The Jonason family, from Soham, near Newmarket, were the toast of a soggy, windswept Horseheath after Rock Charlie got his head in front right on the line to snatch the Restricted Race at the Puckeridge Point-To-Point on Saturday.
Ridden by 21-year-old Tom Jonason and trained by his older sister, Fiona, Rock Charlie made up a five-length deficit from the final fence to overhaul Minehill Lad in the nick of time.
It was a popular triumph as Tom and Fiona’s parents, Peter and Jane, both give up substantial amounts of time to help organise Pointing in East Anglia. Peter was one of the stewards at this fixture while Jane is secretary of two meetings held at Cottenham.
Peter was convinced that his son’s efforts had come a smidgeon too late, but when the judge’s verdict was announced one of the first to congratulate him was Minehill Lad’s owner, Roy Green, who also hails from Soham and, ironically, is the Jonason family’s postman.
Tom was quick to pay tribute to his sister saying: “Fiona does all the work, I never get to sit on Rock Charlie at home, and she has done brilliantly to get him fit as he has had a few problems and has not had a race since December.”
The one interloper in a happy Jonason huddle afterwards was Sarah Southgate, from Attleborough, who owns the horse in partnership with Fiona.
Another local family to enjoy the day were the Turners, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, who achieved a brace of wins to take their seasonal tally to four and give Ed Turner, youngest grandson of owner-trainer Joe Turner, a 23rd bithday present.
The first leg of the double came from the most unlikely source of 20-1 outsider Cumbo Kid,who had failed to even complete the course in four starts since joining the Turner yard. Well ridden by the Turners’ near neighbour, James Owen, he overcame some scruffy jumping to beat Castleconner Lad by two lengths in the Maiden Race.
The other Turner success came when French import King du Berlais proved ten lengths too strong for Delightful Cliche in the Ladies’ Open.
Course specialists Where’s My Baby and Mid Div And Creep both improved their already impressive records at Horseheath with comfortable scores, in the Club Members Race and Intermediate Race respectively.
Where’s My Baby should have been ridden by his trainer, David Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford. But Kemp is sidelined after a fall in a Towcester hunter chase last Wednesday which left him with two broken cheekbones and looking like he had been 12 rounds with Joe Calzaghe. Andrew Braithwaite, who lives a stone’s throw from the course, proved an able deputy.
Mid Div And Creep, trained at North Weald by Derek Harding-Jones, may have a Cheltenham Hunter Chase on her agenda after a pillar-to-post victory which was relayed by mobile phone to owners Tony and Karen Exall, who were holidaying in the Middle East watching the Dubai World Cup.
Finally, Gaelsbob justified a six-hour round trip from Gloucestershire when producing the classiest performance of the day to beat a strong field in the Mens Open.
Race One (Members’ Race)
1 Mr & Mrs J Ridge’s Where’s My Baby (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
2 R Andrews’ Monty’s Tag (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss G Andrews),
3 Ms C Hopkins’ Shilgrove Lad (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (O Hopkins-Fagan).
Distance, distance. 6.44. SP 1-4 fav.
Race Two (Open Maiden’s Race):
1 J M Turner’s Cumbo Kid (Suffolk) (J Owen),
2 Mr and Mrs N Edward’s Castleconner Lad (Worcs) (A Pennock),
3 D Wales’ Toe to Hand (W Norfolk) (Miss G Andrews).
Also: Mill Five Acre (4), Find The Way (pu), Lucy’s Star (pu), Pilica de Thaix (pu), Tuesday Club (f). Two lengths, half length. 6.47. SP 20-1 (Castleconner Lad evens fav).
Race Three (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s King du Berlais (Suffolk) (Miss L Allen),
2 Mrs P Rogers’ Delightful Cliché (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss G Andrews),
3 M Ward and H Hill’s Mister Swallow (Cambridge University) (Miss R Ward).
Also: Cosmic Sky (ur). Ten lengths, distance. 6.36. SP 2-1 (Delightful Cliché 8-11 fav).
Race Four (Men’s Open Race):
1 Miss E Baker’s Gaelsbob (N Cotswold) (L Morgan),
2 The Nykel Partnership’s Nykel (Dunston Harriers) (A Braithwaite),
3 I Thurtle and R Abrey’s Forget the Ref (Suffolk) (R Stearn).
Also: Deckie (4), Feathered Storm (pu), Parkinson (pu), Ronan the Warrior (pu). Ten lengths, five lengths. 6.39. SP 4-6 fav.
Race Five (Intermediate Race):
1 Mrs K Exall’s Mid Div and Creep (Puckeridge) (J Owen),
2 Mr Barlow’s Marble Leader (Bicester with Whaddon Chase) (Miss R King),
3 Miss P Zygmant’s Thenford Ryde (Quorn) (J Docker).
Also: Took My Eye (4), Tom’s Party (5), Mon Esprit (pu), Winapenny (pu). Eight lengths, 15 lengths. 6.51. SP 4-6 fav.
Race Six (Restricted Race):
1 Miss F Jonason and Mrs S Southgate’s Rock Charlie (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (T Jonason),
2 R D Green’s Minehill Lad (Cambridge University) (M Smith),
3 P W Chapple-Hyam’s Grey Shark (Cottesmore) (Miss K Smith).
Also: Inchadoney Boy (4), Comeonourfella (5), Killeengh Lodge (ur). Head, two lengths. 6.54. SP 5-2 fav.
Race Seven (Pony Race One):
1 Mrs K Vaughan-Jones’ Cwrt-t-Betty’s Vocalist (North Norfolk) (Daisy Taylor),
2 Mrs E M Andrews’ Clonross Jesse (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Jack Andrews),
3 Mrs C Wyatt’s Sebastian (Dunston Harriers) (Charlotte Wyatt). Also: Parkhill Loverboy (4).
Three lengths, three lengths.
Race Eight (Pony Race Two):
1 Julia Saunders’ Chiumbo (Pytchley) (George Sanders),
2 Mr & Mrs S Cowell’s Little Irish Diamond (East Essex) (Edward Twinn),
3 Miss B and Miss G Andrews’ Il Topo (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Bridget Andrews).
Also: The Duchess (4). Three lengths, two lengths.