Sunday 16th March @ Marks Tey - East Essex
The organisers of Marks Tey Racecourse were left in optimistic mood after Sunday’s East Essex fixture – the first Point-To-Point to be staged at the Colchester venue since financial problems caused it to ask for donations to a ‘Fighting Fund’ last summer – brought a strong turn-out.
Gate money needs to increase considerably if the course is to have a long-term future and yesterday’s crowd, although by no means vast, was well up on 2013.
But it was the equine attendance that was most encouraging, the 59 declared runners meaning that the fixture was extended to seven races with the Maiden being divided at scale.
Three prolific winners were the star horses of the afternoon – Macklin, Volcan Surprise and Double Mead.
Macklin made it seven victories from his last nine starts when landing the Mens Open Race for the grandmother/father/son owner/trainer/rider combination of Margaret, John and James Ferguson, who hail from Cowlinge, near Newmarket.
Macklin had to show guts in abundance to hold off the persistent challenges of Bally Wall and New Alco and will now go to Fakenham on Easter Monday to defend the Queen’s Cup hunter chase crown he won last year.
Volcan Surprise, who is trained at Wymondham by Caroline Fryer, visited the winner’s enclosure for the fourth time this year after the Confined Race. But he was probably fortunate as Thornleigh Ben appeared to have just taken his measure when crashing out at the penultimate fence.
Double Mead justified her four and a quarter hour box journey from the Taunton yard of trainer-rider, Alex Dunn, when disposing of her five Ladies Open rivals with the minimum of fuss to register the 16th triumph of her remarkable career.
Trainer Nick Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, began the meeting in perfect style when In A Blue Dust proved three lengths too strong for the highly promising Major Adventure in the opening Maiden Race to give him a first success of the campaign.
But it was to become a frustrating afternoon for Wright as he and his son, Archie, later suffered near misses with both Thornleigh Ben and Bally Wall.
The second Maiden resulted in a popular victory for another Wymondham trainer, Nigel Bloom, as the 11-year-old Patton finally got off the mark at the 18th attempt. Owned by Tessa Scott, from Shelley, near Hadleigh, Patton was a third career success in the saddle for Bloom’s 21-year-old son, Jack.
The closing Hunts Club Members Race attracted a field of just three runners but ended up being a brilliant contest as Galbally King was stalked throughout by Cheyanwe, who came through to lead at the final fence and then only held the game front-runner’s renewed effort by half a length.
“Cheyanwe has been suffering with a snotty nose and I only just got enough work into her to make it worthwhile running today,” revealed her trainer-rider, David Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford.
“I thought in the circumstances that Galbally King [who had won his previous three races] would be a very tough opponent, but Cheyanwe loves this course and must be the best mare in East Anglia.”
Finally, the Warwickshire raider, Mister Teddy, reacted well to the application of cheekpieces and adoption of aggressive riding tactics to make virtually all the running in the Restricted Race.
GOING: GOOD TO SOFT (GOOD IN PLACES)
Open Maiden (Division 1)
In A Blue Dust (Carey Williamson) 4/6 Fav
Major Adventure (Zac Baker)
De Waiting Game (George Gorman)
Time: 6m 46s
Distances: 3, 20
Open Maiden (Division 2)
Patton (Jack Bloom) 3/1
Duffryrover (David Kemp) 13/8 Fav
Gather Round (James Martin)
Time: 6m 49s
Distances: ¾, 8
Volcan Surprise (Bridget Andrews) 5/4 Fav
Ocean Fou (Dickie Collinson)
11 ran, only 2 finished
Time: 6m 36s
Distances: a distance
Macklin (James Ferguson) 2/5 Fav
Bally Wall (Archie Wright)
New Alco (Max Kendrick)
Time: 6m 34s
Distances: ½, ½
Double Mead (Alex Dunnn) 2/7 Fav
Ide No Idea (Bridget Andrews)
The Rodeo Clown (Camilla Cotton)
Time: 6m 36s
Distances: 10, ¾
Mister Teddy (Tom Ellis) 7/4 Fav
Conkies Lad (Ben Rivett) 6/4 Fav
The Booshy Man (Archie Wright)
Time: 6m 38s
Distances: 8, nk
Hunts Club Members Race
Cheyanwe (David Kemp) 6/4 Fav
Galbally King (Ben Rivett)
3 ran, only 2 finished
Time: 6m 35s