Bill Poulton made a remarkable winning debut in the saddle at the age of 46 as Sha Bihangrabbed a popular local victory at the Easton Harriers Point-To-Point at High Easter yesterday on Sunday.
Poulton, who lives just a couple of miles from the course at Aythorpe Roding, looked surprisingly stylish for such a late starter. And, unpeturbed by Lord Euro sneaking up his inside on the home bend, he kept his cool to guide Sha Bihan to an eight length verdict.
Asked to describe the race, Poulton, who had lost a stone in order to make the weight, admitted that it was: “all a bit of a blur. I was gobsmacked by the speed, it’s absolutely incredible, early on I was sure we were going too fast.”
Two more experienced East Anglian riders, Alex Vaughan-Jones and Louise Allan, got off the mark for the season while Newmarket-based Harry Fowler, who had to wait until last Sunday for his intial strike, was on target once more aboard Jack Ford in division one of the Maiden.
This was a fine ride as Jack Ford, who ran in the colours of Jeffrey Bowles, from Rushall, near Diss, and is trained at Chediston by John Ibbott, did not always jump fluently and still had plenty of ground to make up on the leader, The Legal Limit, approaching the second last.
But Fowler timed his run to perfection, hitting the front just after the last and going on to score by a length.
Allan’s winning margin was even smaller – just three-quarters of a length – as she gave trainer Joe Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, a second victory of the campaign with Full Irish in the Ladies Open.
High Easter is rapidly becoming a favourite venue for Vaughan-Jones, originally from Wells-Next-the-Sea but now a Londoner, as he has triumphed at each of its last three fixtures.
This time his partner was Lord Of The Knar, who overcame almost being carried off the course in a melee at the sixth last so that Alex could give a Mother’s Day success to his mum, Alice, who owns the gelding in conjunction with Gary Luck.
The fastest time of the day was achieved by the impressive Go North, who took his 2009 tally to three when coasting 20 lengths clear in the Mens Open. He is trained at Wymondham by Nibby Bloom and owned by Sandra Fryer.
The other two races both resulted in thrilling finishes. The second Maiden saw Northants raider Rules Appply get the better of a ding-dong battle with Monashee Grey by a head while the Warwickshire visitor, Tribal Venture, stopped Sam Vaughan-Jones, brother of Alex, from completing a family double in the closing Novice Riders’ Race, scoring by three-quarters of a length.
Race One (High Easter Hunts Members Race):
1 W Poulton’s Sha Bihan (Essex) (Owner),
2 Mrs J K Marriage’s Lord Euro (Essex) (Mrs N Cook). Only two finished.
Also: Andsosayallofus (pu), Reymysterio (ur). Eight lengths. 6.37. SP Evens Fav.
Race Two (Open Maiden Race, Division One):
1 J Bowles, J Parker and Mrs M Ibbott’s Jack Ford (Waveney Harriers) (R H Fowler),
2 A Winchester and Miss K Thory’s The Legal Limit (Cambridge University) (M Smith),
3 The Mirage Prince Group’s Mirage Prince (Fernie) (P Millington).
Also: Cavanquarter (4), Toe to Hand (5), Sodantay (6), Chan Bahlum (pu), Mill Five Acre (pu), Poachers Blend (pu). One length, half a length. 6.33. SP 4-2 (Poachers Blend 2-1 fav).
Race Three (Open Maiden Race, Division Two):
1 P Millington’s Rules Apply (Cottesmore) (Owner),
2 Mr and Mrs A Templeton’s Monashee Grey (E Anglian Bloodhounds) (A Pennock),
3 N Padfield’s Creadon Boy (Essex) (Miss G Andrews).
Also: Three of a Kind (4), Lusus (5), Alfie Atkins (pu), Ciderlay (ur), Hello Bill (pu), Love in the Air (pu). Head, 10 lengths. 6.36. SP 16-1 (Love in the Air 5-4 fav).
Race Four (Men’s Open Race):
1 Mrs S Fryer’s Go North (Dunston Harriers) (J Docker),
2 R Waley-Cohen’s Organiz (Warwicks) (S Waley-Cohen),
3 W Poulton’s Hatsnall (E Kent) (J Sole).
Also: Dead Mans Dante (pu), Stavordale Lad (pu). Twenty lengths, one and a half lengths. 6.24. SP 5-4 fav.
Race Five (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Full Irish (Suffolk) (Miss L Allan),
2 Mrs S Fryer’s Bunratty Sole (Dunston Harriers) (Miss G Andrews),
3 M Ward and H Hill’s Mister Swallow (Cambridge University) (Miss R Ward).
Also: Marmalade Mountain (ur). Three-quarters of a length, 20 lengths. 6.26. SP 10-11 fav.
Race Six (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs A Vaughan-Jones’ Lord of the Knar (Pytchley) (Alex Vaughan-Jones),
2 R Green’s Well Corned (Cambridge University) (M Smith),
3 Mrs M Martin and M Ward’s Nomadic Blaze (Granta Harriers) (Miss R Ward).
Also: Olympe de Farges (4), No Nay Never (5), Inchadoney Boy (6), Lyric Maestro (7), Captain Marshall (f), Ski Dazzle (pu), Ten Horse Power (bd). Ten lengths, 10 lengths. 6.26. SP 5-1 (Olympe de Farges evens fav).
Race Seven (PPORA Club Members Race, Novice Riders):
1 A Murphy’s Tribal Venture (Croome and W Warwicks) (O Murphy),
2 Mrs A Vaughan-Jones’ The Fairhill Boy (W Norfolk) (S Vaughan-Jones),
3 Miss T Ward and Miss R Ward’s Magic to Do (Granta Harriers) (Miss R Ward).
Also: Mr Naborro (4), Winapenny (5), Rockville (6), Birdwatch (7), King Eider (f), Supreme Vintage (ur), Who Cares Wins (f). Three-quarters of a length, three-quarters of a length. 6.31. SP 5-4 fav.