DUNSTON HARRIERS, AMPTON, SUNDAY JANUARY 18
All photographs kindly provided by Richard Weller-Poley
Wymondham trainer Nibby Bloom was the star of an outstanding Dunston Harriers Point-To-Point at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday, saddling two winners and a second from his three runners during a sunlit afternoon of superb equine sport.
First of the Bloom brace was Go North, who seems a horse with a real future following his comfortable five length defeat of The Camerengo in the Intermediate Race.
This was Go North’s British debut, having won twice in Irish points, and he certainly looks well worth the 20,000 guineas Bloom forked out for him on behalf of another Wymondham resident, Sandra Fryer, at the Doncaster Sales last summer.
Rider James Owen is convinced that this half-brother to the useful chaser Il Duce will both mature in time and improve for softer ground.
Bloom, who has managed to keep his horses on the go through the recent cold snap thanks to lengthy trips to the all-weather gallops at Newmarket and the beach at Holkham, then sent out Caveman to rout his six rivals by no less than 20 lengths in the Men’s Open.
Jumping with great speed under jockey George Greenock, from Gateley, near Fakenham, Caveman had the contest sewn up with almost a mile to run. He may have another run in a point before targetting a hunter chase at a stiff track such as Towcester.
A Bloom treble was foiled in the Maiden Race when his representative, Bridgham, found Grey Shark two lengths too strong. Grey Shark was not winning out of turn as he had been beaten in all 25 career starts before yesterday.
He was partnered by Kelly Smith, who trains him in partnership with James Owen at Timworth, within a mile of the course, and was making it three triumphs in a row at her local venue having landed a double at the previous fixture here, last March.
The day began with a popular success for evergreen 14-year-old Good Vintage who responded to a fine ride from Gina Andrews to re-pass the hot favourite, Maestro Please, at the final fence and score by half a length in the Club Members Conditions Race.
Good Vintage has been a regular in East Anglian points over the past five seasons and it was a fine feat of training by Andrews’ father, Simon, from Lilley in Hertfordshire, to get him fit enough to win on his seasonal debut.
The January chill forced some members of a fair-sized crowd to leave before the finale, a six-runner Novice Riders’ Race. Those that did missed out on a thrilling and controversial finish as Tribal Venture and Frosty Run passed the winning post locked together.
Emma Bell, Frosty Run’s pilot, was convinced that she had prevailed, punching the air and riding straight into the winner’s enclosure.
But people positioned right on the line, including the stewards and, most importantly, the judge, were adamant that Tribal Venture had edged Bell out by a head to give 17-year-old Oliver Murphy, from Stratford, his first success in the saddle.
The other two races both went to the Worcestershire husband and wife team of William and Angela Rucker. Angela herself was aboard Petit Lord, who should be a force to be reckoned with in hunter chases having given the useful Madge Carroll ten pounds in weight and a three length beating in the Ladies’ Open.
The Ruckers only took the ownership spoils in the Restricted Race where Sweden, trained for them near Shrewsbury by Sheila Crow and ridden by former national champion Richard Burton, maintained his unbeaten record .