Jockey Archie Wright was the star of the show as the Point-To-Point season got under way on Sunday, notching his first ever double at the Cambridge University United Hunts Club meeting at Cottenham, near Cambridge.
Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, is only 20 years old but showed great dynamism in the saddle to land the Baileys Horse Feeds Mens Open Race aboard Bally Wall.
Never allowing his mount to lose touch with a fast pace, Wright then forced Bally Wall up the inside to grab the lead jumping the third last fence and never relinquished the advantage thereafter. The partnership eventually came home ten lengths clear of Minella Theatre with the odds-on favourite, Hazy Tom, back in third.
“That’s the most positively that I have ridden Bally Wall,” Wright admitted, “in the past he has tended to lose his place in the middle of his races.”
In A Blue Dust, who, like Bally Wall, is trained and owned by Wright’s father, Nick, completed the double with a very lucky victory in the Subaru Restricted Race.
In A Blue Dust was well clear of his other rivals but had no chance of catching the front-running Full Trottle when that opponent crashed out at the final obstacle.
Wright sportingly apologised to Full Trottle’s jockey, Sam Painting, afterwards even though he had nothing to be ashamed about. Jumping is the name of the game and In A Blue Dust, though making a series of minor errors when getting in too close to fences, was sure-footed in that department despite running with the choke out throughout the first circuit.
Another local young rider to impress was Kate Gowing, who guided Carpincho into second place in the opening Club Members Race.
Just a few days after her 17th birthday, the Norwich High School pupil from Mulbarton rode a perfectly-judged waiting race to snatch second place on the run-in behind the Shropshire-trained, Gauvain, who had some outstanding form under professional rules and was always going to be very difficult to beat on this, his Pointing debut.
The highest quality race of the day was the AGA Ladies Open, which for the third straight year was won by Sagalyrique and his veteran trainer-rider Angela Rucker.
Having seen off the attentions of the favourite, Qrackers, at the second last, Sagalyrique landed very steeply over the last and had to be driven right out to hold the late thrust of Nowurhurlin by a length and a half.
Two former Newmarket residents won the last two events – both Maiden races. The first went the way of Come On You and his trainer, Nick Pearce, who is now based in Kent, revealed: “I brought this horse for a free schooling session at Horseheath last Sunday, which put him spot on for today, so would like to give a public thank you to John Sharp, the clerk of the course there, for opening his doors.”
The finale, over two and a half miles, was won by Come On You to rescue an otherwise ordinary day for his handler, David Loder. Once one of Newmarket’s top flat trainers, Loder emigrated to France before retiring in 2005.
“That’s a relief,” said the now Shropshire domiciled Loder after Come On You had made all the running to score by 20 lengths. “I had two fancied runners earlier in the day but one failed to last the trip and the other failed to handle the track.”
GOING: GOOD (GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES)
PPORA Club Members
1st Gauvain (Hannah Watson) 6/4
2nd Carpincho (Kate Gowing) 12/1
3rd Galbally King (Dicky Collinson) 5/4f
Time 5 mins 59 secs Dists: 8L, 3L 8 ran
1st Ballywall (Archie Wright) 12/1
2nd Minella Theatre (Joe Hill) 7/1
3rd Hazy Tom (Paddy Gerety) 4/6f
Time 6-02 Dists: 10L, 6L 8 ran
1st Sagalyrique (Angela Rucker) 9/2
2nd Nowurhurlin (Emma Todd) 8/1
3rd Qrackers (Hannah Watson) 5/4f
Time 5-55 Dists: 1 1/2L ,3L 9 ran
1st In A Blue Dust (Archie Wright) 5/2
2nd Amron Kris (James Ridley) 11/10f
3rd Mouse Back Brown (Johnny Bailey) 8/1
Time 6-04 Dists: Dist, 2L 11 ran
1st Come On You ( Sam Davies Thomas) 9/2
2nd Brians Well (James Tudor) 4/7f
3rd Way Over (Gillon Crow) 7/2
Time 6-10 Dists: 20L, 6L 8 ran
4,5 6 & 7 Year Olds Maiden 2 ½ miles
1st Old Pride (Paddy Gerety) 5/4f
2nd Play The Ace (Dicky Collinson) 6/4
3rd Fiddleestickes (Joe Hill) 4/1
Time 4-42 Dists: 4L, 4L 7 ran