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After Doctor Kingsley had run out a convincing winner at the Guilsborough point-to-point on April 15 Mike Tebbitt pinpointed the 10-year-old’s next race as a Cheltenham hunter chase.
The plan duly came to fruition when the good “Doctor” made up 20 lengths from the second last to post an unlikely victory in the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Point-to-Point final on Tuesday night for ex-Daventry trainer Mrs Pauline Harkin.
In landing a gamble from 6-1 to 4-1 favourite, Doctor Kingsley completed a six-timer for Mrs. Harkin having won seven of his last 10 point-to-points.
Next year’s Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival could now be the long-term objective.
Mrs.Harkin who now stables her horses on the Edgcote Estate, said afterwards: “Doctor Kingsley responds to pats, not smacks and he was lacking in confidence before we discovered the secret to training him.
“He’s fallen in love with the game and we always wanted softed ground with him.
“Even so I thought we had let the runner-up Books Review get away from us at Cheltenham,” added Mrs.Harkin who used to train at Westlands near Daventry Country Park.
Doctor Kingsley ran an identical race at the Pytchley point-to-point last month, apparently struggling to go the pace on the final circuit but finishing like a train to overhaul the highly regarded odds-on favourite Penmore Mill.
It remains to be seen whether or not connections will be tempted to take in the end-of-season Horse and Hound Cup at Stratford in early June. This was a race won previously by the Northamptonshire-trained Teeton Mill before going on to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park for Venetia Williams.
Meanwhile Guilsborough form is working out well as Rash Move, a beaten odds-on favourite in the ladies’ race, romped home in another Cheltenham hunter chase run 35 minutes before Doctor Kingsley’s triumph.