The East Anglian Point-To-Point season finished with a bang at Northaw on Monday with a record number of entries, and a record number of runners (67) and action that started at 1.15pm with pony racing and finished over five hours later with the last of seven steeplechases for the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace meeting.
Owner-trainer Joe Turner, who is based at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, continued his brilliant recent form and followed up a success it Dingley, in Northamptonshire, on Saturday, with a double to bring his seasonal tally up to 16 victories.
The first leg of the brace came in the Confined Race as Art Trend, who had been disappointing in four starts since joining the Turner yard from champion National Hunt trainer, Paul Nicholls, received a stylish come-from-behind ride from James Owen to come home a comfortable three and a half lengths clear of Toe To Hand.
Art Trend had been failing to settle in the early stages of his recent races but this time he was given a gallop at home to calm him down before travelling to Northaw. Only a five-year-old, he should be a regular winner in coming seasons.
The other Turner success came courtesy of Assassino, who notched his fourth victory since the beginning of April when quickening away from Delightful Cliché to take the Ladies’ Open.Assassino was ridden by Newmarket-based Louise Allan, who also collected the trophy for East Anglian Jockey Of The Month for April.
There was an unsatisfactory conclusion to the County Linen Services East Anglian Lady Riders Championship when title-chasing Kelly Smith suffered a nasty back injury in a fall from her intended Ladies’ Open mount on the way to the start.
This meant that Gina Andrews was crowned champion while the main men’s award went to Wymondham-based Rupert Stearn. Gina’s sister, Bridget, took the Novice Ladies’ prize while the failure of Jack Quinlan to get round on any of his three rides meant that Ben Rivett, from Sharrington, secured the equivalent male title.
Otto Hopkins-Fagan, from Kingston near Cambridge, enjoyed a landmark moment when Stroom Bank prevailed in a thrilling finish to the Club Members’ Conditions race.
Pass The Class sneaked up Stroom Bank’s inside on the final turn, causing Hopkins-Fagan to lose a stirrup. But the 17-year-old Hills Road Sixth Form College student kept his cool and conjured a late burst from Stroom Bank which saw them get back up on the line and score by a head.
This was a first career victory for Hopkins-Fagan, whose mother, Clare Hopkins, was the winning owner.
The rest of the card was completely dominated by Surrey-based rider, Tom Cannon, who won on all four of his mounts at combined odds of an amazing 3,433-1. This was all the more remarkable given that Cannon, 18, had never even ridden a double before yesterday.