East Anglian horses dominated proceedings on a gloriously sunny day at Marks Tey on Sunday for the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt Point-to-Point. Top honours were shared by Lauren and Andrew Braithwaite and George Cooper and Rupert Stearn, as both partnerships enjoyed memorable doubles on the day.
George Cooper who is based at Raydon near Hadleigh in Suffolk began the day on a high note with a horse he bred, owns and trains just as he had done twelve months previously. Last year Foulstons Ruler was successful in the opening Hunts Club Members Race and his younger half brother Mambo Ruler followed suit this year defeating his two rivals under jockey Rupert Stearn, East Anglian Men’s Champion last season. The partnership then teamed up successfully again with another younger half sister later on the card in the Restricted Race, as Midnight Ruler capped a famous day for George Cooper and his broodmare Springlark. Midnight Ruler followed up her maiden win at Fakenham last April with an impressive seasonal reappearance and looks an exciting prospect.
Having moved her training establishment to Crockford Stud in Newmarket last summer, Lauren Braithwaite was understandably delighted to saddle her first winner since the move when Evening Echo jumped superbly and responded to a powerful ride from her husband Andrew to win the Confined Hunts Race for owner Roy Green. Last year’s winner The Piper’s Son was well held back in third in a dramatic contest where Corporate Account’s bit snapped early in the race leaving his rider Rupert Stearn with no steering causing him to carry out the favourite Cheyanwe and then in an unrelated incident Art Trend slipped up on the home turn when challenging.
The Braithwaites doubled up when well-backed favourite Johnstown Castle, also part-owned by Roy Green, won the first division of the Open Maiden under an equally assertive ride. This was a 50th career success for jockey Andrew Braithwaite. Johnstown Castle had finished second in a maiden at North Carlton on his debut for the Braithwaites in late January and is a progressive performer.
The most impressive winner of the day was certainly local stalwart Caveman in the Mens Open, who was always travelling well for his regular rider George Greenock and strode clear to register a comfortable success in this race for the second consecutive year. Caveman has now racked up an amazing five victories at Marks Tey and fourteen victories in Point-to-Points in all. Trainer Nigel Bloom, based near Wymondham in Norfolk, noted the wonderful enthusiasm of the twelve year-old Caveman and stated that the horse is likely to be kept on the go throughout the spring as he enjoys the better ground.
The preceding Ladies Open was won in exciting front-running style by the only winner on the day from outside East Anglia, as despite proving difficult at the start, Worcestershire raider Rainbow Tree ran his rivals into submission. Birthday girl Alex Dunn from Himbleton in Worcestershire rode and trained the winner for her mother Katherine Smith-Maxwell, vice chairman of the Point-to-Point Secretaries Association. The nine-hour round trip proved worthwhile as the twelve year-old hung on gallantly from Nigel Padfield’s Emergency Cover who performed with great credit on his first run since being recruited from Ireland.
The closing contest, division two of the Open Maiden, was won in authoritative fashion by Chief Of The Park for trainer, jockey and part owner David Kemp from Kilverstone near Thetford in Norfolk. A slight injury had kept the horse off the track since finishing a close second on his debut at Horseheath over a year ago, but he should be making up for lost time very soon if this success is anything to go by.
Marks Tey Hunts Club Members Race
1 Mambo Ruler – Rupert Stearn 1/2f
2 Halcyon Times – David Kemp
3 Lady Ann Lewis – Max Kendrick
Time 6 mins 43 secs Dists: 4L, 6L 3 ran
1 Evening Echo – Andrew Braithwaite 4/1
2 Carapuce – Dale Peters
3 The Piper’s Son – Joe Docker
Time 6-33 Dists: 1L, 12L 8 ran Cheyanwe 6/4f (Carried Out)
1 Rainbow Tree – Alex Dunn 4/1
2 Emergency Cover – Bridget Andrews
3 Scots Dragoon – Camilla Henderson
Time 6-24 Dists: 1/2L 20L 8 ran Mysaynoway 2/1f (PU)
1 Caveman – George Greenock 9/4
2 Sigma Digital – David Kemp
3 Whatever Next – Sam Davies-Thomas
Time 6-22 Dists: 15L, 6L 10 ran Rupin 6/4f (6th)
1 Midnight Ruler – Rupert Stearn 9/2
2 Argentato – Bridget Andrews
3 Ted Gunther – Dale Peters
Time 6-24 Dists: 4L, 2L 14 ran Greatballsoffire 4/1f (PU)
Open Maiden Div One
1 Johnstown Castle – Andrew Braithwaite 2/1f
2 Salsero – Georgie Thorogood
3 Sum Say So – Phillip Hall
Time 6-33 Dists: 4L, 5L 13 Ran
Open Maiden Div Two
1 Chief Of The Park – David Kemp 3/1
2 Turtle Boys – Ben Rivett
3 Baltic Blue – Carey Williamson
Time 6-31 Dists: 6L, 6L 13 ran On The Arthur 5/2f (PU)
138cm and Under
1 Churchill – William Rekett 2/5f
2 Calelvaldor Shamio – Fergus Head
3 Charlie – Charlotte Ingleton
Time 1-20 Dists: 4L, 3L 7 ran
148cm and under
1 Doppio Moviemento – Jack Andrews 2/5f
2 Fitzwarren Field Of Dreams – India Taylor
3 Tricky Vicky – Charlotte Wyatt
Time 1-47 6L, 20L 7 ran