Lucinda Barrett-Nobbs was the heroine of a hectic weekend of East Anglian Point-To-Point racing, guiding Tartar Sabre to a last gasp triumph in the Hiscox Intermediate Race at Higham on Sunday.
Lack of rainfall and the consequent firm ground led to fears of tiny fields and uncompetitive fare at Higham’s rearranged Waveney Harriers fixture and Saturday’s Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace meeting at Horseheath.
But both events produced some tremendous action and course conditions, especially at Horseheath (where the racing surface would have put many National Hunt venues to shame), were safe and well-prepared.
Barrett-Nobbs has come in for some criticism over her handling of Tartar Sabre in the past two seasons, some onlookers feeling that her lack of strength was the deciding factor in some narrow defeats.But her partnership with the Broadsword gelding is the very essence of this grass roots sport – a local horse, ridden by a talented 22-year-old local jockey and bred by John Parker, one of the horse’s four north Suffolk owners, progressing through the ranks until they become a genuine force.
And few jockeys would have remained aboard when Tartar Sabre steep landing at the third last fence left him nibbling the turf. Barrett-Nobbs did and, after giving him time to recover, she inspired a remarkable finishing burst which enabled them to catch the favourite, The Stickler, in the last few strides.
Barrett-Nobbs lives near Halesworth, a few miles from the Chediston base of winning trainer John Ibbott, who said: “If Tartar Sabre could ever overcome his tendency to miss out a fence he has the class to become a decent horse. If we can go on to win a decent open race, I would have no hesitation in taking him to Cheltenham for the Hiscox Final (on May 3).”
At Horseheath, Cantarinho notched his second win of the campaign, much to the relief of nerve-wracked owner Maureen Hamilton, who lives adjacent to the course, in the Men’s Open.Cantarinho is trained and ridden by Hamilton’s grandson, David Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford.The seven-race card produced three corkingly close finishes, the tightest of which saw Punta Cana, trained at Langham, near Colchester, by Wilf Tolhurst, and forcefully ridden by Eye’s Alex Merriam, beat Meldrum Meg and Hasty Boris by a head and a neck in the young horse Maiden.The elders maiden brought another East Anglian victory as Newmarket’s Glen Dyne, 30, registered his first British win when guiding the former eventer, Nottoladylike to a comfortable three length verdict.
National champion jockey Richard Burton, from Shropshire, made the difference as Palmers Peak overhauled Persian Hero close home in the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Race, while Brass Razoo just prevailed following a thrilling four-way tussle in the Restricted Race.
Finally, the classiest performance of the weekend saw Staffordshire visitor Little Brown Beartake out the Ladies’ Open.
Race One (Horseheath Club Members Race):
1 R Andrew’s Montys Tag (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (N Bloom),
2 C Sporborg’s Rob Mine (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
3 D Harding-Jones’ Gallent Glen (Puckeridge) (M Mackley).
Also: Filou Du Bois (4), Good Vintage (5), Taskmaster (pulled up). Five lengths and 20 lengths. 6.25. W £2.60. DF £5.10. SP 2-1 (Rob Mine 7-4 favourite).
Race Two (Open Maiden Race – 5, 6 and 7-year-olds):
1 W J Tolhurst and Punta’s Pal’s Punta Cana (Essex and Suffolk) (A Merriam),
2 G Thompson’s Meldrum Meg (Cotswold Vale Farmers) H Kitchin),
3 Mrs C Saunders and C Bazeley’s Hasty Boris (Pytchley) (R Barrett).
Also: Lightningconductor (4), Catch A Tartar (pu), Corkscrew King (fell), Lanicene (unseated rider), Leasebourne (pulled up), Lewis Du Monceau (pulled up), Sheriffs Gun (pu), Something’s Up (fell). Head, neck. 6.23. W £2.50. DF £10.90. SP 7-2 (Lightningconductor 5-2 favourite).
Race Three (PPORA Club Members Race):
1 J Stainer’s Palmers Peak (North Cotswold) (R Burton),
2 R Russell’s Persian Hero (Pytchley) (J Russell),
3 J Turner’s Westfield John (Suffolk) (J Owen).
Also: Colonel Conca (4), Tufgill Turbo (5), Ardkilly Warrior (pulled up), Hailstone (pulled up), Joye Des Iles (pulled up), Teeton Fizz (pulled up). Half a length, 15 lengths. 6.11. W £3.90. DF £3.50. SP 6-4 fav.
Race Four (Men’s Open Race):
1 D Kemp and Mrs Harrison’s Cantarinho (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 R Hunnisett’s Harapour (Pytchley) (owner),
3 Mrs A W K Merriam’s Lord Euro (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (A Merriam).
Also: Dunmanus Bay (4), Daretobedifferent (5), Teeton Priceless (6), Philson-Warrior (pu). 2l, 2l. 6.17. W £1.60. DF £3.50. SP 5-4 fav.
Race Five (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 G Barlow’s Little Brown Bear (Albrighton) (Miss J Williams),
2 Mrs A-M Hays’ Bush Hill Bandit (Thurlow) (Miss L Allan),
3 Mrs C Stennett and Mrs C Aldridge’s Make Haste Slowly (Pytchley) (Miss A Stennett).
Also: Fair Exchange (4), Runningwiththemoon (5), Left Bank (6), Damp Course (pu). 10l, 20l. 6.13. W £1.70. DF £1.50. SP 4-7 fav.
Race Six (Restricted Race):
1 Miss S Miles and S Johnston’s Brass Razoo (Farmers Bloodhounds) (S Morris),
2 T Ellis’ Airmark (Warwickshire) (owner),
3 S Johnson’s Coppeen Sam (Puckeridge) (M Johnson).
Also: Twist Of Faith (4), Baron Halebop (pu), Blown Away (pu), Hoplite (pu), John The Mole (ur), Northall Lad (f), Rocja (pu). Half a length, 2l. 6.24. W £9.50. DF £17. SP 8-1 (Airmark 2-1 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race – 8-y-o and over):
1 H Hill’s Notoladylike (Granta Harriers) (G Dyne),
2 The Hon Mrs Cookson’s Mr Auchterlonie (Heythrop) (E Cookson),
3 Mrs C Kemp’s Young Lord (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: Here Comes Choosey (4), Master Jubb (5), Coombe Castle (pulled up), Homeleigh Meadow (pulled up), Mister Ambassador (pulled up). 3l, 6l. 6.23. W £2.30. DF £4.40. SP 3-1 (Mr Auchterlonie 2-1 favourite).