It Was Me was the star of another outstanding Point-To-Point in what has been an exceptional East Anglian season , winning the Baileys Horse Feeds Warwick Vase Ladies Open at the Essex meeting at High Easter on Saturday.
Ridden by Carey Williamson, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, It Was Me was forced to battle hard throughout the final uphill half mile as he was taken on for the lead by the gallant Maranach. He finally mastered that tenacious rival approaching the final fence, eventually coming home a length clear of the fast-finishing Cristera.
Winning trainer Nick Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, is enjoying a brilliant campaign and has prepared It Was Me to win seven of his last ten outings. He indicated that the gelding may now switch his attention to hunter chases, with Fakenham or Southwell nominated as possible future destinations.
The afternoon’s other feature event, the three and three-quarter mile Countryside Alliance Club Race, was won for the second consecutive year by New Alco. Trained in Newmarket by Tory Hayter, this twelve-year-old has stamina in abundance and, having taken up the running at the halfway mark, turned back a series of challenges before coming home three lengths clear of Ide No Idea.
The win was particularly enjoyable for successful young pilot, Max Kendrick, as he goes to school a few miles away from High Easter at Felsted and was cheered on by a number of his school mates.
Both divisions of the Maiden Race produced shock results. In the opening section, Carleton Forehoe, ridden for the first time by 20-year-old Jack Bloom, from Wymondham, son of the winning owner-trainer, Nigel Bloom, stormed clear in the closing stages to score by ten lengths.
Carelton Forehoe has shown virtually nothing in six previous career starts but is only now beginning to attain full race fitness after a series of leg injuries forced him to endure two years on the sidelines.
The other Maiden witnessed an excellent front-running ride from Newmarket’s Andrew Braithwaite, who inspired a series of fine leaps from his mount, West Of The Road, thus enabling the partnership to maintain their advantage all the way to the line.
“We rode him completely differently this time and putting blinkers on him has done the trick,” said Andrew’s wife, Lauren, the victorious trainer. West Of The Road had run disappointingly down in Kent just five days earlier and it was a brave decision from the Braithwaites to turn him out again so soon.
In a day of big fields, the only exception was the Hunt Race where King’s Chase, ridden by Gina Andrews, beat his solitary rival, Indian Gale, by six lengths to give owner-trainer, Nigel Padfield, from Abridge, near Loughton, a third successive win in the race.
Jockey Jacqueline Coward, the Yorkshirewoman who is leading the race for the National Lady Riders Championship, had a day of changing fortunes with her four rides. After an early third place, she took a heavy fall in the Ladies Open and ended the day losing all chance in a Maiden with an extremely slow start.
But in between she brought Battle Range through from the rear to score an eye-catching success in a Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Race which saw 14 of the 19 entries take their chance.
The field for the Restricted Race was almost as big, yet there was only going to be one winner from some way out as the Surrey raider, Daintydavey, skipped clear at the fifth last and never looked like being caught.
Essex with Easton Harriers and East Anglian Bloodhounds Hunt Members
1 – KING’S CHASE Gina Andrews 4/11f
2 – Indian Gale Andrew Braithwaite
Only two ran
Time 6 mins 50 secs Dists: 6L 2 ran
1 – DAINTYDAVEY Philip York 7/1
2 – View The Dance Toby Betambeau
3 – Filibuster Gina Andrews
Time 6-29 Dists: 5L, 8L 13 ran ( The Rattler O’Brien 5/4f PU )
Countryside Alliance Club Members ( 3mile 6furlongs )
1 – NEW ALCO Max Kendrick 7/4f
2 – Ide No Idea Bridget Andrews
3 – Narciso Jacqueline Coward
Time 7-44 Dists: 3L, 10L 8 ran
Ladies ( Warwick Vase )
1 – IT WAS ME Carey Williamson 4/7f
2 – Cristera Rachel Talbot
3 – Maranach Bridget Andrews
Time 6-27 Dists: 1L, 6L 9 ran
1 – BATTLE RANGE Jacqueline Coward 10/1
2 – Fourth In Line Andrew Braithwaite
3 – Sud Nivernais James Owen
Time 6-31 Dists: 1L, 4L 14 ran ( Kayandson Evens f PU )
Open Maiden ( Division One )
1 – CARLETON FOREHOE Jack Bloom 16/1
2 – King’s Performance David Kemp
3 – Clonshire Gina Andrews 2/1f
Time 6-37 Dists: 10L, 1½ L 9 ran
Open Maiden ( Division Two )
1 – WEST OF THE ROAD Andrew Braithwaite 7/1
2 – Hawk Azira Ben Rivett
3 – Italian Dream Clare Twemlow
Time 6-35 Dists: 4L, 5L 9 ran Cooleys Flyer 5/2f (5th )