Peter Scudamore, the eight-time champion National Hunt jockey, was in action at Cottenham yesterday (Sunday) as the East Anglian Point-To-Point season got off to a magnificent start. A big crowd of over 5,000 was treated to some great racing, with 115 horses contesting the eight races.

No, Scudamore was not making a shock comeback to the saddle. His role was one of stable lad, leading up Glevum, who is trained in Gloucestershire by his wife, Marilyn, and was ridden to victory by his 17-year-old son, Tom.

Avoiding various thrills and spills (only four of the eighteen runner completed the course) by making all the running, Glevum beat Jobsagoodun by ten lengths in the first division of the Maiden to give Mrs Scudamore her first winner as a trainer from her first runner. “I’m his mother, he never listens to anything I say, so I don’t give him any riding instructions,” she joked afterwards.

Young Tom is faced with the near impossible task of living up to a father who is a legend of jump racing, but early indications are that he will make a pretty good fist of it.

The day was dominated by two of the most powerful yards in the country. The Sporborg family operation, which is based just outside Bishop’s Stortford, notched two winners, a tally matched by the Northamptonshire yard of the reigning champion, Caroline Bailey.

The Sporborgs, who, remarkably, went through the entire 1999 season without a win, were doubling their score for this term having also landed a brace at a meeting in Hampshire a week earlier. They took the opening Club Members with Scarlett O’Hara, who made the most of the first fence departure of her market rival, Barna Boy, to beat Ann’s Ambition by eight lengths in the hands of Simon Sporborg.

The other Sporborg winner, The Red Boy, was a first career triumph for 32-year-old Dorset-born jockey, Kevin Edmunds, who works at their yard. The Red Boy toyed with his rivals in the first of two short (two and a half mile Maiden Races and is a young horse with a bright future.

Mrs Bailey carried off both the Open races. Firstly, Secret Bay, ridden by Ben Pollock, was left clear when Real Value crashed out at the final open ditch, and went on to prevail by 20 lengths in the Land Rover Men’s Open. This was a top quality 21-runner event and Secret Bay, who has already won four hunter chases, will soon be adding to that total.

The double was completed when Imperial Dawn notched an emotional victory in the Greig Middleton Ladies’ Open. This race was run in memory of Hunter Rowe, a farmer from Clavering in Essex who was one of the pivotal figures in East Anglian Point-To-Pointing over the last century.

So it was most appropriate that Imperial Dawn is owned, in partnership with Colin Bazley, by Hunter’s widow, Pat, and was ridden by his daughter, Lisa.

Village Copper, who had little luck while running up a sequence of five second places last season, finally found fortune smiling on him in the Restricted Race. Buckaholic, the one length leader, hit the deck at the final fence, leaving Christian Ward-Thomas’s mount to come home unchallenged.

Village Copper is trained at Glemsford, near Sudbury, by Ruth Hayter and is owned by Anthony and Sue Howland Jackson. All three reported that this eight-year-old has improved physically since last season, so more success should be just around the corner.

Nigel Bloom, from Wymondham, got his season off to a winning start by partnering Mr Freebieto a 15-length victory in the Intermediate race. Trained in Lincolnshire by David Ingle, Mr Freebie is owned by Rosalind Banks, from Waresley, near St Neots.

The Sporborgs suffered a rare reverse in the final two and a half mileMaiden, when Scarlett O’Hara’s brother, Le Cabro d’Or, had to settle for a distant second place behind Evan’s Collier Boy. The victory justified a nine-hour round trip from Wales by the winning trainer, David Brace.


Race one (club members race):

1 Mr C H Sporborg’s Scarlett O’Hara (Puckeridge) (S Sporborg);

2 Mr R P and Miss C Fryer’s Ann’s Ambition (Dunston Harriers) (Miss C Fryer);

3 Mr D Sibley and Miss S Turner’s Fire On Ice (Suffolk) (N King);

also John Tufty (4), Ballyquintet (5), Andermatt (6), Royal Raven (7), Just Jack (8), Broguestown Pride (9),Artic Revel (PU), Barna Boy (f), Buckman (pu), Primrose Hill (pu), RedFriday (pu). 8 lengths, half length. 6m 26s. W œ1.90. DF œ29.60. SP4-5fav.

Race two (restricted race):

1 Mr and Mrs A Howland-Jackson’s Village Copper (Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas);

2 Mr J D Downes’ Rising Sap (Wheatland) (A Dalton);

3 Mr A Hollingsworth’s Star Changes (Worcestershire) (T Stephenson);

also Moor Lady (4), Duncaha Hero (5), Al Jawwal (pu), Buckaholic (f), Coogee Bill (f), Gerej (pu), Minino (f), Mrs Wumpkins

(ur). A distance, 1« lengths. 6m 21s. W œ2.90. DF œ105. SP 3-1 (Coogee Bill 5-2fav).

Race three (Land Rover men’s open race)

1 Mrs A Bowen’s Secret Bay (Pytchley) (B Pollock); Mr T Barlow’s Cherrynut (Vale of Aylesbury) (owner);

3 Mr R G Makin’s Makin’ Doo (York and Ainsty) (C Mulhall);

also Wishing William (4), Pangeran (5), High Learie (6), Saint Benet (7), French Buck (pu), Galant Des Epeires (f), General Assembly (pu), Hatcham Boy (ur), Jazz Track (pu), Jolly Jack (ur), Maltby Son (pu), Mighty Merc (pu), Nawrik (pu), Offshore (f), Premier First (pu), Real Value (f), Shake Five (pu), Tom Pinch (pu). 20 lengths, nk. 6m 16s. W œ6. DF œ20.50. SP 2-1fav.

Race four (intermediate race):

1 Mrs R C Banks’ Mr Freebie (Southwold) (N Bloom);

2 Mr A J Chamber’s Mr Grimsdale (Heythrop) (M Rimell);

3 Mrs B Clark’s Lord Knox (Puckeridge) (A Coe);

also Optimism Reigns (4), Murberry (5), Charter (pu), Dry Highline (f), Give It A Whirl (f), Lochnomore (f), Mitchell’s Best (pu), Orphan Olly (pu). 15 lengths, 20 lengths. 6m 25s W œ5.60. DF œ17.70. SP 6-1 (Lochnomore 6-4fav).

Race five (Greig Middleton ladies open race):

1 Mr C Bazley and Mrs P Rowe’s Imperial Dawn (Pytchley) (Miss L Rowe);

2 Mrs R F Knife’s Ardstown (South Herefordshire) (Miss S Vickery);

3 Mr J Eddings’ Donnegale (Middleton) (Mrs C Ford);

also Faha Gig (4), Half Each (5), Amber Spark (6), Damier Blanc (7), Spuffington (8), Bally Clover (bd), Gunner Boon (pu), Japodene (f), Laughing Fontaine (pu). 3 lengths, 2 lengths. 6m 20s. W œ2.20. DF œ4. SP 7-2 (Ardstown 2-1fav).

Race six (maiden race 8y/o and upwards):

1 Mrs M Scudamore’s Glevum (Cotswold) (T Scudamore);

2 Four Crickets Partnership’s Jobsagoodun (Worcs) (M Yardley);

3 Mr J Cornwall’s Peacemaker (Belvoir) (owner);

also Hya Prim (4), Artic Lodge (pu), Chaps (pu), Bachelor-Carrasco (ur), Country Barle (f), Deep Song (ur), Cumberland Youth (pu), Fine Stalker (f), Frosty Deal (pu), Howsyourluck (pu), Out By Night (pu), Should Have Said No (pu), Squaddie (f), Tellaporky (ur), Thunderbird (pu). 10 lengths, 3 lengths. 6m 28s. W œ3.00 DF œ29.50. SP 3-1fav.

Race seven (two and half mile) maiden (division one):

1 Mr C H Sporborg’s The Red Boy (Puckeridge) (K Edmunds);

2 Mr R H York’s Noah (SC and RMAS) (P York);

3 Mr W Turcan’s Light The Sky (Fernie) (J Turcan);

also Just The Business (4), Morris Piper (5), You Can Quote Me (6), Flower Fortune (7), Grain Hill (8), Henavos (9), Campden Kitty (f), Chop-Chop (pu), Howling Jack (pu), Shine A Little (pu), Sidney Street (pu), Three Monroes (pu). 10 lengths, 20 lengths. 4m 56s. W œ9.40. DF œ3.00 with any other. SP 5-1 (Morris Piper 11-8fav).

Race eight (two and half mile) maiden (division two):

1 Mr D Brace’s Evan’s Collier Boy (Llageinor) (J Jukes);

2 Mrs C H Sporborg’s Le Cabro D’Or (Puckeridge) (S Sporborg);

3 Mr A R Hunt’s Fistral Flame (Vine and Craven) (A Charles-Jones);

also Viking Art (4), Missmass (5), Glencoy (6), Boozi Birthday (pu), Fountain Bank (pu), Heavenly Seven (pu), Hijacked (fell), Inns of Court (pu), Magicman (pu), Regal Role (pu). 20 lengths, a distance. 4m 50s. W œ2.30. DF œ3.90. SP 3-1 (Le Cabro D’Or 11-8fav).