The last fixture of the East Anglian Point-to-Point season took place at Dingley on Saturday in glorious sunshine, although only one East Anglian yard managed to record a winner.
It Was Me, one of the stable stars of the Badlingham yard of Nick Wright, was winning for the fifth consecutive time this season when running out a ready winner of the Ladies Open under regular pilot Carrie Williamson, although his task was made considerably easier when his only truly viable opponent High Counsel planted himself at the start under Gina Andrews and refused to race. It Was Me returned to the winners’ enclosure with a nasty overreach which will need to heal fast if he is to make it to his major end of season target at the big hunter chase meeting at Stratford on Friday evening.
Gina Andrews finished what was otherwise a frustrating day with a wonderful ride in the 2m4f maiden. She held up the favourite Fair Ask well in rear and the pair still had a huge deficit to make up at the fourth last fence, but they scythed through the pack from then on to hit the front jumping the last and win in fine style for the Gary Hanmer team. This extended Gina’s lead at the top of the national lady riders’ championship which she looks very likely to win for the second time.
The national novice lady riders’ championship is an altogether more tightly-fought affair. Lucy Wheeler levelled scores at seven winners with Lara Mahon in the first race when victorious aboard the 13 year-old veteran Point Proven in the Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race, but was then unseated from Nightcap Jack at the final open ditch in the following Novice Riders Race when upsides eventual winner The Magherally Man ridden by Lara Mahon. This left Lara Mahon clear to edge ahead once again on eight wins, six of which have come aboard the rejuvenated 11 year-old The Magherallly Man. Unfortunately for Lucy Wheeler she suffered a broken collarbone in the fall which will very likely gift the title to Lara Mahon.
The Mens’ Open was fought out between the two classy Gerald Bailey-trained inmates Sandpipers and Gunmoney with the former just edging victory, under a canny waiting ride from Alex Vaughan-Jones, as he showed the better turn of foot to run down resolute stayer Gunmoney. Sandpipers was winning for the fourth time this season contributing to Gerald Bailey’s total of 16 winners from just eight horses.
An aggressive ride from Dingley’s leading jockey of the season Dale Peters facilitated a convincing success for I’llhavealook in the Restricted Race for Toby Hunt as they stretched the field out over the final circuit, while a new recruit from under rules to the Kent-based yard of Nick Pearce, Wah Wah Taysee, made amends for being brought down on his point-to-pointing debut when winning cosily in the Open Maiden under a well-timed ride from Stuart Robinson.