Cottenham’s traditional New Year Point-To-Point fixture served up its usual festival of steeplechasing on Sunday as a decent crowd braved weather that was less monsoon-like than forecast while 84 horses contested a high calibre eight-race Cambridgeshire Harriers Hunts Club meeting.
This was the second of 14 East Anglian fixtures for the 2015-16 season. And it was not until the sixth contest of the day (and the 12th of the season all-told) that we finally witnessed a locally-trained winner as Tommy O’Dwyer prevailed in a slow motion finish to a division of the three mile Maiden.
Ridden by James Ferguson, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, Tommy O’Dwyer is trained at Badlingham, on the other side of Newmarket, by Nick Wright.
But Wright, who only recently took charge of the quality string of Pointers owned by Ferguson’s father, John, was absent on a family holiday in Thailand, although this did not stop him from gaining a rather excited phone commentary from his head lass, Jo Brisland.
A second East Anglian success came an hour later in the finale, the two and a half mile Maiden, courtesy of the Andrew Pennock-trained Galros Lady.
Galros Lady (white and brown hoops) jumps alongside Gustave Mahler (right) and Theconartist (left)
Ridden by Dickie Collinson, from Sutton, near Ely, Galros Lady got the better of a protracted duel with Gustave Mahler to get the Pennock yard, which is situated at Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, off the mark for the season.
The day’s two Open races were both plundered by Shropshire trainer Phil Rowley and produced classy winners at the opposite ends of their careers.
First, Now Ben, having his first start in Open company, proved seven lengths too strong for the long odds-on favourite, Consigliere, in the Mens race. This eight-year-old suffered a five-race winless streak when he came over from Ireland but has now really got his act together – this was his fifth victory from his last six starts – and is definitely a horse worth following.
Now Ben and Alex Edwards
The Ladies Open went to the one-time top class hurdler, Khyber Kim, who was runner-up in the 2010 renewal of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Now 14 years of age, he was given a fine waiting ride by Camilla Henderson to come home four lengths in front of the front-running Bound For Glory, who compromised his chances when almost running off the course down the back straight.
Khyber Kim and Camilla Henderson
Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill always does well at this venue and, although his Consigliere suffered a surprise reverse, he got the meeting off to winning start when Broken Eagle stormed 25 lengths clear of his six rivals in the Club Members Race.
Broken Eagle (Joe Hill, green sleeves) vies for the lead with Tulsa (Sam Davies-Thomas)
A sudden injection of pace at the halfway mark proved a masterstroke for jockey Fred Henderson aboard the Lincolnshire-trained Dream Mistress in the Restricted Race, while the Countryside Alliance Novice Riders Race produced the tightest finish of the day as Buck Magic got up on the run-in to beat Last Time d’Albain by a neck.
Dream Mistress (Fred Henderson)
Buck Magic (John Smith-Maxwell) virtually obscuring his rival, Last Time d’Albain, at the final fence
The second section of the three mile maiden provided the Andrews family, from Lilley in Hertfordshire, with a 1-2 as Gina Andrews, aboard Sea Current, beat her younger brother, Jack, on Weve Got Company.
Sea Current (Gina Andrews)
Sea Current, trained in Warwickshire by Gina’s husband, Tom Ellis, was never out of second gear and should be winning again soon.
GOING: GOOD TO SOFT
Club Members Conditions
1st Broken Eagle Joe Hill 7/4 Fav
2nd Tulsa Sam Davies Thomas 4/1
3rd Play The Ace Richard Collinson 7/2
Time 6 mins 08 secs Dists: 25L, 15L 7 ran
1st Dream Mistress Fred Henderson 10/1
2nd Dido Dale Peters 6/1
3rd Royal Benifet Sam Davies Thomas 7/2
Time 6 mins 16 secs Dists: 15L, 6l 14 ran
Bletchley Castle 2/1f (fell)
Mens Open Race
1stNow Ben Alex Edwards 11/2
2nd Consigliere Joe Hill 1/3 Fav
3rd Brunswick Gold Stuart Robinson 10/1
Time 6 mins12 secs Dists: 7L, 5L 10 ran
Novice Riders Race
1st Buck Magic John Smith Maxwell 3/1
2nd Last Time DAlbain James Jackson Stops 4/5 Fav
3rd The Rodeo Clown Camilla Cotton 8/1
Time 6 mins 19 sec Dists: Nk, 1 ½ L 12 ran
Ladies Open Race
1st Khyber Kim Camilla Henderson 4/1
2nd Bound For Glory Hannah Lewis 5/2
3rd Can Mestret Gina Andrews 2/1
Time 6 mins 18 secs Dists: 4L, 2 ½ L 8 ran
Siro Demur 7/4 Fav (pulled up)
Open Maiden Div One
1st Tommy O Dwyer James Ferguson Evens Fav
2nd Ypsilanti Leo Mahon5/2
3rd Wonderful Present Richard Collinson 12/1
Time 6 mins 28 secs Dists: 5L, Dist 13 ran
Open Maiden Div Two
1st Sea Current Gina Andrews 10/11 Fav
2nd Weve Got Company Jack Andrews 11/4
3rd Verdasco Rupert Stearn 10/1
Time 6 mins 26 secs Dists: Dist, 20L 12 ran
4,5 and 6 Year Old Maiden 2 ½ Miles
1st Galros Lady Richard Collinson 5/4 Fav
2nd Gustave Mahler Leo Mahon 2/1
3rd Theconnartist Rupert Stearn 3/1
Time 5 mins 10 secs Dists: 2L, 6L 9 ran