Nokimover lived up to his name, knocking over one of his three rivals and badly hampering the other two, before landing a controversial Ladies’ Open Race in front of a huge crowd at the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace Point-To-Point at Northaw on Monday.
The incident took place at the seventh fence as Nokimover, who had just moved into the lead but was steering a wide course under jockey Gemma Hutchinson, veered badly left across the other three runners.
Village Copper was unseated, Stromness brought to a standstill and Leatherback left straddling the fence. And though Stromness and Leatherback somehow managed to negotiate the obstacle, Nokimover was gifted a long lead.
They caught up soon enough, but the effort took its toll and Nokimover eventually came home a neck in front of Stromness, the odds-on favourite, with Leatherback a distant third.
The stewards enquired into the incident but deemed the interference to have been accidental and allowed Nokimover, who is trained near Market Harborough by Hutchinson’s parents, to keep the race. Heather Irving, the trainer-rider of Stromness, did not agree and is threatening to take the matter to the Jockey Club.
It was a great day for Northamptonshire raiders as Patrick Millington, a near neighbour of the Hutchinsons, won the final two races while victory in the Men’s Open went to Esendi, who is trained near Towcester by Anna Brooks.
This was another thrilling contest as Esendi made all the running but only held on by half a length from Gatchou Mans, who would surely have prevailed but for overjumping the fifth last fence and having to have his nose picked up off the turf.
The two Open Races showed just how quickly fortunes change in racing as both Gatchou Mansand Village Copper are owned by Anthony and Sue Howland Jackson of Wakes Colne and trained at Glemsford by Ruth Hayter – a combination that was responsible for two winners at Fakenham the previous weekend.
Millington is one of the least stylish but most persevering trainer-riders in the country and he notched his first success in the saddle for almost two years when the mud-loving Judge Reilly ploughed through the testing conditions to land the Restricted Race.
Typically, Millington immediately repeated the feat, guiding James Pine to a hard-fought victory in the Maiden Race. Almost three lengths clear at the last, James Pine had a mere head to spare from the fast-finishing Lismore Legend as they crossed the winning line.
Lismore Legend is one of only two pointers trained by Sarah Simmons, from Caxton, near Cambridge, and he so nearly completed a famous double for his handler after her other charge, Waterliner had taken the Members’ Race in convincing fashion under Eye’s Alex Merriam.
The Confined Race saw a first victory in two years for the veteran Fair Exchange, who was bought as a yearling by Josie Sheppard but last year transferred to the Ampton yard of her father, Joe Turner.
This win was the second of the weekend for Newmarket’s James Owen, successful on Parsonhumfrywebber at Dingley on Sunday, and took him to within one of the pacesetting David Kemp in an exciting race for the East Anglian Jockeys’ title.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 Miss S Simmons’ Waterliner (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (A Merriam),
2 Mrs P Rogers’ Good Vintage (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss C Rogers),
3 Mr and Mrs W Brown’s Holywell Girl (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (J Owen).
Also: General Confusion (pu). Five lengths, a distance. 7.16. W £4.50. DF £2.90. SP 8-1 (General Confusion 5-4 fav).
Race Two (Confined Race):
1 J M Turner’s Fair Exchange (Suffolk) (J Owen),
2 The Chequers Club’s Borrow Mine (Camb University Draghounds) (Miss L Marriott),
3 Miss R Goodwin’s Romany Pearl (Oakley) (owner).
Also: Castle Road (4). Fifteen lengths, two lengths. 7.36. W £2.10. DF £3.80. SP 6-4 fav.
Race Three (Men’s Open):
1 I Kirkham’s Esendi (Farmers Bloodhounds) (R Barrett),
2 A Howland-Jackson’s Gatchou Mans (Suffolk) (A Merriam),
3 N Child’s Benson (Royal Artillery) (owner).
Also: Valman (4), Gwylan (pu), Monadil (pu), Silver Lake (pu). Half a length, a distance. 7.10. W £4.30. DF £1.80. SP 11-4 (Gatchou Mans 4-7 fav).
Race Four (Ladies’ Open):
1 Mrs P Hutchinson’s Nokimover (Fernie) (Miss G Hutchinson),
2 A C Kemp and Miss H Irving’s Stromness (Grafton) (Miss H Irving),
3 J M Turner’s Leatherback (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner).
Also: Village Copper (ur). Neck, a distance. 7.21. W £3. DF £4. SP 9-2 (Stromness 4-5 fav).
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 P Millington’s Judge Reilly (Quorn) (owner),
2 R D and Mrs S Green’s Stick Or Bust (Fitzwilliam) (M Smith).
Also: Asabache (f), Call Me Sonic (pu), Idaho Fall’s (pu), On The Day (pu), Pampered Lad (pu), Sydney Hobart (pu). A distance. 7.23. W £7. DF £74. SP 7-1 (Pampered Lad 2-1 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 P Millington’s James Pine (Fernie) (owner),
2 Mrs E Simmons and Miss S Simmons’ Lismore Legend (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (A Braithwaite),
3 Mr and Mrs S J Stearn’s Peats Ridge (Suffolk) (R Stearn).
Also: Alfie Moon (4), Buffaventa (5), Corkscrew King (pu), Divine Mist (pu), Groovejet (pu), Lord Saxbury (pu), Never Idle (pu). Head, three lengths. 7.45. W £14.50. DF £6.50 (winner with any other horse). SP 20-1 (Lismore Legend 7-4 fav).