Martin Ward, one of the most genial and enthusiastic members of the East Anglian Point-To-Point trainers’ fraternity, enjoyed a richly-deserved moment of glory when Berewolf landed the Open Maiden at the Aldenham Harriers Point-To-Point at Cottenham on Saturday.
Ward, from Sutton, near Ely, has suffered a wretched recent run, as one of his horses was killed at High Easter two weeks ago and another suffered a serious injury at Higham a week later.
And little was expected of Berewolf, whose ability is masked by an unstable temperament which saw him on death row before Ward stepped in to save him a year ago.
But all his foibles were forgiven when, under an inspired ride from Matthew Mackley, he produced a startling turn of foot to make up a 20 length deficit jumping the third last and then survived a blunder at the final fence to defeat Ashley Marsh by four lengths.
It was the perfect end to a spectacular day for Oakham-based Mackley, as he was completing a treble which enabled him to share the prize for Cottenham’s leading rider of 2005 with his great friend, James Owen, from Newmarket.Mackley’s earlier triumph had been rather more predictable, aboard hot favourites Joves Shadow (in the two-runner Members Race) and Northern Breeze (in the Panacur/TBA Mares’ Maiden).
Zoe Turner, East Anglia’s reigning champion lady rider, finally got off the mark for the current campaign by partnering Leatherback to a thrilling victory in the Ladies’ Open.
The complexion of this five-runner contest changed completely at the fifth last obstacle where Village Copper fell, bringing down the strongly-fancied Highland Rose.
Turner took advantage and four fences later Leatherback looked to have the race in his pocket with a four length lead. But a slow jump cost him some momentum and Gray Knight cut into his advantage all the way up the run-in.
Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, was unsure about the result as the pair flashed past the winning post together, but her mount was awarded the verdict by a head.
Ironically, Gray Knight is owned by Rodney Mann, Turner’s godfather and best man at her parents’ wedding, so she had some explaining to do in the winner’s enclosure afterwards!
The rest of the card was dominated by jockey Stuart Morris, who helped himself to a double aboard Jemaro and Coole Glen.
Jemaro was forced to work hard to augment last month’s course success with a one length defeat of Viscount Bankes in the Men’s Open, but Coole Glen was more convincing, coming home eight lengths clear of Ballykilthy in the Restricted Race.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 Mrs F MacFarlane’s Joves Shadow (Aldenham Harriers) (M Mackley),
2 Mrs A Lee’s Gratomi (Aldenham Harriers) (owner).
A distance. 6.32. W £1.10. SP 2-5 fav.
Race Two (PPORA Members’ Mares Only Maiden Race):
1 R Tranter’s Northern Breeze (Cottesmore) (M Mackley),
2 Mrs F P Coole’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (J Owen),
3 D Barnard and R Saych’s Scalby Croft (Essex) (M Smith).
Also: Mandanjoe (pu), Rising Penalty (pu). Twenty lengths, 10 lengths. 6.19. W £1.50. DF £2.20. SP 4-7 fav.
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 J Beasley and R Mapp’s Jemaro (Albrighton) (S Morris),
2 Mrs R Gasson’s Viscount Bankes (Farmers Bloodhounds) (A Martin),
3 P Johnson’s Demasta (Cambridge University) (owner).
Also: Gold Quest (4), Mister Ringa (5), Valman (6), Estuary (pu), Helmsley Flier (pu), Laras Grey (pu), Militaire (pu). One length, 15 lengths. 6. W £1.80. DF £11.80. SP 1-2 fav.
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Leatherback (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 I Mann and A Hill’s Gray Knight (Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and S Berks) (Miss H Irving),
3 S J Smith’s Maltby Son (Grafton) (Miss K Branson).
Also: Highland Rose (bd), Village Copper (f). Head, 10 lengths. 6.05. W £3.60. DF £13.60. SP 6-1 (Highland Rose 4-6 fav).
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs J Wilson’s Coole Glen (Pytchley) (S Morris),
2 Ms J May and Ms A Embiricos’ Ballykilthy (Cambridge University) (N Moore),
3 A Byrne’s Baron Halebop (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: On The Day (4), Holywell Girl (5), Bombers Moon (6), The Small Farmer (ur), Parsonhumfrywebber (pu). Eight lengths, a distance. 6.04. W £2.80. DF £7.10. SP 5-4 fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 Mrs W Ward’s Berewolf (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley),
2 Mrs J Healey and Mrs S Rose’s Ashley Marsh (Albrighton Woodland) (Miss J Williams),
3 M R Clarke’s Sir Harry Henbit (Grafton) (J Newbold).
Also: Epop (4), Alfie Moon (5), Shannon Quest (6), Ross Gee (7), Groovejet (8), Corkscrew King (pu), Dynamic Sea (pu), Euro Craft (f), Irishtown Leader (ur), Lightingconductor (pu). Five lengths, eight lengths. 6.16. W £12.90. DF £48.80. SP 14-1 (Epop 7-4 fav).
Pony Race One (East Anglian Point-to-Point Children’s Pony Flat Race – Ponies 13.2hh and under):
1 Mrs A Clark’s Little Razzle Dazzle (Aldenham Harriers) (Bridget Andrews),
2 Mr and Mrs P Hogsbjerg’s Poppy (East Essex) (Rory Hanley),
3 F Barclay’s Berberys Boastful (Puckeridge) (Freddie Barclay).
Also: Toby (4), Northern Belle, Strawberry, Tilly Bird, Wanna Be Like You. Five lengths, three lengths. 1.22.
Pony Race Two (East Anglian Point-to-Point Children’s Pony Flat Race – Ponies 13.2hh to 14.2hh):
1 Mrs L Porter-Cohen’s Gemini (Aldenham Harriers) (Jack Quinlan),
2 Mrs P Twinn’s Pepsi (East Essex) (Tom March),
3 Miss E Clutterbuck’s Stambrook Marquesa (Thurlow) (Emma Clutterbuck).
Also: Tilly (4), Biscuit, Djemba Djemba, Dublin Flyer, Kenmare Little Katy, Lady Kay, Lord of the Irish Sky. Twenty lengths, ¾ length. 1.10