Cottenham’s final meeting of the season on Saturday saw a top quality nine-race extravaganza staged with large fields of horses from all over the country. It was the Cowlinge based John Ferguson team who hit the headlines yet again with a memorable double.
John Ferguson was at Leopardstown in Ireland saddling his under rules runners, but his son James showed no requirement for fatherly direction as he steered the prolific winner Earth Dream to their third career Cottenham win in the Mens Open. The partnership has the exciting goal of the Aintree Foxhunters in April on their agenda. Runner-up Sorted, the recent Ampton winner, was disqualified due to Gillon Crow weighing in six pounds too light. While King’s Legacy, a new recruit to the Alan Hill yard from Paul Nicholls, could be a name to note as he was travelling powerfully in the lead when falling at the fourth last.
The John Ferguson double was completed later on the card in the Restricted as Dreamy George strolled to a most impressive success under assistant trainer James Owen, following up their Maiden victory at the previous Cottenham fixture.
On a day of course specialist wins, the rapidly improving Lough Inch opened proceedings with a most authoritative victory in the Hunt Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race. Having won a maiden and then a Restricted at the two previous Cottenham meetings this season, the Tom Morgan trained gelding from Leicestershire completed a fantastic hat-trick without coming off the bridle.
Forest Walker was yet another horse to record two victories at Cottenham this season, as the four-hour journey from the Phillip Rowley yard in Bridgnorth, Shropshire proved worthwhile in the Intermediate, as he held off the challenge of Bach To The Wall who ran with enormous credit on his seasonal return for local Badlingham based trainer Nick Wright. Forest Walker’s success was enough for his rider Alex Edwards to secure the Cottenham Champion Jockey award for the season.
The biggest shock of the day came in the Ladies Open as 33/1 outsider Qrackers proved too strong for a stellar field coming out best in a battle with Working Title who again finished runner-up as he had done in the Ladies Open at the previous Cottenham meeting for trainer Caroline Fryer based at Wymondham in Norfolk. Qrackers is ridden every day and was led up by esteemed point-to-point journalist Carl Evans, partner of winning Essex based trainer Victoria Collins.
Both Maidens on the card were divided. The first division of the Open Maiden went to South-East raider Almighty Bruce under the stylish Will Hickman, while Jacqueline Coward showed incredible patience and nerve aboard Yorkshire challenger Alforone in the second division. The pair were still ten lengths off the leaders rounding the home turn with Coward yet to ask her mount for an effort, but the response was immediate approaching the last with Alforone bounding up the run-in to break his maiden at the eleventh attempt.
Prairie Hero’s victory in the first division of the four to seven year-old Maiden over 2m4f was a tribute to the training skills of Northamptonshire based handler Laura Pomfret as the gelding was returning from almost thirty months off the track having suffered injuries since his one previous run when runner-up in a Newton Abbot bumper in August 2010.
The Goldmeister gave a further boost to the form of Dreamy George in division two. He had finished a good second to the John Ferguson trained horse last time on his debut for the yard of former Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Mark Pitman and went one better in the concluding event to justify odds-on favouritism and provide jockey George Little with his first winner on only his second ride.
1 Lough Inch – Sam Davies-Thomas 11/8
2 Milled – Ben Rivett 5/4f
3 Renewed Challenge – Jody Sole
Time 6 mins 15 secs Dists: Dist, 12L 6 ran
1 Forest Walker – Alex Edwards 5/4f
2 Bach To The Wall – Dicky Collinson
3 Galbally King – Ben Rivett
Time 6-14 Dists: 6L, 3L 14 ran
1 Earth Dream – James Ferguson 2/1
2 Corredor Sun – Bradley Catton
3 Coat Of Honour – Rupert Stearn
Time 6-15 Dists: 3L, 10L 9 ran Sorted 7/4f finished 2nd but was disqualified for weighing in 6lbs too light.
1 Qrackers – Hannah Watson 33/1
2 Working Title – Bridget Andrews
3 Rear Gunner – Hannah Grissell
Time 6-11 Dists: 2L, 4L 9 ran Kicks For Free 6/4f (PU)
1 Dreamy George – James Owen 2/1f
2 Flo The Machine – Clare Hobson
3 Chief Heckler – Alex Edwards
Time 6-16 Dists: 5L, 8L 17 ran
Open Maiden Div 1
1 Almighty Bruce – Will Hickman 7/2
2 Ballydaily – James Ridley 2/1f
3 Florence Kate -Jack Day
Time 6-24 Dists: 20L, 4L 9 ran
Open Maiden Div 2
1 Alforone – Jacqui Coward 7/1
2 Tomstar – Mikey Ennis
3 Daytime Run – Will Hickman
Time 6-24 Dists: 3L, 6L 10 ran Raynell 9/4f (4th)
4,5,6 & 7 Year Old Maiden 2 1/2 Miles Div 1
1 Prairie Hero – Tom Ellis 9/4f
2 Kazuri Kate – Clare Hart
3 Mahayogin – Patrick Smith
Time 4-58 1 fence omitted injured rider. Dists: Nk, 2L 9 ran
4,5,6 & 7 Year Old Maiden 2 1/2 Miles Div 2
1 The Goldmeister – George Little 4/7f
2 Musigny – Andrew Braithwaite
3 Charlie Wingnut – John Rogers
Time 4-58 Dists: 5L, 4L 8 ran