ESSEX FARMERS & UNION, MARKS TEY, EASTER MONDAY MARCH 28
Nigel Bloom was the man to follow at Marks Tey on Monday as he notched two wins and two second places from his four rides at the Essex Farmers & Union Point-To-Point.
Bloom, from Wymondham, was National Champion Point-To-Point Jockey as long ago as 1994 but showed that he has lost none of his finesse with a smooth-as-silk performance aboard Mon Esprit in the opening event, the Open Maiden.
Brought from well off the pace in a large field, Mon Esprit, who Bloom trains himself but is owned and was bred near Lowestoft by Lord and Lady Somerleyton, hit the front at the final fence and galloped on strongly to beat Epop by two lengths.
Bloom was narrowly denied in the next race, the Restricted Race, which produced one of the finishes of the season. Tartar Sabre, who is trained at Chediston, near Halesworth, by John Ibbott, was kicked for home some way from the finish by jockey Lucinda Barrett-Nobbs.
But they could never shake off a chasing pack of three, headed by Bloom's mount, Second Thoughts. Any one of four results was still possible landing over the final fence but Tartar Sabre showed tremendous resolution to hold on by three-quarters of a length.
The victory was not before time, as Tartar Sabre had finished second on his three previous starts, and it gave great pleasure to his eight owners, all near-neighbours of Ibbott's - John and Hazel Parker (Tartar Sabre's breeders), Ian and Julie Adam, Elliott and Janet Grant and Richard and June Hall.
Bloom was in the winner's enclosure again after the Men's Open after galvanising Good Vintage, who is trained near Luton by Simon Andrews, to put his best foot forward.
Good Vintage's cause looked lost with over a mile to run, as he was being driven along in a modest fifth place. And even approaching the last, he seemed unlikely to catch the clear leader, My Best Buddy, only to swoop past for a three length triumph.
A wily character, Good Vintage takes plenty of riding, and Bloom later admitted: "I tried everything on him. I shouted, I sat down, I kicked and I slapped."
A Bloom treble looked on the cards approaching the final obstacle in the Hiscox Intermediate Race. But the front-running No Penalty had enough in hand to hold off Bloom's mount, Ardkilly Warrior, by three lengths.
No Penalty is trained at Little Horkesley, near Colchester, by Stephen and Jane March and is now set to contest the final of the Hiscox series, at Huntingdon on May 10.
Northamptonshire trainer Caroline Bailey gained compensation for My Best Buddy's defeat when Find Me Another, ridden by Thelnetham's Amy Stennett, scored a very easy victory in the Ladies' Open. And Bailey went on to complete a double when Persian Hero lifted the closing Novice Riders' Race in similarly effortless style.
Finally, King Plato, owned and trained near Bury St Edmunds by Joe Turner and ridden by Newmarket's James Owen, displayed a telling turn of foot to win the Confined Race in a fashion that suggested further successes can not be far away.
Open Maiden Race:
1 Lord Somerleyton's Mon Esprit (Dunston Harriers)(N Bloom),
2 Mrs Robert Abrey's Epop (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
3 Mrs A Villar and Mr P Benton-Brown's Golden Shred (A Merriam).
Also: Moss Campain (4), Warrier Dan (5), Alfie Moon (Pu) Berewolf (F), Crooked Brook (Ro) Las Animas (Pu) Mai Cure (Pu) Premier Marble (F) Slieve Foy (Ref) Weybridge Lad (F). 14 Ran Distances: Two lengths, 15 lengths Time: 6.50 Tote win £11.00 £36.00 SP 7/1 Alfie Moon 3/1 fav.
1 The Sporting Endeavour Partnership's Tartar Sabre (Waveney Harriers)(Miss L Barrett-Nobbs),
2 Mrs A Wales' (West Norfolk) Second Thoughs (N Bloom),
3 Mr K K Smith and Mrs E Young's (Grafton) Kalypso De Laugere(R H Fowler).
Also: John the Mole (4) Stick or Bust (5) Asabache (6) Ocki (7) Bright Torino (Pu) Hoplite (Pu) Joves Shadow (Pu) Rocia (Pu). 11 ran, Distances: ¾ length, a head. Time 6.45. Tote win £5.50 DF £42.00 SP 3/1 (Kalypso De Laugere 2/1 fav).
Men's Open Race:
1 Mrs Penny Rogers' Good Vintage (Cambs with Enfield)(N Bloom),
2 Mrs C Stennett and Mrs C Aldridge's My Best Buddy (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 Mr B Kennedy's (Essex Farmers & Union) Minino (A Merriam).
Also: Westfield John (4) Polo Ridge (5) Silver Lake (Pu). Six ran. Distances: 2½ lengths, twelve lengths Time: 6.41 Tote Win: £2 DF £2.10 SP 3/1 (My Best Buddy Evens Fav)
Ladies' Open Race:
1 Mrs C Stennett Mrs C Aldridge and Mrs E King's Find Me Another (Pytchley)(Miss A Stennett),
2 Dead Heat Mr J M Turner's Celtic Duke (Suffolk)(Miss Z Turner),
2 Dead Heat Mr A Howland' Jackson's (Suffolk)Village Copper (Ms A Embiricos).
Also: Mister Audi (4) Glenalla Braes (Pu). Five ran. Distances: 20 lengths, dead heat time 6.41 Tote win £2 DP 4/5 fav. £1 (with Celtic Duke)£1.20 (with Village Copper).
1 Mr J M Turner's King Plato (Suffolk) (J Owen).
2 Mrs C Hays & Ms A Embiricos' Lord Valnic (Cambridge University) (N Moore),
3 Mr A Howland Jackson's Gatchou Mans (Suffolk)(A Merriam).
Also: The Rural Dean (4) Jims Belief (5) The Gift (Pu). Six ran. Distances: Five lengths, three lengths Time: 6.46 Tote win: £2.50 DF £1.20 SP 6/1 (Lord Valnic 6/4 fav).
Hiscox Intermediate Race:
1 Ms S March's No Penalty (East Essex)(A Braithwaite),
2 Mrs A and Mrs D Wales' Ardkilly Warrior (West Norfolk)(N Bloom),
3 Mr G I Cooper's Magic Lodge (Essex Farmers & Union) (R Stearn).
Also: Castle Road (4) Newmarket Magic (5). Five ran. Distances: Three lengths, five lengths time: 6.44 Tote win: £1.10 DF £1.50 Evens Fav.
Novice Riders Race:
Mr R G Russell's Persian Hero (Pytchley) (J Russell),
2 The Cherry Tree Partnership's (N Norfolk Harriers) Kentish Bard (R Morgan-Evans),
3 Countess Cathcart's Ain Tecbalet (West Norfolk)(G Greenock).
Also: Zabadi (4) Dancing Ranger (Su), Manodee (Pu) Pampered Gale (Ur). Seven ran. Distances 20 lengths, three lengths Time: 6.42 Tote win £1.50 DF £4.50 SP 1/2 fav.