An enormous crowd assembled at Higham on Easter Saturday to witness some exciting racing at the Essex And Suffolk Hunt Point-to-Point, where last year’s National Ladies Champion Gina Andrews was back in the limelight after a lean spell, as both she and James Owen rode doubles.
The opening three-runner Restricted Race provided the best finish of the day, as after a stirring battle throughout the final circuit between John Ferguson’s Elvis The King and Joe Turner’s Sa Kaldoun, the two local horses could not be split by the judge at the line. The two dead-heaters rate as exciting young horses for the future.
Cowlinge trainer John Ferguson made it a double in the following Mens Open, as James Owen enjoyed a far more leisurely ride than in the first race as The Rodeo Clown made short work of his three rivals. The double for James Owen put him back in front of Ben Rivett in the battle for the East Anglian Mens Championship, while John Ferguson has now amassed an amazing 15 point-to-point winners this season.
The Ladies Open was won in far more dramatic fashion by What’s Up Doc, providing Gina Andrews with her first winner since February. Alan Hill’s charge proved a hairy ride as he made a number of serious jumping errors, was very keen through the early stages and also jumped increasingly to his left throughout the contest. All of Gina’s skill and expertise was required to eventually steer the versatile gelding to a relatively authoritative success. What’s Up Doc has now won on the flat on the turf and all-weather, over hurdles, fences and now in a point-to-point. This winner capped a memorable day for Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill, as the yard also enjoyed a treble at Kimble.
The tenacious Basic Fact provided the Turner Family with a fifth winner of the season in the Club Members Conditions Race, as he battled on gamely up the run-in under Ed Turner to master Mister Tibus and record a victory in the race for the third successive year. He is likely to head to Fakenham next in two weeks time.
The Open Maiden was run at a furious pace but the leader Flo The Machine was not for catching as she spreadeagled the field under her trainer and rider Clare Hobson from Royston in Hertfordshire. The pair parted company at the third last fence when looking likely to win at Horseheath last weekend, but they made no mistake this time, eventually registering victory by a distance for a memorable family success since Flo The Machine is owned by Clare’s father Harry.
Gina Andrews’ double was completed in effortless style aboard the long odds-on favouriteMountain Emperor, who was never off the bridle to defeat his sole opponent Chapmans Peak in the concluding Hunt Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race. This was a fourth course success for Mountain Emperor who won at Higham three times last season for local trainer John Ibbott from Chediston in Suffolk.
1) ELVIS THE KING ( James Owen ) 2/5fav
1) SA KALDOUN ( Louise Allan ) 3/1
3) Milled ( Ben Rivett )
Time: 6min 15secs Distances: DEAD HEAT : TWELVE 3 ran
1) THE RODEO CLOWN ( James Owen ) 4/5fav
2) Kadount ( Ed Turner )
3) Star Double ( Ben Rivett )
Time 6:14 EIGHT : DISTANCE 4 ran
1) WHAT’S UP DOC ( Gina Andrews ) Evens fav
2) Inishturk ( Bridget Andrews )
3) Butler Services ( Sophie Whyte )
Time 6:25 FOUR : TWO 5 ran
PPORA CLUB MEMBERS
1) BASIC FACT ( Ed Turner ) 5/4 fav
2) Mister Tibus ( Richard Collinson )
3) Bearneen Boy ( Bridget Andrews )
Time 6:14 TWO : DISTANCE 5 ran
1) FLO THE MACHINE ( Clare Hobson ) 5/2
2) Waluigi ( Ben Rivett )
ONLY TWO FINISHED ( Filibuster 6/4 fav PU )
Time 6:19 DISTANCE 7 ran
HIGHAM CLUB MEMBERS
1) MOUNTAIN EMPEROR ( Gina Andrews ) 1/6fav
2) Chapmans Peak ( Rupert Stearn )
Time 6:35 THREE 2 ran
138cm and under ( approx Six furlongs )
1) CHARLIE ( Charlotte Ingleton ) 6/4fav
2) Shooting Star ( Toby Holland )
3) Bureside Autumn Gold ( Joe Bradnam )
Time 2.00 TWENTY FIVE : NECK 8 ran
148cm and under ( approx 8 furlongs )
1) TRICKY VICKY ( Kate Gowing ) 4/5fav
2) Soulbury Island Gold ( Toby Twinn )
3) Jethro ( Benjamin Rabillard )
Time 2:45 EIGHT : DISTANCE 6 ran