Vindication and defeat are emotions that are strange bedfellows for sportsmen and women. But Andrew Braithwaite could be excused for wanting to say ‘I told you so’ following his second place aboard The Red Boy at the Granta Harriers Point-To-Point Higham on Sunday.
Braithwaite, 22, from Newmarket, was fined for taking it easy and being caught on the line on The Red Boy’s previous outing, at Cottenham last month.
The jockey protested his innocence, insisting that the horse had started to pull itself up in the closing stages. Yesterday, determined to avoid similar accusations, he remained vigorous in the saddle even though The Red Boy held a clear lead after the last fence in the Men’s Open Race.
The Red Boy reacted by swishing his tail and putting the brakes on, allowing Dunrig to catch him on the run-in and score by half a length. Braithwaite’s post-race quip that he was thinking of writing to the Jockey Club and asking for his money back was hardly surprising in the circumstances.
Fortunately, no tempers were lost, even among punters who sent off The Red Boy as the red hot 2-5 favourite, and Braithwaite enjoyed a deserved change of fortune when guiding No Penalty to victory in Higham’s closing race, the Open Maiden.
Ironically, No Penalty had been the horse responsible for breaking Braithwaite’s collar bone in a fall at this course four weeks earlier.
No Penalty had since ‘won’ a Maiden at Marks Tey only to be disqualified for weighing in light after his weightcloth had been dislodged on the final circuit.
This time his owner-trainer-breeder, Stephen March, from Little Horkesley, near Colchester, admitted to having ‘given it the works – including superglue’ when saddling him in the paddock beforehand.
Dunrig’s triumph was the start of a memorable day for Joe Turner and his family, from Ampton near Bury St Edmunds.
As usual the Turner string has taken its time to fire on all cylinders this year. But they are now just reaching full fitness and, after Zoe Turner, Joe’s granddaughter, took the Ladies’ Open aboard The Wiley Kalmuck, Westfield John went on to complete a treble for the Turner yard.
Ridden, like Dunrig, by James Owen, Westfield John reacted well to the application of blinkers and, taking advantage of the first fence departure of the favourite, Endeavour, made every yard of the running to beat Royal Action by 15 lengths.
The decision to call the seven-strong group that owns Madmidge ‘The Next Stop Cheltenham Syndicate’ does not look so tongue-in-cheek after the nine-year-old, trained at Kilverstone, near Thetford, by his jockey, David Kemp, scored his second win in succession, this time in the Restricted Race.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 H Hill’s Ballad (Granta Harriers) (A Williams),
2 M Ward and J Morrison’s Wise Advice (Granta Harriers) (Miss L Marriot),
3 M Ward and J Glenister’s Castle Road (Granta Harriers) (R H Fowler).
Five lengths, three lengths. 6.35. W £2.60. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Two (Men’s Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Dunrig (Suffolk) (J Owen),
2 C Sporborg’s The Red Boy (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
3 Mrs F Marshall’s Little Worsall (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (F Marshall).
Also: Avondale Illusion (4), Polo Ridge (5), Woodward Street (pu). Half a length, head. 6.20. W £4.80. DF £2. SP 9-2 (The Red Boy 2-5 fav).
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 Next Stop Cheltenham Syndicate’s Madmidge (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 J M Turner’s Captive (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 A Hill and I Mann’s Bell Rock (Vale of Aylesbury/Garth and S Berks) (J Tudor).
Also: Hollhock (4), Hi Tech Man (5), Josh’s Choice (6), Lambrini King (7), A Fine Story (8), Ballylesson (9), Henwyn (10), Chasing Bailey’s (pu), No Nay Never (f), Paddy’s Dream (ur). Four lengths, eight lengths. 6.14. W £5.60. DF £15. SP 9-2 (Hi Tech Man 5-2 fav).
Race Four (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s The Wiley Kalmuck (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 Mrs S Ruddle’s Hay Dance (Waveney Harriers) (Miss L Barrett-Nobbs),
3 Mrs P Twinn and D Claydon’s Mai Point (East Essex) (Mrs S Hodge).
Also: Catherines Way (4), Corston Joker (5), Placid Man (ur). Three lengths, eight lengths. 6.14. W £2.60. DF £84. SP 5-1 (Placid Man 1-4 fav).
Race Five (Countryside Alliance Club Members’ Race):
1 J M Turner’s Westfield John (Suffolk) (J Owen),
2 A Chinery’s Royal Action (East Essex) (P Chinery),
3 C Page’s Ardnut (Cambridge Univ DH) (Miss R Page).
Also: Gin N Ice (4), Good Thyne Murphy (5), Endeavour (ur), Secret Streams (pu). Fifteen lengths, a distance. 6.10. W £6.60. DF £5. SP 6-1 (Endeavour 7-4 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 S March’s No Penalty (East Essex) (A Braithwaite),
2 A Sporting Endeavour Partnership’s Tartar Sabre (Waveney Harriers) (Miss L Barrett-Nobbs),
3 J M Turner’s On The Day (Suffolk) (J Owen).
Also: Groove Jet (f), Half A Story (f), Lightning Fork (f), Straw Exchange (pu), Victory March (pu). Twenty lengths, 15 lengths. 6.18. W £3. DF £20. SP 6-4 fav.