Some of the best Point-To-Point racing seen in East Anglia for many a long year took place at Cottenham, just outside Cambridge, yesterday (Sunday) as the Cambridgeshire Harriers Hunts Club staged a fabulous card which attracted many of the country’s best horses and jockeys.
The action began at the ungodly hour of 11a.m. and kept on unabated right through until dusk, a total of 126 horses contesting the ten steeplechases.
All this took place in beautiful winter sunshine and on a course where, incredibly given the recent deluge, the going was no worse than ‘good to soft’. Many of the long-distance travellers marvelled at the underfoot conditions, some even suggesting that Cottenham was the driest place in the entire country.
East Anglian fans had to wait until the very last race, the second division of the 2m 4f Maiden Race, in order to cheer a ‘home’ victory.
Dreamy George, trained at Cowlinge, near Newmarket, by John Ferguson and ridden by James Owen, helped set a scorching pace in the failing light and then showed good resolution to hold off the late burst of The Goldmeister by five lengths.
There were a couple of notable performances in defeat by locally-trained horses. Andrew Pennock, whose yard at Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, was one of the success stories of last season, began this campaign in similar fashion by saddling Bay To Go, ridden by Ben Rivett, from Sharrington, Norfolk, to finish a fine second to Chief Heckler in the second 3m Maiden Race.
And Working Title, whose owner-trainer, Caroline Fryer, is based at Wymondham, did really well to chase home the Sussex raider, Rear Gunner, in a hotly-contested Ladies Open Race given that this was his first start in almost two years.
The highest quality event of the day was the Men’s Open. This witnessed Herecomesthetruth, a one-time Grand National candidate who is trained in Hampshire, hold off the favourite, Divine Intavention, by half a length.
The second of two Restricted Races produced an even tighter conclusion as Lough Inch, a visitor from Leicestershire, had just a head in hand of the hard-charging Pertemps Heights as they passed the winning post.
The other Restricted was won by Forest Walker, to spark a double for the Shropshire yard of Philip Rowley and his jockey, Alex Edwards, who were also responsible for Chief Heckler.
Brad Catton, a 17-year-old from Solihull, enjoyed a red letter day as his very first ride, aboard Corredor Sun, was a winning one in the Novice Riders Race. Again, there was not much in it, but Corredor Sun proved half a length too quick for Galant Nuit.
Proceedings got under way with the highly promising Harbour Court, trained in Buckinghamshire by Alan Hill, making it three wins from four career starts in the Club Members Race while jockey Nico de Boinville, who works for top National Hunt trainer, Nicky Henderson, and is the regular work rider of the recent King George VI Chase winner, Long Run, guided the Wiltshire raider, Driftwood Pride, to a Maiden Race victory.
GOING: GOOD TO SOFT
Cambridgeshire Harriers Hunt Club Members race
1 Harbour Court – James Tudor Ev’s f
2 Commander Kev – Tom Cheeseman
3 Midnight King – Peter Mann
Time 6 mins 10 secs Dists: 5L, 3L 11 ran
Restricted Race Div1
1 Forest Walker – Alex Edwards 3/1
2 Guilty As Charged – Toby Betambeau
3 Music Of the Moon – Dave Mansell
Time 6-16 Dists: 3L, 3/4L 10 ran Just Dave 6/4f (4th)
1 Lough Inch – Sam Dvies-Thomas 8/1
2 Pertemps Heights – Sam Painting 7/4f
3 Kilbeg Opera – Dicky Collinson
Time 6-16 Dists: Hd, 1/2L 10 ran
1 Herecomesthetruth – Phil York 14/1
2 Divine Intavention – Mark Wall 7/4f
3 Ravethebrave – Joe Hill
Time 6-10 Dists: Nk, 4L 17 ran
CA Novice riders
1 Corredor Sun – Bradley Catton 3/1
2 Galant Nuit – Rees Morgan-Murphy
3 Lurgan – John Smith-Maxwell
Time 6-19 Dists: 1/2L, 8L 14 ran Timeshift 9/4f (10th)
1 Rear Gunner – Hannah Grissell 16/1
2 Working Title – Bridget Andrews
3 Sagalyrique – Angela Rucker
Time 6-11 Dists: 3L, 8L 13 ran Surenaga 6/4f (Fell)
Open Maiden Div1
1 Danners – Mark Wall 2/1f
2 Day Time Run – Will Hickman
3 Definitely Rosie – Cynthia Haydon
Time 6-24 Dists: 10L, 1L 14 ran
Open Maiden Div2
1 Chief Heckler – Alex Edwards 5/4f
2 Bay To Go – Ben Rivett
3 Banksandditches – Toby Speke
Time 6-26 Dists: 3L, 12 13 ran
4,5,6 & 7 YO Maiden 2 1/2 miles Div1
1 Driftwood Pride – Nico De Boinville 5/1
2 Milly Malone – Hannah Lewis
3 Moscow Blaze – Paige Fuller
Time 5-01 Dists: 1 1/2L, 1/2L 12 ran Ballydaily 3/1f (6th)
4,5,6 & 7 YO Maiden 2 1/2 miles Div2
1 Dreamy George – James Owen 5/6f
2 The Goldmeister – George Little
3 Tomstar – Phil York
Time 4-47* Dists: 5L, 8L 12 ran
* 2 fences ommitted in this race, fence damaged in previous race.