Lauren Braithwaite and John Ferguson, two of East Anglia’s top Point-To-Point trainers, both enjoyed double success at the East Essex fixture at a chilly Marks Tey, near Colchester, on Saturday.
Braithwaite, who trains in Newmarket, won both the Open Maiden, with Saluting, and the following Confined Race, with Evening Echo. This quickfire brace was made particularly satisfying as both horses were ridden by her husband, Andrew.
Mr Braithwaite took a sabbatical in 2013-14 while his other half gave birth to triplets so these were his first winners for almost two years.
Just six days on from getting no further than the first fence at Ampton, Saluting took advantage of the penultimate fence departure of Baroque Style to outstay Haughtons Bridge by eight lengths. He is owned by another Newmarket resident, Sam Haine and her mother-in-law, Di Haine, from Kirtling.
Evening Echo came from a long way off the pace to beat Irish Rebel by eight lengths. Now 13 years old, he was almost retired last summer and has been a terrific servant for owner, Roy Green, from Soham, as he has now won four races having been bought for just £2,000 at Doncaster Sales six years ago.
Ferguson is based at Cowlinge, near Newmarket, and struck in each of the last two races with Ronnie Lawson landing the Subaru Restricted and The Rodeo Clown taking the Veteran & Novice Riders Race.
Ridden by the trainer’s son, James, Ronnie Lawson was the more impressive of the duo but The Rodeo Clown’s victory, which was aided by the reapplication of blinkers, was highly significant for his 18-year-old Channel Islands-born rider, Tom Marett, as it was his inaugural success.
The most poignant result of the day came in the Ladies Open as See You Jack, trained near Wymondham by Sandra Fryer, beat Quinsman by a length and a half. For this is likely to be the last ever East Anglian winner between the flags for the reigning National Champion Lady Rider, Bridget Andrews.
Andrews, from Lilley in Hertfordshire, has recently made the difficult decision to turn professional and so, when her licence application is processed, will become ineligible to ride in Points, which are restricted to amateur riders.
A superb ambassador for the sport, she has surely made the right move as her recent strike rate in races under professional rules – ten winners from 35 rides since the start of November – rivals that of Tony McCoy.
Another father-son trainer-jockey combination, this time Nick and Archie Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, gained compensation for their earlier misfortune with Baroque Style when Patsy Finnegan proved seven lengths too strong for his Mens Open rivals.
And trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, maintained the winning habit having saddled a treble at Ampton the previous weekend when Galbally King got the better of Assassino in a match for the Club Members Race.