The East Anglian Point-To-Point season drew to a fitting close at the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace fixture at Northaw yesterday (Monday) with all three of the year’s Champion Jockeys – Andrew Sansome, Andrew Ayers and Rachael Barrow – visiting the winner’s enclosure.
But star billing for the day must go to 18-year-old Richard Morgan-Evans, from Heydon, near Aylsham, in Norfolk, who rode his first ever winner when guiding Manelito to victory in the closing Maiden Race.
The abundance of young riding talent coming through has been a theme of the season with Barrow, Ayers, Andrew Braithwaite, David Kemp, Rupert Stearn and Amy Stennett, to name but a few, displaying great prowess in the saddle.
Morgan-Evans had already proved himself to be a more than capable pilot – a point he underlined here with a bold front-running ride that saw Manelito get home two lengths in front of the favourite, A Fine Story.
The plaudits should be shared by Manelito’s trainer, William Wales, who gave Morgan-Evans the ride in the full knowledge that his own mount, third-placed Play Alone, had a lesser chance. “Richard is a very good young jockey and I thought that he needed a break,” Wales said.
Manelito was returning from a two year lay-off with a back problem and will now go novice chasing under the ownership of Jeremy Hancock (Wales’s regular snooker opponent), who hails from near Burnham Market in Norfolk.
Sansome reasserted his position as East Anglia’s top rider of the campaign when taking his tally for the term to a career best 19 aboard Pampered Gale in the Confined Race.
Trained near Bury St Edmunds by the country’s leading point-to-point owner, Joe Turner, Pampered Gale held off the persistent challenge of Gatchou Mans by a length and a half.
Ayers, from Gestingthorpe, near Sudbury, confirmed his status as the leading Novice Gentleman Rider of the season when partnering Novatara to an easy success in the Men’s Open race.
But there was an embarrassing footnote for Ayers as he was unseated as he pulled up after the race and, with Novatara then galloping off, it was some 15 minutes before the pair were reunited and returned to accept the applause of the crowd. Novatara, Pampered Gale and Gatchou Mans could all cross swords in a long stance Hunter Chase at Folkestone on May 22.
Newmarket-based Barrow has clinched both the In The Pink-sponsored Lady Rider awards (for novices and the overall title) by taking her career total of victories from one to seven in the past four months. That seventh win came in the Ladies’ Open here as Mai Point battled to a gutsy two length verdict over Celtic Duke.
Winning trainer Paula Twinn, from Pebmarsh, near Halstead, confirmed afterwards that Mai Point’s next target is the Marsh/TBA Mares Hunter Chase Final at Stratford on May 31.
A Twinn-Barrow double was denied in the following Restricted Race when the Northamptonshire-trained Shady Exchange reacted well to a first-time visor to beat Mai Point’s half-brother, Mai Knight, by eight lengths.
The meeting had begun with a well-deserved second victory for the consistent Kingfisher Star in the Members’ Race.
Race One (Members Race):
1 Whitesticks Racing’s Kingfisher Star (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (P Taiano),
2 Home Farm Racing Club’s Parsonhumfreywebber (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (Miss E Bell),
3 N Padfield’s Dinsey Finnegan (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (N Bloom).
Also: Jimmy Dan (4). Eight lengths, 15 lengths. 6m 39s. W £2.40. DF £3.40. SP 2-1 (Dinsey Finnegan 6-4 fav).
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 Mr J M Turner’s Pampered Gale (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
2 Mr and Mrs A Howland Jackson’s Gatchou Mans (Suffolk) (A Braithwaite),
3 Mr R Abrey’s Dockmaster (Suffolk) (M Abrey).
Also: Still in Business (4), Prince of Saints (5), Adamatic (6), Chris’s Lad (pu), Sorcerer’s Dream (pu). 1½ lengths, 14 lengths. 6m 29s. W £3.20. DF £7.60. SP 7-4 fav.
Race Three (Mens Open Race):
1 Mr A E Ayers’ Novatara (East Essex) (Owner),
2 Messrs P Riddle, R Clay, P Clayton and Mrs G Pidgeou’s Cut a Niche (Bicester and Whaddon) (M Baldock),
3 Mr and Mrs J K Braithwaite’s Step in Line (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Layham Low (4), Rathgibbon (5), Back Bar (pu) Monyman (pu). Five lengths, three lengths. 6m 31s. W £2.40. DF £3.40. SP 4-7 fav.
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mrs P Twinn and D L Claydon’s Mai Point (East Essex) (Miss R Barrow),
2 Mr J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 Mr P Johnson’s Ruth’s Boy (Camb Univ Drag) (Miss A Embiricos).
Also: Uron V (4), Milz O’ The Rags (pu). Two lengths, 15 lengths. 6m 24s. W £3.40. DF £1.20. SP 5-2 (Celtic Duke 4-9 fav).
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Messrs Grieg, Compton, Ryan and Mrs C Pidgeon’s Shady Exchange (Grafton) (M Baldock),
2 Mr D L Claydon’s Mai Knight (East Essex) (Miss R Barrow),
3 Messrs F Allen and P S Phazey’s Round the Bend (N Kent).
Also: Stick or Bust (4), Gerej (5). Eight lengths, 10 lengths. 6m 28s. W £4.60. DF £5. SP 3-1 (Mai Knight evens fav).