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ANDREWS FAMILY STAR WITH MEMORABLE SIBLING TREBLE AT HORSEHEATH
Horseheath’s second meeting of the season on Saturday attracted runners from far and wide, but the soft and holding conditions led to generally small fields although with plenty of quality.
It was a meeting that will go down in history for the Andrews Family as all three siblings rode winners on the same point-to-point card. Former national lady rider champions Gina and Bridget Andrews were joined on the scoresheet by their little brother Jack who recorded a memorable first career winner in the opening Club Members Race aboard Irish import Heads Or Tails, trained by father Simon and mother Joanna at Lilley in Hertfordshire. Heads Or Tails had shown promise when finishing third in a Restricted race at Larkhill on debut for the yard and provided owner Cliff Myers with another exciting victory to add to the point-to-point and hunter chase successes of his Can Mestret this season.
The second leg of the Andrews treble arrived 35-minutes later when Bridget steered the ever-consistent See You Jack to a facile success in the PPORA Members Race for the Sandra Fryer yard in Wymondham, Norfolk. See You Jack has now finished in the first three on every one of his last ten starts and gain this deserved success after a gallant second to the prolific Berties Dream in the Ladies Open at the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace fixture at Horseheath earlier this month. This victory capped a memorable week for Bridget Andrews as this win meant she enjoyed five consecutive winning rides stretching from a win aboard Troufion at Higham last weekend prior to three winners under rules during the week.
Remarkable Man in the Restricted contest provided Gina Andrews with her winner taking her season’s tally to eight winners as she aims at another national title. The pair had combined to win the maiden at Horseheath two weeks ago providing former East Anglian champion jockey James Owen from Exning near Newmarket with his first winner as a trainer with his first runner and another ready win from Remarkable Man marks him down as a horse with more to come.
The Ladies Open could have had a very different result had the hard-pulling odds-on favourite Swift Counsel not unseated Jane Williams at the fifth last fence when still travelling well in the lead, but their departure left the door open for Life Long to record a third win from his last four starts for trainer Jo Messenger from Creaton near Guilsborough racecourse in Northamptonshire. 14 year-old veteran Swift Counsel had not been seen since finishing a very close second in the Aga Ladies Final at Stratford in June 2013 and his freshness and exhuberence proved his undoing. Nevertheless Life Long is a progressive performer in his own right, was winning in Open company at his first attempt and has provided jockey Faye Conway, girlfriend of the trainer’s son Tom Messenger, with all three of her career winners to date.
An exceptionally well-judged ride from the experienced Paddy Gerety aboard odd-on favourite Mr Mercurial may have given trainer Sheila Crow a few heart-stopping moments, but the six-hour round trip from Shrewsbury in Shropshire proved worthwhile in the end as Mr Mercurial nosed to the lead jumping the final fence and was cajoled up the run-in to deny the gallant Gunmoney by half a length. Paddy Gerety still had Mr Mercurial 15-lengths off the leaders on the home turn, but mindful of his preference for better ground, he nursed the exciting seven year-old up the steep home straight to record the horse’s fourth win in point-to-points from just six starts for the yard. He has finished a close second in a point-to-point and a hunter chase on the other two outings. The Intermediate Final at Cheltenham’s prestigious Hunter Chase Meeting in May is the end of season target with an eye on the Cheltenham Foxhunters in 2016.
The prolific Crow/Gerety team were unable to double up in the concluding Open Maiden as their odds-on favourite Cooladerry King was left trailing in the wake of the ultra-impressive winner Fearthedark for Gerald Bailey’s Northamptonshire yard. A cheap recruit from Ireland after three uninspiring runs in Irish point-to-points, Fearthedark looked a totally different proposition powering clear under Alex Vaughan-Jones in the style of a very exciting prospect. He was heavily eased on the run-in yet still recorded a 20-length success and rates a horse to look out for.
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