Amy Stennett’s first victory in the saddle was the highlight of a hectic weekend of Point-to-Pointing which saw two East Anglian meetings and 105 horse contest 13 races.
Stennett, 23, from Thelnetham, near Diss, belied her inexperience with an aggressive ride to land the Members’ Race at the Granta Harriers fixture at Higham on Saturday. The niece of one of this area’s best ever jockeys, Lucy Gibbon, Stennett took Balla d’Aire into the lead with a mile to run and held off the challenge of the favourite, Castle Road, by three lengths.
Trained at Whepstead, near Bury St Edmunds, by Neil King, Balla d’Aire’s only previous victory had been over two and a half miles. But Stennett was in no doubt about her mount’s stamina beforehand and she was proved right to register her inaugural win after five years of trying.
Long-distance travellers from familiar female trainers took half of Higham’s six races. Chrissie Elliot, from Guildford in Surrey, stayed overnight at Fakenham after sending out Labula Bay to win there on Friday. Her over-worked horsebox then traipsed down to this Essex venue and the journey was justified when She’s A Corker ran away with the Marsh
Private Clients TBA Mares’ Race. Caroline Bailey, from Northamptonshire, was on duty at Market Rasen but sent down her head lass, Emma Garley, to saddle Shanavogh, who took the Men’s Open by a length and half under owner Richard Hunnisett.
And the treble was completed when Fair Ally, trained near Towcester by Jenny Pidgeon and ridden by Matt Baldock, got the better of a desperate struggle with Round The Bend to land the Restricted Race by half a length.
It was left to the Turner family, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, to uphold the honour of East Anglia, lifting both the Ladies’ Open and the Maiden Race with Spring Gale and Bruan respectively.
Spring Gale was sent off the 5-1 on favourite but was singularly unimpressive in disposing of Commasarris by two lengths but Bruan – backed from 12-1 to half those odds – found things much simpler, scoring by an easy ten lengths.
Race One (Hunt Race):
1 Miss S Rackham’s Balla D’Aire (Granta Harriers) (Miss A Stennett),
2 M Ward and J Glenister’s Castle Road (Granta Harriers) (Miss R Barrow),
3 A R and Mrs S J Humphrey’s Holmby Copse (Granta Harriers) (D Kemp).
Also: Campbell Hill (4), Bob’s Tornado (pu), Fair Storm (pu), Just Jack (pu). Three lengths, a distance. 6m 21s. W £6.10. DF £2.30. SP 7-2 (Castle Road evens fav).
Race Two (Men’s Open Race):
1 R Hunnisett’s Shanavogh (Quorn) (owner),
2 J M Turner’s Corston Joker (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
3 Mrs A McVay and R Oliver-Smith’s Pangeran (Essex and Suffolk) (N King).
Also: Still In Business (4), Eden’s Close (5), Gay Galant (6), Royal Action (7), Chief Gale (pu), Fair And Fancy (pu), Wilkins (pu), Wise Advice (pu). One and a half lengths, half a length. 6m 16s. W £3.40. DF £5. SP 2-1 fav.
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 Mr and Mrs E Monck’s Fair Ally (Farmers Bloodhounds) (M Baldock),
2 F Allan and P Phazey’s Round The Bend (Fitzwilliam) (Miss L Allan).
Also: Ar Aghaidh Abhaile (pu), Gerej (f), Hollyhock (f), Royal Way (pu), Shirley’s Time (pu). Half a length. 6m 25s. W £1.90. DF £6. SP 11-10 fav.
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Spring Gale (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 Ms S Wall’s Commasarris (Old Surrey and Burstow) (Miss S Hodge),
3 E Clarke’s Mill O’ The Rags (Essex and Suffolk) (Miss R Barrow).
Also: Haydance (4). Two lengths, three lengths. 6m 25s. W £1.20. DF £2.20. SP 1-5 fav.
Race Five (Marsh TBA Members Mares Only Race):
1 R Cook’s She’s A Corker (Surrey Union) (D unsdon),
2 S Clarke’s Sunczech (Vale of Aylesbury) (R Barrett),
3 Mrs P Brightwell’s Eltyrm Flyer (Easton Harriers) (T Lane).
Also: Acute Angle (pu), Ben’s Gift (pu), Mai Point (ur), Worthy Memories (pu). Five lengths, a distance. 6m 26s. W £2.10. DF £28. SP evens fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 J M Turner’s Bruan (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
2 C Jarvis’ Out Of Actons (Suffolk) (owner),
3 H Hobson’s Andrew’s (Puckeridge) (S Salmon).
Also: Harkness Warrior (4), Sharp Madam (5), Chimborazo (f), David Bruce (pu), Duke Of Tulla (pu), Jess Express (f), Professor Tag (pu), Sire De Brumetz (bd), Tartan Shot (pu). Ten lengths, five lengths. 6m 33s. W £12. DF ££14. SP 6-1 (Sharp Madam 2-1 fav).