Rob Cundy went from zero to hero when partnering Rip Kirby to a famous triumph in the Members’ Race at the Essex Hunt Point-To-Point at High Easter on Saturday.
Cundy, from Raydon, near Hadleigh, had suffered the most humiliating start to his riding career – falling off at the first fence – on his debut at this venue six weeks previously.
Undaunted, the 27-year-old tried again, and this time he visited the other end of the emotional spectrum, guiding his mount to a two length defeat of Top Boots in an experience he described as ‘beyond words’.
The win was achieved despite putting up 13lbs overweight and gave Cundy particular pleasure as for over five years he was employed as the Essex’s kennel huntsman.
The day’s most impressive performance belonged to the fast-progressing six-year-old, Cantarinho, who survived a heart-stopping blunder at the third-last to land the Men’s Open RaceTrained and ridden by David Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford, Cantarinho was pulled out of a Fakenham Hunter Chase eight days earlier because of rain-softened ground. But he is now set for a return visit to north Norfolk to contest the Queen’s Cup Hunter Chase on Easter Monday.
Another six-year-old with a bright future is Bunratty’s Sole, who began to fulfil some of the abundant promise he showed last year by landing the Restricted Race.
Owned by Wymondham farmer Dick Fryer and trained nearby by jockey Nigel Bloom, Bunratty’s Sole was badly hit by a cough in January and had proved slightly disappointing on his two previous 2004 starts.
Here, in Bloom’s words he was ‘never off the bit’ in beating Just Jove by 20 lengths and there should be plenty more improvement to come.For the fourth consecutive East Anglian meeting the blue and white silks of Joe Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, were brought back into the winner’s enclosure more than once. This time his successes came via Westfield John, who prevailed after a superb tussle with Bard of Drumcoo and Tom de Savoie in the Confined Race, and Celtic Duke, who won like on an odds-on favourite should when making every yard of the Ladies’ Open.Both Maiden races went to Kent-trained horses, but Division One was quite remarkable in that the first three home were all 33-1 outsiders. Fastest of these longshots was Ocki, a home-bred 11-year-old racing for just the seventh time in his life and providing owner-trainer Mary Eagleton with her initial success.
The finale will live forever in the memory of another Lady of Kent as Olivia Maylam, 21, from Folkestone, notched her first victory at the 13th attempt when guiding Miss Biddy to a three length defeat of Mr Know What.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 G Cooper’s Rip Kirby (Essex) (R Cundy),
2 The Marriage Family’s Top Boots (Essex) (A Braithwaite),
3 C Lawson’s Looking Magic (Essex) (owner).
Also: Changing Fashion (4), Crewski (pu), Trojan Love (pu). 2l, 3l. 7.09. W £4.20. DF £7. SP 9-2 (Top Boots 5-2 fav).
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 J M Turner’s Westfield John (Suffolk) (J Owen),
2 Mr and Mrs J Ridge’s Bard Of Drumcoo (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
3 The Wishful Thinking Partnership’s Tom De Savoie (West Norfolk ) (N Bloom).
Also: The Glen Road (4), Ardnut (5), Ardkilly Warrior (pu), Gawngadinn (pu), Neronian (pu). One and a half lengths, one length. 6.37. W £3. DF £3.40. SP 6-4 jt fav (Bard Of Drumcoo 6-4 jt fav).
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 R Fryer’s Bunratty’s Sole (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom),
2 Mrs F MacFarlane’s Just Jove (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 A Howland-Jackson’s Federal Case (Suffolk) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Table For Four (4), Trinity Buoy (5), Camden Loch (6), Ginger Bug (pu), Give Him A Chance (pu), Ishma (ref), Jerome Jerome (pu), Mr Moonbeam (pu), Shanrod View (pu). Twenty lengths, two lengths. 6.38. W £3.70. DF £13.60. SP 2-1 fav.
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 Miss J Stevens’ Fair Kiowa (E Anglian Bloodhounds) (Mrs S Hodge),
3 Ms A Embiricos’ Filou Du Bois (Cambridge University) (owner).
Also: Mister Audi (4), General Confusion (ur), Ical (ur), Wise Advice (pu). Two lengths, 15 lengths. 6.41. W £1.70. DF £1.90. SP 1-2 fav.
Race Five (Men’s Open Race):
1 Mrs M Harrison and D Kemp’s Cantarinho (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 R Hunnisett’s Choral Dream (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 J M Turner’s Dunrig (Suffolk) (J Owen).
Also: Step In Line (4), Lord Of The Flies (5), Polo Ridge (6), Valman (pu), Weavers Choice (f), Wibbley Wobbley (pu). Fifteen lengths, a distance. 6.36. W £1.80. DF £2. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race – Division One):
1 R and M Eagleton’s Ocki (W Street Tickham) (D Page),
2 A Winchester’s Manhatton Storm (E Anglian Bloodhounds) (A Merriam),
3 Mrs J Hunt’s Highland Dancer (Grafton) (T Ellis).
Also: On The Day (4), King Freddy (5), Artic Snip (6), Frosty Fella (bd), Just Lute (pu), See Red Billdan (pu), Shot Of Jollop (f), Society Scandal (pu). 2l, 1l. 6.48. W £15. DF £37 (winner with any other horse). SP 33-1 (King Freddy 5-2 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race – Division Two):
1 The Maylam Family’s Miss Biddy (E Kent) (Miss O Maylam),
2 Mrs J E Shaw’s Mr Know What (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss C Bartlett),
3 P Rackham’s Round The Isles (Pytchley) (R Cope).
Also: Marsden (4), No Nay Never (5), Rash Moment (6), Another Leader (f), First And Fourmost (f), Green Leader (pu), Latterly (pu), Little Heck (f), Red Lake (pu). 3l, 10l. 6.52. W £6. DF £7.80. SP 6-1 (Round The Isles 3-1 fav).