Charlie Buckle enjoyed a moment to remember at a superb Dunston Harriers Point-To-Point at Ampton on Sunday, getting off the mark as a jockey after coming out on top following a thrilling finish to one of the Maiden Races.
Buckle, 20, from Semer near Hadleigh, was having just the eighth ride of his career aboard The Master Remover but belied his inexperience to touch off Saluting by a head after the pair had engaged in a terrific tussle over the final two fences.
Buckle junior thus emulated the achievement of his watching father, James, who rode the one and only winner of his Pointing career back in 1997. The credit for this success should be shared with another Semer resident, winning trainer Rob Cundy, who managed to have The Master Remover at peak fitness despite not having raced since April.
Lauren Braithwaite, Saluting’s Newmarket-based handler, did not have to wait long to gain compensation as an hour later she saddled Berties Dream to land a poignant success in the Ladies Open race.
Berties Dream is part owned by Christopher Sporborg, a great supporter of East Anglian Pointing who died on January 2nd. A large crowd observed a minute’s silence in Sporborg’s honour as the horses gathered in the paddock before the race and, at the suggestion of Lauren and her husband, Andrew, Berties Dream sported the cerise and dark blue Sporborg colours that had been carried to victory over 160 times in the past four decades.
“I would never have ridden a winner if it hadn’t been for Christopher,” Andrew Braithwaite said after the race. “I was just about to give up when, out of the blue, he phoned and offered me the mounts on his entire string.”
Berties Dream won easily and will surely be very difficult to beat for the rest of the season. But a top quality Mens Open was a much more hard-fought affair.
Three of its seven runners raced neck-and-neck approaching the final fence. And although the Oxfordshire raider, Consigliere, eventually came out on top by a length and a half, some of the glory should be reserved for the runner-up, Moroman, trained at Croxton, near Thetford, by his jockey, David Kemp, who posted a career best effort in finishing a gallant second.
A third local victory came in the Restricted Race as Colonel Iain, trained at Cowlinge near Newmarket by John Ferguson and ridden by his son, James, posted a relentless front-running display to win by a wide margin.
Ferguson senior was a little embarrassed as Colonel Iain had run a lacklustre race at Cottenham on December 28th and he had been advising friends beforehand not to bet on him. He suggested that the combination of an aggressive ride, a course which places more emphasis on stamina and the application of sheepskin cheepieces had prompted the improved display.
Successful atop Berties Dream, Gina Andrews had earlier sparked a riding double when making most of the running aboard the Kent-trained raider Rey Nacarado in a division of the Club Members Race. The other division went to Andrews’s fiancée, Tom Ellis, on Mister Teddy, who is trained in Warwickshire by Fred Hutsby.
The second Maiden race was won by Out of Range, a promising eight-year-old who is owned by Christopher Padfield, from Blackmore, near Ongar, but is trained near Banbury by Doug and Pauline Harkin.
The meeting ended on a remarkable note as Citizens Arrest, who had finished second (twice) and third in Open races on his three previous visits to Ampton, was sent off at the ridiculously generous odds of 25-1 in the Novice Riders Race.
Well ridden by 16-year-old debutant Alice Stephens, he saw off a multitude of challengers up the final hill to prevail by half a length.
GOING: GOOD TO SOFT (SOFT IN PLACES)
EA Area Club Condtions race Div One
1st Mister Teddy (Tom Ellis) 4/7Fav
2nd Mr Benefit (Peter Bull) 7/1
3rd See You Jack (Bridget Andrews) 5/2
Time 6-34* Dists:4L, 1/2L 9 ran * 2 jumps omitted, damaged fence
EA Area Club Condtions race Div Two
1st Rey Nacarado (Gina Andrews) 3/1
2nd Minella Theatre (Joe Hill) 6/4
3rd Cheyanwe (David Kemp) 5/4Fav
Time 6-37 Dists: 1L, 4L 9 ran
1st The Master Remover (Charlie Buckle) 7/1
2nd Saluting (Andrew Braithwaite) 3/1
3rd Ballybrack Dancer (Hannah Jones) 5/2jF
Time 6-46 Dists: Hd, 2L 8 ran Craigs Dream 5/2 jf (4th)
Open Maiden Div Two
1st Out Of Range (Pete Mann) 4/5Fav
2nd Emperor Arcadius (Tom Ellis) 6/4
3rd Killurin (Sam Lee) 12/1
Time 6-45 Dists: 2L, Dist 8 ran
1st Berties Dream (Gina Andrews) 1/3Fav
2nd Volcan Surprise (Bridget Andrews) 7/2
3rd King Du Berlais (Lottie Ingleton) 14/1
Time 6-40 Dists: 10L,Nk 6 ran
1st Consigliere (Joe Hill) 9/2
2nd Moroman (David Kemp) 7/2
3rd Penmore Mill (Tom Ellis) Evens Fav
Time 6-35 Dists: 1 1/2L, 1L 7 ran
1st Colonel Iain (James Ferguson) 5/1
2nd Come On You (Sam Davies-Thomas) 4/5Fav
3rd Lady Vicstar (Richard Spencer) 9/2
Time 6-35 Dists: Dist, 15L 11 ran
PPORA Novice Riders
1st Citizens Arrest (Alice Stevens) 25/1
2nd Hunters Lodge (Gareth Henderson) 8/1
3rd Paco Jack (Jake Coulson) 8/1
Time 6-49 Dists: 1/2L, 1L, 14 ran The Rodeo Clown Evens Fav (7th)