Laura Thomas: local point-to-point trainer's 'cracking season' - with an added hunter chase victory
The point-to-point season still has a good way to run and local trainer Laura Thomas is "Delighted with how it's going." She trains near Barbury - just over the hill from Alan King's stables.
Her ten point-to-point wins so far were capped with a hunter chase victory at Ludlow (April 3.)
Eight year-old Full Trottle (seen here with Laura Thomas) won the Class Five Magnus-Allcroft Memorial Open Hunters' Chase. Ridden by Mr Jonathan Bailey, he took over the lead with over a circuit left and put in (in the words of Racing Post's analysis) "some spectacular leaps".
The Racing Post - under the (inevitable?) headline 'Throttle has the gears' - continued: "He found plenty more to go clear again when challenged and although idling on the run in, was never going to be caught. He has been in cracking form over the last year and is now 2-2 over regulation fences."
Full Trottle's owner, Norman Thomas, was particularly pleased with this win - beating horses sent out by licensed National Hunt trainers Fergal O'Brien, Lady Susan Brooke and Jonjo O'Neill.
Laura Thomas told Marlboroughequestrian.news: "It was a good win because it was a hot enough race. If he continues to progress as he is, we have our eye on the next Aintree Foxhunters - which would be exciting." A large and somewhat highly-strung horse, he looked in tip-top shape when we visited the yard.
The state of the ground is currently the big issue for point-to-pointing. It has been a dry winter. Laura Thomas had entered a horse for the Tedworth meeting at Barbury Racecourse (April 9). On the day the going there was 'Firm': "I checked it out the day before - I couldn't put a stick into it."
So although Barbury Racecourse is about half a mile from her yard, instead she took two horses to Badbury Rings in Dorset. Despite that course being watered, she did not run one of them and the other did not take too well to the ground.
She is going to Kimble (near Oxford) on Saturday (April 15) for the Kimblewick Hunt meeting. She will be taking 11 year-old Karinga Dancer who won two on the bounce Barbury (in December) and Wadebridge (in January) and only missed a hat trick when carried out by a loose horse at the next meeting while running on to win. And she will be at the Lockinge meeting on Easter Monday.
Karinga Dancer, a former 'useful' National Hunt horse was bought for £3,000 last summer and is currently owned by Laura Thomas' The Barbury Racing Club. The club is open to twenty members who pay a flat £500 to lease a horse for the season. Laura has been riding Karinga Dancer herself in Novice Riders races.
The yard also has a syndicate running the six year-old former National Hunt race horse Very Intense who won his maiden first time out - and has since come second three times. Before coming to point-to-pointing, Very Intense ran over hurdles and then came second in a chase last April. Members paid £750 for their share of the horse and a flat £1,000 a year for training fees and expenses.
That seems to this reporter a very fair way to get into the racing game as an owner - with some grand socialising on the side.