Easter Monday 2010 is a day that will live long in the memory of Stuart Higgins, from Erpingham, near Aylsham, as it was the day that he rode his first point-to-point winner at the Essex Farmers & Union meeting at Marks Tey.
18-year-old Higgins scored aboard Mill Five Acre, who proved three lengths too strong for the recent Irish import, Benbaystar, in the Open Maiden race
Higgins was quick to pay tribute to Tina Hayward, from Heydon, who both owns and trains his mount. “Tina has taught me everything and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t even be involved in racing,” he said.
The other star of the day was the brilliant mare, Mid Div And Creep, who took her seasonal record to four wins and a second with an outstanding display in the Ladies’ Open.Trained at North Weald by Derek Harding-Jones, Mid Div And Creep jumped the fences superbly and made every yard of the running to defeat another admirable mare, Forget The Ref, by an easy 12 lengths in the fastest time of the day.
This win secured the Marks Tey riders title for her pilot, Kelly Smith, from Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, and also allowed Smith to draw level with Gina Andrews at the head of the East Anglian lady riders’ standings on the day that Andrews suffered a broken collar bone in a fall in a novice chase at Huntingdon.
Another rider on the up is 17-year-old Jack Quinlan, from Newmarket, who took his career total to three when guiding Belavard to a two and a half length score over Broken Beau in the Restricted Race.
The rest of the card was dominated by horses that had finished second, third and fourth behind Foulstons Ruler in a race at High Easter on March 27.
Fourth-placed The Painkiller took advantage of a dismal effort by the hot favourite, Braeroy, to make every yard of the running in the Men’s Open. Trained at Wymondham by Nigel Bloom and ridden by George Greenock, The Painkiller has proved difficult to get fit following a two and a half year absence with leg problems.Even now he rarely does anything more than canter at home but, if the going remains on the soft side, he should continue to progress.
Jazz Attack, who was third at High Easter, stayed on ten lengths too strongly for another odds-on favourite, Thatmakestwoofus, to take the Intermediate Race under Newmarket-based jockey, Harry Fowler.
And the runner-up in that High Easter contest, Parkinson, had too many guns for his six rivals in the Novice Riders’ Race and eventually crossed the line 15 lengths clear.
This was a fourth winner of the weekend for Joe Turner, who owns and trains a strong string of horses at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, and a second of the holiday period for his grandson, rider Ed Turner.