Cottenham’s second meeting of the season on Sunday was staged in glorious winter sunshine in front of a huge crowd who enjoyed some of the best quality point-to-point racing that will be seen this season with large fields of horses from all over the country.
It was the 2013/2014 national champion trainer Alan Hill from Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire who headlined the day with a double on the card for owner Rodney Mann. It was Sharp Suit, winner of five races in a row last season including the Intermediate Final at the Cheltenham May Meeting, who provided the first leg of the double fending off a top quality field in the Ladies Open under Katy Lyons who was riding the exciting prospect for the first time. It Was Me ran a wonderful race in second for local trainer Nick Wright from Badlingham in Cambridgeshire returning to his smart form of two seasons ago following an 18-month injury layoff.
The double for Alan Hill and Rodney Mann came half an hour later in the Open Maiden when their Irish import Brians Well ran out a ready winner following his promising second on debut for the yard in the Maiden at the first Cottenham meeting of the season. However Alan Hill’s flagbearer Harbour Court was unable to justify odds-on favouritism in the Mens Open as despite staying on tenaciously to make up an eight-length deficit from the second last fence, he seemed to idle when he nosed to the front up the run-in allowing Brackloon High to wrestle back the advantage close home to prevail by a head in a rousing finish. Brackloon High, formerly a smart handicap chaser for Noel Chance and Brendan Powell under rules, had registered a solid pointing debut when second at Barbury Castle earlier this month and responded well to a sweeping move made by his 42 year-old rider Andrew Barlow early on the final circuit. The victory was a memorable occasion for the Barlow family as Andrew’s father Mark owns this horse as well as three-day eventing star Avebury, winner of the last three Burghley Horse Trials.
The opening Club Members Conditions Race was won in fine style by the Simon Andrews’ trained Can Mestret who was winning at Cottenham for the third time in the last twelve months. From Lilley in Hertfordshire, Simon Andrews confessed that his wife Joanna has done all the training together with son Jack now that their daughters Gina, who rode Can Mestret to victory, and Bridget have moved away from home. Both girls will no doubt be going all out again in an attempt to win the national lady riders championship which they have both won once each.
The Restricted contest saw the Tom Weston trained and ridden Cold Knight travel supremely well through the race and win in facile fashion reaping the rewards of a wind operation in the summer which has helped his breathing enormously. This was the first winner of the season for the Worcestershire-based trainer/jockey who has ridden more than 100 winners and also trained 14 winners last season. Full Throttle, who fell at the last when clear in the Restricted race at the first Cottenham meeting, finished a clear second to give the form a strong look.
The Novice Riders race drew the biggest field of the day but 13 of the 15 runners finished with Sergeant Dick making all under a canny ride from Weatherbys employee Lucy Wheeler who was registering her third career winner. Trained by Sally Randell at Eastbury in West Berkshire, Sergeant Dick showed some fair form under rules last season and benefitted from being allowed an uncontested lead.
As in the three-mile maiden, course form came to the fore in the concluding two-and-a-half maiden as Play The Ace managed to avoid the mayhem of only five of the 14 starters completing to win on the bridle, following on from his promising second on debut for the yard in the equivalent maiden at the first meeting. His trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth near Bury St Edmunds, has formed a new partnership with local jockey Dicky Collinson following the decision of his former stable jockey Ben Rivett not to ride any more. This was their first winner since forming the new partnership although Dicky did ride one winner for the yard last year.
CHHC Club Member’s Race
1st Can Mestret (Gina Andrews) 7/2
2nd Bach To The Wall (Archie Wright) 8/1
3rd Overafrica (Peter Bryan) 2/1f
Time 6 mins 6 secs Dists: 10L, 8L 11 ran
1st Cold Knight (Tom Weston) 4/1
2nd Full Trottle (Sam Painting) 7/4
3rdBigasabishop (Will Telfer) 14/1
Time 6-06 Dists: 5L, 9L 11 ran Colonel Iain 6/4f (PU)
Mens Open Race
1st Brackloon High (Andrew Barlow) 4/1
2nd Harbour Court (James Tudor) 4/5f
3rd Earth Dream (James Ferguson) 4/1
Time6-05 Dists: Hd, 1 1/2L 10 ran
Novice Riders Race
1st Sergeant Dick (Lucy Wheeler) 7/1
2nd The Rodeo Clown (Camilla Cotton) 4/1
3rd Wessex King (Abigail Banks) 4/1
Time 6-17 Dists: 2L, 1L 15 ran Stonemaster 3/1f (4th)
Ladies Open Race
1stSharp Suit (Katy Lyons) 3/1
2nd It Was Me (Carey Williamson) 5/2
3rd Gauvain (Hannah Watson) 6/4f
Time 6-13 Dists: 3L, 1 1/2L 11 ran
1st Brians Well (James Tudor) 5/2f
2nd Crockery (Bridget Andrews) 5/1
3rd Swingbridge (Sam Painting) 4/1
Time 6-14 Dists: 12L, 4L 15 ran
4,5,6 & 7 Year Olds Maiden 2 mile 4 furlongs
1st Play The Ace (Dicky Collinson) 6/4f
2nd Cyrius Moriviere (Phil York) 12/1
3rd Lotus Pond (Peter Bryan) 7/1
Time 4-49 Dists: 12L, 20L 14 ran