PUCKERIDGE, HORSEHEATH, EASTER SATURDAY MARCH 26
GOING: GOOD TO FIRM.
Pictures courtesy of Richard Weller-Poley
The best and worst of Point-To-Point Racing were encapsulated in the opening Club Members Race at the Puckeridge Fixture at Horseheath on Saturday.
The race went to the Master Club Royal, trained in Newmarket by Caroline Fryer. He was a most deserving winner as, after two narrow reverses over this course and distance, he was giving Martin Bailey, 43, from Downham, near Billericay, a first ever success in the saddle.Bailey, a poacher turned gamekeeper as he is a bookie by profession, was naturally overjoyed and quick to begin the celebrations with his wife and three children.
But the attention of most of the large crowd was focussed on the open ditch at the top of the hill where Catch On, one of the most promising horses in East Anglia, had suffered a fatal fall which left jockey Paul Taiano flat out on the turf.
A serious spinal injury was feared and the next race was delayed as Taiano was helicoptered off to hospital by air ambulance. Thankfully, he was found to have 'only' cracked a verterbra in his neck and is expected to make a full recovery.
Catch On was sent off the red hot 2-1 on favourite and another horse trading at the same price, Mister Ringa, could only manage third of the four finishers in the following Intermediate Race.
Baron Bernard proved two lengths too fast for Borrow Mine to reward an aggressive ride by another veteran jockey, Great Yeldham's Paul Chinery, who is two years older than Bailey.
After this pair of early reverses, favourite backers made hay through the rest of the card as all four market leaders did the business. However, Eurogaedel only just managed to justify his odds of 5-4 thanks to a flying finish under Wymondham's Rupert Stearn in the Restricted Race.
Trained at Reydon, near Hadleigh, by Cherie Cunningham, Eurogaedel, was over a length behind Baron Halebop landing over the final fence. But stamina is the forte of this giant six-year-old and, responding to Stearn's driving, he got up in the shadow of the post to score by a head.
This denied Baron Halebop's trainer-jockey, David Kemp, a double, as he had earlier piloted Madmidge to a fifth success of the season in the three-runner Men's Open Race.
Bush Hill Bandit took the Ladies' Open for owner-trainer Anne-Marie Hays, from Whepstead near Bury St Edmunds, and Newmarket jockey Alex Embiricos. But his jumping was slipshod at times and Embiricos needed to use the hind quarters of the runner-up, Fair Exchange, to lever her back into the saddle after a bad blunder at the fifth last!
The finale, the open Maiden, saw a gamble landed on Erris Express, who is trained near Royston by Harry Hobson and was partnered by another Newmarket-based pilot, Sylvain Salmon.
Race One (Horseheath Hunts Club Members Race):
1 M Bailey's Master Club Royal (Thurlow) (owner),
2 Miss C Scott's Redouble (Thurlow) (Ms A Embiricos),
3 Mrs P Rogers' Good Vintage (Cambridge with Enfield Chace) (Miss C Rogers).
Also: Parsonhumfrywebber (4), Ruperts Choice (5), Catch On (f), General Confusion (ur). Fifteen lengths, head. 6.28. W £4.70. DF £1.90 (winner with any other horse). SP 5-1 (Catch On 1-2 fav).
Race Two (Intermediate Race):
1 A G Chinery's Baron Bernard (East Essex) (P Chinery),
2 The Chequers Club's Borrow Mine (Cambridge University) (Miss L Marriott),
3 Mrs C H Sporborg's Mister Ringa (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Hi Tech Man (4), Castle Road (ur). Two lengths, ¾ length. 6.31. W £4.40. DF £41. SP 5-1 (Mister Ringa 1-2 fav).
Race Three (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mrs A-M Hays' Bush Hill Bandit (Cambridge University) (Ms A Embiricos),
2 J M Turner's Fair Exchange (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 T M Fowler's Macfin (Cottesmore) (Miss L Allan).
Also: Laras Grey (4), Dook's Delight (ur). Fifteen lengths, five lengths. 6.34. W £2.30. DF £3.20. SP 4-6 fav.
Race Four (Men's Open Race):
1 The Next Stop Cheltenham Partnership's Madmidge (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 Mrs P King's Dunmanus Bay (Suffolk) (M Mackley),
3 J M Turner's Militaire (Suffolk) (J Owen).
Three lengths, 1½ lengths. 6.48. W £1.30. DF £1.40. SP 2-7 fav.
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Miss J Stevens' Eurogaedel (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (R Stearn),
2 A Byrne's Baron Halebop (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
3 A Howland-Jackson's Present Moment (Suffolk) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Mackoy (pu), On The Day (pu), Treble Trouble (pu). Head, six lengths. 6.38. W £2. DF £1.80. SP 5-4 fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 H Hobson's Erris Express (Puckeridge) (S Salmon),
2 The Cherry Tree Partnership's Here Comes Choosey (North Norfolk Harriers) (R Morgan-Evans),
3 P Millington's Pernickety King (Fernie) (owner).
Also: Shannon Quest (4), Ashgrove (pu), Dynamic Sea (pu). Five lengths, half a length. 6.50. W £2. DF £1.50. SP 4-6 fav.
Puckeridge Pony Race One (Ponies 13.2hh and under):
1 Mrs J Andrews' Artic Annie (Cambs) (Miss B Andrews),
2 Mrs C Dimsdale's Floral Dance (Puckeridge) (Miss H Dimsdale),
3 Miss G Wales' Bureside Mint (West Norfolk) (owner).
Also: Just Billy (4), Cobweb, Home Farm Choccy, Mabel, Wanna Be Like You, Warnheulog Rufus. Ten lengths, head.
Puckeridge Pony Race Two (Ponies 14.2hh and under):
1 Mrs E Andrews' Clonross Jessie (Cambs) (Miss G Andrews),
2 Miss E Clutterbuck's Stambrook Marquesa (Thurlow) (owner),
3 Mr and Mrs S Braham's Hero (Suffolk) (Miss A Braham).
Also: Jeroboam (4), Djemba Djemba, Liddmarsh La Luna, Mayfly, Pepsi, Sweet Soldier Blue, Whisky On The Rocks. Neck, one.