Nigel Bloom took the riding honours at a distinctly chilly Cottenham on Saturday as victories on Homme de Fer and Alfie Moon gave the Wymondham-based jockey a double at the Fitzwilliam Point-To-Point.
Bloom also trains the 14-year-old Homme de Fer, who clocked the fastest time of the day when accounting for Silver Buzzard in the Confined Race. Old horses like this who really know the job should be wrapped up and treasured, Bloom asserted. This will probably be his last season so it would be nice if he could go out on a high.
Homme de Fer’s swansong is set for the Members’ Race at the West Norfolk meeting at Fakenham on April 29 and it is hoped that George Greenock, son of owner Countess Cathcart, will recover from a badly broken leg in time to take the ride.
Alfie Moon is trained in Bedfordshire by Simon Andrews. But his triumph gave just as much enjoyment to Bloom as the horse was finally getting off the mark at the 15th attempt.
His owners [the McCaffery family] are the most enthusiastic people, they get an enormous amount of pleasure out of seeing him run, and even if he finishes fourth or fifth they think it’s fantastic, Bloom explained. Michael [McCaffery] was in tears when I came back and couldn’t speak.
Amy Stennett, from Thelnetham, continued her recent winning streak when guiding Find Me Another to a comfortable success in the Ladies’ Open. Trainer Caroline Bailey said afterwards: We will keep him to Ladies’races for the moment but might aim him at the Gerrard Final [on May 16] at Huntingdon as he seems to go well there.
Another jockey on a roll is Rupert Stearn, also from Wymondham, who took his tally for the year to seven when lifting the Restricted Race aboard Alittlemoreaction. This produced a pulsating finish, as a final fence blunder handed the advantage to Funny Money only for Stearn’s mount to regain the lead right on the line.
I went to run down the last fence but he straightened himself out and almost had me off, Stearn admitted. Alittlemoreaction was following up a January success here and is trained by Robert Cundy at the Raydon, Hadleigh, premises of George Cooper, who said: He needs a fast track and fast ground – it’s pointless running him on the soft.
There was a second tight call in the Men’s Open as Satchmo, trained in Sussex by Di Grissell and given very little assistance from the saddle by Gavin Wragg, showed what a genuine old horse he is by overhauling Silver Streak in the last few yards.The biggest shock of the day came in the first of three Maiden Races as 20-1 chance Pirate King left previous form well behind to score under Newmarket’s Glen Dyne. Trained at Great Gidding by Henry Hill, he is owned by Jim Radcliffe, from Chippenham near Newmarket.
He was operated on by Richard Payne of Rossdales after he had a nasty tendon injury here last year and the bill was extortionate, but it’s worth it now’ Radcliffe reported. ‘We expected him to go well but I didn’t back him – it would have been the kiss of death.’
The opening Hunt Race went to trainer-rider Louise Allan, from Thorney, near Peterborough, aboard veteran Round The Bend, who was the first of three 14-year-olds to score on the afternoon.
Simon Andrews, trainer of Alfie Moon, had to settle for a pair of second places in the concluding Pony Races as his daughters, Georgina and Bridget, had to give best to Jack Quinlan, from Newmarket, and George Saunders, from Northamptonshire.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 F Allan and P Phazey’s Round the Bend (Fitzwilliam) (Miss L Allan),
2 R Green, Miss K Thorby and B Sayer’s Corkscrew King (Fitzwilliam) (M Smith),
3 Miss C Arling’s I’ve No Say (Fitzwilliam) (owner).
Also: Macfin (4). Ten lengths, three-quarters of a length. 6.19. W £1.50. DF £3.70. SP 4-7 fav.
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 Countess Cathcart’s Homme de Fer (West Norfolk) (N Bloom),
2 Mrs P Hutchinson’s Silver Buzzard (Fernie) (Miss G Hutchinson),
3 G Franks Sure Future (Cambs University) (Miss L Franks).
Also: Another Chance (4), Bold Hunter (5), Pharbeitfrome (6), Attack (pu), Bengal Boy (pu), Do Nal Rua (ur), Mukdar (pu). Five lengths, 15 lengths. 6.03. W £2.70. DF £3.50. SP 2-1 fav.
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 G Wragg’s Satchmo (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (Owner),
2 M Robinson’s Silver Streak (Burton) (R Armson),
3 A Howland-Jackson’s Gatchou Mans (Suffolk) (A Merriam).
Also: Ain Tecbalet (4), Kjetil (5), Demasta (6), Campden Kitty (7), Quality First (pu), Wincy Spider (pu). Head, three lengths. 6.04. W £4. DF £7.40. SP 3-1 (Kjetil 9-4 fav).
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mrs C Stennett, Mrs C Aldridge and Mrs E King’s Find Me Another (Pytchley) (Miss A Stennett),
2 J M Turner’s Militaire (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 Mr and Mrs A Kemp’s Soundtrack (Cheshire) (Mrs H Kemp).
Also: Pelican Brief (4), Catherine’s Way (5), Multi Franchise (6). Five lengths, 10 lengths. 6.04. W £2. DF £5.60. SP 10-11 fav.
Race Five (Restricted Race):
1 Lady Green and T Buxton’s A Little More Action (Essex and Suffolk) (R Stearn),
2 J and Mrs H Sarchet’s Funny Money (Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent) (J Sarchet),
3 Mrs L Redman and M Thomas’ Rommel (Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and S Berks) (P Mann).
Also: Ballykilthy (4), Northern Breeze (5), Joves Shadow (6), Persian Silk (7), Berewolf (8), Bede (pu), Cashari (pu), CLB Jemilla (ur), Crystal Dance (pu), Lawman (pu), Naughty Dandy (pu), Rakatia (pu). Head, three lengths. 6.10. W £5.20, DF £14.90. SP 7-1 (Crystal Dance 7-4 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race – Division One):
1 H Hill and J Radcliffe’s Pirate King (Cambs University) (G Dyne),
2 Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley),
3 M Oliver’s Give Me Strength (Worcestershire) (N Pearce).
Also; Munster’s Best (4), Here Comes Choosey (5), Blown Away (pu), Jubilee George (pu), Never Be Poor Again (pu), Raddichio (f), Three Times A Lady (pu). Fifteen lengths, five lengths. 6.15. W £26.10. DF £1.70. SP 20-1 (Munster’s Best 5-2 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race – Division Two):
1 Mrs S Edmunds and J Busby’s Polly Flinders (Grafton) (R Cope),
2 Jigsaw Racing Partnership’s Finndw Shan (Essex) (N Pearce),
3 J Etheridge’s Soldershire (Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent) (Miss H Carroll).
Also: The Geordie Duchess (4), Bold Jogger (5), Hilly Be (pu), Johnny Ross (pu), Persian Beggar (pu), Tartar Rose (pu). Ten lengths, 10 lengths. 6.17. W £1.70. DF £35.50. SP 5-4 fav.
Race Eight (Open Maiden Race – Division Three):
1 Mr and Mrs McCaffrey’s Alfie Moon (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (N Bloom),
2 Mrs R Hobson’s Scare Lotte (Puckeridge) (S Salmon),
3 Mr and Mrs W Brown’s Padamul (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (J Owen).
Also: Dromin (4), Making Tracks (5), Greavsie (pu), Have Some Fun (pu), Monkeynuts (pu), Rory’s Town Boy (pu), Stirrup Cup (pu). Ten lengths, a distance. 6.17. W £2.10. DF £4.70. SP 5-7 fav.
Pony Race One (Ponies 13.2hh and under):
1 Mrs J Saunders’ Crosswell Robbie (Pytchley) (George Saunders),
2 Mrs J Andrews’ Artic Annie (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (Bridget Andrews),
3 Mrs F Allsopp’s Ardenhall Jazz (Fitzwilliam) (Georgina Allsopp).
Also: Ashdown Dougal (4), Miss Dynamite (5), Poppy (6), Gold Down Chorus (7), Llanfild Gem (8), Joanny (9). Head, two lengths.
Pony Race Two (Ponies 14.2hh and under):
1 Mrs l Porter-Cohen’s Gemini (Thurlow) (Jack Quinlan),
2 Mrs J Andrews’ Pepsi (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Georgina Andrews),
3 Mrs J Saunders’ Perflet Timing (Pytchley) (Lucy Saunders).
Also; Sparkling Destiny (4), Hero (5), Bonnie Safira (6), Jackabad of Glaven (7), Mission Impossible (8). Five lengths, five lengths.