The ups and downs of riding in Point-To-Point races were vividly demonstrated at Sunday’s Cambridgeshire Harriers Hunt Club fixture at Cottenham which saw all eight winners’ prizes exported outside East Anglia.
A big crowd was on hand to see some high class racing and fine horsemanship. Yet even the best pilots sometimes end up on the floor or are simply unable to cajole their partners into maximum effort and all of the triumphant jockeys had to deal with disaster at some time during the day’s action.
Top billing must go to national champion James Tudor who made the long trip from West Glamorgan to partner three winners, all trained at Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire by Alan Hill. But they were brought down to earth when their fourth representative, the well-fancied Camisky,crashed out at the fourth-last in the finale.
Tudor was seen at his very best in the opening Club Members Race, conjuring some great leaps out of the tricky Mr Tee Pee, who tends to stop when he hits the front. Hill was worried when his charge was left in the lead at the second last but Tudor simply took a pull, allowed the favourite, Whistling Straits, to go past, then reasserted on the run-in to score by half a length.The Tudor-Hill team also came out on top in two of the meeting’s three Maiden Races. Firstly, Topol, who went through the sales ring in August but was led out unsold at 2,600 guineas, got off the mark at the age of nine by beating Another Gale by a comprehensive eight lengths.
Then the clumsy Lord Brunello survived some hair-raising fencing blunders to land a race which would have surely gone to third-placed Banners Flying had he not forfeited a huge amount of ground with a slow start.
Richard Burton, the three-time national champion who Tudor deposed last season, was the man denied on Whistling Straits, then had to suffer the ignominy of pulling up another market leader, Falcon Lake, after little more than a circuit of race two.
So it was a case of third time lucky when he guided the Shropshire-trained Ballylusky to victory in Men’s Open, sealing the spoils with a great leap at the last to see off longtime challenger Full Minty.The closest we came to a local victory was when Sure Future, ridden by Lucy Franks, from Sutton, near Woodbridge, took second in the Countryside Alliance Novice Riders’ Race. But even then it was not very close as the Herefordshire raider, Fantastic Champion, overcame a scare at the second last to come home a distance clear under Sian Carter.
Carter, who had been working at her local pub at Almeley, near Hereford, until 11pm the previous night before getting up at 3.30am to do the horses, had no time to rest on her laurels as she was dazed in a final fence fall from Abbey Days in the following Ladies’ Race.
This went to Christy Beamish, who was atoning for his own exit at the same obstacle three weeks earlier. Trained near Wolverhampton by Susan Taylor, he may now be aimed at some of the country’s top hunter chases.
Christy Beamish was ridden by national champion lady rider Claire Allen. And Stuart Morris, another of the nation’s top male jockeys, suffered differing fortunes on his only two rides of a day that was over for him by noon.
A nasty tumble in race one left him with a big lump on his right elbow but, undeterred, he brought the Northants visitor, Northall Lad, with a perfectly-timed run to prevail in a tight finish to the following Restricted Race. “I’ll be sore in the morning but I’ll settle for that,” grinned Morris afterwards.
Finally, Yorkshire raider Stroom Bank sent favourite backers home happy by landing the closing Maiden.
1 The Teepee Club’s Mr Tee Pee (Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and S Berks), (J Tudor),
2 J Beasley and G Hibbert’s Whistling Straits (Albrighton) (R Burton),
3 J Murrey’s Mr Naborru (Thurlow) (owner).
Half-a-length, a distance. 6.01. SP 5-2 (Whistling Straits 6-4 fav.)
1 Ms J Johnston, Miss J Harbinson, G Cook and J Cook’s Northall Lad (Grafton) (S Morris),
2 Mrs S Vaughan’s Lanicene (Teme Valley) (D Mansell),
3 A Parrish’s Silver Dollars (Staff College) (P York).
1 length, 1 length. 6.08. SP 5-1 ( Falcon Lake 9-4 fav.).
1 Mr and Mrs William Rucker’s Ballylusky (Worcs) (R Burton),
2 Mr and Mrs R Stafford’s Full Minty (Cotswold) (P Mason),
3 Mrs P Joynes’ Tom’s Prize ( N Ledbury ) (N Oliver).
5 lengths, 10 lengths. 6.03. SP 4/5f.
1 Miss S Carter’s Fantastic Champion ( Teme Valley ) (owner),
2 G Frank’s Sure Future (Essex Farmers and Union ) (Miss L Franks),
3 A Harvery’s Bob Ar Aghaidh (Puckeridge) (Miss L Mitchell).
A distance, 2 lengths. 6.11. SP 2-1 fav.
1 M Mann’s Christy Beamish (Albrighton) (Miss C Allen)
2 Mrs K Smith-Maxwell’s Urban Rebel (Worcs) (Miss A Smith-Maxwell),
3 Miss L McGarity and G Watts’ Levallois (Woodland Pytchley) (Miss N McKim).
10 lengths, 8 lengths. 6.06. SP 6-4 fav.
1 Mrs T Hill and Mr and Mrs S Nash’s Topol (V of Aylesbury with Garth and S Berks) (J Tudor),
2 P Davies’ Another Gayle ( N Hereford ) (D Jones),
3 D Harking-Jones’ Very Presentable (Puckeridge) (M Mackley).
8 lengths, three-quarters of a length. 6.17. SP 7-4 fav.
1 Mr and Mrs C Harris’ Lord Brunello (V of Aylesbury with Garth and S Berks),
2 M Kehoe’s Fenny Lane (Bicester with Whaddon Chase) (T Ellis),
3 S Clark ‘s Banners Flying (York and Ainsty S) (Miss R Clark).
2 lengths, 8 lengths. 4.47. SP 5-2 fav.
1 Mrs S Stilgoe’s Stroom Bank (Sinnington) (M Bennison),
2 R Tolley and Miss C Jones’ Clifford T Ward (N Ledbury) (W Hill),
3 Mr and Mrs B Orchard’s Silver Ace (Albrighton) (R Burton).
5 lengths, 8 lengths. 4.50. SP 5-2 fav.