It was a case of doubles all round as East Anglia played host to a brace of cold but entertaining Point-To-Points over the weekend. On Saturday the spotlight fell on Higham for the Granta Harriers meeting while on Sunday it moved to Ampton where the course survived three inspection following overnight frost to stage the Suffolk fixture.
Ben Rivett, Fleur Hawes, Rupert Stearn, Gina Andrews, Clare Allen and David Kemp were the heroes of the hour as they all enjoyed a pair of victories. Rivett was arguably the Man Of The Weekend as he not only scored aboard Took My Eye at Higham and Sigma Digital at Ampton but was also honoured with the East Anglian Jockey Of The Month Award for February.Both his winning mounts are trained at Kilverstone, near Thetford, by David Kemp. He would usually also ride them but was serving a controversial mandatory one-week spell on the sidelines after a fall at Horsheath a week earlier was deemed to have left him concussed despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Sigma Digital has been a real trojan since joining the Kemp yard last year. Only ten days earlier he helped David ‘s father, Malcolm, raise £10,000 for Help The Heroes and the Countryside Alliance by finishing seventh in a Fakenham charity race.
The weekend ended on a slightly sour note for 23-year-old Rivett as his final ride, Sodantay,who is trained by his parents at Sharrington in North Norfolk, started odds-on favourite for the Restricted Race but was pulled up having burst a blood vessel.
North Norfolk still provided the winner as Toe To Hand, trained at Binham by William Wales, made all the running.
He was completing a double for jockey Gina Andrews, who earlier took the Ladies’ Open on Delightful Cliche,The Ampton highlight was the Men’s Open where three of Norfolk’s finest, Caveman, Rydal Park and Forget The Ref, fought out the finish. Caveman, trained at Wymondham by Nigel Bloom and ridden by George Greenock, jumped brilliantly throughout and held off the rallying Rydal Park by a length with Forget The Ref just two lengths back in third.Bloom, who was notching his first success of the season, said: “Caveman has a rare quality among racehorses in that he never gives up and hates being passed. He is best going right-handed and would be even better over bigger fences.”
Trainer Fleur Hawes, from Bressingham, was the star of the show at Higham, where she scored with the Clare Allen-partnered pair of Pouilly and Scotland Yard. Pouilly survived a monumental blunder at halfway to take the Hunts Club Members but it was much plainer sailing for Scotland Yard in the Ladies’ Open.
Foulstons Ruler, trained not far from the course at Raydon by George Cooper, sparked the Stearn riding double with a smooth success in the Restricted while Law Court gave Bradfield St Clare (near Bury St Edmunds) handler Alex Embiricos an initial 2010 triumph in the Maiden.
Still very much a baby at the age of five, Law Court is open to plenty of improvement and is part owned by Stephen and Julia Howlett, from Attleborough.
The only ‘overseas’ win of the 12 weekend races came in the Countryside Alliance Club Members. But it was tight as the Northants raider, Pass The Parsel, held off Joe Turner’s Kadount by a neck.