Alex Vaughan-Jones, from Wells-next-the-Sea, prompted the biggest ovation of the afternoon at the North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday when he rode his first winner aboard Nokimover.
Vaughan-Jones, who is a trainee surveyor in central London, was able to take things easy in the closing stages as Nokimover, a summer acquisition by Gerald Bailey (husband of trainer Caroline), cruised home a distance clear of Demasta.Both the 26-year-old’s parents, winning owner Alice and former top jockey Ollie, were officiating at the meeting so it was a very popular local success. As his name suggests, Nokimover has not always been the most tractable of horses, but his only tricky moment here came before the race when he refused to leave the paddock.
The eagerly-awaited return of last season’s Cheltenham Foxhunter’s third, Placid Man, ended in disappointment as he crashed out at the penultimate fence in the Ladies’ Open. But, as one star’s reputation received a knock another star may have been born as the winner, Peachy, could barely have made a more impressive pointing debut.
Trained near Luton by Simon Andrews and ridden by Louise Allan, Peachy already had Placid Man cooked when the red hot favourite departed and had ten lengths to spare on Lucky Bay, himself formerly a top class performer under rules, at the line.
It was a triumph for Colin Pocock, who has owned the injury-plagued Peachy for ten years, and even learnt to ride on him, but has had the pleasure of getting him to the racecourse a mere seven times. In an effort to keep weight off his fragile legs, Peachy’s new work rider is Andrews’ daughter, Georgina, who, at 13, is only two years older than the horse!
Placid Man, who was ridden by national champion Polly Gundry as his usual partner, trainer Alex Embiricos, is laid low with a back injury, seemed none the worse for his fall yesterday evening.
The other East Anglian success on a seven-race card was provided by Epop, trained at Wretham, near Thetford by Robert and Jane Abrey and ridden by Wymondham’s Rupert Stearn. He took the older horse Maiden half an hour after Stearn’s first ride of the year, Ashgrove in the youngsters Maiden, got no further than the first obstacle, where he deposited Stearn on the turf and damaged the fence in the process!
That maiden was won by a visitor from Wolverhampton, Capt Jack, who could have a good future judged by the style of his five length defeat of Marino Mou.
The Men’s Open attracted a disappointing field of three and was won by Surrey raider Star Glow, who notched his fourth course success under Phil York, son of the winning trainer, Ray.
Further course specialists took the last two races as The Noble Roman reprised his March 2005 win under his Warwickshire trainer, Tom Ellis, in the Countryside Alliance Members Race, while The Stickler, successful here in April, took the Restricted Race under Matt Mackley.
Race One (open maiden race, five, six and seven yo):
1 M Parr’s Capt Jack (Albrighton) (W Hill),
2 D Fremel’s Marind Moll (Staff College and RMAS Drag) (P York),
3 The Ease Partnership’s Munster’s Best (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (S Morris).
Also: Wheel Tapper (4), Special Benefit (5), We Got Him (6), Ashgrove (ur), Beauchamp Quest (pl) Lanciene (pu), Malahide (pu), Scare Lotte (f), Spice Rack (pu), Warrier Dan (f). Five lengths, seven lengths. 6.23. W £7. DF £7.30, SP 3-1 (Special Benefit 2-1fav).
Race Two (open maiden race, eight yo and over):
1 R Abrey’s EPOP (Suffolk) (R Stearn),
2 Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley),
3 Miss K Thory’s Lolloping Lad (Cambs University) (M Smith).
Also: Izzuthefox (ur), Red Return (bd). Two lengths, a distance. 6.25. W £3. DF £6. SP 6-4fav.
Race Three (PPORA club members race, novice riders):
1 Mrs A Vaughan-Jones and G Luck’s Nokimover (West Norfolk) (Alex Vaughan-Jones),
2 P Johnson’s Demasta (Cambs University) (Owner),
3 G Wright’s Step Quick (Farmers Bloodhound Drag) (Owner).
A distance, 15 lengths. 6.12. W £2, SP 6-4 (Step Quick 4-5fav).
Race Four (men’s open race):
1 R York’s Star glow (Staff College and RMAS Drag) (P York),
2 The Newick Park Partnerships Newick Park (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (P Hall),
3 D O’Sullivan’s Keltic Heritage (Chid, Lec and Cowdray) (S Morris).
Fifteen lengths, 20 lengths. 6.11. W £1.80 SP 10-11fav.
Race Five (ladies’ open race):
1 C Pocock’s Peachy (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss L Allan),
2 Mr and Mrs H Kemp’s Lucky Bay (Grafton) (Mrs H Kemp),
3 Miss G Swan’s Lucky Master (Farmers Bloodhounds Drag) (Miss G Swan).
Also: Catherine’s Way (4), Left Bank (5), Celtic Duke (ur), Placid Man (f). Ten lengths, a distance. 6.05. W £6 DF £51 SP 11-1 (Placid Man 2-5fav).
Race Six (Countryside Alliance Club member’s conditions race):
1 Mrs B Seales and Mrs K Cockburn’s The Noble Roman (Warwickshire) (T Ellis),
2 The Ease Partnership’s Heaven is Above (East Sussex and Romney Marsh) (A Hickman),
3 Mr and Mrs A Kemp’s Polish Cloud (Grafton) (Mrs H Kemp).
Also: Cloudy Bay Boy (4), Generous Ways (pu), Militaire (pu), Silent Native (ur). A distance, a distance. 6.12. W £2.60, DF £5.50 SP 5-2 (Heaven is Above 2-1fav).
Race Seven (restricted race):
1 S Blyth’s The Stickler (South Notts) (M Mackley),
2 T Ellis Airmark (Warwickshire) (Owner),
3 Lord Somerleyton’s Mon Esprit (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom).
Also: Bally Kilthy (4), Cashari (5), Henry Henbit (f), Rakatia (pu), Second Thoughts (pu). 20 lengths, 3 lengths. 6.17. W £2.80 (winner with third horse, winner with fourth horse), DF £3.50 SP 2-5fav.