Sir Williamwallace gave a braveheart performance to slay the bookies at the Essex Farmers and Union Point-To-Point at Marks Tey on Easter Monday.
Owned and trained at Hundon, near Haverhill, by David Claydon and Cheryl Vickers, Sir Williamwallace has been sweetened up by a full season of hunting since joining them in the autumn and was backed in from 8-1 to 3-1 following a promising Pointing debut earlier thus month.
The son of Strong Gale did not let his supporters down, finding just enough on the uphill run-in to hold off Society Lad and take the Confined Race by a length and a half.
The winning connections are to marry next month and Vickers joked afterwards: “If we can survive training and owning a horse together then we should be able to survive married life. All that I’ve ever wanted in life is an emerald ring, a husband and a Strong Gale – and soon I will have all three!”
Sir Williamwallace was a spare ride for Alan Coe, who lives within a few miles of Marks Tey, as his intended pilot, Rachael Barrow, broke her collar bone at Higham on Saturday.
Coe also enjoyed a walkover in the meeting’s opening race, the Maiden, aboard Mighty Missflighty and the double brought Coe’s career tally to 50 winners in the saddle.
Clerk of the course Bob Foster, and especially his waterer-in-chief, Jeremy Moore, had done a fantastic job irrigating the course with over 200,000 gallons of water, but firm ground was inevitable and only 23 runners contested the six races.
Half of these contests went to a trio of doughty 13-year-olds – Native Status, Linlathen and Hatcham Boy – proving that experience can overcome youth in the Point-To-Point field.
Hatcham Boy was only five years younger than his partner, Wymondham’s Rupert Stearn, in the Novice Riders’ Race. But the pairing gelled well and Hatcham Boy, who is trained at Glemsford by Ruth Hayter, made almost all of the running to score by 15 lengths.
Hatcham Boy is still not the horse he once was and is likely to be retired at the end of the season but Native Status may have earned himself another year in training after winning his fourth race from five 2003 starts in the Mens Open.
Ridden by Gestingthorpe’s Andrew Ayers, his was a seventh victory of the campaign for Great Yeldham handler Robert Gardiner.
Linlathen made the trip down from Market Harborough worthwhile by landing the Ladies’ Open for the Hutchinson family while the Restricted Race went to Therewearethen – a first success as a trainer for Sarah Humphrey, from West Wratting.
Winning jockey Tony Humphrey was quick to pay homage to his wife after Therewearethen’seffort, saying “Sarah has been my coach and inspiration for taking up the sport.”
Race One (Open Maiden Race):
1 Mrs E M Bousquet-Payne’s Mighty Missflighty (East Essex) (A Coe). Walked Over.
Race Two (Restricted Race):
1 A R and Mrs S J Humphrey’s Therewearethen (Thurlow) (A Humphrey),
2 D Hays’ Glad All Over (Essex Farmers and Union) (owner),
3 Mrs C R Page’s The Burglar (East Essex) (K Sheppard).
Also Mr Sizzler (pu).Two-and-a-half lengths, a head. 6m 58s. SP 3-1. Glad All Over evens fav.
Race Three (Mens’ Open Race):
1 A Ayers’ Native Status (E Anglian Bloodhounds) (owner),
2 Mr A G Chinery’s Royal Action (East Essex) (P Chinery),
3 J and M Morrey and Miss N King’s Mill O’The Rags (Suffolk) (N King).
Also Cheerful Aspect (pu). Two lengths, a distance. 6m 34s. SP 1-2 fav.
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mrs S Hutchinson’s Linlathen (Fernie) (Miss G Hutchinson),
2 Mr and Mrs A Howland Jackson’s Village Copper (Suffolk) (Miss A Stennett),
3 Ms A E Embiricos’ Ruth’s Boy (Cambridge University) (owner).
Also Mai Pont (4). 20 lengths, three lengths. 6m 31s. SP 9-4. Village Copper 5-4 fav.
Race Five (Confined Hunts Race):
1 D L Claydon’s Sir Williamwallace (East Essex) (A Coe),
2 Miss A Bowles’ Society Lad (Waveney Harriers) (owner),
3 Mrs M Merriam’s New Ross (Dunston Harriers) (A Merriam).
Also Holmby Copse (4), Ballad (pu), Dockmaster (pu). One-and-a-half lengths, five lengths. 6m 44s. SP 3-1. New Ross 5-4 fav.
Race Six (PPORA Club Novice Riders Race):
1 Mr and Mrs A Howland-Jackson’s Hatcham Boy (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
2 G L Lyster’s Gawngaddin (Dunston Harriers) (A Merriam),
3 J Glenister and M Ward’s Castle Road (Granta Harriers) (Miss F Hatfield).
Also Wrekengale (su). 15 lengths, a distance. 6m 45s. SP 6-4. Wrekengale 5-4 fav.