Rupert Stearn and Nibby Bloom, two Wymondham-based jockeys at opposite ends of the age and experience range, played leading roles at the Aldenham Harriers Point-To-Point at Cottenham on Saturday.
Stearn, East Anglia’ Champion Novice Rider of 2005, had a serious attack of seconditis during the afternoon, having to settle for the runner-‘s spot on all three of his mounts.
But he is still enjoying a superb season, in second place, just three wins behind David Kemp in the senior jockeys’ title race, and this trio of placings clinched him the Perpetual Challenge Trophy, awarded each year to the jockey who is most successful at Cottenham’s four meetings.
Bloom lost his novice status many years ago, but he proved that he is still at the top of his game when taking his career tally to a magnificent 182 when steering Alfie Moon to victory with a brilliant ride in the Restricted Race.Making stealthy ground on the leaders throughout the final mile, Bloom brought the grey up the inside to challenge at the final fence and they had a length and a half to spare over Stearn’s mount, Epop, at the line.
Trained near Luton by Simon Andrews, Alfie Moon has been transformed by a tubing operation that has improved his breathing. He gets home now, Andrews insisted. Before, he used to travel well, but when the others turned on the tap he had nothing left.
Leatherback continued the recent renaissance of the Joe Turner yard, which is at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, when taking the notable scalp of Find Me Another in the Ladies’ Open.Well ridden by Turner’s granddaughter, Zoe, Leatherback snuck up Find Me Another’s inside approaching the second last and, although the odds-on favourite refused to submit without a fight, Leatherback stayed on stoutly to score by two lengths.
The run-in seemed to last forever, Zoe exclaimed. I thought the winning post would never come.
There was another good finish in the Men’s Open but Silver Streak, trained in Lincolnshire and ridden by Midlands champion Richard Armson, edged past Rocja (Stearn), who ran much better for the application of a visor. The winner now heads for a hunter chase at Fakenham on Easter Monday.The other Stearn narrow miss came aboard the fast-improving Iceni Ruler in the Mares’ Maiden. But, in truth, the winner, Scare Lotte, had much more in hand than the winning margin of two lengths suggests.A first home-bred winner for trainer Harry Hobson, from Reed, near Royston, Scare Lotte was a well-deserved first triumph of the season for Frenchman Sylvain Salmon, who works as assistant head lad to Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe.
Worcestershire-based Julian Pritchard, who, as the winningmost jockey in the history of the sport, puts even Bloom’s achievements in the shade, clocked up the 363rd (and surely one of the easiest) win of his career when Krac d’Argos took the Maiden Race.And Wincy Spider, trained near Towcester by owner Anna Brooks, took the Novice Riders’ Race under one of the country’s best young pilots, Henry Kinchin.Talking of young riders, nine-year-old Daisy Taylor, from near Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, and Tom Darlow, 12, from near Biggleswade, enjoyed moments they will never forget when notching their first victories in the two pony races. Darlow’s success was particularly hard-earned, as he suffered a nasty fall before a similar event at Ampton earlier in the year.
Race One (PPORA Members Race – Novice Riders):
1 T L Brooks’ Wincy Spider (Farmers Bloodhounds Drag) (H Kinchen),
2 G Hutsby’s Aircon (Warwickshire) (S Moreton),
3 P S Johnson’s Demasta (Cambs University) (owner).
Also: Nokimover (4), Bold Hunter (5), Mr Naborro (6), Highlands II (7), Currow Kate (ur), Energy Man (pu), Tupgill Turbo (ur). Half a length, two lengths. 5.57. W £8.10. DF £4.60 (winner with any other horse). SP 8-1 (Nokimover evens fav).
Race Two (Open Maiden Race – Mares Only):
1 Mrs R E Hobson’s Scare Lotte (Puckeridge) (S Salmon),
2 Mrs F A Cooper’s Iceni Ruler (Essex Farmers and Union) (R Stearn),
3 Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (J Owen).
Also: Holle Berry (4), Hilly Be (5), Island Fortress (6), Suntos (7), May Zee Wong (pu), Royal Pretence (pu). Two lengths, five lengths. 6.07. W £2.90. DF £16. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 M Robinson’s Silver Streak (Burton) (R Armson),
2 Mr and Mrs S Stearn’s Rocja (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
3 Mrs K Baimbridge’s Gay Baratineur (Ledbury) (J Pritchard).
Also: Manodee (pu). One length, a distance. 6.06. W £1.70. DF £4.60. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Leatherback (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 Mrs C Stennett, Mrs C Aldreidge and Mrs E King’s Find Me Another (Pytchley) (Miss A Stennett),
3 J M Turner’s Ojays Alibi (Suffolk) (Miss K Smith). Also: Village Copper (4), Bede (pu), Tartar Sabre (pu).
Two lengths, 15 lengths. 5.53. W £2.80. DF £2.80. SP 5-2 (Find Me Another 4-6 fav).
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Mr and Mrs M McCaffrey’s Alfie Moon (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (N Bloom),
2 R Abrey’s Epop (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
3 Allied P and L Partnership’s Ballykilthy (Cambs University) (A Merriam).
Also: Alias (4), Joves Shadow (5), Asabache (pu), Berewolf (pu), Chesnut House (pu), Northern Breeze (pu), Pirate King (pu). One and a half lengths, three lengths. 6.02. W £2.60. DF £15. SP 5-2 (Pirate King 9-4 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 D Parker’s Krac D’Argos (North Cotswold) (J Pritchard),
2 Mr and Mrs W Brown’s Padamul (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (A Braithwaite),
3 D Wilsher’s Atlantic Drift (CambsUniversity) (A Pennock).
Also: Bold Jogger (4), Coverdale (pu), Euro Craft (ur), Mulsanne (pu), Rockley Beach (pu), Stirrup Cup (pu). A distance, a distance. 5.59. W £2.20. DF £15.50. SP evens fav.
Pony Race One (Children’s Pony Flat Race, Ponies 13.2hh and under -Novice Riders):
1 Mrs K Taylor’s Gold Dawn Chorus (North Norfolk) (Daisy Taylor),
2 C Clover’s Ernford William Lobb (Essex and Suffolk) (Charles Clover),
3 A Mews’ Miss Dynamite (Fitzwilliam) (Christy Mews).
Also: Cobweb (4), Poppy (5), Sophie (6), Merrylegs (7), Everkerry Good Fortune (8), Dusty (9), Hobbits Hywell (10). One length, eight lengths.
Pony Race Two (Children’s Pony Flat Race, Ponies 14.2hh and under – Novice Riders):
1 Mrs L Squirrell’s Little Irish Diamond (Suffolk) (Thomas Darlow),
2 D Peter’s Jackabad Of Glaven (Fitzwilliam) (Dale Peters),
3 M McCaffrey’s Oddbod (Aldenham) (Freddie Eccles-Williams).
Also: Chaplin (4). Three lengths, 12 lengths.