By Mike Ashby

 Norfolk-based jockey Rupert Stearn rolled back the years, at High Easter, when riding a double on two of his father’s horses. It was at the Essex course where Stearn rode his first-ever winner on Imperial Mist, back in April 2002, and the winning duo of Clara Sorrento and Dash Full Of Cash brought his overall pointing, success total to 112.

Twenty one years on from his first success, Rupert stole the spotlight again and was in receipt of great family support from the enclosures. He was seen at his patient best in the final race of the day, the Maiden contest, when he brought Dash Full Of Cash through to make a winning challenge, after the last fence, to take the honours by 3½ lengths. Simon Stearn took over the ownership from a relative, earlier in the season and having been placed on his first three outings of the season appeared not to relish the firm conditions on his latest outing at Horseheath and was pulled up. Here, Dash Full Of Cash, trained by Jennifer Owen, was not produced until the closing stages and swooped past both Mister Splash and Super Dawn, on the run-in.

DASH FULL OF CASH and RUPERT STEARN ( Maiden race winners )

Earlier, on the grey Clara Sorrento, Stearn had achieved a comfortable victory in the Veteran Horse contest, justifying favouritism and the pairing were 15 lengths clear of their nearest rival, at the finish. The 12yo is trained by David Kemp, a good friend for many years of Rupert, and any niggling leg trouble hopefully is now a condition of the past and Clara Sorrento could set up a sequence in these types of contests, as he is not ground dependant.

CLARA SORRENTO and RUPERT STEARN (Veteran Horse Conditions race)


Leading trainer Tom Ellis travelled from his Marton base in the Midlands with five intended declarations on board and the Ellis horsebox returned home with three of the equine occupants having achieved success. The opening Novice Riders’ race saw Koyote landing a third win of the season after Ellie Holder had made a timely challenge, two fences out, and then hold off the favourite, Twilight Girl by 2 lengths. This was Miss Holder’s fourth career win, with all successes attained this season.  Koyote is owned jointly by the Signy and Marriage Families and their colours were  successful again in the following Restricted event which went to I’m Spellbound partnered by Jack Andrews. The winning owners who have acquired three new purchases this season, all with trainer Ellis, are enjoying the purplest of patches with the current achievement of 7 wins from 8 outings.

KOYOTE & ELLIE HOLDER (nearside) and TWILIGHT GIRL (Jamie Gambin )


The third Ellis-trained winner came in the Mixed Open race where the favourite Tully’s Touch failed to get close enough to the front-running winner Dundrum Wood, in a race run at a leisurely pace, early on. Martha Reeve on the winner dictated proceedings before powering up the hill, for the final time, and had kept enough in hand to suppress the challenge of Back Bar by 1½ lengths and land her second career winner, both achieved on her grandmother’s horse, the consistent Dundrum Wood. This was the 9yo’s sixth victory together with three runner-up positions from nine pointing outings and followed up Martha’s initial success, on him, at Alnwick at the end of February.

DUNDRUM and MARTHA REEVE (centre) winners of the Mixed Open


Dale Peters can also be considered as one of the most experienced stalwarts of the jockey’s marquee and it took all his guile and endeavour to get Thunderstruck home, in front, in the Conditions race. The pairing just about negotiated the final fence to claim the victory, by 4 lengths, over the long-time leader Neumond, who had established a 10 length lead going into the meadow section, for the final time.

The ex Emma Lavelle inmate, Thunderstruck, was completing the course for the first time, in GB points, having pulled up and unseated in two previous appearances at Garthorpe.

 DALE PETERS and THUNDERSTRUCK winners of the Conditions race.


With rain present for the early part of the meeting, the conditions became particularly muddy and the constant need to choose the better ground……….and that was just for the spectators !!    The High Easter course, however, as always was in the best possible condition and Clerk of the Course, Simon Marriage, buoyant after his joint-ownership double in the first two races of the afternoon, had no concerns that all course elements would be restored by the time of their next fixture, on Saturday 15th April.



Official confirmation was announced that the Suffolk meeting Ampton, which was postponed earlier in the month, will not be re-scheduled as a satisfactory new date could not be obtained.


Photos courtesy of Graham Bishop Photography