” said Barry. “He shows us plenty at home so hopefully he’ll go on from this. I wasn’t sure if the ground would suit him because he’s quite a big horse but he’s bounced off it. We primarily do breaking-in and pre-training but training pointers is something we do on the side to give my fiancé, Katy, some more rides!”
The two Pony Races, which preceded the Point-to-Point racing, were won by Elliot England, 13, on Maesteg Ruth and Paddy Barlow, 15, on Tiny Dancer, respectively.
Join us for the social highlight in the Oxfordshire sporting calendar on Easter Bank Holiday Monday. We are also delighted to welcome back our title sponsor Cazenove Capital Management.
Listed in ‘The 4 Smartest Point-to-Points’ according to Tatler! – http://www.tatler.com/news/articles/january-2016/the-smartest-point-to-points
Information: (times subject to change)
10.00am – Gates open
11.15am – Pre-racing Events
12.30pm – Pony Racing
2pm – First Race
If you would like to buy car passes before the event to ensure "best seats in the house" choose one of the following options and we will post a car pass out to you. Last day for online ticket purchases - 6pm Monday 26th March 2018.
£50 Priority Parking - gives you a numbered space with priority views of the course. This space will be reserved for you throughout the day, whatever time you arrive. Perfect if you are having a joint picnic with friends to reserve spaces next to each other.
£35 Forward Parking - secures you better viewing of the course than the £25 Public Car Park (available on the day).
£10 Single Occupancy and £5 Pedestrian. There is a Disabled Car Park, please ensure you have your Disabled Badge on display.
BBQ's are welcome in all car parks, but please be considerate to those parked near you.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE PASSES WILL NOT BE SENT OUT UNTIL THE WEEKEND PRIOR TO THE POINT-TO-POINT.
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