A brilliant Ladies’ Open Race, where just two and a half lengths covered the first six home, was the highlight of Saturday’s rearranged North Norfolk Harriers meeting at Higham.
The West Midlands raider Hoodwinker, ridden by Jane Williams, got up in the very last strides to deny the favourite, Celtic Duke, by a neck with Bitofamixup the same distance back in third.
Hoodwinker came from well off the pace but Bitofamixup finished fastest of all and his pilot, Jenny Gordon, was controversially fined for riding an ill-judged race even though her mount seemed to be struggling with his jumping technique until the closing stages.
Paddy’s Dream, transformed by the application of a tongue tie, landed the first of three Maidens to give the Essex-based team of owner Barry Belchem, from Kelvedon, trainer Robert Gardiner, from Great Yeldham, and jockey Andrew Ayers, from Gestingthorpe, the first leg of a weekend Maiden Race double.
Cinnamon Club, who, like Paddy’s Dream, has been plagued with breathing difficulties in the past, was the other local winner. Trained at Glemsford by Ruth Hayter, she proved five lengths too strong for Pangeran in the Confined Race.
Another similarity between Paddy’s Dream and Cinnamon Club is that they were both partnered by able deputies in the absence of their first-choice jockeys.
Harry Fowler’s meticulous skiing holiday planning failed to take into account the possibility of the North Norfolk meeting being rescheduled, so letting in Ayers, while Christian Ward-Thomas was detained by work commitments allowing Stuart Morris free rein on Cinnamon Club.
It was poetic justice for Morris, who was riding his first winner since suffering horrific injuries in a fall from another of Hayter’s horses at Cottenham last March.
The classiest performance of the day was posted by Shanavogh, from Caroline Bailey’s powerful yard, as he scorched round the three mile course in six minutes flat in the Men’s Open.
Star Glow, bought for just 700 guineas at the Ascot Sales and trained at Cobham by the York family, was two and a half lengths too speedy for Kustom Kit Grizzly in the fastest of the Maidens. The other horse to break its duck was antoher visitor from South of the Thames, Itsmyturnnow, who finally got his turn at the age of eight in depriving the perennial beaten favourite, Sydney Hobart, by four lengths.
Wibbley Wobbley gave 18-year-old Thomas Ellis, from Leamington Spa, his second ever winner in the Novice Riders’ Race. Ellis rides out for Stratford trainer Sue Busby and a horse that Busby herself handles, Corrie Mor, overcame some interference after the last fence to lift the closing Restricted Race under Paul Cowley.
Race One (Maiden Race, Division One):
1 B Belchem’s Paddy’s Dream (East Essex) (A Ayers),
2 D Harding-Jones’ Trinity Buoy (Puckeridge) (C Gordon),
3 Mrs C Taylor’s Storm Rising (Ashford Valley) (A Hickman).
Also: Run Monty (4), Royal Alibi (5), Pardon Me Son (6), Baie Des Singes (pu), Hamish Mor (pu), Mr Mackenzie (f), Professor Tag (pu), Sense of Duty (pu), Tom Barry (pu), Treelo (pu). Two lengths, three lengths. 6m 12s. W £6.50. DF £11.60 (winner with any other). SP 7-1 (Run Monty 7-4 fav).
Race Two (Maiden Race, Division Two part one):
1 R York’s Star Glow (SC and RMAS Drag) (P York),
2 The Crofters Club’s Kustom Kit Grizzly (Bicester and Whaddon Chase) (R Barrett),
3 Mrs M G Sheppard’s Pharout (Cambridgeshire Foxhounds) (P Taiano).
Also Teeton Glaive (4), Gunner Be True (5), Sire De Brumetz (6), Bede (pu), Carpenters Mate (pu). Two and a half lengths, 15 lengths. 6m 08s. W £2.90. DF £11. SP 5-2 jt fav (Pharout 5-2 jt fav).
Race Three (Maiden Race, Division Two part two):
1 M Robert’s Itsmyturnnow (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (C Gordon),
2 Mrs A Vaughan-Jones and G Luck’s Sydney Hobart (West Norfolk) (R Cope),
3 B Belchem’s Court Award (East Essex) (A Ayers).
Also: Second Thoughts (4), Captain Boycott (pu), Only Me (pu), Spruce Goose (pu), Unforeseen (pu). Four lengths, half a length. 6m 11s. W £9.30. DF ££8. SP 13-2 (Sydney Hobart 7-4 fav).
Race Four (PPORA Members Race for Novice Riders):
1 T Ellis’ Wibbley Wobbley (Warwickshire) (owner),
2 S Harrison and T Burrows’ Wrekengale (Thurlow) (Miss A Stennett),
3 Fernhurst Racing’s Step In Lane (East Anglian Blood Hounds) (R Morgan-Evans).
Also: Happy Medium (4), Mill O’The Rags (5), Livin It Up (pu), Manavite (ur), Naughty Dandy (pu), Red Channel (pu), Silk Vestments (f). Three lengths, 10 lengths. 6m 10s. W £4.70. DF £10.50. SP 7-2 (Manavite 7-4 fav).
Race Five (Men’s Open Race):
1 R Hunnisett’s Shanavogh (Pytchley) (owner),
2 Miss E Delaney’s Jackie Jarvis (SC and RMAS Drag) (P York),
3 Seabrook Partners’ Seabrook Lad (Bicester and Whaddon Chase) (R Barrett)
Also: Ballinure Boy (4), Majadou (5), Brother Of Iris (pu), Galeaway (pu), Gatchou Mans (ur), Powernglory (pu), Romany Chat (pu), The Wiley Kalmuck (pu). Ten lengths, eight lengths. 6m 0s. W £5.30. DF £63. SP 7-1 (Ballinure Boy 7-4 fav).
Race Six (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 Mrs D William’s Hoodwinker (Albrighton Woodland) (Miss J Williams),
2 J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 M Robert’s Bitofamixup (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (Mrs J Gordon).
Also: Round The Bend (4), Catherine’s Way (5), Thurles Pickpocket (6), Ela Agapi Mou (7), O’Fiaich’s Hope (8), Borrow Mine (pu), Hay Dance (pu), Pride Of Kashmir (ur). Neck, neck. 6m 09s. W £6. DF £2.75. SP 7-1 (Celtic Duke 6-4 fav).
Race Seven (Confined Race):
1 Mrs C Villar and T Batterby’s Cinnamon Club (Suffolk) (S Morris),
2 Mrs A McVay, R Oliver-Smith and P Cornwall’s Pangeran (Suffolk) (N King),
3 The Cherry Tree Partnership’s Kentish Bard (North Norfolk Harriers) (R Morgan-Evans).
Also: Wise Advice (4), Alpha Two (pu), Bruan (pu), New Ross (pu), The Red Boy (F). Five lengths, a distance. 6m 05s. W £13. DF £27.30. SP 8-1 (The Red Boy evens fav).
Race Eight (Restricted Race):
1 Mrs S Busby’s Corrie Mor (Farmers Bloodhounds) (P Cowley),
2 Mrs D Flory’s Miss Toski (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 L Stillwell and Mr and Mrs P Polito’s Crackrattle (Fernie) (N Pearce).
Also: Call The Tune (4), Syrpiro (5), Nowornever (6), Americain Paddy (7), Galaxy Minstrel (pu), Man Of Antrim (pu). Two lengths, 10 lengths. 6m 11s. W £1.30. DF £4.70. SP 3-1 (Miss Toski 7-4 fav).