Hatcham Boy came back to form with bang by landing the Men’s Open Race at the Easton Harriers Point-To-Point at High Easter yesterday (Sunday).
Ridden by Christian Ward-Thomas, the 12-year-old hit the front jumping the second last and held the late challenge of Life’s Work by a length with Who Am I the same distance back in third and the front-running Kentish Bard a close fourth.
Hatcham Boy has been a stalwart of East Anglian pointing over the past few seasons, winning seven times, but he had shown little of his usual zest in five previous starts this term.
Owner Anthony Howland Jackson was reluctant to run him so soon after his most recent disappointment, at Horseheath on March 2. But he was persuaded by trainer Ruth Hayter, from Glemsford, near Sudbury, who insisted that Hatcham Boy was a spring horse who would bounce off the good ground.
Hayter has a big day to look forward to on Thursday as she will be saddling her first ever Foxhunters runner when the talented but headstrong Dry Highline, buoyed by lesson from the jumping guru, Yogi Breisner, runs at Cheltenham.
Hayter and Howland Jackson went close to completing an Open Race double but Gatchou Mans, ridden by Hayter’s daughter, Tori, failed by half a length to overhaul Celtic Duke in the Ladies’ Open.
Celtic Duke was another horse to enjoy the wind-dried ground as he gave jockey Zoe Turner, from Ampton near Bury St Edmunds, her first win of the season.
A more notable riding first came in the second of two Maiden Races when Sylvain Salmon, a Frenchman who now lives and works in Newmarket, notched his inaugural victory aboard Thunderbird.
This was a remarkable race, as Thunderbird was fully 15 lengths behind the leaders jumping the third last but closed relentlessly up the final hill and eventually beat Barbed Broach by two lengths. Thunderbird is owned and trained near Royston by Harry Hobson.
The other Maiden went to Kingfisher Star, who was hardly winning out of turn on his 18th career start. Still only seven-years-old, the Derrylin gelding was guided to a two length defeat of the highly promising Stormy Crossing, much to the delight of his five-strong syndicate of owners, ‘The White Stick Racing Club’, headed by Dudley Morgan, from Swavesey, near Cambridge.
Ballad, who had run so well on his return from a long lay-off the previous Saturday, was surprisingly allowed to start at odds of 20-1 in the PPORA Confined Race. And the Neil King-ridden colt, who is trained at Brent Pelham by David Featherstone, rewarded his supporters handsomely with a two length defeat of The Rural Dean.
Tap The Father, trained at Runcton Holme near Downham Market by Fred Farrow, was a lucky spare ride for Paul Taiano as he proved ten lengths too strong for his rivals in the Intermediate Race.
And New Ross, who was ridden by Nigel Bloom because Alexander Merriam was otherwise engaged sitting an ‘A’ level exam, landed the Members’ Race for Alexander’s parents, Andrew and Jean, from Eye.
Race One (Hunt Race):
1 A W K Merriam’s New Ross (Easton Harriers) (N Bloom),
2 N King’s Rathgibbon (Easton Harriers) (owner),
2 J Miller and Miss S Shimmon’s Moores Melodies (Easton Harriers) (Miss S Shimmon).
Also: Pharangel (4), Arkay (5), Act On Impulse (ur), Jymjam Johnny (ur). Distances: Fifteen lengths, fifteen lengths. 7m 03s. W £6.03. DF £6.20. SP 13-2 (Rathgibbon evens fav).
Race Two (Open Maiden Race 5, 6 and 7 year olds):
1 Whitestick Racing’s Kingfisher Star (Cambridgeshire) (T Lane),
2 M J Bloom’s Stormy Crossing (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom),
3 M G Sheppard’s Pharout (Cambridgeshire) (P Taiano).
Also: Parsonhumfrywebber (4), Bathwick Annie (f), Bruan (ur), Crown Rule (pu), Gaelic Lord (ur), Mai Knight (pu), Shinning Note (pu). Distances: Two lengths, a distance. 6m54s. W £5.50. DF £15.50. SP 9-2 (Bathwick Annie 6-4fav).
Race Three (Open Maiden Race 8 year olds and upwards):
1 H Hobson’s Thunderbird (Puckeridge) (S Salmon),
2 N Padfield’s Barbed Broach (Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace) (A Sansome),
3 T Buxton’s Dream Weaver (Mid-Surrey Farmers Drag) (G Cooper).
Also: Cardinal Way (4), Brave The Waves (pu), Classic Model (f), Company Commander (pu), Double Express (pu), Grey Fusilier (pu), Life Of A Star (pu), Paleface Perhaps (f), Skirmishing (ur), Tell Monty (ur). Distances: Two lengths, two lengths. 6m 58s. W £10.00. DF £6.10. SP 5-1 (Company Commander 7-4fav).
Race Four (Men’s Open Race):
1 A Howland-Jackson’s Hatcham Boy (Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas),
2 M Gorman’s Life’s Work (Crawley and Horsham) (owner),
3 Letshavefun Partnership’s Who Am I (North Norfolk Harriers) (N Bloom).
Also: Kentish Bard (4), Jimmy Dan (5), Drumlin (6), Another Hubblick (pu), Bauble (pu), Eden’s Close (pu), Spuffington (pu),
Still In Business (pu). Distances: One length, one length. 6m 49s. W £3.90. DF £3.50. SP 4-1 (Who Am I 6-4fav).
Race Five (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 A Howland-Jackson’s Gatchou Mans
(Suffolk) (Miss T Hayter),
3 The Flindicate’s Our Man Flin (Vale of Aylesbury) (Miss E Neyens).
Also: Ruth’s Boy (4), Linlathen (5), Come On Elish (6), Senso (7), Glass Breaker (8), Royal Artic (9), Uron V (10), Kings Mandate (11), Foodbroker Star (pu), The Secret Grey (ur). Distances: Half a length, two lengths. 6m 47s. W £10.00. DF £16.20. SP 6-1 (Linlathen 2-1fav).
Race Six (Intermediate Race):
1 F Farrow and Mrs Gaward’s Tap The Father (West Norfolk) (P Taiano),
2 W Stone’s Lovelock (Fitzwilliam) (N King),
3 W Tolhurst’s Manna Brave (Essex and Suffolk) (C Ward-Thomas).
Also: Gawngadinn (4), Tohunga (5), Mister Audi (6), Alfredo Garcia (7), Right Company (8), Bakmalad (pu), Glencoy (pu), River Gala (pu). Distances: Ten lengths, ten lengths. 6m 48s. W £2.40. DF £6.50. SP 7-4fav.
Race Seven (PPORA Club Confined Race):
1 Mrs E Featherstone’s Ballad (Puckeridge) (N King),
2 Mr and Mrs S Howlett’s The Rural Dean (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom),
3 S J Stearn’s Socerer’s Drum (Suffolk) (R Stearn).
Also: Remilan (4), Society Lad (5), Doctor Dunklin (pu), Endeavour (f), Layham Low (ur), Mind Your Step (pu), Monyman (ur),
Saleel (ur). Distances: Two lengths, half a length. 6m 54s. W £12.00. DF £24.60. SP 20-1 (Endeavour 1-2fav).