Rachael Barrow moved to the top of the National Novice Lady Riders’ standings with her first ever double at a highly enjoyable Aldenham Harriers Point-To-Point meeting at Cottenham on Saturday.
Clerk of the Course Michael Gingell deserves great credit for the efficient watering that produced good, fast ground and attracted a healthy turnout of 56 runners for the seven races despite the recent lengthy dry spell.
Barrow, 26, who works for top flat trainer Luca Cumani in Newmarket, rode her first winner back in 1997 but had to wait over five years for her second, at Ampton last month. Since then she has been in superb form and a brace of easy victories, aboard Mai Point and Mill O’The Rags, saw her take her seasonal tally to five.
Mai Point produced a sprightly front-running performance to stave off the persistent challenge of Murberry by eight lengths in the Marsh Private Clients TBA PPORA Mares Race.
This gave owner-trainer Paula Twinn, from Pebmarsh, near Halstead, her third victory (all gained in conjunction with Barrow) in the last 13 days. Mai Point will now be aimed at the final of this Mares series – a Hunter Chase at Stratford on May 31.
Mill O’The Rags looked set for a ding-dong battle with the odds-on favourite, Spring Gale, in the Ladies’ Open until that rival took a heavy fall when half a length in front at the third last. This left Mill O’The Rags, who is owned by Eve Clarke, from Hartest, near Bury St Edmunds, to come home a distance clear of Pongo Waring.
Mill O’The Rags is trained at Whepstead by Neil King, who reported that the 13-year-old had enjoyed an unusual preparation 24 hours earlier – leading the pro-Hunting Countryside Alliance rally to the DEFRA offices in Bury St Edmunds.
Indeed, Cottenham has always been King’s lucky course and so it proved again on Saturday as Mill O’The Rags was the middle leg of his second treble at the Cambridge venue. Wrekengale, ridden by King’s girlfriend, Caroline Fryer, and owned by Simon Harrison (from Eye) and Trevor Burrows (from Horringer), got the ball rolling in the Novice Riders’ Race, while King himself took the riding honours in the Restricted Race aboard Balla d’Aire.
Fryer seemed to have been ruled out for the entire season when badly breaking her collarbone on Christmas Eve. But she looked most accomplished on this, her comeback ride, bringing Wrekengale from off the pace to beat Lord Knox by ten lengths.
Not to be outdone, King, who will be moving his base to the historic St Gatien stables in Newmarket in time for next season, came out on top by half a length after a thrilling finish to the Restricted. The race was really won when King induced a prodigious leap from the Sara Rackham-owned Balla d’Aire at the tricky second last fence.
Dynamic Lord continued the recent purple patch for owner-trainer Joe Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, and his jockey, Andrew Sansome, by beating Hatcham Boy in the Men’s Open Race. And there was drama at the final obstacle in the Members’ Race as Tell Monty unshipped jockey Ian Pearse with the prize in his grasp, allowing Lonesome Traveller to repeat last year’s victory.
The day ended on a controversial note when Give Him A Chance, trained at Great Yeldham by Robert Gardiner and ridden by Harry Fowler, was awarded the Maiden by a neck. Many racegoers felt that the runner-up, Parsonhumfrywebber, had just held on.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 M Stevens’ LonesomeTraveller (Aldenham Harriers) (K Sheppard),
2 S Andrews’ Professor Tag (Aldenham Harriers) (A Williams),
3 Mrs J Lewin’s Tell Monty (Aldenham Harriers) (A Pearce).
Also: Another Hubblick (ur). A distance, a distance. 6m 29s. W £2.80. DF £10.80. SP 7-2 (Tell Monty evens fav).
Race Two (Countryside Alliance Club Members’ Novice Riders Race):
1 S Harrison, T Burrows and N King’s Wrekengale (Thurlow) (Miss C Fryer),
2 Ms K Clark’sLord Knox (Cambridge University) (A Braithwaite),
3 M Kemp’s Wise Advice (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: New Ross (4), Adamatic (5), Alfredo Garcia (6), Rafter (7),Ballyea Boy (8), Chris’s Lad (9), Foodbroker Star (10), Absolute Limit (pu), Dalligan (r/o), Monyman (c/o), Mr Primetime (pu). Ten lengths, three-quarters of a length. 6m 07s. W £7.50. DF £27.70. SP 4-1 (Dalligan 9-4 fav).
Race Three (TBA Pt-to-Pt Association Mares Only Race):
1 D Claydon and Mrs P Twinn’s Mai Point (East Essex) (Miss R Barrow),
2 M Barlow’s Murberry (Vale of Aylesbury) (A Barlow),
3 Miss K Thory’s Lucrative Perk (Fitzwilliam) (P Briley).
Also: Altar Society (4), Pendils Charm (5), Worthy Memories (6), Bens Gift (7), Miss Clara (pu). Eight lengths, a distance. 6m 09s. W £1.40. DF £1.80. SP 2-5 fav.
Race Four (Men’s Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Dynamic Lord (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
2 Mr and Mrs A Howland Jackson’s Hatcham Boy (Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas),
3 Mrs M Ruff, Mrs S Cross and N King’s Rathgibbon (Easton Harriers) (N King).
Five lengths, a distance. 6m 06s. W £1.90. DF £1.60. SP 2-1 (Hatcham Boy 2-5 fav).
Race Five (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 Mrs E Clarke’s Mill O’The Rags (Suffolk) (Miss R Barrow),
2 Mrs C Stennett’s Pongo Waring (Suffolk) (Miss A Stennett),
3 N Fyfe’s Borrow Mine (Cambridge Univ) (Miss L Marriott).
Also: General Assembly (4), The Secret Grey (5), Spring Gale (f). A distance, half a length. 6m10s. W £6.50. DF £28.10. SP 10-1 (Spring Gale 4-9 fav).
Race Six (Restricted Race):
1 Ms S Rackham’s Balla D’Aire (Granta Harriers) (N King),
2 Mrs N Pollock’s Crackrattle (Fernie) (B Pollock),
3 J M Turner’s Royal Way (Suffolk) (A Sansome).
Also: Holy Moses (4), Dinsey Finnegan (5), Gerej (6), Harry Tartar (7), Al Jawwal (f), Our Friend Vinc (pu), Shirley’s Time (pu). Half a length, one length. 6m 04s. W £7.50. DF £6.90. SP 6-1 (Holy Moses 5-2 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race):
1 B Belchem’s Give Him A Chance (East Essex) (R Fowler),
2 M Burman’s Parsonhumfrywebber (Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace) (Miss E Bell),
3 Mr and Mrs W A Wales’ Second Thoughts (West Norfolk) (W Wales).
Also: Henry Tartar (4), Grey Fusilier (5), Just Amos (6), Timothy George (7), Count Frederick (pu), Fair Storm (pu), Great Blaze (pu), Schoodic Point (r/o). Neck, 3 lengths. 6m 12s. W £2.70. DF £5.50. SP 3-1 fav.