Holmby Copse provided a landmark success for both owner-rider Tony Humphrey and trainer Neil King in the Confined Race at Sunday’s Dunston Harriers meeting at Ampton.

Holmby Copse, at 12-1 the outsider of just three runners, belied those odds to give 52-year-old Humphrey, from West Wratting is Cambridgeshire, the opening victory of a pastime he only began in 2000. It was also King’s first winner since he moved his string to St Gatien Stables in Newmarket.

A second rider who will forever remember January 19th 2003 is Noel Wilson, 39, from Ashford in Kent, as he broke his duck with victory on Garrison Friendly in the Novice Riders’ event.

The best horse on show was the Northants-trained Mixed Open winner, Private Pete. Trained by Lady Anne Connell, he showed great guts to defy his lack of race fitness and edge home after a gruelling duel with Prate Box.

Prate Box still had a sizeable lead entering the home straight and many, including the commentator, felt that Prate Box had held on. But Stuart Morris, who was completing a weekend brace aboard Punting Pete, was in no doubt that the judge’s verdict (his mount in front by a head) was the correct one.

Another classy performance was turned in by Master Jock, who overcame some sloppy fencing on the last circuit to beat Always On The Line by a comfortable five lengths in the Intermediate Race. Trained by Paul Jones in the West Midlands, the injury-prone Master Jockshould prove up to Hunter Chase standards and his jockey, Gary Hanmer, is a reasonable outside bet for this year’s national rider’s title.

Course specialist Early Morning Call notched his second success at this venue when prevailing by two lengths in a highly competitive Restricted Race. He had made the long trek from Liz Harrington’s yard near Bath for the third time in 12 months, but the presence of a silver trophy must make the journey home seem much shorter.

Aughmor River was most unlucky at Cottenham on the first day of the season but he gained recompense here, lifting the Maiden in taking style under Andrew Ayers.


Race One (Confined Hunts Race):

1 A R and Mrs S J Humphrey’s Holmby Copse (Thurlow) (A Humphrey),

2 J M Turner’s Pampered Gale (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),

3 S R and Mrs J Gowlett’s The Rural Dean (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom).

Eight lengths, three lengths. 7m 02s. W £9. SP 12-1 (The Rural Dean 4-6 fav).

Race Two (Open Maiden Race):

1 B Belchem’s Aughmor River (East Essex) (A Ayers),

2 The Marriage Family’s The Grey Fusilier (Essex) (N King),

3 P J Millington’s Thyny Glen (Fernie) (owner).

Also: Budle Bay (pu), Crown Rule (pu), Dolly Devious (pu), Highfield Lady (pu), Roppongi Crossing (pu), Westfield John (pu). Ten lengths, 15 lengths. 6m 58s. W £3. SP 6-4 fav.

Race Three (Intermediate Race):

1 P Burke’s Master Jock (Wheatland) (G Hanmer),

2 A W K Merriam’s Always On The Line (Dunston Harriers) (Alexander Merriam),

3 Miss A Bowles’ Society Lad (Waveney Harriers) (owner).

Also: Castle Road (pu). Five lengths, a distance. 7m 02s. W £2.20. SP 8-11 fav.

Race Four (Mixed Open Race):

1 Sir Michael Connell’s Private Pete (Grafton) (S Morris),

2 Mrs P Corbett’s Prate Box (Warwicks) (F Hutsby),

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

Also: Springlea Tower (4), Hostetler (5), Trouvaille (pu). Head, three lengths. 6m 51s. W £2.20. SP 4-5 fav. Race Five (Restricted Race):

1 C Hazelwood’s Early Morning Call (Avon) (S Walsh),

2 Sir Michael Connell’s Gangster (Grafton) (S Morris),

3 N and Mrs G Jones’ Sound Gossin (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (A Hickman).

Also: Bard Of Drumcoo (4), Campbellhill (ur), Glacial Tabhairne (pu), Intrepid Call (pu), Kingfisher Star (pu), Lord Drakkar (pu), Miss Pistachio (f), Persian Hero (pu), Rip Kirby (ur), Surprisedly Gifted (f), The Vintage Dancer (pu). Two lengths, three lengths. 6m 59s. W £28. SP 10-1 (Kingfisher Star 5-2 fav).

Race Six (Countryside Alliance Members Race for Novice Riders):

1 N Wilson’s Garrison Friendly (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (owner),

2 A W K Merriam’s Cormeen Lord (Easton Harriers) (Alexander Merriam),

3 M Lurcock’s Mezzo Princess (Cambridge University) (owner).

Also: Ceewardie (ref), Moorland Highflyer (pu), Nonplussed (pu), Senso (ur).  Fifteen lengths, 20 lengths. 7m 13s. W £4.40. SP 5-2 (Cormeen Lord 9-4 fav).