Highlights over the years of the Granta Harriers
by Mike Ashby
The GRANTA HARRIERS have held their meetings at Higham, since their inaugural meeting in 2000
2000 19th FEBRUARY
A case of like father like son with Matthew Abrey riding, DOCKMASTER, the shock 14/1 winner of the Mens Open, on his very first ride. Matthew’s father Robert also won on his first ride at Ampton, ten years earlier. Charlie Ward ended a long losing sequence of over 80 rides stretching back two years when successful on COMMUTER COUNTRY. This completed a double for owners/trainers Paul and Margaret Brightwell who had earlier been responsible for the Ladies’ Open winner, CRACKING IDEA, ridden by Gi d’Angibau.
Trainer, Paula Twinn, saddled her first winner when Coral Grissell and MAI POINT won Division Two of the Maiden. Division One went to MANNA BRAVE and Nigel Bloom. Nibby was deputising for Alan Coe who was nursing a badly broken collarbone.
2004 7th MARCH
The Turner family were in fine form with a treble on the day, initiated by DUNRIG, in the Mens Open. Successful stable jockey, James Owen, also partnered,WESTFIELD JOHN to win the Countryside Alliance Members’ race, by a clear cut fifteen lengths. In between these victories, Zoe Turner and THE WILEY KALMUCK won the Ladies Open. Their task made easier with the 1/ 4 favourite, Placid Man, unseating.
Andrew Braithwaite and NO PENALTY were not winning out of turn when landing the Maiden race. No Penalty ’won’ then subsequently lost a Maiden race at Marks Tey, as a result of losing a weight cloth, during the race. Stephen March owner/trainer made sure that this episode was not repeated, when saddling the horse here and was duly rewarded with a twenty length victory.
BALLAD and Tony Williams won the three runner Members’ race for owner Henry Hill.
2007 11th MARCH
Fleur Hawes entered the record books on a personal note with her first winner, on her second ride, in her first season training.
Purchased from trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, VA VAVOOM and Fleur were twenty lengths ahead of their nearest rivals at the end of the Ladies’ Open.
That mercurial character, HOT PLUNGE, needed all James Owen’s skill in the saddle, to win the opening Members’ race.
Some of the other races went to raiders from outside the East Anglian area. TEETON GLAVE completed a double for Stuart Morris who had earlier won the Restricted on BARON STEANE.
The Mens Open went to ARNOLD LAYNE and Dickie Barrett, whilst Division Two of the Maiden went to CARR DYKE LAD and Max Briggs, 20/1 winners.
2009 1st MARCH
Close finishes were in evidence at this meeting. The concluding race, Division Two of the Maiden, was won by a head TEN HORSE POWER and Kelly Smith. There was a tight finish to the opening Higham Club Members’ race which saw VICEROY CLOSE and David Kemp gain a last stride victory over Master Rex with Pouilly in close attendance. ANOTHER DUDE and Rupert Stearn made virtually all the running and stayed on well to win the Mens Open from Northall Lad.
The Ladies’ Open witnessed IBERUS driven out, having always been handy, by Emma Bell to give owners William and Denise Brown their first win, after five years of trying.START ROYAL and James Tudor followed up their short-Maiden victory at Cottenham, seeing out the extra half mile distance comfortably, to win the Restricted.