It may not have been Aintree but David Kemp sported a smile to rival that of the Grand National-winning jockey, Graham Lee, after a double at Saturday’s Puckeridge Point-To-Point at Horseheath took his seasonal tally to eight – equalling his personal best.
Kemp, 24, from Kilverstone, near Thetford, executed a perfect waiting ride aboard Madmidgeto score by five lengths in the Intermediate Race, then adopted slightly more aggressive tactics on Bard of Drumcoo to hold the persistent challenge of Bush Hill Bandit in the Men’s Open race.
What both horses have in common, apart from also being trained by Kemp, is that they were making a successful step up in class to post their third victories of the year.
Perhaps the most rewarding of the pair was Madmidge because, as David’s father, Malcolm, pointed out “he only cost three grand. We were taking a bit of a gamble coming here [to a right-handed course] as he tends to hang left.”
Some sympathy should be reserved for Bush Hill Bandit, trained at Newmarket by owner Anne-Marie Hays, as he was attempting to give seven pounds to Bard of Drumcoo but had to settle for his fourth runner’s-up spot of the term.
Kemp’s double took him to the head of East Anglia’s male jockey standings and there is also a new leader of the female section as Alex Embiricos, from Newmarket, took her 2004 total to five with the victory of Filou du Bois in the Restricted Race.
Trained by Tim Bryce, Filou du Bois proved ten lengths too strong for the improving Tartar Sabre. Bryce went on to complete a double when Conquistador broke his duck in the closing Maiden race to give jockey Nick Moore, from Widford, near Chelmsford, a first success of the campaign following numerous near misses.
Indeed, Moore had some heart-stopping moments in the closing stages here as Conquistador,who was some 30 lengths clear jumping the fourth-last, got very tired up the gruelling climb to the winning line. After bad mistakes at both the last two obstacles, he only held on by three lengths from Marciano.
There is no doubt about Horseheath’s top horse of the season as Macfin, ridden by his Peterborough trainer, Louise Allan, completed a hat-trick of Ladies’ Open wins at the course with a thrilling defeat of The Kings Fling.
The runner-up was the only ride on the card for Gloucestershire-based Polly Gundry, who is virtually certain to land her fifth consecutive National Lady Jockeys’ title. But even Gundry’s skills in the saddle could not atone for her mount’s sketchy jumping and Macfin battled on gamely up the run-in to deny the hot favourite by a length.
The opening three-runner Members’ race saw a facile success for the highly-promising Mister Ringa. This Karinga Bay gelding is trained near Bishop’s Stortford by Christopher Sporborg and it was a fitting result on a hectic day for his family.
His son, Simon, coped admirably on his first appearance behind the commentator’s microphone while Simon’s wife, Rachel, was acting as meeting secretary for the first time and saw the fixture go off without a hitch.
Race One (Members’ Race):
1 Mrs C H Sporborg’s Mister Ringa (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
2 Mr B Dowling’s Granny Dick (Puckeridge) (T Messenger).
Also: Just Lute (pu). 20l. 6.44. W £1.10. SP 1-5 fav.
Race Two (Intermediate Race):
1 Mr D J Kemp’s Madmidge (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 Mr J M Turner’s Persian Hero (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 Lady Green and T Buxton’s Jims Belief (Essex Farmers and Union) (G Cooper).
Also: Lord Euro (4), Archbishop (5), Lambrini King (6), Valman (pu). 5l, 3l. 6.24. W £2.80. SP 3-1 (Archbishop 2-1 fav).
Race Three (Ladies Open Race):
1 Mr T M Fowler’s Macfin (Collesmore) (Miss L Allen),
2 Countess Goess-Saurau and Mr Andrew West’s the Kings Fling (VWH) (Miss P Gundry),
3 Mrs P J Hutchinson’s Linlathen (Fernie) (Miss C Hutchinson).
Also: Teach Altra (4 disq), the Wiley Kalmuck (5), Borrow Mine (6), Mister Audi (7), Corston Joker (dns), Veredarius (pu). 1l, 3l. 6.27. W £4.60. SP 4-1 (The Kings Fling 5-4 fav).
Race Four (Mens Open Race):
1 Mr and Mrs J R M Ridge’s Bard of Drumcoo (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 Mrs Anne-Marie Hays’ Bush Hill Bandit (Thurlow) (H Fowler),
3 J R, GB and G J Tarry’s Grecian Star (Grafton) (J Tarry).
Also: Royal Action (f), Dixon Vatner (5), Ballad (pu), Milennium Way (pu). 3l, 3l. 6.26. W £2.60. SP 5-2 (Grecian Star 7-4 fav).
Race Five (Restricted Open Race):
1 Mrs A E Embiricos’ Filou du Bois (Cambridge University) (Owner),
2 Mr A Sporting Endeavour Partnership’s Tartar Sabre (Waveney Harriers) (Miss L Barrett-Nobbs),
3 Mrs L Lamyman and Mr S Lamyman’s Magnus Maximus (Blankney) (D Kemp).
Also: Lone Star (4), Nowornever (5), Street Smart (6), Cawkwell Princess (7), Ginger Bug (8), Broad Edge (pu), Buckland Bobby (f), Germany Park (f), Ical (pu), Mr Moonbeam (pu), Rip Kerby (f). 10l, 5l. 6.29. W £13.10. SP 4-1 (Nowornever 7-2 fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 Ms A E Embiricos’ Conquistador (Thurlow) (N Moore),
2 Mrs B Vergelle and Mr F Allan’s Marciano (Fitzwilliam) (J Docker),
3 Cook Bros with Willoughby Racing’s Northall Lad (Grafton) (P Cowley).
Also: Pistol Knight (4), Play Alone (5), Baron Bernard (pu), Call Me Again (f), Divine Mist (ur), Legolas (ur), Marbank Lad (pu), Penlet Too (pu), Plain Polly (ur), River Deed (pu), Sneeze (pu), Spring Frolic (ur), Swanbank (pu). 3l. 6.34. £3. SP 4-1 (Divine Mist 7-2 fav).
Race Seven (Puckeridge Pony Race Division One):
1 Mr P Chinery’s Soulbury Island God (East Essex) (Rosie Chinery),
2 Clonross Jessie (Georgina Andrews),
3 Georgie (Nikki McCaffrey). W £5.90.
Race Eight (Puckeridge Pony Race Division Two): 1 Mrs J Andrews’ Annie Rock (Enfield Chace) (Georgina Andrews), 2 Windy (Bridget Andrews), 3 Home Farm Choccy (Tom Darlow). W £1.50