A remarkable effort by Auriol Wilson and her team allowed the Granta Harriers Point-to-Point at Higham to go ahead yesterday (Sunday) including filling the holes, created at the previous meeting, with 15 tonnes of mushroom compost and sand. Horse boxes had to be relocated to an adjacent stubble field but the jockeys said that the ground rode good.
The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Mrs Fleur Hawes who owned, trained and rode her Va Vavoom to a 20 length victory in the Ladies Open Race. This was Mrs Hawes’ first winner, on only her second ride, in her first season training. She looks after three horses at her Bressingham yard and also has the Cheltenham-bound Deckie in training with David Kemp.
The plan is to run Va Vavoom in a hunter chase at Ludlow next time and the long term aim for this 9-year-old, who she bought off Nigel Twiston-Davies last September, is the Aintree Foxhunters. Mrs Hawes laughed and shook her head when asked if she would be keeping the ride at Aintree.
The opening Hunt Race was won by James Owen on Hot Plunge, trained by Kelly Smith at Westley Waterless, near Newmarket. Smith, who was not in attendance for this race as she was riding at Detling in Kent, handles this horse for Miss Lucy Carvall who was delighted with her first point to point winner. The owner was quick to praise Owen who had kept this tricky customer out the back at the start and just jogged him in 15 lengths behind the others but managed to keep him moving when the flag fell.
The Mens Open was won by Arnold Layne, trained by Gerald Bailey and ridden by Dickie Barrett. Arnold Layne went on three fences from home and had a good battle with runner-up Walking Sunday. Barrett thought afterwards that the ground was a bit quick for him and he’d want further in future.
The Maiden Race was split on the day and, due to the low sun, the last two fences were omitted on each circuit. This meant that after jumping the usual third last there was a half mile run and jockeyship was at a premium. The first division was won by Bosco’s Tune, trained at Whepstead by Anne-Marie Hays. This horse, who made virtually all, only came over to Suffolk in September having previously been jumping banks in Limerick. His usual pilot Harry Fowler had commitments at Warwick so Tim Lane was an able deputy.
The second division was a 1-2 for trainer Tim Tarratt, from Leicestershire, with his less fancied runner Carr Dyke Lad, winning at 20-1 under Matt Briggs. This horse broke his pedal bone on his only run last year and unluckily tied up after this race. He looks to be a horse of great potential if he can remain injury free.
The Restricted Race was a 7th winner of the season for Lady Anne Connell, who trains near Banbury. Baron Steane, ridden by Stuart Morris, led six fences from home and his win was never in doubt. He’d missed two seasons, due to injury, and Lady Connell said that “he is a real monkey, you never know if he is going to dump you or run off with you”.
The Countyside Alliance Club Members Race was won by Teeton Glaive, completing a double for jockey Stuart Morris. She looked to have it won easily after jumping to the front 2 out but idled in front and the early leader Needs Time almost battled back under Tim Lane. Trainer Sylvia Edmunds said that she just rides this mare around the farm and she is her hunter having done 20 days with the Grafton, including as gate shutter.
Race One (Members Race):
1 The Deadline Partnership’s Hot Plunge (Granta Harriers) (J Owen),
2 Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley),
3 Misses T, F and R Ward’s Magic To Do (Granta Harriers) (Miss R Ward).
Also: Ever So Humbel (f), Groovejet (f), On The Day (ur). Three lengths, one length. 6.24. SP 2-5 fav.
Race Two (Men’s Open Race):
1 Mr and Mrs R Scott’s Arnold Layne (Pytchley) (R Barrett),
2 T Ellis and Mrs J Westrope’s Walking Sunday (Warwicks) (T Ellis),
3 Mr and Mrs R Arbrey’s Another Dude (Suffolk) (R Stearn).
Also: The Stickler (4), Power Glory (5), Avalon Buck (6), Breezy Betsy (pu). One length, five lengths. 6.14. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs L Gregory’s Baron Steane (Grafton) (S Morris),
2 R Arbrey and I Thortle’s Forget The Ref (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
3 Mrs J May’s Instant Appeal (Essex) (A Pennock).
Also: Lyric Maestro (4), Mistress Cool (5), Nowhips (6), Killeengh Lodge (7), Supreme Sir (8), Scattered Scarlet (9), Ballyowen (pu), Glenmorren (pu), Irish Prince (pu), Qualicum (pu), Something’s Up (pu). Five lengths, one length. 6.20. SP Evens fav.
Race Four (Ladies Race):
1 Mrs F Hawes Va Vavoom (Dunston Harriers) (owner),
2 Mrs C Stennett and Mrs C Aldridge’s Make Haste Slowly (Pytchley) (Miss A Stennett),
3 P Roberts’ Wings Of Hope (Cotswold) (Miss K Pullon).
Also: Tartar Sabre (4), Full Irish (5), Hi Tech Man (6), Lord Euro (7), River Pirate (8), Celtic Star (pu), Fami (pu), Royal Action (f). Twenty lengths, half a length. 6.15. SP 4-1 (Full Irish 4-6 fav).
Race Five (Countryside Alliance Members Race):
1 Mrs S Edmunds and J Busby’s Teeton Glave (Grafton) (S Morris),
2 Lady Connell’s Needs Time (Grafton) (T Lane),
3 Countess Cathcart’s Homme De Fer (W Norfolk) (G Greenock).
Also: Mister Rushby (4), Noblefir (5), Baron Bernard (6), Alittlemoreaction (pu), Infidel (pu), Kicasso (pu), Pampered Gale (pu), Silver Buzzard (ur). Neck, 10 lengths. 6.17. SP 4-1 (Needs Time 2-1 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race Division One):
1 Mrs A Hays and H Hogan’s Bosco’s Tune (Thurlow) (T Lane),
2 T North’s Yukon Jack (Cottesmore) (M Mackley),
3 Mrs S Smith’s Crown Agent (Cottesmore) (M Briggs).
Also: Rockley Beach (4), Southern Ha’I (5), Dromin (6), Neverbepooragain (7), Shampers (8), Catch A Tartar (pu), It’sthekingmurphy (pu), Rising Penalty (pu), Sovereign Quest (f). Half a length, head. 6.25. SP 14-1 (Shampers 6-4 fav).
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race Division Two):
1 G Copley’s Carr Dyke Lad (Cottesmore) (M Briggs),
2 C Morris’ Magicastle (Cottesmore) (R Armson),
3 Mrs T Hayward and Mrs A Buxton’s The Piper’s Son (W Norfolk) (J Docker).
Also: Olympe De Farges (4), Like To Go (5), Unfair Dismissal (6), Thurning Lad (7), Free To Appeal (8), Dance Day (pu), Executive Friend (f), Over The Loom (ur). Half a length, three lengths. 6.22. SP 20-1 (Olympe De Farges 5-4 fav).