A short head – the smallest possible margin – was all that separated Rydal Park and Cavemanin a spine-tingling conclusion to the Men’s Open Race at the Essex Farmers & Union Point-To-Point at Marks Tey on Sunday.
The two horses were inseperable throughout the final half mile of the contest and, as they crossed the finish line, it was impossible to tell which was in front. Different observers had different opinions, and some felt that Caveman had prevailed, but the only opinion that mattered belonged to the judge, and he gave the verdict to Rydal Park.
Trained and ridden by David Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford, Rydal Park thus gained revenge for a narrow defeat at the hands of the same rival two weeks earlier.
The Ladies’ Open was almost as exciting, but this time the naked eye was able to determine that Mid Div And Creep had dug deep into her reserves of courage to hold off Inaro and her old rival, King du Berlais, by half a length and a length.
Trained at North Weald by Derek Harding-Jones, this was Mid Div And Creep’s third win of the season and she is set to try to defend her unbeaten course record at her favourite venue, Horseheath, on April 10.
Tight finishes were the order of the day with the last five of the seven races all being decided by a length or less. The Men’s Open apart, the closest came in the Restricted Race as Evening Echo overhauled the front-running Crosby by a neck.Evening Echo is trained at Bishop’s Stortford by Lauren Michelli and well ridden by her partner, Andrew Braithwaite. The result represented a deserved change in fortune for owner Roy Green, from Soham, as his horses had suffered from a spate of injuries and sickness in the previous few weeks.
Jockey Gina Andrews, who went close to making all aboard Crosby, duly pulled off the feat two races later when Coleraine proved uncatchable, denying the late thrust of Rockfield by a length in the second division of the Maiden.
The other division saw a third success of the season for trainer-rider Andrew Pennock, from Monks Eleigh, as Cavanquarter passed the post half a length in front of Massapoag to give Pennock’s father-in-law, Nick Edwards, from Mile End in Colchester, his first win as an owner.
Lady Ann Lewis, trained at Pebmarsh, near Halstead, by Paula Twinn, proved herself a very doughty customer as, just 48 hours after finishing an honourable fourth in a Fakenham Hunter Chase, she had recovered well enough to score a comfortable success in the Hunt Race.
Finally, the day’s most impressive victor, and arguably the horse most worth following from all that ran during a highly competitive afternoon of action, was Thatmakestwoofus in the Confined Race.Trained at Semer by Tory Hayter, who has nursed his back to full fitness since he was found to be suffering from a rare sugar allergy, Thatmakestwoofus routed his 11 rivals by 25 lengths and clocked a very fast time in the process.