The Ladies’ Open race at the Essex Farmers & Union Point-To-Point at Marks Tey on Monday will always provide a treasured memory for Lisa Spence.
It may have only have been a three-horse affair, and the hot favourite may have thrown away victory by unshipping its jockey at the penultimate fence. But the result meant that, after a number of years trying, Spence was able to visit the winner’s enclosure for the first time.
Her partner was the unreliable but talented 14-year-old, Corston Joker, who took advantage of the departure of Fair Kiowa to beat Mister Audi by two and a half lengths.
An elated Spence, a 30-year-old livery yard owner from Pebmarsh near Halstead, said: “Corston Joker has taught me a terrific amount and we are always prepared to forgive him his quirky days as on his good days he’s bloody brilliant!”
Sam Hodge was the unfortunate pilot aboard Fair Kiowa and, having had a horse collapse underneath her with fatal consequences at Higham on Saturday, the Saxlingham Nethergate, near Norwich, rider looked set to endure a miserable Easter weekend.
But she dusted down her muddied breeches and within 40 minutes was all smiles again after guiding Wilton Bridge to an easy victory in the Confined Race.
“After Fair Kiowa I was thinking of giving up riding altogether,” Hodge quipped afterwards. Her husband, Angus, pronounced his relief at notching their first success of the season but could not contain his sadness that owner Roger Burroughs had died at the tender age of 51 just weeks before achieving his ambition of leading in a pointing winner.
The first two races on the card belonged to George Cooper, the senior member of East Anglia’s riding fraternity. He took his 2004 tally to six with victories aboard Monarch Ruler, in the Maiden, and Rip Kirby, in the Restricted.
The pair are trained at Raydon, near Hadleigh, by Cooper’s partner, Cherie Cunningham. Monarch Ruler’s success was particularly satisfying as he is the nephew of probably Cooper’s best ever horse, Carl’s Choice, and is the first horse that Cooper has both ridden and bred.
Paul Chinery, from Great Yeldham, strengthened his position at the top of the standings in the County Linen Services East Anglian Novice Men’s Rider title race when guiding Royal Action to a facile success in the closing PPORA Novice Riders’ Race.
The win also took Chinery back into the lead in the Harley Racing National Novice Riders’ Championship. This is an award he is particularly keen to win as the prize includes a lesson with the legendary jumping guru, Yogi Breisner, and he is hoping to pass it on to his 13-year-old daughter, Rosie, who proved her aptitude in the saddle when winning a pony race at Horseheath ten days ago.
Finally, Minino defeated the only other finisher, Nordic Spree, to land the Men’s Open by a distance for his Langham (Colchester) trainer, Wilf Tolhurst, and jockey Alex Merriam, from Eye in Suffolk.
Race One (Open Maiden race):
1 Mr G I Cooper’s Monarch Ruler (Essex Farmers & Union) (Owner),
2 Mr B G Munro_Wilson’s A Fine Story (Cambridge University) (A Williams),
3 Mr A G Chinery’s Baron Bernard (East Essex) (P Chinery).
Also: Catley Cross (pu), Lolloping Lad(pu), Mai Cure (pu), Peats Ridge (pu), Phatic (pu). Top Boots (ref). 9 ran. 2 lengths distance. 6.51 W £4. SP 5-2 (Peats Ridge 9-4 fav).
Race Two (Restricted race):
1 Mr G I Cooper’s Rip Kirby (E Anglian Bloodhounds & Essex) (Owner),
2 Mr A G Chinery’s Ginger Bug (East Essex) (P Chinery),
3 Mr A G C Rowland Jackson’s Federal Case (Suffolk) (A Merriam).
Also: Stick or Bust (4), Lord Montagu (5), Germany Park (6), Changing Fashion (pu), Ical (ur), Lambrini King (pu), Run Monty (pu). 10 ran. 1 length, 10 lengths. 6.54. W £3.50. SP 7-1 (Federal Case 5-2 fav).
Race Three (Mens Open race):
1 Mr B J Kennedy’s Minino (Essex Farmers & Union) (A Merriam),
2 Mrs L Gibbon’s Nordic Spree (Dunston Harriers) (A Sansome).
Also: Ballad (ur). 3 ran. Distance. 6.50. W £1.50. SP 2-5 fav.
Race Four (Ladies Open race):
1 Mrs E M Bousquet-Payne’s Corston Joker (East Essex) (Miss L Spence),
2 The Chequers Club’s Borrow Mine (Cambridge University) (Miss A Bowles).
Also: Fair Kiowa (ur). 3 ran. 2½ lengths. 6.54 W £3 SP 7-4 (Fair Kiowa 1-3 fav).
Race Five (Confined Hunts race):
1 R Burroughs and H B Hodge’s Wilton Bridge (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (Mrs S Hodge).
2 Mr A W K Merriam’s Lord Euro (Dunston Harriers) (A Merriam),
3 Miss C Scott’s Thyne Express (Thurlow) (M Smith).
Also: Sir Williamwallace (4). 4 ran. Distance. 15 lengths. 6.54. W £5. SP 7-2 (Lord Euro 4-5 fav).
Race Six (Novice Riders race):
1 Mr A G Chinery’s Royal Action (East Essex) (P Chinery),
2 Mr A G C Howland Jackson’s Village Copper (Suffolk) (R Stearn).
Also: Mr Moonbeam (ur), Zabadi (pu). 4 ran. 25 lengths. 6.50. W £1.50. SP 1-2 fav.
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