Andrew Braithwaite may be looking for new lodgings after getting the better of his great friend, Rupert Stearn, in a thrilling finish to the Mens Open Race at the Cambridge University Draghounds Point-To-Point at Cottenham on Sunday.
Braithwaite replaced regular rider George Greenock, who is laid up with a broken thumb, aboard Caveman, trained at Wymondham by Nibby Bloom, while Stearn was astride the Pointing debutant, Coat Of Honour.
The pair had a ding-dong battle up the run-in but it was Caveman who prevailed by a neck with the fast-finishing Gentle George just half a length back in third.
Ironically, Braithwaite, an accountant from Ashdon, near Haverhill, is currently staying with Stearn near Wymondham while he audits the accounts of a firm in Norwich. So the atmosphere across the breakfast table this week may be a bit frosty.
After a two-week absence caused by the cold snap, it was great to be racing once again, especially as the East Anglians managed to overcome a large raiding party from outside the region to land five of the eight races.
Trainer-rider David Kemp was responsible for a pair of these triumphs, on Viceroy Close, in the Restricted Race, and Captain Marshall, in the second of two short Maiden Races.
The Restricted was particularly satisfying for one of Viceroy Close’s three owners, Helen Robson, from Hatfield Broad Oak, as she also part-owns the 25 length runner-up, Ballynonty,who is trained at Semer by Tory Hayter.
Captain Marshall has proved a real handful for Kemp and his team of helpers at his yard in Kilverstone, near Thetford, as he is a tearway front-runner who was hanging to the left throughout this two and a half mile journey.
But he has calmed down a little since arriving at the Kemp stable in 2007, though some of the credit is due to his one-third owner, Judy Savage, from High Roding, near Great Dunmow, who had him at home last summer.
A vietnamese meal while in Paris last weekend cost trainer-jockey Fleur Hawes, from Bressingham, the chance of a winning ride on Scotland Yard in the Ladies’ Open.
The resulting bout of food poisoning and loss of half a stone left her too weak to participate, although the ease of Scotland Yard’s five-length victory under Claire Allen suggested the result would have been the same regardless of riding arrangements.
Another trainer-rider, Alex Embiricos, from Bradfield St George near Bury St Edmunds, got off the mark for the season as a jockey when making almost all the running to beat Saafend Rocket by seven lengths in the Members Race.
A sixth East Anglian win was narrowly foiled in the Intermediate Race as the Leicestershire-trained Ronan The Warrior held off Top Boots by a length and a half. Top Boots, trained at High Easter, near Chelmsford, by Simon Marriage, was the outsider of the field yet so nearly repeated the shock victory he achieved on his previous visit to this venue back in 2006.
Our Whiz, trained in the West Midlands by Charlotte Jones, finally lost the tag of ‘the unluckiest horse in the country’ by landing the older horse Maiden.
And Hemington, trained in Herefordshire by Maz Scudamore, was ten lengths too strong for Glad Star in the other short Maiden.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 Ms A Embricos’ Sirius Storm (Cambridge University) (owner),
2 Mrs J May’s Saafend Rocket (Cambridge University) (A Braithwaite),
3 M Ward and H Hill’s Mister Swallow (Cambridge University) (M Mackley).
Also: Tuesday Club (4), Cosi Celeste (5), Magic To Do 6), Or Tografe (7). Seven lengths, 10 lengths. 6.25. SP Evens fav.
Race Two (Intermediate Race):
1 Mrs M Bissill’s Ronan The Warrior (O Surrey Burstow and W Kent) (W Bissill),
2 Mrs J K Marriage’s Top Boots (Essex) (Mrs N Cook),
3 Mrs S Sansom’s Little Saltee (W Street Tickham) (Miss A Sansom).
Also: No Virtue (4), Rocja (5). One and a half lengths, four lengths. 6.21. SP 6-4 (No Virtue 8-11 fav).
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 Countess Cathcart’s Caveman (W Norfolk) (A Braithwaite),
2 R Abrey’s Coat of Honour (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
3 S Flook’s Gentle George (Radnor and W Herefords) (P Tolman).
Also: Moscow Court (4), Stamparland Hill (5), Basic Fact (pu), Murphy’s Million (pu), Pouilly (pu), Tuesday’s Child (pu). Neck, half a length. 6.09. SP 2-1 (Gentle George 4-5 fav).
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 The Air Hair Lair Partnership’s Scotland Yard (Waveney Harriers) (Miss C Allen),
2 P Perkins’ Papillon De Iena (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss J Hughes),
3 Mr and Mrs W Brown’s Iberus (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss E Bell).
Also: Leatherback (4), Attorney General (5), Bolero Éclair (pu), Lord Euro (ur). Five lengths, half a length. 6.15. SP Evens fav.
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 The Oak Partnership’s Viceroy Close (N Norfolk Harriers) (D Kemp),
2 Mrs E J Merriam and Mrs H Robson’s Ballynonty (Essex and Suffolk) (R Stearn),
3 Mrs A Baker’s Sidney Charles (O Surrey Burstow and W Kent) (M Mackley).
Also: Loose Lips (4), Not Another Barney (5), Cregboy Lad (pu), Cumbo Kid (f), Kipper (pu), The Galleryman (pu), Too Charming (pu). Twenty-five lengths, 12 lengths. 6.15. SP 4-1 (Sidney Charles 2-1 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race, eight years and over):
1 R Tolley and Miss C Jones’ Our Whiz (N Ledbury) (W Hill),
2 Mr and Mrs S Evason’s Bangkok Bob (Cheshire F Draghounds) (B Lineham),
3 Miss L Carvall’s Executive Mist (Suffolk) (M Mackley).
Also: Ten Horse Power (4), Clande Boye (5), Coleraine (6), Best Deal (pu), Free From Magee (pu), Sealed Order (pu), Souk Al Jabba (pu), Three of a Kind (pu), Thyne Hall (pu). Distance, seven lengths. 6.23. SP 4-1 (Bangkok Bob 2-1 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race, four, five, six and seven-year-olds):
1 The Equis Club’s Hemington (Ross Harriers) (J Mahot),
2 S Clark’s Glad Star (York and Ainstys) (Miss R Clark),
3 Countess Cathcart’s Rockfield (W Norfolk) (L Morgan).
Also: Silver Twist (4), Regal Ovation (5), Flora Flemens (ur), Foreland Sands (pu), Super Al (pu), Vera Caro (pu). Ten lengths, 25 lengths. 4.51. SP 5-4 fav.
Race Eight (Open Maiden Race, four, five, six and seven-year-olds):
1 G Bishop, J Ridge and Mrs J Savage’s Captain Marshall (Puckeridge) (D Kemp),
2 A Howland-Jackson’s Porto Vechio (Essex and Suffolk) (B Rivett),
3 Mr and Mrs A Templeton’s Monashee Grey (E Anglian Bloodhouds) (A Pennock).
Also: Watermill (4), Huggle (5), Anns True Dream (pu), Astrop Road (f), Winbury (ur). Twenty-five lengths, five lengths. 4.55. SP 5-2 (Astrop Road 2-1 fav).