The East Anglian point-to-point season ended perfectly at Northaw on Bank Holiday Monday, in more ways than one.

The course could not have been in better condition, courtesy of the valiant, watering efforts of course officials. Declarations for each race appeared to pitch several horses with winning chances and the resultant action never disappointed.

The concluding Open Maiden typified what the sport is all about as the Marriage family, stalwarts of East Anglian pointing, hadn’t had a winner for nine years and Northaw was the only East Anglian course where they hadn’t seen their colours carried to victory. Here their horse, Sandygate, was still a maiden in his fifth season but this was his day to the utmost joy of Simon Marriage, meeting steward and High Easter legend. Ridden by Alex Chadwick and trained by Lauren Braithwaite the 9-y-o took closer order with one circuit to go but challengers appeared from all quarters as the four runners rounded the final bend but the determination of Sandygate and Chadwick clinched the honours by a neck.

Chadwick had earlier ridden Net D’Ecosse to victory in the novice riders’ race and Alex has certainly been one of the young riders to take note of this season. He had only three winners to his name at the start of this campaign and this double now takes his current season total to seven. In fact this double was his second such achievement in 8 days, having enjoyed two successes, the previous weekend, at Garthorpe. Newmarket born, Alex first worked for trainer Philip “Charlie” McBride in the town and then moved on to gain further experience and admits he fulfilled the majority of his equine experience when working alongside pointing legend Polly Gundry. Since returning to Newmarket Alex has secured plenty of rides and is kept busy working for the James Owen Racing team based at Hamilton Road.

Net D’Ecosse and was entitled to be too classy for his rivals in Novice Riders race. Trainer James Owen was particularly delighted with the running of Net D’Ecosse who he rates highly and blames himself for running the 9-y-o too frequently, earlier in the season. The recent purchase from Tim Gredley, ran in the ownership of James’ wife Jenny who was not too keen, originally, on the idea of owning the gelding. Understandably though, Jenny was warming to the prospect as she gratefully clutched two handsome trophies as a result of this particular success !.

Trainer James, also completed a double when Broadwater and Rupert Stearn justified favouritism, despite a blunder at the first fence, just like he performed before winning at Fakenham, three weeks ago. Although still running green, clearly warmed to the task much sooner in this race and effectively stalked the leader Un Huit Huit for a circuit before taking the lead approaching three fences out and was never headed from there, eventually winning by 20 lengths.

The Ladies Open was an absolute thriller with the ultra-consistent, veteran Sa Kaldoun and Rosie Turner leading everywhere except the last 100 yards. The exciting 5-y-o, Streets Of London, now a winner of seven races out of nine starts this season, snatched victory, under a confident ride by Rilly Goschen. What a pleasure it was to see Rilly riding in East Anglia again and this was her first visit to Northaw. The offer of the ride came on Thursday and Rilly walked the course before racing, contemplating her tactics. Although from the spectator hill it looked as though Sa Kaldoun and Rosie were going to follow up their win at Fakenham, Streets of London and Ms. Goschen had assertively nipped up the inside on the final bend, part of the game plan, and had the Turner’s horse in sight before scoring, going away, by 1 ½ lengths.

The opening two races were won by jockey Phil York on Cheltenham Mati and Legal OK. On the former, Phil was definitely hard at work from three out, fully galvanising the grey mare as they tried to reel in the favourite Le Fou Royal who had taken over from the first circuit leader, Knockoutloaded. Mr. York has a decent record around Northaw and provided his charge is willing then Phil will know the shortest route to the final fence and beyond. The partnership settled the Conditions race on the run-in. Legal OK, was fully wound-up on the way to the start, never relinquished the lead over his six opponents in the Intermediate contest. The 7-y-o offered a brief chance to his chasing rivals, headed by Spring Cover, down the back straight but had enough in reserve to pull away impressively and register the win in the fastest time of the day.

So the 2018/19 East Anglian season concluded with doubles for jockeys Alex Chadwick and Phil York and trainers James Owen and Tim Underwood. Tim’s double success improved his already impressive record as owner/trainer for this season and his Streets of London is currently in pole position to win the PPORA Young Horse award.

A really enjoyable day, full of good racing and well deserved rewards for many. December can’t come quickly enough for a resumption of the action.



GOING: GOOD / GOOD to FIRM in places

East Anglian Area Conditions
1st CHELTENHAM MATI ( Phil York )   5/2
2nd Le Fou Royal      ( Kate Gowing )        9/4 Fav
3rd Knockoutloaded ( Will Hickman )      11/4

Also: Amigo 7/2 (4th), Abbey Lane 4/1 (5th)
Time: 6 mins 26 secs Distances: 2L, 12L   5 ran


1st LEGAL OK ( Phil York )                   6/4 Fav
2nd Spring Cover ( A Vaughan-Jones )     10/1
3rd Allie Beag ( Tommie O’ Brien )         9/2

Also: Nothing Personal 14/1 (4th), Bullsempire 5/1 (pu)

Haut Bages 7/2 (pu), Orchard Hill 4/1 (pu)

Time: 6-19       Dists: Distance, 10L         7 ran

PPORA Club Members Conditions ( Novice Riders )
1st NET D’ECOSSE (Alex Chadwick) Evens Fav
2nd Prouts Pub  ( Nathan Rahman )              5/2
3rd Follow The Paint ( William Humphrey )   2/1

Also: Dunara Castle 25/1 (4th), Dystonia’s Revenge 16/1 (5th)

Kentucky Star 16/1 (pu)

Time: 6-22     Dists: Distance, 8L     6 ran

Ladies Open
1st STREETS OF LONDON ( Rilly Goschen ) 4/6 Fav
2nd Sa Kaldoun ( Rosie Turner )                     5/4

3rd Shamat      ( Kate Gowing )                      10/1

Also: Letsbeso 25/1 (4th )

Time: 6-35     Dists; 1 ½L, 10L           4 ran


1st BROADWATER ( Rupert Stearn )    10/11 Fav
2nd Un Huit Huit (Richard Collinson )      4/1
3rd Shallamar         ( Phil York )                5/4

Time: 6-27 Dists: 20L, Distance           3 ran


Open Maiden

1st SANDYGATE ( Alex Chadwick)       10/1

2nd Willcollins       ( Oz Wedmore )         5/1

3rd Celestino       ( Tommie O’Brien )         7/4

Also: Champagne Vintage 4/6 Fav (4th)
Time: 6-37 Dists: Neck, 2L,                 4 ran