For some of Richard Weller-Poley's photos from Northaw plus full results, please click on 'Results List.'
MIDNIGHT BLISS AND GOWING THE STARS OF NORTHAW SEASON-CLOSING BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY FIXTURE
Following a filthy winter, it was somehow inevitable that the final East Anglian Point-To-Point meeting of the 2017-18 season should be run in scorching heat at Northaw, near Potters Bar, on Bank Holiday Monday (May 7th).
The organisers of this, the Enfield Chace with Cambridgeshire fixture, deserve immense credit as, despite temperatures more suitable for sunbathing rather than steeplechasing, equine welfare standards were exceptionally high throughout the afternoon and all 24 four-legged competitors returned home safely.
The jockey of the day was undoubtedly Kate Gowing as the 20-year-old from Mulbarton, near Norwich, teamed up with Wymondham trainer Caroline Fryer to notch her first ever double, in the process lifting her tally for the campaign to six, leaving her firmly in contention for the National Novice Lady Riders Championship.
Two thirds of those victories have come aboard the teak-tough mare, Midnight Bliss, who rubber stamped her success in two East Anglian Championships – the Weller-Poley Photography Award for Champion Horse and the Marriage Horse Feeds-sponsored Leading Mare Title – when taking her record in the last three months to four wins and three second places by landing the opening Conditions Race.
The Midnight Legend gelding (pictured above, star on body) made every yard of the running and came home eight lengths to the good ahead of Letsbeso.
Gowing and Fryer were on the mark again 70 minutes later when Kingston College adopted similar pace-setting tactics and proved 10 lengths too strong for Oliver James in the Novice Riders Race.
Gowing’s victories extended her winning margin in the County Linen Services East Anglian Novice Lady Riders Championship while the corresponding competition for senior male riders has resulted in a clearcut victory for Archie Wright.
Already holding a healthy lead before the day started, Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, consolidated his position by landing the Intermediate Race aboard Virgo The First.
In the tightest finish on the card, Virgo The First got the better of a great duel with Steeles Terrace over the last two obstacles to score by half a length. This was a belated, and well deserved, first victory of the season for owner-trainer Martin Ward, from Sutton, near Ely, who has been forced to endure numerous near misses over the past few weeks.
Narrowly defeated with Steeles Terrace, Bury St Edmunds-based trainer Andrew Pennock made it two wins for the weekend – following the success of Angelsea Lace at Dingley in Northamptonshire on Sunday – when Staple Head beat his solitary opponent, Kaideen Michael, by three lengths in the Open Maiden Race.
The biggest field of the day – six runners – for the Ladies Open resulted in Letskeepitsimple, trained in Sussex by Ian Cobb, jumping his rivals silly and then surviving a serious error at the final fence to prevail by four lengths, while the Restricted Race went the way of the Buckinghamshire raider, Titans Approach.