Cosmic Sky, the biggest East Anglian success story of the 2006 Point-To-Point season, has every chance of enjoying a similarly sparkling 2007 judged by his brilliant winning reappearance in the Confined Race at the Dunston Harriers fixture at Ampton on Sunday.
Ridden by Wymondham’s Rupert Stearn, Cosmic Sky was soon in the lead and, jumping brilliantly, never saw another rival thereafter, coming home 15 lengths clear of Sorkatcheguy.
Trainer Robert Abrey, from Wretham, near Thetford, admitted afterwards that the ten-year-old, who spends every daylight hour out in the paddock to assuage his suspect temperament, had galloped just twice to get him fit for a return to the course. I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t come on a lot for the run,’ Abrey asserted.
Despite a false start, Cosmic Sky was on his best behaviour. But owner-breeder Major Richard Wilson, from Hockham, revealed that this has not always been the casein recent months.
When we jumped him over the schooling fences next to the golf course at Newmarket he ended up on the practice putting green, and out at grass in the summer he dug a big hole, then lay down in it and got cast (unable to get up)!, he revealed.
The only other East Anglian victory on a seven-race card which was bathed in glorious January sunshine came courtesy of Homme de Fer in the Novice Riders’Race. This was a matter of the young and old in tandem as two 15-year-old horses, Homme de Fer and Mr Snowman, gave their inexperienced pilots a thrilling ride as Homme de Fer prevailed by half a length after a long duel.The sprightly veteran was partnered by 20-year-old George Greenock, from Gateley, near Dereham, and is trained at Wymondham by Nibby Bloom.
Coincidentally, both the Open races were won by horses formerly trained at the course by Ampton’s owner, Joe Turner. Fastest of the pair, despite carrying almost a stone more in weight, was Persian Hero, who beat the hot favourite, Ballylusky, by two lengths in the Volkswagen Touareg Men’s Open.
Persian Hero was ridden by John Russell for Northants trainer Gerald Bailey and the result was a great pick-me-up for winning owner Richard Russell, John’s father, who was in attendance less than four weeks after undergoing open heart surgery.
The Ladies’ Open went to Millenium Way, who held off the persistent challenge of favourite Sea Ferry by two lengths to give owner-trainer-rider Caroline Taylor her first victory since moving to a new yard near Rye in East Sussex.
Northamptonshire has been a favourite location for winning trainers in points of late. Gerald Bailey was also successful at Higham on January 7 and both Jenny Pidgeon and Anne Connell, each on the mark at that fixture, made another worthwhile journey to Suffolk yesterday.
Pidgeon saddled Simply The One, who responded well to a forceful front-running ride from Newmarket auctioneer Harry Fowler to lift the Intermediate Race.
And Connell’s Maestro Please denied another market leader, Special Friend, by a length in the Restricted Race.The Maiden Race justified the patience of David Ingle, who acquired the winner, Cameroon, five years ago, shortly before he left the training ranks to become manager of Weatherbys Chase, the sport’s secretarial body.
Now aged nine and from a notoriously late-developing family, Cameroon runs in the colours of Ingle’s boss, Johnny Weatherby, and is trained in Leicestershire by Laura Pomfret.
Race One (Confined Hunts Race):
1 R Arbrey, Major R Wilson and Mrs R Wilson’s Cosmic Sky (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
2 Mr and Mrs A Villar’s Sorkatcheguy (Suffolk) (A Braithwaite),
3 B King, Mr and Mrs D Kemp’s Madmidge (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: Quality First (4), Good Vintage (5). 15 lengths, five lengths. 6.34. SP 4-6 fav.
Race Two (Open Maiden Race):
1 J Weatherby’s Cameroon (Cottesmore) (M Mackley),
2 I Naylor’s Scattered Scarlet (Quorn) (A Bealby),
3 J Connell’s The Fast Frog (Grafton) (T Lane).
Also: French Dancer (4), Irishtown Leader (5), Beginish (pu), Hillybe (pu), On The Deck (pu), Pernickety King (pu), Smartypants (pu). 10 lengths, half a length. 6.40. SP 5-1 (French Dancer 7-4 fav).
Race Three (Intermediate Race):
1 G Lloyd’s Simply The One (Grafton) (R H Fowler),
2 J M Turner’s Kicasso (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 C Newport, J Draper and T Edmond’s Jac An Ree (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (P Hall).
Also: Lord Valnic (ur), Wainhill Lad (pu). Three lengths, three lengths. 6.40. SP 5-1 (Jac An Ree 5-4 fav).
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mrs C Taylor’s Millenium Way (Ashford Vale) (owner),
2 Mrs J Lundgren’s Sea Ferry (Brocklesby) (Mrs J Dawson),
3 Mr and Mrs W Rucker’s Blue Business (Worcs) (Mrs A Rucker).
Also: Lucky Bay (4), Village Copper (5), Indoux (6). Two lengths, a distance. 6.30. SP 5-2 (Sea Ferry 4-5 fav).
Race Five (Men’s Open Race):
1 R Russell’s Persian Hero (Pytchley) (J Russell),
2 Mr and Mrs W Rucker’s Ballylusky (Worcs) (R Burton),
3 R Swinburne’s Latzod’alm (South Shropshire) (W Hill).
Also: Doe Nal Rua (ur). Two lengths, one length. 6.26. SP 7-1 (Ballylusky 4-7 fav).
Race Six (Restricted Race):
1 S Connell’s Maestro Please (Grafton) (T Lane),
2 Mrs J Thornton’s Special Friend (Wheatland) (R Burton),
3 S Gilmore and R Jeffrey’s Guthrie (Grafton) (R Barrett).
Also: Nowhips (4), Airmark (pu), On The Day (pu). One length, two lengths. 6.41. SP 4-1 (Special Friend 7-4 fav).
Race Seven (PPORA Members Race Novice Riders):
1 Countess Cathcart’s Homme de Fer (West Norfolk) (G Greenock),
2 Mrs T Hill’s Mr Snowman (Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks) (Miss E Jarvis),
3 A Chinery’s Baron Bernard (East Essex) (Miss R Chinery).
Also: Dunrig (4), John The Greek (5). Half a length, 15 lengths. 6.39. SP 1-2 fav.