The weather was just as forecast, the picnic hampers were in full flow and it was doubles and trebles all round at this point-to-point meeting at Ampton.

Leading jockey Christian Ward Thomas led the way on what is fast becoming his favourite racecourse, judging by his record over the past two seasons. Four meetings and seven winners in total, five of which have been achieved this season. Two of his winners came from the highly successful Ruth Hayter stable and are owned by the equally successful Mr & Mrs Anthony Howland Jackson.

Hatcham Boy won the mixed Open race but there were indeed mixed emotions during and after the race. Although only five runners took part there was an incident at the 10th fence which saw Dockmaster and his young rider Matthew Abrey, squeezed for room on the inside and the pair crashed through the wing of the fence and out of the race.

After the race the stewards held an inquiry into the incident and adjudged Andrew Sansome guilty of reckless riding on Remilan, who had finished runner-up to Hatcham Boy. Remilanwas disqualified and Sansome was fined £100 for the interference caused to Dockmaster and Abrey. Fortunately these two escaped injury but Jamie Diment was less fortunate, having fallen independently at the same fence, and was taken to hospital with a cut head and concussion.

Village Copper was a comfortable winner of the Intermediate Race and his jockey reported that “he jumped nicely…a real genuine sort”.

Second place in this race went to footballer Stuart Pearce’s wife’s Man of the Match. The West Ham full-back, who suffered another broken leg earlier in the week, was present and considers he will be out of the game for five months. Fred Hutsby, who rode the runner up, is looking forward to a big day at Cheltenham on Thursday when he rides the highly fancied Mighty Moss, although “I’ve never actually ridden over the Cheltenham fences”.

Ward Thomas’s third winner was on Wilf Tolhurst’s Manna Brave in the Restricted race. He cruised past his rivals over the last two fences, having jumped economically all the way around. Manna Brave could be anything and he possibly runs again next Saturday at High Easter.

The Turner family enjoyed a Maiden race double at their home course. Squaddie easily won the first division, having been ridden to and from the course by Zoe Turner because of the horse’s nervious temperament. This ex-Micky Hammond inmate is easily disturbed by noises, especially the PA system announcements, but when racing was much more at home on the firmer surface. A similar remark was attributed to the second devision winner, Persian Boy, an Ascot sales purchase. Both were ridden expertly by Andrew Sansome.

The afternoon kicked off with one of those fairytale stories which appear to be symonymous with point-to-pointing and especially Margaret Brightwell. Popeshall, a 13-year-old, was bought at the Doncaster sales from Sally Williamson, who had bred, owned and trained the horse. She didn’t want to part with him but circumstances dictated and Margaret “just fell in love with him” when she first saw him. The two women keep in regular touch and Sally will be delighted on this latest remarkable achievement. by “Boots”, as he is affectionately known in the Brightwell stable.

The meeting concluded with the Novice Rider’s race which was won by Caroline Fryer from Wymondham in Norfolk riding the horse she jointly owns with her father Dick, Anns Ambition. Her first winner, this was a reward for consistency and enthusiasm for Caroline who is in her third season and the pictures taken in the winner’s enclosure will be a great reminder for the future for all connections.

Great racing, good attendance, superb weather – what more can you ask for from “glorious” Ampton.


Race One (confined race):

1 Mrs P Brightwell’s Popeshall (Essex and Suffolk) (C Ward),

2 D Harding Jones’ O’Flahertys Babe (Puckeridge) (A Sansome),

3 B Dalton’s Damier Blanc (Thurlow) (D Cook).

Also: Limited Liability (4), Absolute Limit (pu), Omidjoy (pu). 3l, 20l. 6.44. W £4.80, SP 7-2. (O’Flaherty’s Babe 4-5 fav).

Race Two (Maiden Race – Division One):

1 J M Turner’s Squaddie (Suffolk) (A Sansome),

2 M Ward-Thomas’ Heathburn (Cotswold) (C Ward-Thomas),

3 P Millington’s Miss Caitlin (Fernie) (owner).

Also: Stone Broke (4), Fair Ally (5), Colemore Green (pu), Curracloe Rose (f), Full Bore (pu), Midnight Dynamite (pu), Mr Maggett (pu), Trojan Love (f). 20l, 1½l. 6.46. W £2.60. SP 3-1. (Mr Maggett 6-4 fav).

Race Three (Maiden Race – Division Two):

1 J M Turner’s Persian Boy (Suffolk) (A Sansome),

2 R Abrye’s Just Chica (Suffolk) (N Bloom),

3 K Coe’s The Secret Grey (Essex Farmers and Union) (A Coe).

Also: Arbitrage Man (pu), Chariot Man (pu), Cicero’s Law (pu), Coolest By Phar (pu), Lancaster Boy (pu), Mannagar (f), Polly Live Wire (f), Primrose Hill (ref to start), Sire De Brumetz (pu), Take It Easy (pu), Teluk (pu). 4l, 20l. 6.51. W £2.20. SP 5-2 fav.

Race Four (Intermediate Race):

1 Mr and Mrs A Howland-Jackson’s Village Copper (Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas),

2 Mrs E Pearce’s Man Of The Match (Grafton) (F Hutsby),

3 Miss L Ingram’s Royal Surprise (East Essex) (owner).

Also: Royal Banker (4), Ardkilly Warrior (pu). 8l, 5l. 6.43. W £1.50. SP 1-2 fav.

Race Five (Mixed Open Race):

1 Mr and Mrs A Howland-Jackson’s Hatcham Boy (Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas),

2 T Batterby’s Cinnamon Club (Suffolk) (D Cook),

3 Remilan finished second but was disqualified for interference.

Also: Buachaill Dana (f), Dockmaster (c/o), Remilan (disq). 10l, 5l. 6.50. W £1.60. SP 1-2 fav.

Race Six (Restricted Race):

1 W J Tolhurst’s Manna Brave (Essex and Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas),

2 J M Turner’s Mister Audi (Suffolk) (A Sansome),

3 A Waters and P Millington’s Baron Allfours (Fernie) (P Millington).

Also: Helena Justina (4), Coptic Dancer (pu), Mai Point (pu). 10l, 5l. 6.50. W £1.90. SP 5-4 fav.

Race Seven (Novice Rider’s Race): 1 R P Fryer and Miss C Fryer’s Ann’s Ambition (Dunston Harriers) (Miss C Fryer),

2 B Kennedy’s Faha Gig (Essex Farmers and Union) (A Braithwaite),

3 Miss A Webb’s Going Around (Easton) (owner).

Also: Black Book (disq), Hizal (ur), Premier First (5). 3l, 8l.6.51. W £1.80. SP 2-1. (Faha Gig 7-4 fav).