Robert Abrey, from Wretham, near Thetford, celebrated his first ever training double at the Essex Point-To-Point meeting at High Easter on Saturday.
Another giant crowd enjoyed the sunshine as, just five days after brother and sister Monarch Ruler and Iceni Ruler had won at Marks Tey, another pair of siblings won races on the same card as Cosmic Sky lifted the Confined Race and Combe Castle took the Open Maiden.
Both were trained by Abrey, bred at Hockham by Major Richard Wilson and ridden by Wymondham’s Rupert Stearn – who was raising his seasonal tally to 13, not only a massive personal best but one clear of David Kemp in the race for the East Anglian Jockeys’ Title.
Cosmic Sky was scoring for the fourth time in 2006 and was making amends for his previous visit to this rustic venue, when he unseated Stearn on the way to the start, bolted and was eventually caught many miles from the course having led his pursuers a merry dance.
Abrey has since found the key to this difficult character – plenty of time, and plenty of work, between his appearances so that he is not too fresh come race day.
Combe Castle finally got his head in front for the first time at the age of ten when holding off the challenge of Bold Jogger by three lengths. It was a deserved success, but he will never have the talent of his younger brother.
In the Restricted Race, Kemp kept Stearn’s lead in the title race down to one when he took his own score for the year to 12 aboard the Harry Hobson-trained and -bred Scare Lotte.She was a spare ride with regular pilot Sylvain Salmon unavailable and it looked like substitute Kemp, from Kilverstone, was in for an easy triumph when Scare Lotte bore down on Saffronto, ridden by Kemp’s great rival, James Owen, approaching the second last fence.
But the mare made a bad error and, although she soon regained her balance and quickened past her toiling rival, another mistake at the last meant that Kemp had to employ more trapeze artist balancing skills for the pair to get home by two lengths.
Owen, from Newmarket, had earlier got his name on the scoresheet for the tenth time this term when the Nigel Padfield-trained Lisnagar Hide proved two lengths too fast for Pampered Gale in the Club Members Race.
The same winning margin was recorded in the Ladies’ Open race, where the grandfather and granddaughter trainer-jockey team of Joe and Zoe Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, was responsible for the winner, The Wiley Kalmuck.
Only three lined up for the Men’s Open but it produced possibly the most exciting finish of the entire season. Leader Bard of Drumcoo appeared to have the race at his mercy until he jumped the last violently to the right and suddenly stopped going forward.
At the same time, his nearest pursuer, Wincy Spider, was coming to the end of his tether and only Royal Action, who was miles behind with two furlongs to run, seemed capable of raising a gallop.
All three results were possible in the last few yards, but Wincy Spider, who is trained near Towcester by Anna Brooks and was ridden by Henry Kinchin, prevailed by a neck from Royal Action with Bard of Drumcoo only half a length back in third.
Race One (High Easter Hunts Club Members Race):
1 N W Padfield’s Lisnagar Hide (Essex) (J Owen),
2 The Marriage Family’s Pampered Gale (Essex) (Mrs N Cook),
3 JFlint’s Pampered lad (Essex) (A Pennock).
Also: Moss Campian (4), Scalby Croft (pu). Two lengths, half a length. 6.39. W £2.40. DF £2.20. SP 4-7 fav.
Race Two (Confined Race):
1 R Abrey and Major and Mrs R Wilson’s Cosmic Sky (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
2 C Sporborg’s Rob Mine (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
3 Mrs C J Kemp’s Young Lord (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: Baron Bernard (4), Kicasso (pu). Fifteen lengths, 10 lengths. 6.31. W £2.50. DF £1.50. SP 4-6 fav.
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs R E Hobson’s Scare Lotte (Puckeridge) (D Kemp),
2 J M Turner’s Saffronto (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 C Sporborg and H Hill’s Lightningconductor (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite).
Two lengths, 15 lengths. 6.44. W £1.50. DF £3.20. SP 1-2 fav.
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s The Wiley Kalmuck (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 T M Fowler’s Macfin (Fitzwilliam) (Miss L Allan),
3 Mrs E M Bousquet-Payne’s C L B Jemilla (Mrs L Spence).
Also: Bede (4), Jack Knappy (pu), Magic Lodge (pu). Two lengths, 10 lengths. 6.33. W £1.80. DF £8. SP evens fav.
Race Five (Men’s Open Race):
1 T L Brooks’ Wincy Spider (Farmers Bloodhounds) (H Kinchin),
2 A G Chinery’s Royal Action (East Essex) (P Chinery),
3 Mr and Mrs J Ridge’s Bard of Drumcoo (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Neck, half a length. 6.28. W £1.70. DF £2. SP Evens fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 R Abrey and Mrs S Webb’s Combe Castle (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
2 B Dowling’s Bold Jogger (Puckeridge) (J Owen),
3 R Green, Miss K Thory and B Sayer’s Corkscrew King (Fitzwilliam) (M Smith).
Also: Atlantic Drift (4), Lyric Maestro (ro), Neverbepooragain (pu), Tartar Rose (ur). Three lengths, a distance. 6.33. W £3.50. DF £40. SP 5-2 (Neverbepooragain 2-1 fav).
Pony Race One (Children’s Pony Flat Race – Ponies 13.2hh and under):
1 Clonross Star,
2 Artic Annie,
3 The Road Runner.
Also: Ernford William Lobb (4), Black Ice Master, Firfield Starlight Lady, Lofts Simply Red, Mabel, Poppy.
Pony Race Two (Children’s Pony Flat Race – Ponies 14.2hh and under):
3 Midsummer Magic).
Also: Little Irish Diamond (4), Shalfleet Molly, Amazing Alfie, Biscuit, Moon Blade.