The Red Boy  failed in controversial circumstances in his attempt to become the first horse in Britain to register three 2004 Pointing victories at the Cambridge University Draghounds meeting at Cottenham on Sunday.

Trained at Bishops Stotford by Christopher Sporborg and ridden by Andrew Braithwaite, The Red Boy was sent off the red hot 5-2 on favourite for the Intermediate Race and seemed sure to reward his legion of supporters when holding a clear lead jumping the final fence.

But Braithwaite, from Newmarket, believed prematurely that the race was in the bag and only realised when it was too late that Sheila McKenzie was finishing strongly. Sheila McKenzie, who is trained near Oxford by Chris King and was partnered by Tim Lane, got up to score by a length and Braithwaite was fined £125 (pounds) by the stewards for failing to ride out his mount.Lane’s was, nevertheless, a popular victory, since he was entering the winner’s enclosure for the first time since breaking a leg in a sickening accident at High Easter last spring. Afterwards, he said: “I think Andrew (Braithwaite) was a bit unlucky as his horse seemed to empty in the closing stages.”

East Anglian victories were notable by their absence through the eight race card. Indeed, the solitary ‘home’ win came when Highland Rose,  trained in Newmarket by Tim Bryce and ridden by Alex Embiricos, outclassed her six rivals in the opening Members’ Race.Embiricos reported afterwards that the eight-year-old Roselier mare will stick to racing between the flags this season but may go back under National Hunt rules in 2005 if she is not retired to the breeding paddocks.

The main protagonists in the Ladies Open race were, just as 12 months previously, Supreme Citizen and The Wiley Kalmuck. But unlike last year, when Supreme Citizen  unshipped jockey Jane Williams at the third last when travelling like a winner, this time he jumped round without alarm and came home eight lengths clear of The Wiley Kalmuck.

Williams, from Shropshire, went on to land a double in the following race, the Restricted, which provided the most thrilling finish of the season so far. Yorkshire visitor Banana Ridge  was heavily backed from 8-1 into 5-4 favourite, and this monster gamble seemed likely to pay off when Banana Ridge hit the front at the second last.

But Williams, conjured a great late burst from Step And Run  which saw the pairing prevail by three-quarters of a length from Pa Pierre with Banana Ridge  a head back in third.

The three mile Maiden Race witnessed an extraordinary performance from the Northamptonshire-trained Longville Lad. The son of Circle Light  never really settled and was still pulling for his head approaching the final fence. Yet, when jockey Paul Cowley released the hand brake on the run-in, he sprinted clear in majestic fashion to beat No Reward  by a distance.

Cowley also took the second of a brace of two and a half mile Maidens aboard the French import, Sonnant.  Trained near Banbury by Kim Gilmore, he proved six lengths too speedy for Nailed On.  Andy Martin, who rode Nailed On, did not leave the course empty-handed as he had earlier guided It’s Missy Imp,  who is trained in Gloucestershire, to a three length defeat of Drumdowney Lad  in the other short Maiden.

The Men’s Open Race trophy will now be resting on a mantelpiece near Bingley, in Yorkshire, this morning as it was won by Omni Cosmi Touch, owned by Sue Smith, wife of the famous former showjumper, Harvey Smith. Sweetened up by a spell of showjumpng and hunting having been a difficult horse to train, Omni Cosmo Touch  beat Little Farmer  by three lengths and heads for a Sedgefield Hunter Chase on February 24.


Race One (Members’ Race):

1 Mr and Mrs S Embiricos’ Highland Rose (Cambridge University Draghounds) (Ms A Embiricos),

2 The Chequers Club’s Borrow Mine (Cambridge University Draghounds) (Miss L Marriott),

3 H Hill’s Ballad(Cambridge University Draghounds) (G Haines).

Also: Fiolino (4), Campbellhill (5), Ardnut (6), JWU (7). A distance, three lengths. 6.20. W£2.60. DF £4.10. SP 5-4 fav.

Race Two (Intermediate Race):

1 C O King’s Sheila McKenzie (O Berks) (T Lane),

2 C H Sporborg’s The Red Boy (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),

3 Puttenden’s Partnership’s Offshore (Old Surrey Burstow and W Kent) (P Cowley).

Also: Oxendale (4), Jack Of Kilcash (5), Persian Hero (6), Ballylesson (pu), Castle Road (pu), Claywalls (pu), Going Primitive (pu). One length, 15 lengths. 6.14. W £17.80. DF £4.30. SP 7-1 (The Red Boy 2-5 fav).

Race Three (Men’s Open Race):

1 Mrs S Smith’s Omni Cosmo Touch (Pendle Forest and Craven) (N Saville),

2 C S Hall’s Little Farmer (Southdown and Eridge) (P Hall),

3 M S Gorman’s Cape Stormer (Crawley and Horsham) (M Gorman).

Also: Freedom Fighter (4), Splash And Dash (5), Route One (6), Belvento (7), Northern Fleet (8), Esprit De Cotte (9), La Colina (f), Leatherback (pu), Vain Minstrel (pu).  Three lengths, three lengths. 6.05. W £7.80. DF £35.20. SP 7-1 (Splash and Dash 4-5 fav).

Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):

1 Mrs A D Williams’ Supreme Citizen (Albrighton Woodland) (Miss J Williams),

2 J M Turner’s The Wiley Kalmuck (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),

3 A G Howland-Jackson’s Gatchou Mans ( Suffolk) (Ms A Embiricos).

Also: Stylish Dave (4), Grand Ambition (pu), Ical (ur).  Eight lengths, neck. 6.23. W £2.20. DF £2.30. SP 4-5 fav.

Race Five (Restricted Race):

1 Mrs A D Williams’ Step And Run (Albrighton Woodland) (Miss J Williams),

2 Mrs N Ford’s Pa Pierre (Crawley and Horsham) (D Dunsdon),

3 P Maddison’s Banana Ridge (Middleton) (C Mulhall).

Also: Killiney Bay (4), River Baliff (5), Gray Knight (6), Give Him A Chance (pu), Imperial Prince (f), The Grey Baron (pu), What’s The Problem (pu).  Head, ¾ length. 6.12. W £12.30. DF £5.40. SP 6-1 (Banana Ridge 5-4 fav).

Race Six (Eight-year-olds and Over Open Maiden Race):

1 R Webb, R Fenemore, G Cook and R Clarke’s Longville Lad (Grafton) (P Cowley),

2 N A and Mrs AJones’ No Reward (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (A Hickman),

3 C Pocock’s Tea Time (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (T Lane).

Also: Latterly (4), Bailey’s Of Cashel (pu), Granny Dick (f), Itsthebrass (pu), Niteattheworkhouse (ur), Private Percival (f), See Red Billdan (pu), Sister Ali (bd), Society Scandal (pu), The Flying Dragon (ur), Tidal Race (pu).  A distance, 10 lengths. 6.27. W £2.40. DF £46.60. SP 9-4 fav.

Race Seven (five, six and seven-year-olds Open Maiden Race, Division One – over two and a half miles):

1 Mr and Mrs A J Martin’s It’s Missy Imp (Heythrop) (A Martin),

2 M Power’s Drumdowney Lad (Staff College) (P York),

3 P C Froud’s To The Top (Vale of Aylesbury) (J Tudor).

Also: Rash Moment (4), Pusey Sance (5), Half A Story (6), Almazard (7), King Of The Sea (pu), Naughty Noah (co), Shot Of Jollop (pu).  Three lengths, five lengths. 4.48. W £16.80. DF £17.80. SP 7-1 (Drumdowney Lad evens fav).

Race Eight (five, six and seven-year-olds Open Maiden Race, Division Two – over two and a half miles):

1 S N Wilshire’s Sonnant (Grafton) (P Cowley),

2 Mr and Mrs A J Martin’s Nailed On (Heythrop) (A Martin),

3 I Howe’s Lady Baronette (Farmers Bloodhounds) (owner).

Also: Donnini (4), Alfie Moon (5), Trouble Loves Me (6), Inching Brook (7), Northall Lad (pu), Queen’s Shilling (pu). Six lengths, 20 lengths. 4.50. W £3.10. DF £23.10. SP 5-4 fav.