Rupert Stearn and Nicky Barnes both displayed riding skill and coolness under pressure that belied their inexperience as they prevailed in very tight finishes to register their first ever victories at the Essex Point-To-Point meeting at High Easter on Saturday.
Stearn, a 17-year-old Greshams pupil from near Wymondham in Norfolk, brought ImperialMist with a storming late run to catch Holy Moses at the final fence and went on to beat that rival by a head in the Restricted Race.
Stearn showed tremendous promise in the saddle in his debut season last year. But the horses trained by his father, Simon, have been a little disappointing this term and Imperial Mist was an outside ride, sportingly offered by owner-trainer Cherie Cunningham, who hails from Raydon, near Hadleigh in Suffolk.
Barnes lives and works virtually on High Easter racecourse for the venue’s owner, Simon Marriage. Marriage and his team had worked hard to produce the track in fine condition and his labours were rewarded when his colours were carried to victory in the opening Members’ Race aboard the Barnes-ridden Alfredo Garcia.
Success was particularly sweet for Barnes as she got the better of one of East Anglia’s best pilots, Nigel Bloom, by just a head after Alfredo Garcia and Net Profit had fought out a thrilling duel on the run-in.
Bloom did not go home empty-handed as later he cajoled a display of determined front-running from Glaisnock Lad to spring a 20-1 surprise in the Men’s Open Race.
Glaisnock Lad was transformed by the application of a pair of blinkers, much to the amazement and delight of his trainer, Bloom’s father Michael, who admitted that Glaisnock Lad had run ‘like a hairy dog’ on his previous outing.
It was an emotional triumph for owner Joy Tunmore, from Carleton Rode, near Attleborough, as Glaisnock Lad is very much a family horse who was purchased last August, just a few weeks before the death of her husband, David, who was a stalwart supporter of point-to-point racing.
Rachael Barrow, who was touched off aboard Holy Moses, also gained compensation when Mai Knight outclassed his six rivals to land the closing Maiden Race (Division Two). This win clinched the Pleasure Prints Trophy for the day’s leading rider for Barrow, who lives in Newmarket where she works for top trainer Luca Cumani.
Mai Knight, trained at Pebmarsh, near Halstead, by Paula Twinn and owned and bred by her father, David Claydon, is very much a name for your notebooks. Only five years old, he won in the style of a horse who will paying plenty more visits to the winner’s enclosure.
The first Maiden went to another Newmarket-based jockey, Sylvain Salmon, who repeated the come-from-behind tactics he had employed successfully at the previous meeting here to get Andrew’s up to defeat Skirmishing by a length.
Andrew Sansome was presented with the Jockey Of The Month Award and promptly partnered Corston Joker to an easy victory in the Confined Race. Corston Joker’s stablemate, Celtic Duke, then ran out a convincing winner of the Ladies’ Open race under Zoe Turner to give owner-trainer Joe Turner (Zoe’s grandfather, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds) his seventh win in the last eight days.
Race One (Hunt Race):
1 The Marriage Family’s Alfredo Garcia (Essex) (Miss N Barnes),
2 Ms K Ushert’s Net Profit (Essex) (N Bloom),
3 Miss A Hardy’s Life Of A Star (Essex) (Miss E Daniels).
Also: Cill Chuilinn (4), Master Page (pu). Head, a distance. 6m 45s. W £2.50, DF £2. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 Mr J M Turner’s Corston Joker (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
2 Mr A Ayers’ Native Status (East Essex) (owner),
3 Mr J Braithwaite’s Step In Line (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Royal Action (4), Endeavour (5), Ballad (6), Dockmaster (7), Gawngaddin (pu), New Ross (pu), Ulvick Star (ur). Three lengths, six lengths. 6m 33s. W £3. DF ££4.80. SP 6-4 fav.
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 Miss C Cunningham’s Imperial Mist (Essex F & U) (R Stearn),
2 Mr E Cantillon’s Holy Moses (E Anglian Bloodhounds) (Miss R Barrow),
3 Mr J M Turner’s Royal Way (Suffolk (A Sansome).
Also: Rolcap (4), Kingfisher Star (5), Thunderbird (6), Black Book (pu), Lord Drakkar (pu), Nowornever (pu). Head, three lengths. 6m 39s. W £12.50. DF ££33.50. SP 7-1 (Kingfisher Star 7-4 fav).
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mr J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 Mr P Johnson’s Ruths Boy (Cambridge Univ) (Miss A Embiricos),
3 Mr P Fullagar’s Beau Castle (Vale of Aylesbury) (Ms S Duckett).
Also: Uron V (4), Gatchou Mans (pu), Society Lad (pu). Eight lengths, a distance. 6m 29s. W £1.50. DF £2.80. SP 2-5 fav.
Race Five (Men’s Open Race):
1 The Tunmore Family’s Glaisnock Lad (Dunston H) (N Bloom),
2 Mr J Hatfield’s Still In Business (East Essex) (A Ayres),
3 Mr and Mrs A Howland Jackson’s Village Copper (Suffolk) (C Ward Thomas).
Also: Layham Low (4), Drumlin (pu), Jimmy Dan (pu), Rio’s Lord (pu), Robber Red (f). Five lengths, five lengths. 6m 33s. W £7.80. DF £66.60. SP 20-1 (Village Copper 1-3 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race Division One):
1 Mr H R Hobson’s Andrew’s (Puckeridge) (S Salmon),
2 Mr and Mrs T Moore’s Skirmishing (Essex Farmers & U) (D Kemp),
3 Home Racing Club’s Altar Society (Cranwell Bloodhounds) (Miss E Bell).
Also: Fair Storm (4), Worthy Memories (5), Autumn Breeze (f), Jambo Bwana (f), Out Of Actons (pu). One length, 15 lengths. 6m 53s. W £3.50. DF (winner with any) £1.10. SP 4-1 (Out Of Actons 7-4 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race Division Two):
1 Mr D L Claydon’s Mai Knight (East Essex) (Miss R Barrow),
2 Home Racing Club’s Parsonhumfrywebber (C and E C) (Miss E Bell),
3 Mr N W Padfield’s Barbed Broach (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (N Bloom).
Also: Sire de Brumetz (4), Great Survivor (pu), Itsmyturnnow (f), Kings Mandate (pu). A distance, half length. 6m 39s. W £11.80. DF (second with any) £3.70. SP 16-1 (Barbed Broach 4-6 fav).