Cork All Star underlined his star quality when routing a good field in the Mens Open at the North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday.
Trained in Newmarket by Jo Quinlan and ridden by her son, Jack, Cork All Star followed up his Cottenham victory earlier in the month with a 15-length demolition of Start Royal, who had lost just one of his previous seven starts between the flags.
Jack’s most anxious moment came on the final bend when he was being hassled by a loose horse that had already carried out the long-time leader, Star Double. But, while the anxious jockey tried to manoeuvre a clear path, Cork All Star took matters into his own hands and bit his riderless rival!
We are unlikely to see the Fasliyev gelding in any more East Anglian points as he will now go hunter chasing, probably at either Huntingdon of Fakenham in two weeks time.
He is still owned by the same Irish family (the Ryans) whose colours he sported to victory in the 2007 Cheltenham Champion Bumper and his main aim is Ireland’s top hunter chase which is run at Punchestown, a few miles from the Ryans’ Swordlestown Stud, in early May. David Kemp, one of the region’s top trainer/jockeys who is based at Kilverstone, near Thetford, arrived at Higham well wrapped up and without his riding gear as he was laid low with a nasty bout of flu.
He received the perfect pick-me-up as Firmount Beech and Pingpong, his runners in the two divisions of the opening Maiden Race, both scored decisive victories.
Ben Rivett, from Sharrington, near Holt, proved a most able deputy aboard both horses. In the first section he got a good lead from Free Speech, trained at Wymondham by Caroline Fryer, until sending Firmount Beech ahead at the second last to score by 15 lengths.
And he never saw another rival in division two, making all the running on Pingpong, who came home seven lengths clear of Mister Tibus, who is trained at Sutton, near Ely, by Martin Ward. The other local victory on a seven-race card came courtesy of Scotland Yard, who was not hard pressed to defeat The Accordion Man by 12 lengths in the Ladies’ Open. Scotland Yard is trained at Bressingham by Fleur Hawes, who also owns him in partnership with Diss’s Fraser Duffin, and was ridden by Gina Andrews.
In the following race, Gina’s boyfriend, Tom Ellis, guided the mare, Latenightdip, to a comfortable defeat of Saddlers Melody. Ellis quipped afterwards: “Latenightdip is a typical female, just like Gina, as long as she gets things her own way she is fine!”
Hannah Watson came up with the ride of the day to lift the Intermediate Race on the Warwickshire raider, The Nun’s Legacy.
And Mister Kay Bee justified the seven-hour round trip from Worcestershire in the Novice Riders’ Race.