Bush Hill Bandit made it third time lucky after two narrow reverses to give one horse trainer Ann-Marie Hays, from Whepstead near Bury St Edmunds, her first winner as a trainer at the Fitzwilliam Point-To-Point at Cottenham on Sunday.

The first division of the Open Maiden had 17 runners but, by the time Bush Hill Bandit moved into the lead after the third last fence, only four were still standing. However, The Small Farmer took over in front approaching the final obstacle and a third consecutive second-place finish looked in prospect for Bush Hill Bandit. But a fluent leap got him back alongside his rival and he showed plenty of guts to edge home by half a length.

However, The Small Farmer took over in front approaching the final obstacle and a third consecutive second-place finish looked in prospect for Bush Hill Bandit. But a fluent leap got him back alongside his rival and he showed plenty of guts to edge home by half a length. Bought for 2,800 guineas at the Doncaster sales in May 2001 after showing little in six starts under rules for Paul Webber, Bush Hill Bandit has been nursed back from injury by Hays. He was also a first winner of the season between the flags for Newmarket jockey Harry Fowler, although he had been successful in a Hunter Chase at Leicester six days earlier.

Gallant Glen made a quick reappearance just eight days after a Horseheath success to land the Confined Race under Midlands-based rider Stuart Morris, who has now won nine points this season – seven of them in East Anglia.

Despite a 5lb penalty gained for that recent victory, Gallant Glen proved 15 lengths too strong for The Red Boy. Trained at North Weald by former jockey Perry Harding-Jones for his father, Derek, Gallant Glen now heads for the Martell Fox Hunters’ Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on April 3.One of his likely opponents at Liverpool is Rob Mine (trained at Bishop’s Stortford by The Red Boy’s handler and friend of the Harding-Jones family, Christopher Sporborg) who won a Hunter Chase at Sandown Park last Friday.East Anglian victories were thin on the ground in the other five Cottenham races, apart from in the Members’ Race, which is restricted to supporters of the Fitzwilliam Hunt. This was won in great style by Round The Bend whose trainer-jockey, Louise Allan, from Thorney near Peterborough, remembered wryly afterwards that she had broken her arm in a fall in the 2002 running of this event.

The powerful Northamptonshire yard of Caroline Bailey notched a double with Sawa-Id, who sported blinkers for the first time when beating Step In Line by six lengths in the Men’s Open, and Nelsun, who prevailed narrowly after a great battle with Sounds Promising in the closing Maiden.

Worcestershire visitor Hoodwinker, who had plundered an East Anglian prize at Higham back in January, repeated the trick when overhauling Thurles Pickpocket in the last 50 yards of the Ladies’ Open.

And Shropshire rider Richard Burton, who is one of the leading contenders for the National Jockeys’ Title, took his tally for the campaign to 12 when the classy Oh So Droll slaughtered his ten rivals in the Restricted Race.


Race One (Members Race):

1 F Allan and P Phazey’s Round The Bend (Fitzwilliam) (Miss L Allan),

2 Miss K Thory’s Lucrative Perk (Fitzwilliam) (A Coe),

3 Miss K Thory’s Back Bar (Fitzwilliam) (Miss Z Goodwin).

Also: River Surprise (pu). Distance, 10 lengths. 6m 21s. W £1.20. DF £1.10. SP 2-5 fav.

Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):

1 D Harding-Jones’ Gallant Glen (Puckeridge) (S Morris),

2 C H Sporborg’s The Red Boy (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),

3 R Hunnisett’s Springlea Tower (Pytchley) (owner).

Also: Breezy Betsy (4), Just Billy (5), Doctor Dunklin (pu), Happy Medium (pu), Nousayri (pu). Fifteen lengths, 10 lengths. 6m 11s. W £2.10. DF £2.90. SP 5-4 fav.

Race Three (Men’s Open Race):

1 A Nicholls’ Sawa-Id (Pytchley) (R Cope),

2 Fernhurst Racing’s Step In Line (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (A Braithwaite),

3 G Disney’s Master Pilgrim (North Cotswold) (owner).

Also: Pangeran (4), Aurimaid (5), Happy Tartar (6), Casual Water (7), Mill O’ The Rags (8), Moorland Highflyer (ur), Trouvaille (pu), Vital Issue (ur).  Six lengths, neck. 6m14s. W £7.90. DF £80. SP 5-1 (Master Pilgrim 5-2 fav).

Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):

1 Mrs D Williams’ Hoodwinker (Albrighton Woodland) (Miss J Williams),

2 Mrs J Stevens’ Thurles Pickpocket (East Anglian Bloodhounds) (Mrs S Hodge),

3 Ms A Well’s O’Fiaich’s Hope (Fernie) (Ms A Wells).

Also: Mai Point (4), Catherine’s Way (5), Triple Eaves (6), Man Of Steele (7), Bens Gift (ur), Flutterbud (pu), Gigi Beach (f), Paradisio (pu), Torus Spa (pu). Three-quarters of a length, one length. 6m15s. W £5.60. DF £1.70 winner with any other horse. SP 4-1 (Paradisio 9-4 fav).

Race Five (Restricted Race):

1 R L Burton and M Fielding’s Oh So Droll (South Shropshire) (R Burton),

2 Ms A Embiricos’ Filou Du Bois (CUDH) (owner),

3 C Bogie’s Suprisedly Gifted (Pytchley) (R Cope).

Also: Rip Kirby (4), Will Hill (5), The Vintage Dancer (6), Spittal Beck (7), Saxon Victory (8), Campbellhill (ref), Henry Tartar (pu), Lone Star (pu), Monsukh (pu), Zafan (pu).  Fifteen lengths, three lengths. 6m 21s. W £2.50. DF £2.90. SP 6-4 fav.

Race Six (Open Maiden Race — Division One):

1 Ms A-M Hays’ Bush Hill Bandit (Thurlow) (R H Fowler),

2 T L and A E Brooks’ The Small Farmer (Grafton) (J Diment),

3 P J Millington’s Ravensworth (Fernie) (owner).

Also: Budle Bay (4), Altar Society (ref), Bivacastle (pu), Court Award (pu), Cousin George (bd), Ellofamonkey (f), Fiesty Frosty (pu), Golden Shred (pu), Golden Thyne (f), Lord Stroller (bd), Mistrio (pu), Professor Tag (pu), Run River Run (f), Yodeller Bill (pu).  Half a length, eight lengths. 6m 24s. W £2.70. DF £54.30. SP 3-1 fav.

Race Seven (Open Maiden Race — Division Two):

1 Mrs F MacFarlane’s Nelsun (Pytchley) (R Cope),

2 J Burton’s Sounds Promising (Cranwell Bloodhounds) (M Mackley),

3 M Briggs’ Briery Ella (South Notts) (owner).

Also: Trinity Buoy (4), Joe Smoke (5), Three Spires (6), Bede (pu), Bell Rock (pu), Brookfield Bass (pu), Ceewardie (pu), Crown Rule (pu), Dolly Devious (pu), Eastern Point (ref), Ernford Smokinjoe (f), Judicious Norman (pu), Midnight Dynamite (pu), Mighty Missflighty (tnp). Neck, five lengths. 6m 29s. W £2.50. DF £1.40 winner with any other horse. SP 5-2 fav.