Pam Sly, the trainer best known for her fairytale success with Speciosa in last year’s 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, was on the mark in rather more humble surroundings barely 10 miles from the scene of that Classic triumph when Fullards won the Ladies’ Open race at Sunday’s Cambridge University Draghounds Point-To-Point at Cottenham.
Sly has not had a runner in a point-to-point for well over 30 years yet has lost none of her enthusiasm for the sport and acted as a steward at this rain-soaked fixture.Smiling through the drizzle after the nine-year-old had come home three lengths clear of Abbey Days, Sly, from Thorney, near Peterborough, revealed: “Fullards had a breathing problem and used to make a terrible noise. He had a soft palate operation, then was tubed – which didn’t work and we allowed to grow out – yet he didn’t make a sound today.”
Jockey Louise Allan was celebrating her first pointing victory for almost 22 months following a shoulder injury. She said: “We had almost retired him and were using him for the students to ride at home – where he was running off with them.”
Sir Harry Cool, in the last of three Maiden races, produced the only other ‘home’ win at an East Anglian season-opener which saw the ground deteriorate from ‘good, good to firm in places’ for race one to something closer to ‘soft’ by the end of the day.
Although trained in Hampshire, Sir Harry Cool was bred and is owned by Ian Moss, who hails from Woodham Mortimer, near Maldon, and has been standing as a bookmaker at local meetings for 25 years.
“I should have had a few quid on him!” bemoaned Moss. “I even laid him at 10-1 and 12-1. He’s my first ever point-to-point winner, although I haven’t had many runners.”
Fullards registered the fastest winning time, followed by the other Open race hero, Tom’s Prize, who overcame a breakdown on the A14 on his journey from Warwickshire to reach the course in time to take the men’s race by ten lengths under Adrian Wintle.Handler Scott Joynes reported: “We ground to a halt near the M6 junction at 8.30am this morning and I am most grateful to Tom Goodman, who came and rescued us in his horsebox and brought us to the course.”
Royal Atalza made a promising debut for Little Horkesley (near Colchester) trainer Stephen March to take third place.
The downpour could not stop the feeling of elation for Nottinghamshire-based jockey Fraser Barr, who finally got off the mark after some 30 rides when Irishtown Leader took the first Maiden, while the other non-winners event went to Silver Dollars and trainer-rider Philip York, who is a regular visitor to this area from him Surrey yard.
James Tudor, who won the National Jockeys’ Title for the first time last season, made the long drive from Wales worthwhile by landing the Restricted Race aboard Mr Tee Pee, a recent recruit to the stable of Oxfordshire trainer, Alan Hill.And, to leave the first to last, the opening Intermediate Race went the way of Hampshire raider Brightwell, who was brought with a perfectly-timed last fence challenge by Michael Holdforth to beat York’s mount, Anshanjack.
1 The Under the Hammer Partnership’s Brightwell (Hursley Hambledon) (M Holdforth),
2 S Doody’s Anshanjack (Staff College) (PYork),
3 C Sporborg’s Lightning Conductor (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite).
Also:Firion King (ur). Three lengths. 6.12. SP 5/2 (Anshanjack 2/1 fav).
Men’s Open Race:
1 Mrs P Joynes’ Tom’s Prize (N Ledbury) (A Wintle),
2 Mrs D Plunkett’s Moscow Court (Heythrop) (I Howe),
3 S March’s Royal Atalza(E Essex) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Turnstile (4), New Entic (5), Montreal (6), Over To Joe (7), Noble Colours (8), Farlington (pu), Mill Bank (pu),Three Spires (ur), Tuesday’s Child (pu). Ten lengths, five lengths. 6.04. SP 5/2 jt fav (Turnstile 5/2 jt fav).
Ladies’ Open Race:
1 Mrs PM Sly’s Fullard’s (Fitzwilliam) (Miss LAllan),
2 S Flook’s Abbey Days (Teme Valley) (Miss S Carter),
3 H Franklin’s High Rank (Farmers Bloodhounds) (Miss C Hart).
Also: Shareef (4), Fauntleroy (5), Who Cares Wins (6), Hi Tech Man (7), Frosty Run (8), Araglin (pu), Christy Beamish (f), Five Seven Line (pu), Trooper (pu), Viscount Bankes (pu). Three lengths, three lengths. 5.59. SP 10/1 (Christy Beamish 7/4 fav).
1 The Teepee Club’s Mr Tee Pee (Vale of Aylesbury and S Berks) (J Tudor),
2 Mr and Mrs AC Kemp’s Ballybough Billy (Chid LEC and Cowdray) (P York),
3 Mrs C Gorman’s Merry Vic (Crawley and Horsham) (M Gorman).
Also: Ballyowen (4), China Chase (5), Landing Rights (6), Taxi Fare (7), Nedphyte (8), Abrakadalpha (9), Big Fellow (pu), Cabrillo (pu), Esplendidos (pu), Gumlayloy (f), Penny Blue (pu), Streets of Laredo(pu). Three lengths, half a length. 6.12. SP 2/1 fav.
Open Maiden eight-year-olds and over:
1 Mrs M Barr’s Irishtown Leader (S Notts) (F Barr),
2 PS Davies’ Another Gale (N Hereford) (D Jones),
3 B Parson’s Alexander Musical (S Herefords) (G Barfoot-Savnt).
Also LeMans (4), Green Collar (pu). Six lengths, a distance. 6.32. SP 3/1 (Another Gale 6/4 fav).
Open Maiden 2.5 miles, 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds):
1 A Parrish’s Silver Dollar (Staff College) (P York),
2 J Wade’s Always right (S Durham) (C Dawson),
3 S Stilgoe’s Stroom Bank (Sinnington) (M Bennison).
Also: Greek Star (4), Maglinn River (5), Lagosta (6), Lord Brunello (7), Lady De Paris (8),Shinjiru (9), Beat the Bandits (pu), Campden Society (pu), Euro Lord(pu), Flemensgold (pu), My Beautiful Betty (ur), Sea Trader (pu), Matchstick Man (pu). Three, five lengths. 4.53. SP 5/2 (Lord Brunello 2/1 fav).
Open Maiden Race 2.5 miles, 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds):
1 Mr I Moss’ Sir Harry Cool (Essex Farmers and Union) (R Bandey),
2 S Flook, G Slade-Jones, T Jones and D Matthews’ Ryhope Chief (Radnor and W Herefords) (D Mansell),
3 Mrs R Gasson’s Parkbridge Lad (Farmers Bloodhouns) (Miss H Watson).
Also: Pertinax (4), For Your Benefit (5), Basiliko (6), Books Delight (7), Overfields (8), Campden Motto (f), Penny Lane (pu), Karrie (pu), Mirage Prince (pu),Owston Ferry (pu), Ridjit (pu), Sam Cruise (f), Silver State (pu). Five lengths, one length. 4.57. SP 12/1 (Basiliko 2/1 fav).