Highlights of the last three decades of the North Norfolk Harriers
by Mike Ashby
Date: 22nd February 2015 Going: GOOD: GOOD to FIRM in places
Races: 6 Runners: 48 Winning Favourites: 1 out of 6
John Ferguson’s team normally drive out of Higham racecourse with several winners aboard their horsebox but their success was limited to just the one winner. This came in the opening Maiden race, which was delayed for one hour due to frost, when RONNIE LAWSON, made all and the six year-old made his rivals looked one-paced, winning by 5 lengths from Po Valley. The Ferguson’s other representatives failed to reach the winner’s enclosure. Dreamy George weakened, as was headed two out when giving way to the winner of the Men’s Open, QOUBILIA, partnered by Peter Mann. TheMilanHorse, the other Ferguson runner on the day was made favourite for the Countryside Alliance Club Members’ race but was unluckily brought down in a melee at the ninth fence. The race went to BROKEN EAGLE who went on to make all the running, in the hands of Gina Andrews. Gina’s sister, Bridget, was also on the mark when TROUFION won the concluding Restricted race for enthusiastic Norfolk owner Keith Loads.
TROUFION: Grey gelding by Smadoun out of La Troussardiere
Formerly with Dan Skelton the gelding won a two and a half mile Maiden race at Cottenham in 2014 and was tried at Hunter ‘Chasing when running 4th at Leicester, just prior to this run. Enjoys front-running tactics, which were employed here to good effect, to win by 20 lengths from the only other finisher.
Date: 8th January 2006 Going: GOOD
Races: 7 Runners: 46 Winning Favourites: 3 out of 7
Alex Vaughan-Jones, fully supported by friends and family, rode his first winner when NOKIMOVER took the Novice Rider’s race. Leaving the paddock was Alex’s only concern when his mount got a bit fractious but once racing, the partnership easily defeated their two rivals. Two previous course winners, from outside the East Anglian area, returned to the Higham course and recorded repeat victories. The Warwickshire-based NOBLE ROMAN and Tom Ellis, the gelding’s trainer, where a distance ahead of their nearest rival Heaven is Above, in the Countryside Alliance Club Members’ Conditions race.
THE STICKLER came from Nottinghamshire to follow up his previous course win with a Restricted race success with Matthew Mackley and were 20 lengths ahead of another Tom Ellis mount, Airmark
NOKIMOVER : Chestnut gelding by Scallywag out of Town Blues
A very busy 2006 season for this competent but also impulsive gelding who was on the go from here in early January right through to the end of May. Performing mainly in East Anglia but also outside the area with his new partner, Alex Vaughan-Jones in the saddle, they rattled up seven wins from elevenstarts, predominantly in novice rider’s events.
Date: 3rd March 1996 Going: GOOD
Races: 7 Runners: 58 Winning Favourites: 2 out of 7
PARDON ME MUM and Emma Coveney caused an upset in the Ladies’ Openwhen staying on well, after taking the lead two out, to defeat Kelly’s Original by 2 lengths. The long odds-on favourite, Richard Hunt, dislodged Lisa Rowe early on in the race, at the 3rd fence which left the race wide open and the winning partnership took full advantage. There was an even bigger surprise in Division One of the Open Maiden when the 33/1 chance BEAT THE RAP took over the lead with a circuit to go and maintained the advantage, right to the line. The winning margin of half a length over Just Maisy and Charlie Ward and in an all-action finish the triumphant rider, G Morrison, parted company shortly after the winning post. Charlie Ward did find his way into the winner’s enclosure when FARINGO had no problem in landing the Men’s Open, leaving their two rivals toiling in their wake.
FARINGO: Bay gelding by Rustingo out of Royal Marie
The 12 year-old an out and out stayer performed well here on the flat Higham track having been nursed back to fitness, by trainer Fred Farrow, after missing all of the 1994 season. Was campaigned in Hunter ‘Chases, all over the country in 1996 without success but completed the season when following up with another win in Men’s Open at the West Norfolk meeting at Fakenham.
Date: 1st February 1986 Going: GOOD becoming SOFT
Races: 7 Runners : 82 Winning Favourites: 2 out of 7
This was the first meeting of the 1986 season both locally and nationally, held on the1st February……..How things have changed over the decades !The meeting was particularly notable for the success of the lady riders with four races going their way. Jane McMath took the overall honours with a double. Jane won on HIT ME AGAIN, in the Ladies’ Open and followed this up when partnering SPROGGY in Division One of the Maiden. The other division went to Lucy Gibbonon KILWARDEN who, having made all the running, was headed at the last before fighting back to re-take the lead over Military Merchant and Will Nott, to win by half a length. Jenny Pidgeon and MATCHPLAY easily saw off their rivals in the PPOA Club Members’ race going right away from the opposition, up the Higham straight.
SPROGGY: Bay mare by Foggy Bell out of Solent Princess
A very lightly raced mare, owned by Barry Belchem, racing only twice in 1985, her first season racing and had only the same number of outings in the 1986 season. Won convincingly here and then finished a close second at Cottenham at the end of March, in her first Restricted race but finished the race slightly lame, which would explain her absence for the rest of the season.