The overnight light frost thawed in time for an exciting eight-race card to take place at Ampton on Sunday for the Dunston Harriers Point-to-Point. A decent-sized crowd braved the cold weather to enjoy a number of stirring finishes.
It was Gina Andrews, the 2010/2011 National Ladies Champion jockey, who stole the show with a wonderful treble – the second her career. Gina began her tally aboard Filibuster in Division Two of the Open Maiden for local trainer John Ibbott from Chediston in Suffolk. Filibuster finished second on three consecutive occasions last season and deserved this first victory for an enthusiastic group of owners including John Cawston, a local dairy farmer from Woodton near Bungy in Suffolk, who bred the horse as well.
Division One of the Open Maiden also went the way of the locals, as a strong ride from stable jockey Ben Rivett lifted Bay To Go to victory, following up their promising second place at Cottenham on December 30th on Bay To Go’s debut, for Andrew Pennock who trains on the land next to Ampton racecourse. Bay To Go was recruited from Ireland over the summer and was breaking his duck at the 16th time of asking.
Gina Andrews made it two on the card in the Ladies Open aboard Start Royal for Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill. The prolific nine year-old was winning for the twelfth time and tenaciously fought off Citizens Arrest, ridden by Gina’s sister Bridget, who ran a most promising race on his debut for the Simon Andrew’s yard.
Gina’s treble was completed aboard the William Wales trained Don’t Tell Nina in the Restricted Race. From Binham in Norfolk, William paid tribute to his wife Alex who has done all the work with the horse since William has recently been in hospital for treatment on a slipped disc. This was Don’t Tell Nina’s first start for the yard having been running recently for Fergal O’Brien under rules.
However, it was not all plain sailing for Gina Andrews as she was defeated aboard the long odds-on favourite Mid Div And Creep in the opening East Anglian Area Club Members Race. The darling of East Anglian point-to-pointing Mid Div And Creep finished runner-up in the 2011 Foxhunters at Cheltenham, but now at the age of thirteen she was slightly outpaced and thus forced wide throughout the final circuit and was beaten by two necks into third behind shock 40/1 winner Early Wings who was winning over obstacles for the first time in 42 starts. Rejuvenated by many days out hunting, Early Wings provided jockey Lucy Saunders with her first ever winner and kicked off a double on the day for Northamptonshire trainer Gerald Bailey.
Gerald Bailey winners in fact book-ended the card as the ultra-game and consistent 14 year-old veteran Arnold Layne, a wonderful campaigner over the years for the Bailey yard, held on by a diminishing head in the concluding Novice Riders Conditions Race to provide his rider Lutie Akinci with her second career winner.
The winner from farthest away on the card was French Canadian, who showed an electric turn of foot to bound to an impressive success in the Intermediate Race. Benefitting from a patient ride from Rob Jarratt, the seven year-old looks an exciting prospect for his Shropshire-based trainer Caroline Robinson, nee Beasley, who rode Eliogarty to victory in the 1983 Cheltenham Foxhunters. A novice hunter chase at Market Rasen is next on the agenda.
The fall of odds-on favourite That’s Rhythm at the fourth last fence gifted victory to Sorted in the Mens Open on the card. Sorted was purchased at the Doncaster August Sale by Richard and Sarah Davies-Cooke having previously been in training with Conor O’Dwyer in Ireland and enjoyed a facile victory on this point-to-point debut for Nantwich trainer Gary Hanmer.
East Anglian Area Club Members conditions race 10yo horses and over
1 Early Wings – Lucy Saunders 40-1
2 Hemmington – Tom Weston
3 Mid Div And Creep – Gina Andrews 2/5f
Time 6 mins 37 secs Dists: Nk, Nk 7 ran
Open Maiden Div 1
1 Bay To Go – Ben Rivett 7/4f
2 Gemini June – Sam Painting
3 Cathedral Of Pines – David Kemp
Time 6-36 Dists: 3L 15L 8 ran
Open Maiden Div 2
1 Filibuster – Gina Andrews 7/4
2 Timephase – Andrew Braithwaite
3 Tomstar – Phil York 5/4f
Time 6-38 Dists: 2L, 1L 7 ran
1 French Canadian – Rob Jarrett 9/4f
2 Hall Kelly – Abi Banks
3 Milled – Ben Rivett
Time 6-28 Dists: 5L, 2L 9 ran
1 Start Royal – Gina Andrews 2/5f
2 Citizens Arrest – Bridget Andrews
3 Kells Castle – Annie Bowles
Time 6-28 2L, 25L 6 ran
1 Sorted – Gillon Crow 16/1
2 Rumbavu – Sam Waley-Cohen
Time 6-32 Dists: 25L 5 ran 2 finished That’s Rhythm 8/13f (Fell)
1 Don’t Tell Nina – Gina Andrews 7/4f
2 Done A Runner – Dale Peters
3 Up And Away – Georgie Thorogood
Time 6-46 Dists: 1 1/2L, 3L 7 ran
PPORA Novice Riders
1 Arnold Layne – Lutie Akinci 9/4
2 Court Red Handed – Max Kendrick 7/4f
3 San Jose – Gemma Cobb
Time 6-42 Dists: Hd, 12L 9 ran