Rob Mine completed step two of a four stage mission that may take him from serious injury to the Cheltenham Festival with a hard-fought victory in a top class Men’s Open Race at the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace Point-To-Point at Horseheath on Saturday.
Trained near Bishop’s Stortford by Christopher Sporborg and well ridden by Andrew Braithwaite, Rob Mine spent three years on the sidelines prior to a comeback triumph at Cottenham three weeks ago.
Now Sporborg intends to saddle him against Britain and Ireland’s best hunter chasers in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham on March 13, provided he lands his final prep race, at High Easter on February 16.
On Saturday, a faultless round of jumping allowed the 11-year-old to get the better of the error-prone hot favourite, Real Value, by a length and a half, and take his record to seven wins in eight completed starts between the flags.
An engrossing card got under way with a victory for experience as 59-year-old George Cooper, from Raydon, near Hadleigh, guided Endeavour to a comfortable success in the Confined Race.Endeavour had thrown away certain victory when spooking at a road crossing and unseating Cooper on the run-in at this meeting last year. But this time Cooper was ready for his antics and, despite a momentary loss of momentum at exactly the same spot, he had ten lengths to spare over his nearest pursuer, Minino, at the line.
The rest of the action was dominated by lady trainers and, for the second Saturday running, the Ladies’ Open race threw up a thrilling and controversial denouement.
Spring Gale, trained at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, by Joe Turner and ridden by his granddaughter, Zoe, appeared to have the race in the bag as the winning post approached.
But, having looked over her left shoulder and seen no dangers, Zoe eased down prematurely, leaving Dook’s Delight to sneak up her inside and collar her right on the line. The stewards quite rightly took a dim view of Miss Turner’s misjudgement and fined her £125 for failing to ride out her mount.
Dook’s Delight is trained on the Kent-Surrey border by Heather Silk and she went on to complete a double when China Box lifted the young horse Maiden Race under Stuart Morris.
Another woman in double form (at odds of 29-1) was Northamptonshire handler Joan Tice, who landed the PPORA Club Race and the Restricted Race with a pair of home-breds, Weavers Choice and Teeton Priceless.
Finally, the concluding older horse Maiden went to Carlton Brae, trained in East Sussex by Di Grissell and having her first start for his Huntingdon-based owners – Trevor Marks, John Boddington and Nick Dean.
Race One (Confined Race):
1 D W Clarke’s Endeavour (Essex and Suffolk) (G Cooper),
2 B Kennedy’s Minino (Essex Farmers and Union) (C Ward-Thomas),
3 W Barber’s Tom De Savoie (West Norfolk) (R Cope).
Also: Rupert’s Choice (4), Avondale Illusion (pu), Drumlin (pu), Royal Action (pu). Distances: Ten lengths: twenty lengths. 6m 40s. W £2.70. DF £27.30. SP 5-2 (Tom De Savoie 5-4fav).
Race Two (Point-to-Point Owners’ and Riders’ Association Club Race):
1 Mrs J M Tice’s Weavers Choice (Pytchley) (R Barrett),
2 Miss C Hill and J Hill’s Contingency (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 J M Turner’s Pampered Gale (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner).
Also: Nousayri (4), Freestyler (ro), Jack Hackett (pu), Over The Master (pu), Warriors Spirit (pu). Distances: A distance: three lengths. 6m 43s. W £14.70. DF £27.70. SP 4-1 (Freestyler 7-4fav).
Race Three (Mens’ Open Race):
1 Sir Chips Keswick’s Rob Mine (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
2 Cockerell/Cowing Racing’s Real Value (E.Sussex and Romney Marsh) (A Hickman),
3 Mrs M G Sheppard’s Fair Exchange (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (P Taiano).
Also: Naomh Padraig (4), Cock A Hoop (5), Satcotino (6), Corston Joker (pu), Etourneau II (pu). Distances: One and a half lengths: five lengths. 6m 37s. W £3.10. DF £2.50. SP 5-2. (Real Value 4-5fav).
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 Miss C Holliday’s Dook’s Delight (Kent and Surrey Bloodhounds) (Owner),
2 J M Turner’s Spring Gale (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 Miss J Steven’s Thurles Pickpocket (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (Mrs S Hodge).
Also: Jymjam Johnny (pu), Senso (f). Distances Head: eight lengths. 6m 39s. W £3.90. DF £4.70. SP 2-1 (Spring Gale 6-4fav).
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs J M Tice’s Teeton Priceless (Pytchley) (P Cowley),
2 Mrs C Saunders’ My Best Buddy (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 C Shand-Kydd’s Jim’s Gift (BWC) (R Barrett).
Also: Parsonhumphrywebber (4), Will Hill (5), Rip Kirby (6), Count Frederick (pu), Cumberland Youth (pu), Joyful Hero (pu), Lucrative Perk (pu), Monsukh (pu), Motellino (pu), Solar King (pu). Distances: Three lengths: three lengths. 6m 46s. W £5.80. DF £29.60. SP 6-1 (Jim’s Gift 5-2fav).
Race Six (5, 6 and 7-Year-Olds Open Maiden Race):
1 Prof D Silk, W Bellamy and W Meadows’ China Box (Kent and Surrey Bloodhounds) (S Morris),
2 P J Millington’s Ravensworth (Fernie) (Owner),
3 Mr and Mrs A Hurn’s Denvale (Pytchley) (R Cope).
Also: Gunner Be True (4), Captive (5), Over the Rhee (6), Battle Honours (pu), Bold Baby (bd), Jupiter Jay (f), Manhatton Storm (pu), Six Bells (ur), Thurning Lad (pu), Tigani Walk (pu). Distances: Two lengths: neck. 6m56s. W £4.40. DF £70.30. SP 2-1fav.
Race Seven (8-Year-Olds and Over Open Maiden Race):
1 Messrs Marks, Boddington and Dean’s Carlton Brae (E.Sussex and Romney Marsh) (P Hall),
2 Mrs F MacFarlane’s Nelsun (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 Mr and Mrs A Bowen’s Tall Hat (Fernie) (N Pearce).
Also: Bavardier (bd), Brave The Waves (pu), Bright Torino (pu), Lay On McDuff (pu), Newlands Girl (pu), Pakochino (f), Tea Time (pu), Three Spires (f), Thyny Glen (pu), Top Trump (pu), Wanna Be Bay (pu). Distances Eight lengths: distance. 6m 57s. W£15.90. DF £33.30. SP 8-1 (Newlands Girl 11-4fav).