Tom March was the star of a sun-baked Essex & Suffolk Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday as he made a brilliant winning riding debut aboard Who Cares Wins in the Confined Race.
The 16-year-old, who hails from Little Horkesley near Colchester but currently boards at Uppingham School in Leicestershire, rode like an old pro as he brought his mount through from the back of the field to hit the front four fences from home and go on to score by a distance.
They went pretty fast at the start, and he was a bit outpaced, but I settled in behind and he met every fence perfectly, gaining a length at each one,March admitted.
Who Cares Wins was acquired by March’s father, Stephen, from trainer John Jenkins in a swap for a lorry load of racehorse feed.
After a highly promising pointing debut in February, he came into this race on the back of a pulled up effort at Marks Tey just six days earlier. But fears that he had gone lame were eventually explained by the discovery of some slipping tack.
Another young jockey in winning form was 23-year-old Marta Graholska, who completed a hat-trick aboard Tartar Sabre in a thrilling Ladies’ Open race. A mistake at the final fence handed the advantage to the chasing Leatherback but Graholska’s mount rallied to regain the lead close home and win by a head.
John Ibbott, from Chediston, near Halesworth in Suffolk, revealed afterwards that this is the first time in 30 years of training that one of his horses has landed three successive races.
A further success for East Anglia’s novice riders came in the opening Hunt race as Kelly Smith, who had waited so long before breaking her duck in the final race at Marks Tey on Easter Monday, immediately doubled her tally when Rockley Beach made all the running to defeat Brea Hill in some style.There was a second reason for Smith to celebrate as she is also the trainer of Rockley Beach and he was the first runner that she had saddled since moving to a new yard at Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds.
Smith shares that yard with her boyfriend, James Owen, who got his own name on the scoresheet when deputising for the flu-stricken George Greenock aboard Absolutely Barkingin the Open Maiden race. Absolutely Barking is trained at Wymondham by Nibby Bloom.
Newmarket’s Harry Fowler, who himself has just returned from a collapsed lung suffered in a fall at Parham, Sussex, last month, also proved a super sub when he guided Memsahib Ki Behan to a two length verdict over Lyric Maestro in the Restricted Race. Memsahib Ki Behan was meant to be ridden by Matthew Mackley but he broke his collar bone in a fall at exercise during the week.This was a third victory, with three different horses, in the last nine days for owner-trainer Martin Ward, from Rectory Farm, Sutton, near Ely.
Finally, Peter Johnson made it four winners on the card for novice riders when Manoram took advantage of the refusal to race of hot favourite Hot Plunge to land the Volkswagen Touareg Men’s Open.
Manoram is trained at Bradfield St Clare, near Bury St Edmunds, by Alex Embiricos and was a third winner of the season for Johnson, from Hopton, near Diss.
Race One (Members Race):
1 Mrs PK Brightwell’s Rockley Beach (Essex and Suffolk) (Miss K Smith),
2 Mrs E Reid’s Brea Hill (Essex and Suffolk) (R Cundy).
Also: Briar (ur), Crooked Brook (pu), Spikey Passage (pu). A distance. 6.25. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Two (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (RH Fowler),
2 H Waterer’s Lyric Maestro (Devon and Somerset Staghounds) (owner),
3 A Mobley’s Miss Trooper (Bicester with Whaddon Chase) (J Owen).
Also: Bosco’s Tune (4), Irish Prince (pu), Lourd Hymn (pu), Supreme Sir (pu). Two lengths, five lengths. 6.09. SP 9-2 (Supreme Sir 2-1 fav).
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 PS Johnson’s Manoram (Suffolk) (owner),
2 Mrs Hope Lee-Smith’s Breezy Betsy (Dunston Harriers) (A Braithwaite).
Also: Hot Plunge (pu). A distance. 6.20. SP 5-2 (Hot Plunge 1-3 fav).
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 The Sporting Endeavour Partners’ Tartar Sabre (Waveney Harriers) (Miss M Graholska),
2 JM Turner’s Leatherback (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 E Nicholson’s Bewleys Newlands (Suffolk) (Ms A Embiricos).
Also: Lord Evro (4), Find Me Another (ur). Head, five lengths. 5.59. SP 6-4 fav.
Race Five (Confined Hunts Race):
1 S March’s Who Cares Wins (East Essex) (T March),
2 JM Turner’s Kicasso (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 The Somerleyton family’s Mon Esprit (Dunston Harriers) (R Stearn).
Also: Gatchou Mans (4), Classic Lash (pu), Demasta (ur), Hawaiian Son (pu). A distance, five lengths. 6.04. SP 7-2 (Demasta 5-2 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 Countess Cathcart’s Absolutely Barking (Dunston Harriers) (J Owen),
2 Messrs D and P Harding-Jones’ Saturn (Puckeridge) (N Pearce).
A distance. 6.28. SP 4-9 fav.
Pony Race One (Children’s Pony Flat Race Ponies 13.2 hands and under):
1 Charlie Clover’s Ernford William Lobb (Essex and Suffolk) (owner),
2 D and S Mountford’s Barkway Songbird (Suffolk) (Polly Mountford),
3 Miranda Hiscock’s Superted (Essex and Suffolk) (Rosie Hiscocks).
Also: Jazz (4). Three lengths, five lengths. 0.54.
Pony Race Two (Children’s Pony Flat Race Ponies 13.2 to 14.2 hands):
1 Mrs C Chamberlain’s Whinnie (Juliet Chamberlain),
2 Mrs L Greenlees’ My Chelsea Girl (Ysobel Greenlees),
3 Merna Merrett’s Irish Pegasus (Emily Blew).
Also: Killian (4). One length, three lengths. 1.04.