Matt Smith was the top jockey at a hectic Fitzwilliam (Milton) Point-To-Point at Cottenham on Sunday as a large crowd saw 87 runners contest eight races.
Smith, from Horseheath, near Haverhill, won two of them to notch his second double of the season, coming out on top in a pair of tight finishes.
First he made all the running aboard Wicked Nice Fella, who is trained at Great Gidding by Katie Thory, and held off the late thrust of the hot favourite, Bobbies Ryde, by a neck in the Members Race.
He then adopted more patient tactics aboard Prince Car in the Restricted Race. This time he took up the running at the third last and found just enough up the run-in to deny the determined challenge of Pass The Parsel by a head.
Prince Car’s triumph was a welcome tonic for West Wratting trainer Sarah Humphrey, who is still recovering from a horrendous fall at New Year which saw her suffer multiple rib and facial injuries.
Smith almost made it a treble in the closing short Maiden but his mount, Red In Bed, had to settle for second behind the Surrey raider, Kings Rhythm.
So Smith ended the day in third place in the East Anglian Jockeys’s Championship on four wins, half the tally of David Kemp, who was on the mark aboard Viceroy Close in a meeting in Lincolnshire on Saturday.
Smith is just one behind Rupert Stearn, who produced a brilliant front-running ride to coax the 25-1 outsider, Rocja, to a three length score in yesterday’s Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Race.
Rocja was winning for the first time since suffering from a near-fatal spleen condition two years ago and is trained at Wymondham by Rupert’s father, Simon Stearn.
The bookies also offered generous odds of 11-1 about Master Rex landing the following event, the Mens Open. But that did not stop the fragile 14-year-old, Master Rex, who has been nursed back to health by Bradfield St Clare handler Alex Embiricos, from achieving a decisive two length victory.
Scotland Yard finally gave favourite backers some respite when surviving a blunder at the third last to take the Ladies Open. Now ready for the step up to Hunter Chases, Scotland Yard is trained at Bressingham by Fleur Hawes.
The last East Anglian victory on a great day for the locals came when Mountain Emperor,trained at Chediston by John Ibbott, took the three mile Maiden. This was a long-awaited first success of the season for Newmarket-based pilot Harry Fowler, who was sporting the colours of first-time owners and Yoxford residents Sue Williams and Penny Bevan.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 Mrs J Martin’s Wicked Nice Fella (Fitzwilliam Milton) (M Smith),
2 T Marks, S Edwards and N Dean’s Bobbies Ryde (Fitzwilliam Milton) (T Ellis),
3 H Hill’s Dark Thunder (Fitzwilliam Milton) (G Kennedy).
Neck, three lengths. 6.11. SP 7-2 (Bobbies Ryde 30-100 fav).
Race Two (Intermediate Race):
1 Mr and Mrs S Stearn’s Rocja (Granta Harriers) (R Stearn),
2 S Flook’s No Virtue (Radnor and W Hereford) (P York),
3 Mrs M Brightwell’s Rockley Beach (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley).
Three lengths, 10 lengths. 6.01. SP 25-1 (Independent Trader 5-4 fav).
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 Ms A Embiricos and Mrs S Embiricos’ Master Rex (Essex and Suffolk) (J Bailey),
2 Mrs D Plunkett’s Moscow Court (Heythrop) (I Howe),
3 J R Weatherby’s Valance (Cottesmore) (M Mackley).
Two lengths, one length. 5.58. SP 11-2 (Kjetil 7-4 fav).
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 The Air Lair Partnership’s Scotland Yard (Waveney Harriers) (Miss C Allen),
2 A Hill’s Bell Rock (Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and S Berks) (Miss E Jarvis),
3 J M Turner’s King Du Berlais (Suffolk) (Miss L Allen).
Two lengths, five lengths. 5.55. SP 4-6 fav.
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs S Humphrey’s Prince Car (Essex) (M Smith),
2 Mrs M Moody’s Pass the Parsel (Pytchley) (J Docker),
3 Mrs R Gasson’s Breeze To The Top (Farmers Bloodhounds) (Miss H Watson).
Head, two lengths. 5.58. SP 7-2 (Hemington 9-4 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race, eight years and over):
1 Mrs P Bevan and Mrs S Williams’ Mountain Emperor (Waveney Harriers) (R H Fowler),
2 B Dowling’s Si Anthony (Puckeridge) (Miss K Smith),
3 Mrs W Ward and Mrs A Dunne’s Katy’s Classic (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley).
Two lengths, three lengths. 6.00. SP 3-1 fav.
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race, Division One):
1 Mr and Mrs M Jones’ Nothingtoloose (Tantaside) (A Bird),
2 R Erskin-Crum’s Ahwaak (Ledbury) (T Jonason),
3 M Kehoe’s Pocket Park (Bicester with Whaddon Chase) (T Ellis).
Two lengths, three lengths. 4.45. SP 10-1 (Ahwaak 5-2 fav)
Race Eight (Open Maiden Race, Division Two):
1 Tally Ho Farm Partnership’s Kings Rhythm (Staff College) (P York),
2 K Robin’s Red In Bed (N Ledbury) (M Smith),
3 Mr and Mrs N Edwards’ Castleconner Lad (Worcs) (A Pennock).
Five lengths, four lengths. 4.42. SP 5-1 (Josey Wells 2-1 fav).