Joe Turner, the leading owner in the history of the sport of Point-To-Pointing, dominated the Essex & Suffolk fixture at Higham on Saturday with a treble.
Turner, who both owns and trains a powerful string at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, might even have notched a four-timer but for Katepast hitting the deck just as he had moved into the lead in the closing Open Maiden.
The Turner trio had three different jockeys. The win that surely gave Joe the most pleasure was achieved in the Novice Riders’ Race by Basic Fact as it gave his 24-year-old grandson, Ed, the third victory of his riding career.It was also the tightest finish of the afternoon as Basic Factheld off the challenge of Ballynonty, well ridden by Tom Jonason, by just a neck.
The other Turner successes came in the two Open Races. The Men’s version produced another thrilling denouement as Parrain, a French recruit having his first start for the Ampton outfit, needed all of James Owen’s strength in the saddle to get the better of Took My Eye by half a length.
The Ladies’ Open was somewhat more sedate as Assassino, ridden by Newmarket’s Louise Allan, proved that he had made a swift recovery from finishing an exhausted third at High Easter seven days earlier when coming home 20 lengths clear of Dumadic.The other highlight of a well-attended fixture was the surprise victory of Lord Prunus in a dramatic Maiden race. After Katepast’s departure, Jonlahy looked to have the race in the bag only for Andrew Braithwaite to bring Lord Prunus from another parish to snatch victory in the final 100 yards.
It was a dream result for overjoyed owner-trainer Mike Skinner, from Wymondham, who was celebrating his first triumph since riding Pilot Officer to victory at the same venue 30 years earlier.
But the real hero of the hour was Braithwaite, who somehow survived an appalling blunder at the second fence and another slightly less severe one at the third last.
Kelly Smith, from Timworth near Bury St Edmunds, continued her dogged pursuit of Gina Andrews in the East Anglian Lady Riders’ Championship when taking her seasonal tally to five aboard the talented youngster Coral Point in the Restricted Race.
And Istallupintheair, trained at Chediston, near Halesworth, by John Ibbott, and ridden by Newmarket’s Harry Fowler, disposed of his solitary rival with the minimum of fuss in the Hunts Club Members