John Ferguson was the trainer in form during a hectic weekend of Point-To-Point Racing which featured meetings at both Cottenham, near Cambridge and Higham, between Colchester and Ipswich.
Ferguson, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, saddled a treble at the Cambridge University Draghounds meeting on Saturday despite a slow start. His first runner, the red hot Mens Open favourite, Earth Dream, had to pull up after less than a mile when his saddle slipped and he lost his weight cloth, while his second, Mister Socks, was forced to settle for the runner’s up berth behind the useful Qozak in the Ladies Open.
But Ferguson inmates landed the last three races, all in partnership with James Owen, who was taking his seasonal tally to an impressive seven despite the campaign still being well short of its halfway mark.
Owen, who could have had a five-timer given that he led over the final fence in each of the first two races, skilfully made sure that the classy Macklin, who had veered off the course around the final bend at the previous Cottenham fixture, had no opportunity to repeat the antics in the Restricted Race which he went on to win by two lengths.
Then Elvis The King survived two catastrophic fencing blunders to make all the running in the three mile Maiden. And Owen completed the hat-trick despite a cautious round of jumping from Dr Harry Who in the closing two and a half mile Maiden.
“I’ve never before had four winners on the board by the end of February, let alone seven,” a delighted Owen admitted afterwards.
The Ferguson bonanza was completed at yesterday’s (Sunday) Waveney Harriers meeting whenEarth Dream, turned out again 24 hours after his Cottenham travails, kept all his tack in its correct position en route to a facile win in the Mens Open.
Amazingly, the Ferguson winning spree was not restricted to point-to-pointing as the Suffolk resident also won with both his representatives at a National Hunt fixture at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, meaning that his overall tally for the weekend was six victories.
The only other trainer to be on the scoresheet at both Cottenham and Higham was Andrew Pennock, from Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds.
He was responsible for one of the biggest shocks at an East Anglian venue for many a long year when Shannina repeated his CU Draghounds Members Race triumph of 2011, this time at the remarkable odds of 33-1. Well ridden by Ben Rivett, from Sharrington in Norfolk, Shanninastayed on strongly up the run-in to catch Mister Tibus in the final 50 yards.
Pennock and Rivett were at it again in the Maiden at Higham, this time with Galbally King, who overturned last month’s course form with Filibuster to land the spoils by eight lengths.
Foulstons Ruler, who is trained a stone’s throw away from Higham at Raydon by his breeder, George Cooper, recorded a second success of the year at his local track when comfortably accounting for Mountain Emperor in the opening Club Members Race.
Then Firmount Beech, who is trained by his rider, the Thetford-based David Kemp, proved a length and a half too strong for another recent course winner, Defying Gravity, in the PPORA Members Race.
The Wymondham handler, Caroline Fryer, finally made it into the winner’s enclosure following two earlier second places when Festival Bound defied Foulstons Ruler’s brother, Mambo Ruler, by three lengths in the closing Restricted Race.
1) SHANNINA Ben Rivett 33/1
2) Mister Tibus James Owen 11/8 fav
3) Greek Star George Kennedy
Time 6mins 8secs Distances 2L, 20L 7 ran
1) DAWN DISPLAY Philip York 4/9fav
2) Native Bob James Owen
3) Toms Party Tony Woodward
6mins 27 Distances 1/2L, Dist 3 ran
1) SHE IS A CRACKER George Gorman 6/1
2) Dead or Alive Felix Wheeler
3) Sarahs Gift James Hill
6mins 06 Distances 7L, 2L 5 ran. ( Earth Dream 2/5fav PU saddle slipped and lost weight cloth )
1) QOZAK Angela Rucker 4/5fav
2) Mister Socks Carey Williamson
3) Pass The Parsel Emily Harbour
6mins 02 Distances 5L, 2L 9 ran
1) MACKLIN James Owen 4/5fav
2) Lan Na Lamh Faye Conway
3) Karintino Sam Davies-Thomas
6mins 12 Distances 2L, 6L 6ran
OPEN MAIDEN ( Older Horses )
1) ELVIS THE KING James Owen 4/5fav
2) Guilty As Charged Toby Betambeau
3) Macdougal Ben Bentley
6mins 10 Distances 8L, 10L 12 ran
OPEN MAIDEN ( Younger Horses ) 2miles 4furlongs
1) DR HARRY WHO James Owen 4/7fav
2) Bit Of A Clown Jody Sole
3) Aconitum Ruth Tutton
4mins 44 Distances 5L, 12L 7ran