ESSEX AND SUFFOLK, HIGHAM, SATURDAY APRIL 22
Going: Good (Good to soft in places)
by James Crispe
Harry Fowler showed why he is one of East Anglia's top young Point-To-Point riders with his first ever double at the Essex & Suffolk meeting at Higham on Saturday.
It is no great surprise that Newmarket-based Fowler, 24, is a skilful pilot, since his father is a successful trainer back home in Ireland. And the full range of his talents were demonstrated on both his winners, Ulvick Star and Shining Leader.
Described in these pages as an 'equine hooligan' last week, Ulvick Star gave that description a hollow ring with a bold display of front-running in the Restricted Race. But his jumping style has never been orthodox, and he gave Fowler a few hairy moments before scoring a hard-fought victory over Squaddie and Ar Aghaidh Abhaile in the Restricted Race.
His was a welcome first winner of the season for trainer Julie Read, who revealed that she had worked Ulvick Star for three miles on the morning of the race in an attempt to calm him down.
Fowler followed up with another pillar-to-post victory in the first of two Maiden races aboard the Robert Gardiner-trained Irish import, Shining Leader. Again, the winner's jumping left plenty to be desired, as he lost many lengths by going out to his right.
And, when Shining Leader stopped to a walk coming to the last fence, smacking it hard, causing the saddle to slip around to the left and Fowler to lose his irons, the chasing pack were bearing down on him.
However, in a conjugate show of horsemanship, Fowler managed to regain his mount's momentum and, in a desperate finish, they held on by half a length from About Time, with Clifford Bay and Cosa Fuair close up behind.
Gardiner, who hails from Little Yeldham, near Sudbury, is also one of eight members of the Lord Leighton partnership who own the nine-year-old gelding. The course, which will again be sponsored by stockbrokers Greig Middleton next year, was in good shape, providing ground which was almost 'good' despite the recent rains.
These underfoot conditions caused a last minute change of mind from owner-trainers Paul and Margaret Brightwell, from Hadleigh, whose decision to run the fast ground-loving Cracking Idea here rather than at Fakenham today was vindicated with an eight length victory under Gi d'Angibau in the Ladies' Open.
Christian Ward-Thomas' fine season continued as he guided Dawn Alert to a bloodless victory in the four-runner Mens' Open race while old-timer Lusty Light, trained very close to the course at Langham by Wilf Tolhurst and ridden by Alan Coe, scored the 12th victory of his career in the Members' Race.
The Tolhurst-Coe combination suffered a reverse when odds-on favourite Kelly's Original could finish only third behind Andrew Sansome's mount, Generous Deal, in the Confined Race.
But Coe completed a double, taking his tally for the season to four, aboard Fountain Bank in the closing Maiden. The winner is trained at Knodishall, near Saxmundham, by Matthew Gingell.
Race One (Members Race):
1 W J Tolhurst's Lusty Light (Essex and Suffolk) (A Coe),
2 Mrs L Gibbon's Omidjoy (Essex and Suffolk) (M Polley),
3 J Buckle's Blazing Times (Essex and Suffolk) (owner).
Also: Ger's Girl (pu). A distance, a distance. 6m 25s W œ1.60. SP 1-3fav.
Race Two (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs P King's Ulvick Star (Suffolk) (R Fowler),
2 J M Turner's Squaddie (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
3 Miss S Wallace's Ar Aghaidh Abhaile (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (G Cooper).
Also: Al Jawwal (4), Harry Tartar (5), On Target (6), And Why Not (7), Rathkeal (pu).One length, half a length. 6m 23s Wœ6.30, DF œ9.50. SP 7-2 (Squaddie 2-1fav).
Race Three (Men's Open Race):
1 Mr & Mrs A Howland-Jackson's Dawn Alert (Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas),
2 Mrs J Hughes' Abuljjood (Cranwell Bloodhounds) (M Hewitt),
3 Mrs A Holman's Tan Hill Sparky (West Norfolk) (A Coe).
Also: Take A Flyer (ro). A distance, a distance. 6m 21s W œ1.20. SP 1-6fav.
Race Four (Ladies' Open Race):
1 Mrs P Brightwell's Cracking Idea (Essex and Suffolk) (Mrs G D'Angibau),
2 Miss V Hayter's Larry the Lamb (Suffolk) (owner),
3 R Gray and Mrs J Hughes' Island Vision (Cranwell Bloodhounds) (Miss J Hughes).
Also: Emsee-H (4), Mill O'The Rags (5), Going Around (ur), Salmon Mead (pu). Eight lengths, 20 lengths. 6m 20s W œ1.50, DF œ4.30. SP 4-6fav.
Race Five (Confined Race):
1 J M Turner's Generous Deal (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
2 A R and S J Humphrey's Pearly Haze (Dunston Harriers) (N King),
3 Mrs W Tolhurst's Kelly's Original (Essex and Suffolk) (A Coe).
Also: Youcat (4), Court Amber (ur), Dance on Sixpence (f), More Fun (pu), Royal Action (ur). Five lengths, three lengths. 6m 25s. W œ3.50, DF œ50.00. SP 3-1 (Kelly's Original 4-7fav).
Race Six (Maiden Race, Division One):
1 The Lord Leighton Partnership's Shining Leader (East Essex) (R Fowler),
2 T Whale's About Time (West Norfolk) (N Bloom),
3 J M Turner's Clifford Bay (Suffolk) (A Sansome).
Also: Cosa Fuair (4), Casino Nell (pu), Eltrym Flyer (pu), Midnight
Dynamite (pu), Nursery Story (ur), Take It Easy (pu). Half a length, half a length. 6.36. W œ1.70, DF œ3.70. SP 7-4fav.
Race Seven (Maiden Race, Division Two):
1 T Alexander and R Barr's Fountain Bank (Easton Harriers) (A Coe),
2 Mrs E Bosquet-Payne's Worthy Memories (East Essex) (A Sansome),
3 Miss K Thory and M Lurcock's Bannagh Express (Fitzwilliam) (M Lurcock).
Also: City Run (pu), Coolest By Phar (pu), Full Bore (pu), Handyboy (pu), Play Alone (f), River Surprise (pu). 25 lengths, eight lengths. 6.27. W œ2.50, DF œ1.50. SP 7-4 (Worthy Memories 6-4fav).