Grand National Day Saturday 9th April (2pm)

Essex @ High Easter nr Chelmsford

Bavard Court gave the Turner family, from Ampton near Bury St Edmunds, an incredible 17th victory in the prestigious Warwick Vase as the expected duel between Berties Dream and It Was Me failed to materialise at the Essex Point-To-Point at High Easter on Saturday.

It Was Me failed to complete the course for the third time in a row, unseating Carey Williamson at the 11th fence, while, despite the persistent urgings of jockey Gina Andrews, odds-on favourite Berties Dream failed to get into top gear until it was too late.

Little Legend and Bavard Court jump as one

Little Legend and Bavard Court jump as one

Instead, the 16-1 outsider, Bavard Court, overhauled the long-time leader, Little Legend, approaching the final obstacle and, although idling badly in the closing stages to allow Berties Dream to get within a neck, held on to pouch the £500 first prize.

The victory was particularly sweet for the former East Anglian Champion Jockey, Louise Allan, who was posting her first success of the campaign. Allan, from Exning, near Newmarket, also trains and just two days earlier had suffered the heartbreak of losing her best horse, Clonbanan Lad, when he suffered a heart attack during the Foxhunter Chase at Aintree.

Steeplechasing is often portrayed as a ‘rich man’s sport’ but Saturday’s proceedings proved on two occasions that you don’t always need to splash out big money to find a Point-To-Point winner.

Firstly, Ignite A Light, bought for just £2,800 by owner Alice Vaughan-Jones, from Wells-next-the-Sea, saw off the late thrust of Ballalough by half a length to land the Subaru-sponsored Restricted Race.

Ignite A Light and Alex Vaughan-Jones

Ignite A Light and Alex Vaughan-Jones

Ignite A Light was well ridden by Alice’s son, Alex, who will be enjoying another big moment in two months’ time when he gets married to Harriet West.

And the Maiden Race went to another cheap purchase, Virgo The First, acquired for just £700 from the Irish agent, Colman Hennessy. Virgo The First is owned and trained at Sutton, near Ely, by Martin Ward and looks to have a promising future given the way he swept past the perennial bridesmaid, Mister Serious, to get off the mark.

Mister Serious (Dickie Collinson, left) alongside Virgo The First (Archie Wright) at the last

Mister Serious (Dickie Collinson, left) alongside Virgo The First (Archie Wright) at the last

Virgo The First was completing a rapid double for jockey Archie Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, who had also taken the previous contest, the Intermediate Race, aboard his father’s Burtredgipandgump.

Burtredgipandgump (left) jumps in tandem with Brave Encounter

Burtredgipandgump (left) jumps in tandem with Brave Encounter

The two and a half mile PPORA Club Members Race was a helter-skelter affair, won via an attacking front-running ride from Dale Peters by the Leicestershire-trained Decade Player. Runner-up here was Master Workman, the second of an agonising three second-placed finishers on the day for the Thetford trainer, David Kemp.

Decade Player (Dale Peters) sets a scorching pace

Decade Player (Dale Peters) sets a scorching pace

Finally, the Hunt Race went for the sixth consecutive year to owner-trainer Nigel Padfield, from Abridge, near Chigwell, courtesy of the Gina Andrews-ridden Excitable Island.

Excitable Island (blue and yellow) puts in one of countless accurate jumps

Excitable Island (blue and yellow) puts in one of countless accurate jumps

 

RESULTS

GOING:   GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT in places

 

RESTRICTED

1st IGNITE A LIGHT   Alex Vaughan-Jones 9/2

2nd Ballalough            Sam Davies-Thomas   2/1fav

3rd Counting Stars      Dicky Collinson3/1

Time 6 mins 37 secs         Dists: ½ L, 1L         9 ran

PPORA CLUB MEMBERS   ( 2 ½  miles )

1st DECADE PLAYER    Dale Peters9/2

2nd Master Workman     Sam Davies-Thomas9/4

3rd Play The Ace            Dicky Collinson2/1fav

Time 5 mins 15 secs      Dists: 1L, 4L        10 ran

LADIES OPEN

1st  BAVARD COURT    Louise Allan 16/1

2nd Berties Dream        Gina Andrews4/5fav

3rd Little Legend           Cynthia Woods 6/1

Time 6 mins 32 secs      Dists: Neck, 1L      7 ran

INTERMEDIATE

1st BURTREDGIPANDGUMP     Archie Wright2/1fav

2nd Brave Encounter         Sam Davies-Thomas3/1

3rd The Admiral Benbow    Dicky Collinson6/1

Time 6 mins 39 secs      Dists: 4L, 6L        6 ran

OPEN MAIDEN

1st VIRGO THE FIRSTArchie Wright3/1

2nd Mister SeriousDicky Collinson        6/4fav

3rd Know More OatsRupert Stearn       7/1  

Time 6 mins 43 secs     Dists: 2L, 6L       11 ran

HUNT MEMBERS

1st EXCITABLE ISLANDGina Andrews 1/4fav

2nd West Of The Road   Dicky Collinson5/1

3rdAshtown Boy            Leona Browne10/1

Time 6-48   Dists: Distance , Distance     4 ran,  

ENDS