A record crowd was on hand to witness an epic performance by the veteran chaser, Demasta,at the Essex & Suffolk Point-To-Point at Higham on Saturday.

Despite being 15 years old, Demasta showed the vim and vigour of a horse half that age to keep at bay his four rivals in the Confined Race. Barely four lengths covered the quintet at the winning post but Demasta, who had made every inch of the running, still had a length in hand of Homme de Fer.A second career success for owner-rider Peter Johnson, who lives at Hopton, near Diss, and is production director for Trox Air Conditioning at Thetford, Demastamay have one more run before retiring. He will leave a big hole at the Bradfield St Clare yard of Alex Embiricos and Tim Bryce, where he is a firm favourite.

James Owen, from Newmarket, took the other riding honours with a double, although one of his victories had to be shared with Andrew Braithwaite as they fought out a titanic duel in the Open Maiden before dead-heating aboard Memsahib Ki Behan and Celestial Heights. Memsahib Ki Behan, Owen’s mount, is trained at Sutton, near Ely, by Martin Ward, while Celestial Heights is a first winner since moving to new premises near Haverhill for trainer Chris Lawson.

Owen was also victorious aboard Black Frost in the Men’s Open, the first leg of a training brace for in-form handler, Joe Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds. Owen needed every ounce of his strength to get Black Frost up as his mount looked booked for a fifth consecutive second place until the front-running Rocja dived through both the last two fences.The other Turner triumph came with Leatherback, who followed up his Cottenham success seven days earlier with an easy five length score in the Ladies’ Open under Joe’s granddaughter, Zoe.A third Turner win was scuppered when odds-on favourite Saffronto had to settle for second place behind the Nibby Bloom-partnered Bewleys Newlands in the Restricted Race. Bloom, from Wymondham, managed to settle his mount beautifully despite the small field, but struggled to get him around the left-handed bends as he hung to his right.After the second last, he was hanging so badly I thought that I was going to miss the wing of the last – I would have looked like a real prat, said a self-deprecating Bloom.

A little more action, with another Wymondham pilot, Rupert Stearn, aboard, maintained his perfect record for 2006 with a third success, in the opening Hunt Race. He is trained at Raydon, near Hadleigh, by Robert Cundy.The closing Granta Harriers Hunt Race, moved from the abandoned March 5 fixture, tested the riding prowess of Newmarket’s Glen Dyne. Left on his own when solitary rival Catherine’s Way departed with a circuit to run, Dyne’s mount, Coral Son, clattered through the last two fences but Dyne managed to keep the partnership intact.


Race One (Essex and Suffolk and Waveney Members Race):

1 Lady Green and Trevor Burton’s A Little More Action  (Essex and Suffolk) (R Stearn),

2 Miss S L Parker’s Tartar Rose (Waveney Harriers) (Miss L Barrett-Nobbs),

3 Lady Aldous’ Beau Brummel (Essex and Suffolk) (N Bloom).

Also: Classy Clarence (ro).  A distance, 10l. 6.12. Win £1.60. SP 27-4 fav.

Race Two (Restricted Race):

1 D Harding-Jones’ Bewleys Newlands (Puckeridge) (N Bloom),

2 J M Turner’s Saffronto (Suffolk) (J Owen),

3 The Allied P and L Partnership’s Ballykilthy (Cambs University) (Ms A Embiricos).

Also: Mill Lord (4).  5l, 10l. 6.00. Win £3. SP 5-2 (Saffronto 4-5 fav).

Race Three (Men’s Open Race):

1 J M Turner’s Black Frost (Suffolk) (J Owen),

2 Mr and Mrs S Stearn’s Rocja (Suffolk) (R Stearn),

3 D Evatt’s Ichi Cavalo (Crawley and Horsham) (owner).

Also: Pelican Brief (pu), Cross River (pu). One length, 15 lengths. 5.57, Win £3. DF £8.50. SP5-4 fav.

Race Four (Ladies Open Race):

1 J M Turner’s Leatherback (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),

2 A Howland-Jackson’s Gatchou Mans (Suffolk) (Ms A Embiricos),

3 R Andrews and Miss G Andrews’ General Confusion (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (Miss A Stennett).

Also: Round the Bend (pu). 5l, a distance. 5.58. Win £1.40. SP 1-3 fav.

Race Five (Confined Race):

1 P S Johnson’s Demasta (Cambs University) (owner),

2 Countess Cathcart’s Homme de Fer (West Norfolk) (N Bloom),

3 A G Chinery’s Royal Action (East Essex) (P Chinery).

Also: Kicasso (4), Magic Lodge (5). One length, half a length. 5.58. Win £8.50. DF £6.50. SP 7-1 (Homme de Fer evens fav).

Race Six (Open Maiden Race):

1 W Poulton’s Celestial Heights (Essex) (A Braithwaite) and Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (J Owen),

3 R Arbrey and Mrs S Webb’s Combe Castle (Suffolk) (R Stearn).

Also: Soldershire (4), Scalby Croft (5), Coverdale (6), Corkscrew King (ur), Lyric Maestro (ro), Market Banter (f), Royal Blazer (ref). Dead heat, 4l. 6.05. Win £1.60. DF £2.50. SP Celestial Heights 3-1, Memsahib Ki Behan 7-4 fav.

Race Seven (Granta Harriers Members Race):

1 H Hill’s Coral Son (Granta Harriers) (G Dyne).

Also: Catherine’s Way (ur). 6.16. Win £1.40. SP evens (Catherine’s Way 1-3 fav).

Pony Racing

Pony Race One (Children’s Invitation Flat Race – ponies 13.2hh and under):

1 C Clover’s Ernford William Lobb (Essex and Suffolk) (Charlie Clover),

2 Mrs N Baker’s Perryditch Tupelo (Essex and Suffolk) (Edward Baker),

3 Mrs R Joslin’s Scaramouche (Essex and Suffolk) (Jessica Joslin).

Also: Firfield Starlight Lady (4), Berbery’s Boastful, Dragon, Ever Kerry Good Fortune, Poppy, Sir Walter, Super Ted. Three lengths, one length. 56.15 secs.

Pony Race Two (Children’s Invitation Flat Race – ponies 13.2hh to 14.2hh):

1 Mrs F Boscawen’s Monsoon (Waveney Harriers) (Arthur Boscawen),

2 Mrs L Greenlees’ My Chelsea Girl (Essex and Suffolk) (Ysabel Greenlees),

3 Mrs C Chamberlain’s Judgement Day (Essex and Suffolk) (Juliet Chamberlain).

Also: Pilgrim’s Orolan (4), Kyle, McJeeves of Jura, Odd Bod, Tara. Head, three lengths. 1.14.