Run Monty gave his still fully-endowed owner, David Lay, a first Point-To-Point victory as a trainer at the East Essex meeting at Marks Tey on Saturday.

After the Matthew Mackley-ridden Run Monty had disposed of his 15 rivals in the Confined Maiden Race, Lay, from Kersey near Hadleigh, explained: “The more this horse bites the better he feels. He bit me right next to my crown jewels last week!”

Lay was quick to deflect some of the glory onto Jo Williams, who rides the horse every morning, and sidelined jockey Tim Lane, who suggested that Run Monty might be suited to Marks Tey after his previous start at Higham.

Lane badly broke his leg in a race fall at High Easter the previous Sunday and Mackley was quickly in touch with his mate, who is still laid up in Broomfield Hospital. “I’m going to share this bottle of bubbly with you later,” Mackley said, clutching the winner’s champagne in one hand and a phone in the other. “What else do you want, Chinese or McDonalds?”

Rob Mine had his Cheltenham hopes dashed by Splash And Dash, who denied him the victory required to qualify for next month’s National Hunt Festival in the Men’s Open. It was only the second time that Rob Mine has been defeated when completing in Points and all credit to Splash And Dash, who its trained at Rye in East Sussex by Sara Hickman and was ridden by her husband, Andrew.

Still very immature according to his pilot, Splash And Dash took up the running jumping the second last and Rob Mine soon capitulated, eventually going down by 12 lengths. The winner now has a Novice Hunter Chase at Leicester on his agenda while Rob Mine will be freshened up before going for the Foxhunters over the Grand National fences at Aintree.

The first five races all saw hot favourites turned over at odds of 5-4 or shorter, the trend beginning when Royal Action got the better of a good duel with market leader Aughmor River in the Members’ Race.

Ridden by Great Yeldham’s Paul Chinnery in his father’s blue and white quartered colours, Royal Action has become less of a picky eater since changing to Baileys Horse Feeds last year. Consequently he is ‘bigger and better’ according to his jockey and really takes a cut at his fences.

Zoe Turner, from Ampton near Bury St Edmunds, finally got off the mark for the season after a string of near-misses when partnering Celtic Duke to victory in the Ladies’ Open. After having finished runner-up in his two previous 2003 starts, new front-running tactics were adopted on Celtic Duke here and they paid dividends as he stayed on strongly to beat Storm Castle and Village Copper by three lengths and a head.

“He has to have competition and slightly lost interest at Higham last time,” Turner admitted, “so it was very helpful that Village Copper was upsides me the whole time today.”

A soft palate operation has clearly worked wonders for Cinnamon Club as she notched her second triumph from three starts this term when holding off The Red Boy by a length and a half in the Confined Race.

Ridden by Stuart Morris, Cinnamon Club is trained at Glemsford by Ruth Hayter, who said: “She really wants faster ground and we worried about running her on such a demanding course.”

Alex Merriam, from Eye in Suffolk,. is a young rider making a name for himself at present and he was seen to good effect when guiding Always On The Line to a four length defeat of Topical Tip in the Countryside Alliance Novice Riders’ Race. Always On The Line can be a real handful but Merriam had him in ‘Position A’ throughout the contest and, riding to the letter of instructions given by Wymondham trainer Mike Bloom, he hit the front at the second last and was sensibly allowed to fiddle the last when a clear lead had been established.

It is a pleasure to report that five of the seven races went to East Anglians, but the longest distance traveller of all was rewarded in the finale – the Restricteed Race – when Dorset raider Cantenac Brown was three lengths too doughty for To Milan. Cantenac Brown, who had run in Cornwall on his previous start, was providing a first winner in this country for Nick McDiarmid, 17, from County Limerick in Ireland.

Overall it was another fine afternoon’s sport with 74 runners taking part on a well-prepared course and ground that was only marginally on the soft side of ‘good’.


Race One (Hunt Race):

1 A G Chinery’s Royal Action (East Essex) (Paul Chinery),

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

3 S Fordham’s Alpha Two (East Essex) (N Moore).

Also: Jymjam Johnny (pu), Monsukh (pu), The Burglar (pu), Warrior’s Spirit (pu). 1½ lengths, 10 lengths. 7m 01s. W £3.70. SP 9-4 (Aughmor River 4-5 fav).

Race Two (Confined Maiden Race):

1 D & W Lay’s Run Monty (Essex and Suffolk) (M Mackley),

2 Ms A-M Hays’ Bush Hill Bandit (Thurlow) (R Fowler),

3 Mr & Mrs W Wales’ Second Thoughts (West Norfolk) (N Bloom).

Also: Granny Dick (4), Gunner Be True (5), Ginger Bug (6), Pakochino (7), Brookfield Bass (8), Cherokee Red (pu), Cosmic Sky (pu), Just Jove (f), Good Thyne Murphy (co), Midnight Dynamite (pu), Mighty Miss Flighty (f), Pendils Charm (pu), Run River Run (pu). Two lengths, 15 lengths. 7m 03s. W £4.30. SP 3-1 (Bush Hill Bandit 5-4 fav).

Race Three (Confined Race):

1 Mrs C Villar & Mr T Batterby’s Cinnamon Club (Suffolk) (S Morris),

2 C H Sporborg’s The Red Boy (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),

3 A Ayers’ Native Status (E Anglian Bloodhounds) (owner).

Also: Ballyea Boy (4), Pampered Gale (5), Dockmaster (6), Americain Paddy (pu), Musical Hit (pu), The Rural Dean (pu). 1 lengths, 10 lengths. 6m 57s. W £7.10. SP 7-2 (The Red Boy 11-10 fav).

Race Four (Men’s Open Race):

1 M Smith’s Splash And Dash (E Sussex & Romney Marsh) (A Hickman),

2 Sir C Keswick & C Sporborg’s Rob Mine (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),

3 Miss B Lewis’ Game Gunner (Worcestershire) (M Appleby).

Also: Corston Joker (4), Ballad (5), Over The Master (pu), Vital Issue (pu). 12 lengths, 6 lengths. 6m 51s. W £2. SP 2-1 (Rob Mine 4-6 fav).

Race Five (Ladies’ Open Race):

1 J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),

2 N Cronin’s Storm Castle (Kent & Surrey Bloodhounds) (Miss J Wickens),

3 Mr & Mrs A Howland-Jackson’s Village Copper (Suffolk) (Miss A Stennett).

Also: Dook’s Delight (4), Forest Run Forest (5), Haydance (pu), Mai Point (pu). 3 lengths, head. 6m 56s. W £3.80. SP 5-2 (Storm Castle 5-4 fav).

Race Six (Countryside Alliance Novice Riders):

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

2 Miss E Boone’s Topical Tip (Quorn) (owner),

3 T Ellis’ Wibbley Wobbley (Warwickshire) (owner).

Also: Man Of Steele (4), Garrison Friendly (5), Avondale Illusion (6), Jack Hackett (7), Livin It Up (8), Ben’s Gift (pu), Commasarris (pu), Master Jake (ur), Moorland High Flyer (pu), Senso (pu), Step In Line (pu). 4 lengths, 8 lengths. 6m 58s. W £3.50. SP 5-2 jt fav (Wibbley Wobbley 5-2 jt fav).

Race Seven (Restricted Race):

1 J Boulter & Miss F Wilkins’ Cantenac Brown (Portman) (N McDiarmid),

2 N J Pewter’s To Milan (Suffolk) (Mrs H Edwards),

3 J M Turner’s Westfield John (Suffolk) (J Owen).

Also: Rip Kirby (4), Whichway Girl (5), China Box (6), Kingfisher Star (7), Gaora Cross (f), Itsthebrass (bd), Lindron (f), Lone Star (pu), Paper Prince (pu), Pharangel (pu), Therewearethen (pu). Three lengths, seven lengths. 6m 58s. W £9.50. SP 4-1 (China Box 2-1 fav).