Zoe Turner and James Owen – East Anglia’s two champion point-to-point jockeys for 2003 – brought the campaign to a fitting end by winning at the final fixture, the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace meeting, at Northaw on Bank Holiday Monday.
Both showed their prowess in the saddle to prevail in tight finishes in the colours of by far the season’s most successful owner, Zoe’s grandfather, Joe Turner, who hails from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds.
Zoe looked likely to have to settle for second place when her mount, Spring Gale, was still two lengths behind the front-running Free jumping the second last in the Ladies’ Open. But the partnership gradually narrowed the gap and, in a driving finish, prevailed by a neck.
Owen also had to be at his strongest but in truth his partner, Fine And Dandy, may have won with a little bit up his sleeve despite the margin of victory over New Ross in the Confined Race again being only a neck.
The brace took Joe Turner’s tally for 2003 to an excellent 19, leaving him well clear in the race to be Britain’s leading owner. Although three short of last year’s score, this represents a superb total given that Joe’s son, David, who is such an important member of this real family operation, has spent the entire season fighting cancer.
The Men’s Novice Riders Championship was the only one of the four In The Pink-sponsored East Anglian Jockeys’ titles still to be decided going into yesterday’s fixture.
And this one went right to the wire as in the very last race David Kemp needed to finish second or better to tie or overtake Andrew Braithwaite. Agonisingly, and despite an extremely determined ride, Kemp’s mount, Pendil’s Charm, finished third, leaving him one point adrift.
The race – the Open Maiden – went to Trinity Buoy. Equipped with sheepskin cheekpieces for the first time and superbly steered by Matt Baldock, the Perry Harding-Jones-trained gelding scooted home by 12 lengths.
The Men’s Open Race was a match and, despite a very anxious moment at the second last, resulted in an easy victory for Native Status, trained at Great Yeldham by Robert Gardiner and ridden by Gestingthorpe’s Andrew Ayers.
The rest of the card belonged to former champion jockey, Andrew Sansome, who registered a double aboard Kingfisher Star in the Members’ Race and The Glen Road in the Restricted Race.
Kingfisher Star responded well to the application of blinkers to beat Lord Stroller, while The Glen Road benefited from a calamitous error at the last by Highfield Lady to win out in a thrilling finish which saw the first four home covered by little more than two lengths.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 Whitestick Racing’s Kingfisher Star (EC with Cambs) (A Sansome),
2 Miss Beckie Summers’ Lord Stroller (EC with Cambs) (P McCarthy),
3 Mr M G Sheppard’s Uncle Buck (EC with Cambs) (P Taiano)
Distances: 15, 15. 6m 44s W £1.90 DF £7.90 SP 4/7 fav.
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 Mr J M Turner’s Fine & Sandy (Suffolk) (J Owen),
2 Mrs M Merriam’s New Ross (Dunston Harriers) (A Merriam),
3 Mr and Mrs K A Kemp’s Wife Advice (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: Sendonthe Cheque (4), Tell Monty (5). Distances: Neck, 4. 6m17s W £2. DF £24.70. SP 11/10 fav.
Race Three (Mens Open Race):
1 Mr A Ayers’ Native Status (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (Owner),
2 Mr J M Turner’s Bruan (Suffolk) (J Owen).
Distance: 8. 6m31s W£1.10 SP 1/8 fav.
Race Four (Ladies Open Race:
1 Mr J M Turner’s Spring Gale (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 Mrs S Hutchinson’s Free (Fernie) (Miss G Hutchinson),
3 The Marriage Family’s Pampered Gale (Essex) (Miss Nbarnes)
Distances: Neck, a distance 6m19s W £1.50 DF £1.50 SP Evens fav.
Race Five (Restricted race):
1 Mr N W Padfield’s The Glen Road (Aldenham Harriers) (A Sansome),
2 Mr D Wales’ Camden Loch (West Norfolk) (D Kemp),
3 Messrs J M Ratcliffe & H Hill’s Highfield Lady (Cambridge U Drag) (M Mackley).
Also: Zafan (4) Distances: 3/4, 1. 6m35s W £1.30 DF £1.90 SP 4/5 fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 Mr D Harding-Jones’ Trinity Buoy (Puckeridge) (M Baldock),
2 Mr S Marriage’s Gunner Be True (Aldenham Harriers) (M Mackley),
3 Mr A C Smith’s Pendils Charm Dunston Harriers) (D Kemp).
Also: Barbed Brooch (4), Altar Society (pu), Bell Rock (f), Crown Rule (pu), Memsahib Ki Behan (ur), Morning Blook (pu), West Pal (f).Distances: 12, 8. 6m 25s W £3.60. DF £12.70. SP 9/2 (Bell Rock 5/2 fav).