A humdinging dead-heat finish to the Ladies Open Race was the highlight of an Essex & Suffolk Point-To-Point at Higham on Saturday which was held in sweltering conditions more suitable for cricket or beach volleyball.
The racecourse authorities deserve congratulation for their massive efforts in watering the course to provide a safe racing surface that allowed a bumper crowd to enjoy six steeplechases.
Three of the five runners were in with a shout at the final fence in the Ladies Race but an errant leap by the favourite, Ski Dazzle, left Becky Ward, on Freud Bacon, and Louise Allan, aboard Leatherback, to duel to the winning line.
The judge was unable to split the pair meaning that the Martin Ward yard, from Rectory Farm, Sutton, near Ely, completed a double on the card with Freud Bacon while Leatherback was the middle leg of a treble for Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, trainer Joe Turner.
The other Ward winner came in the Restricted Race as the one-time shoddy jumper, Mister Tibus, was foot perfect over his fences and had four lengths to spare over Timmies Gone at the line. Mister Tibus is tough (he was running for the third consecutive weekend) and handles fast ground so may return for the final Higham meeting on May 7.
The remainder of the Turner trio provided ‘his and hers’ winners for the boyfriend/girlfriend combination of jockeys Ed Turner (Joe’s grandson) and Rosie Thorogood.
Ed took his career tally into double figures when guiding Parrain to an easy success in the Mens Open. Rosie’s eight length defeat of Bonne Noels aboard Basic Fact in the Novice Riders Race was her very first after six years of trying. Her return to the winner’s enclosure was greeted by the biggest cheer of the day.
Another rider to open her Pointing account was Carey Williamson, although she has triumphed on two occasions under professional rules. Her success came aboard Satisfied in the Open Maiden and continued the superb rookie season of Wymondham-based trainer Caroline Fryer.
The Club Members Race produced a much more experienced winning pilot in the shape of Gina Andrews, who was taking her total for the season to 17 and is thus virtually assured of clinching the National Lady Riders’ Championship. Mountain Emperor is trained at Chediston in Suffolk by John Ibbott.
1 Mountain Emperor – Gina Andrews 2/5f
2 Mambo Des Mottes – Rupert Stearn
3 Dead Mans Dante- Clare Hobson
Time: 6 mins 7 secs Dists: 5L,7L 5 ran
1 Mister Tibus – Richard Collinson 4/5f
2 Timmies Gone – Gina Andrews
Time: 6-06 Dist: 4L 3 ran 2 finished
1 Parrain – Ed Turner 2/5f
2 Two Oclock John – Richard Collinson
Time: 6-03 Dist: 12L 3 ran, 2 finished
1 Freud Bacon – Rebecca Ward 4/1
1 LeatherBack – Louise Allan 2/1
3 Ski Dazzle – Bridget Andrews 1/2f
Time: 6-06 Dists: D ht, 1L 5 ran
1 Satisfied – Carey Williamson 6/4
2 Cashmere Ted – Richard Collinson
3 Hansom Prophet – Gina Andrews
Time: 6-15 Dists: 1 1/2L, 10L 4 ran Fort Severn Ev’s f (PU)
1 Basic Fact – Rosie Thorogood 5/4
2 Bonne Noels – Richard Collinson 4/5f
3 Onyx D’Ace – Rebecca Ward
Time: 6-02 Dists: 8L,Dist 3 ran
Pony Race 1 -138 cm and under
1 Tazfantastic – Sam Wisbey 1/2f
2 Bradley – Emma Irwin
3 Generous George – Charlotte Ingleton
Time: 1 min 19 secs 7 ran
Pony Race 2 (148 cm and under)1 Soulbury Island God – Edward Twinn 5/1
2 Beveriche Cara – Fergus Paske
3 Il Topo – Emily Whyte 5/4f
Time: 1-40 Dists: 10L,3L 7 ran