Heroics from the organisers, which included completely changing the course lay-out, meant that the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace Point-To-Point was able to go ahead as planned at Northaw on Monday despite the recent deluge.
The main beneficiaries were trainer John Ferguson and his jockey, James Owen, both from Cowlinge near Newmarket, who teamed up to land the Men’s Open with The Rodeo Clown and the Restricted Race with Dancing Dawn.
The Rodeo Clown’s victory surprised Ferguson as, when the same horse had been beaten at Fakenham two weeks earlier it had been presumed that the defeat was caused by the soft ground.
Here, across a surface so rain-soaked that Owen described it as ‘the worst I have ever ridden on’, The Rodeo Clown made light of conditions to beat the favourite, New Alco, by five lengths.
Ferguson had no such doubts about Dancing Dawn. “We knew when we brought her over from Ireland that she is a real heavy ground specialist,” he said, “and when she was beaten at Fakenham it was because it was not soft enough.”
As expected, she ploughed through the mud to score by ten lengths and give Owen his 13th triumph of the campaign. With one East Anglian meeting to go before the end of the season, this kept him at the top of the standings for the County Linen Services-sponsored jockeys’ championship, just three points ahead of Ben Rivett, from Sharrington in Norfolk, who kept his challenge going with three second places.
One of Rivett’s near misses came behind Dancing Dawn, aboard Shannina. The other two were at the start and finish of the card and were both agonisingly close.
In a pulsating finish to the opening Club Members Race, Rivett’s partner, Milled, failed by a neck to peg back the brave front-runner, Argentato, with the favourite, Edgar Henry, only another neck adrift in third. Argentato is trained near Biggleswade by Mike Burman and was a tenth 2012 winner for his pilot, Bridget Andrews.
In the finale, the Maiden, Rivett was atop the favourite, Turtle Boys, who suffered at the hands of a brilliant ride from Andrew Braithwaite, and succumbed by a neck to Fourth In Line. Braithwaite’s wife, Lauren, has recently taken over training responsibility for Fourth In Lineafter his previous handler, and fellow Newmarket resident, George Haine, suffered a back injury while breaking a horse in.
Carey Willamson, who works for Ferguson but lives in Thetford, gave owner-trainer, Nick Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, an eighth success of the season when he sauntered home 20 lengths clear in the Confined Race.
And King du Berlais, trained at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, by Joe Turner, brought to an end a frustrating run of narrow defeats when proving four lengths too strong for another Williamson-Wright contender, Bach To The Wall, in the Ladies Open.
E.A. Club Members
1) ARGENTATO Bridget Andrews 3/1
2) Milled Ben Rivett
3) Edgar Henry Dale Peters 7/4fav
Time 7.10 Distances Neck : Neck 8 ran
1) STRESS Carey Wiliamson 7/4
2) Festival Bound Bridget Andrews 8/11 fav
3) Millitant Man Gina Andrews
7.24 Twenty : Five 5 ran
1) RODEO CLOWN James Owen 3/1
2) New Alco Max Kendrick 4/9 fav
3) Gripit N Tipit G Tawell
7.14 Five: Ten 6 ran
1) KING DU BERLAIS Louise Allan 5/6 fav
2) Back To The Wall Carey Williamson
3) Kells Castle Annie Bowles
7.44 Four: Five 3 ran
1) DANCING DAWN James Owen 5/2
2) Shannina Ben Rivett
3) Rock Alliance
( Flo The Machine 7/4 fav ) 7.17 Ten : Three and a Half 7 ran
1) FOURTH IN LINE Andrew Braithwaite 8/1
2) Turtle Boys Ben Rivett 6/4
3) Fresh Idea Gina Andrews
( On The Arthur 5/4 fav PU ) 7.29 Neck : Six 7 ran
Race One 128cms
1) DEXTER Zara Brooks
2) Glebedale Stopwatch Lewis Kent
3) Shooting Star Toby Holland
Race Two 138cms
1) SOLBURY ISLAND GOD Toby Twinn
2) BOB 111 Lewis Kent
3) Pepsi Tabitha Kendrick