By Mike Ashby

Having been involved and passionate about point-to-point racing for 50 years, owner Keith Loads, with his partner Kate Bowling, enjoyed a dream day at the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace meeting at Horseheath.

Keith a former Norfolk farmer and comic entertainer, now residing in Suffolk, first rode in a point-to-point race, at Costessey in Norfolk in 1974, which  ended in an ‘unseat’. However, on Sunday, he proudly saw three of his horses, carrying his colours, enter the winners’ enclosure and by their performances could well go on to more achievements, in the coming months and seasons.

The Andrew Pennock-trained, Trojan Du Berlais, ridden by Paddy Barlow commenced Loads’ winning afternoon with another convincing showing in the Restricted race, to supplement his Maiden victory at the previous Horseheath meeting. Trainer Pennock is delighted how the 5yo’s Irish form is working out and has high praise for his “underrated” jockey Barlow who post-race stated his partner had “jumped brilliantly and is a dream to ride“.

TROJAN DU BERLAIS and Paddy Barlow

Tigerbythetail continued the success story, in the Mixed Open, which from the declarations had the look of a high calibre contest and the race itself didn’t disappoint, with one of the classiest Open races seen in East Anglia, for many a season. Here, there were several contenders for top honours with the eight declared runners having won a total of 39 points and 7 hunter ‘chases with 22 of the point victories coming in Open races.

The Tom Ellis-trained winner was also following-up a victory at the December Horseheath meeting having beaten a solitary rival. Tigerbythetail and Gina Andrews powered away from their rivals approaching two out and was 3½ lengths clear of Law Of Gold at the finish with Mitchouka another length adrift. This was a devasting performance which would have enthused connections, no end, and a hunter ‘chase debut, in the near future, beckons.


The treble was completed by Artiste D’Ainay who finally broke his maiden tag and was a convincing winner, ridden by Jack Andrews, for his brother-in-law trainer Tom Ellis, after the favourite Bless The Moon fell, five out, bringing down O’Halloran’s Castle, in the process. This was Artiste D’Ainay’s, an ex-Irish purchase, second outing for the stable and with hindsight they all now agree they were possibly too judgemental about the 6yo’s initial run at Horseheath, on New Year’s Eve, when it was fully expected he would be successful. As Jack now concludes “ it was his first run over fences…. all our horses have come on for their initial outings….as seen with their improvements over the last couple of weeks”.

ARTISTE D’AINAY and Jack Andrews

Main Stage followed up her decent seasonal debut, behind Trojan Du Berlais at the last meeting, with a competent jumping display in the Maiden Conditions race, giving Gina Andrews a double and complete a treble, on the day, for trainer Tom Ellis. The 5yo mare was bought at the Doncaster Sales to run in the colours of the Signy and Marriage Families and they are fully hopeful she has the ability to go through the ranks thus emulating the achievements of Fairly Famous and I’m Spellbound from last season.

On a card which produced a total of 48 runners facing the starter, Andrew Hickman, began with a PPORA Novice Riders’ contest which saw the game mare, Jonjoela, partnered by Josh Parker and trained by Jenny Owen, reverse placings with Imperial Esprit and Keagan Kirkby after they finished first and second, in a similar contest, at Horseheath’s previous meeting. There was an extra 3lb pull in the weights in favour of Jonjoela which could have made the difference, this time, but Kirkby felt his mount wasn’t quite giving him the same feeling, in running, as in the December race. A delighted Parker was more than pleased with Jonjoela’s performance, who he owns, “jumped brilliantly…responded when asked for an effort…gave me the best feeling.” This was their second victory together and also Josh’s second winner, having scored at Revesby Park exactly a year ago. Now working full-time at Jenny and James Owen’s Newmarket yard, Parker was complimentary for all the help and assistance afforded to him by the Owens.

JONJOELA and Josh Parker

Another superb day’s racing saw the Stearn’s Family new acquisition, Knight In Dubai, complete a double for trainer Jenny Owen, in the hands of Rupert Stearn, the owner’s son. Their success came in the concluding Conditions race, after forging ahead of their rivals approaching the final fence and finish 3½ lengths clear of the dead-heaters Boss Man Fred and the front-running Grand Roi.

KNIGHT IN DUBAI (centre) and Rupert Stearn

So a day of high-class racing in what has already been an exceptional East Anglian season, so far, with owner Keith Loads and his partner Kate enjoying one of the best ever experiences, with the jubilant couple celebrating a first-ever treble and every reason to dream of possibly many more, exciting racing days ahead.