Nick Wright, from Badlingham near Newmarket, earned top billing by winning with half of his four-strong string at an excellent North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday which saw six of the seven trophies remain in East Anglia.
Three local trainers who had already tasted success during the afternoon fought out the finish to the finale, the Restricted Race. But it was the Wright-trained favourite, Stress, who came out on top by two lengths from George Cooper’s Mambo Ruler with Festival Bound, from the Caroline Fryer yard, just half a length back in third.
Stress would have prevailed a little more comfortably but for a bad blunder with a circuit to run. Winning jockey Carey Williamson, from Thetford, explained away that uncharacteristic error by pointing out that her mount had been distracted by a flash photograph – something that is strictly forbidden at all racecourses.
The other Wright triumph came in even more emphatic fashion in the second division of the Maiden Race when It Was Me registered an exceptionally fast time in scoring by five lengths.
This result was particularly noteworthy because It Was Me’s stylish partner, Mikey Ennis, said afterwards that he had never before won a race on a horse that had already expended so much energy by racing freely in the early stages.
Wright, who called his first ever double ‘awesome’ and pointed out that his statistics for the season now stand at two wins and two seconds from five runners, gained extra pleasure from It Was Me’s success given that it was at the expense of Elvis The King, trained by his best friend, John Ferguson.
Ferguson, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, had by then landed the opening Maiden withMacklin, who made up for an unlucky New Year’s Eve defeat with a two length defeat of Filibuster. The successful pilot, James Owen, is setting a hot pace at the top of the East Anglian standings as this was his fourth victory of the campaign.
The Club Members Conditions Race was most notable for some scrimmaging (later deemed ‘accidental’ by the stewards) on the penultimate bend between the eventual winner, Foulstons Ruler, and the disappointing hot favourite, Timeshift.
Foulstons Ruler is, like his half-brother, Mambo Ruler, trained, owned and bred by George Cooper, whose Raydon farm is so close to Higham that he can hear the tannoy on racedays.
Ridden by Wymondham’s Rupert Stearn, Foulstons Ruler should have a good season ahead of him given that this sharp course and fast ground were far from ideal.
Trainer Caroline Fryer, another Wymondham resident, got off the mark for the season following a number of near misses when Defying Gravity pouched the Dodson & Horrell Novice Riders’ Race. Defying Gravity ran in the colours of Cliff Underwood, who is a consultant engineer in the oil and gas industry based at Great Yarmouth.
Star Double benefitted from a fine ride from Ben Rivett, from Sharrington, Norfolk, to get the better of L’Oudon by just a head following a pulsating finish to the Mens Open.
Star Double is trained at Bressingham by Fleur Hawes. But her hopes of an Open race double were dashed when Pouilly could finish only fourth behind the Gloucestershire raider, Rocklandslad, in the Ladies equivalent.
Open Maiden Div One
1 Macklin – James Owen 2/5f
2 Filibuster – Gina Andrews
3 Baltic Blue – Carey Williamson
Time 6 mins 26 secs Dists: 2L, 6L 7 ran. 2 jumps omitted, fallen rider.
Open Maiden Div Two
1 Is It Me – Mikey Ennis 10/11f
2 Elvis The King – James Owen
3 Turtle Boys – Ben Rivett
Time 5-56 Dists:5L, 8L 8 ran
1 Defying Gravity – Kieran Edgar 9/4
2 Sykee Savage – Emily Pain
3 Salsero – Georgie Thorogood
Time 5-59 Dists: 6L, Hd 7 ran Va Vavoom 2/1f (4th). 2 jumps omitted, fallen rider
CA Club Members Conditions
1 Foulstons Ruler – Rupert Stearn 3/1
2 Mister Tibus – Dicky Collinson
3 Mountain Emperor – Gina Andrews
Time 6-06 Dists: 3L, 5L 6 ran Timeshift 4/5f (PU). 3 jumps omitted in this race and all subsequent races, damaged fence
1 Star Double – Ben Rivett 5/4f
2 L’Oudon – Rupert Stearn
3 Old Si – Dicky Collinson
Time 6-05 Dists: Hd, 1/2L 5 ran
1 Rocklandslad – Hannah Lewis Ev’s f
2 King Du Berlais – Louise Allan
3 Roaringwater – Cynthia Haydon
Time 5-54 Dists: 3L, 2L 7 ran
1 Stress – Carey Williamson Ev’s f
2 Mambo Ruler – Rupert Stearn
3 Festival Bound – Dicky Collinson
Time 6-03 Dists: 2L, 1/2L 9 ran