Sunday 3rd December 2017

 Cambridge University United Hunts Club – Cottenham


The 2017-18 East Anglian Point-To-Point Season got off to its usual hectic start as 60 horses contested seven high class races at the Cambridge University United Hunts Club meeting at Cottenham, near Cambridge, on Sunday (December 3rd).

The locals are often thoroughly outgunned at this fixture, but the East Anglians more than held their own this time around, accounting for both the Maiden Races and also contributing the winning jockey and winning owner to two other contests.

The rider in question was Gina Andrews, the reigning and four-time National Champion Lady Point-To-Point Jockey, who hails from Lilley in Hertfordshire but is now based near Rugby in Warwickshire.

She began the defence of her title by not only lifting a Maiden aboard Full Batten for Newmarket trainer, James Owen, but also teaming up with her husband, trainer Tom Ellis, to land one of two divisions of the PPORA Club Members Race on Celtic Silver.

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Full Batten is owned by a partnership led by Phil Simmonds, from Barton, near Cambridge. A greyhound trainer by profession, Simmonds knows plenty about how best to relief cash from the bookies’ satchels and he landed a nice bet here, as Full Batten was heavily supported into 6-4 favouristim before demolishing his seven rivals by 25 lengths.

Celtic Silver’s victory was not quite so comprehensive but Andrews was still able to ease her mount a few yards from the winning post and still have three lengths in hand of closest pursuer, Very Intense.

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The other East Anglian-trained Maiden Race hero was This Breac, from the Timworth (near Bury St Edmunds) yard of Andrew Pennock.

The successful owners here were Michael Clarke, from Hartest, George Wright, from Middleton (near Sudbury) and Steve Stevenson, from Little Henny.

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This trio, who race under the ownership banner of ‘Two Farmers And A Butcher’, were a little startled after This Breac had scored by an easy nine lengths. Pennock had given them limited encouragement about this new recruit’s chances beforehand, fearing his jumping was not slick enough, hence the winner drifted in the betting from 4-1 to double those odds.

Keith Loads, from Thursford, near Fakenham, was left dreaming of a first ever success at his local course (which hosts a Point-To-Point on April 22nd next year) after his light blue and white colours were carried to victory by Hawkhurst in the Restricted Race.

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Trained in Oxfordshire by the top Cottenham trainer, Alan Hill, Hawkhurst made a winning debut for his new connections after being bought out of Jonjo O’Neill’s National Hunt yard by beating Urban Storm by 20 lengths.

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The tightest finish of the day came when Bear’s Affair, trained in Shropshire by Phil Rowley, came out on top by just a head following a terrific duel with Full Trottle in the Mens Open Race.

Bear’s Affair has the Foxhunter Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree next April as a possible target for the campaign and if he does get to Liverpool he may well meet the winner of the Skinner’s Pet Foods Ladies Open, Bound For Glory.

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Trained in Gloucestershire by David Fitch-Peyton, Bound For Glory came from well off the pace to beat Foxcub by four lengths.

Another jockey to employ come-from-behind tactics to good effect was James Martin, who brought Oxfordshire-trained Gallox Bridge with a storming late run to land the second division of the PPORA Club Members Race.

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PPORA Conditions Race 2 mile 4 furlongs Div One
1st Celtic Silver Gina Andrews 5/2
2nd Very Intense Johnny Bailey Ev’s f
3rd Ballybough Gorta Noah Brazg 4/1

Time 4-35 Dists: 3L, 10L 9 ran
Also Best Director 5th , Curragh Hall UR, Shah Of Persia PU, Spitfire Ace PU, Time Is Tickin 4th, We Never Give Up 6th

PPORA Conditions Race 2 mile 4 furlongs Div Two
1st Gallox Bridge James Martin 7/2 2nd Derksen Alice Stevens 7/2 3rd Mr Syntax Richard Collinson 14/1
Time 4-34 Dists: 1L, 5L 8 ran
Also Dazzling Rita PU, Exclusive Rights 4th, Iftiraaq 5/4f 6th, The Absent Mare PU

Men’s Open
1st Bear’s Affair Alex Edwards 3/1 2nd Full Trottle Johnny Bailey 2/1 3rd Bivouac Tim Gredley 7/2
Time 5-55 Dists: Hd, 6L 9 ran
Also Bay Sly PU, Edeiff’s Lad UR, Only Time’ll Tell F, Pantxoa UR, Viking Ridge PU, West Lake 4th

Ladies Open

1st Bound For Glory Hannah Lewis 5/2 2nd Foxcub Emma Yardley 6/1 3rd Letbeso Gina Andrews 10/1
Time 5-55 Dists: 4L, 8L 8 ran
Also Duke Of Lucca 7/4f 4th, Paddy The Stout PU, Sam Cavallaro 6th, Sand Blast 5th Western Diva F


1st Hawkhurst Joe Hill 5/4f 2nd Urban Storm Brook Lovegrove-Fielden 6/1 3rd Brave Jaq James Martin 8/1
Time 5-57 Dists: 20L, 1L 10 ran
Also Bleu Et Or PU, Cobajay Away PU, Middleton’s Minx 4th, Somme Boy 6th Tick Tock Ten PU, Titan’s Approach, 5th, Why Lie F

Open Maiden

1st This Breac Evan David 7/1 2nd Fair Exchange Gillon Crow Ev’s f 3rd Chasetheisland Shane Roche 10/1
Time 6-12 Dists: 9L, 4L 8 ran
Also Come On Harriet 5th, Desert Retreat UR, Iwillifiwant UR, Latenightpass, Roughty King PU

4,5,& 6 YO Maiden 2 miles 4 Furlongs

1st Full Batten Gina Andrews 6/4f 2nd Coyoacan Richard Collinson 3/1 2nd Lyre Lad Sam Burton 16/1
Time 4-43 Dists: 25L, Dist 8 ran
Also Anytime Will Do F, Glama F, How’s Johnny F, Master Jeweller F, Sulamani The Late PU