NORTH NORFOLK HARIERS - HIGHAM
Sunday 22nd February
Malcolm Mallow produced an incredibly polished display in the saddle to get his riding career off to the best possible start at the North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday.
Mallow, 22, works for Newmarket National Hunt trainer Lucy Wadham but is originally from Wicken Bonhunt, near Saffron Walden. He looked like an old hand despite it being his first ride as he brought his mount, Banksandditches, through from the rear of the field to land the Proveeda Novice Riders Race.
“Banksandditches was sticky at the start and didn’t really want to jump off, but then I let him roll and I was pretty much a passenger after that,” a modest Mallow said as he was engulfed by wellwishers, including his proud parents, Bill and Serena, in the unsaddling enclosure.
Banksandditches is trained at Sutton, near Ely, by Martin Ward who said: “I was worried early on as he was outpaced, but Malcolm gave him a brilliant ride. He’s really strengthened up since last season and could be good enough for Ladies’ Open races in the future.”
A jockey at the other end of the experience spectrum is the multiple East Anglian champion Louise Allan. But she was almost as thrilled as the Mallows after Quinsman gave her a first victory for almost three years with a hard-fought success in the Ladies’ Open.
Allan, who trains Quinsman at a yard on the Hamilton Road in Newmarket, revealed: “I haven’t managed a winner in either of the last two seasons because I broke a vertebra in my back one year then broke my pelvis the next.”
Quinsman hit the front with a circuit to run but, having been overtaken by Volcan Surprise at the third last, showed great resolution to regain the advantage and hold on by three-quarters of a length.
Wymondham trainer Sandra Fryer and jockey Bridget Andrews, the team responsible for Volcan Surprise, did not have to wait long to go one better as Troufion made every yard of the running to land the following Restricted Race.
Troufion returned to an emotional reception from his adoring owner, Keith Loads, from Thursford in Norfolk. Loads kept apologising to onlookers for his exuberance but had nothing to apologise for – he is just passionate about steeplechasing and in particular for Troufion, who is his favourite horse.
Post race celebrations were a little more sedate after the Maiden Race success of Ronnie Lawson. He is trained at Cowlinge, near Newmarket, by John Ferguson – who chose to come to Higham rather than saddle an AP McCoy-partnered winner at Southwell National Hunt course - and was ridden by his son, James.
One man who did prefer to go to Southwell was jockey Tom Messenger, from Northamptonshire. He therefore missed receiving the plaudits for training the Mens Open Race winner, Qoubilai, who beat Ferguson’s Dreamy George by nine lengths.
And the one-hour delay in racing starting (in order for the frost to thaw) cost Joe Hill a riding success, as he was forced to give up the mount on his father’s Broken Eagle in the Club Members Race in order to get to Fontwell in Sussex in time to take part in a hunter chase.
Partnered by supersub Gina Andrews, Broken Eagle made all the running for a very easy victory.
GOING: GOOD (GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES)
1st Ronnie Lawson (James Ferguson) 11/4 2nd Po Valley (David Kemp) 11/2
3rd Haughtons Bridge (Dicky Collinson) 5/2
Time 6 mins 3 secs * Dists: 3L, 5L 11 ran Venlo 6/4f (PU)
*4 jumps omitted , ground
PPORA Novice Riders
1st Banksandditches (Malcolm Mallow) 6/1
2nd The Master Remover (Charlie Buckle) 12/1
3rd Galbally King (Albert Chandler) 5/4f
Time 6-02* Dists: 3L, 5L 9 ran
*4 jumps omitted , ground
CA Club Members
1st Broken Eagle (Gina Andrews) 9/4
2nd Classic Destiny (Toby Betambeau) 7/1
Time 6-05 Dists: Dist 9 ran Only 2 finished
Themilanhorse 2/1f (brought down)
1st Qoubilai (Pete Mann) 5/1
2nd Dreamy George (James Ferguson) Evens Fav
3rd Master Workman (David Kemp) 5/4
Time 6-04 Dists: 9L, Dist 5 ran
1st Quinsman (Louise Allan) 2/1
2nd Volcan Surprise (Bridget Andrews) Evens Fav
3rd Carlanstown (Annie Bowles) 7/1
Time 6-06 Dists: 3/4L, 10L 8 ran
1st Troufion (Bridget Andrews) 7/4
2nd Hill Of Gold (Dicky Collinson) 7/1
Time 6-16 Dists: 20L, 6 ran Only 2 finished
Glory Hunter 1/2 Fav (Fell)