By Mike Ashby

The outstanding achievements of Gina Andrews were again enhanced when the record-breaking winning jockey rode another treble at High Easter, at the weekend. These three winners took her total to 27 for the season and Gina now looks forward, this week, to possible further success at the prestigious Cheltenham National Hunt Festival.

 Two of her winners, Imnottalkingtoyou (Restricted race) and King Of The Clothe ( Veteran Conditions contest ), were trained by her husband Tom Ellis whilst Andrews was re-united with Tullys Touch to land the Mixed Open prize. The John Ibbott-trained Tullys Touch was winning for the fourth time this season and had enough in hand to win by ¾ of a length from Imperial Acolyte, on ground softer than he normal appreciates. John was pleased to get another winning run into him and next on the horizon are two planned visits to Fakenham in April. First for the point-to-point fixture at the beginning of the month followed by a tilt at the Queen’s Cup Hunter ‘Chase on Easter Monday.

TULLYS TOUCH (left) with Gina aboard, winners of the Mixed Open race.


Tom Ellis’ horses have, it appears, winning opportunities wherever the horsebox is bound for and the stables’ continued success is down to hard-work and dedication put in each day at the yard which is rewarded on racedays. It is evident there is so much enthusiasm, pleasure and satisfaction with each runner which is heightened by the joy of the owners when assembling in the winners’ enclosure, after a race.

 Imnottalkingtoyou reproduced his winning Horseheath form with a very comfortable and satisfactory performance coming home 3 length in front of the only other finisher, Nick Wright’s Oval Street. Having made a good jump three fences out, the favourite was never in trouble from that point and there will be more to come from this useful 5yo.

IMNOTTALKINGTOYOU  with Gina, on their way to success in the Restricted race.

King Of The Clothe might not be the easiest of rides needing to be constantly hustled into making his effort but his staying prowess held him in good stead on the ground conditions. With Gina driving him on, they managed to hold the advantage obtained at the final obstacle to be 2 lengths clear of Skipthecuddles and Phil York, at the finishing line, with Earlshill, coming from a long way back, a further 3 lengths adrift.   

 KING OF THE CLOTHE (right ) just getting the better of SKIPTHECUDDLES

The opening PPORA Novice Riders event went to the favourite Highway One O One to give sixteen year old Fred Gordon his fourth pointing success. The partnership always held control of the race and pressed on from two fences out to win by a secure 4 lengths from Cheltenham Mati, with viewing parents, Chris and Jenny, fully supportive of their son’s progress.

Considering his sixteenth birthday was only celebrated in late October and add two further successes under rules in the last week, this young man’s name is certain to be cropping up on a regular basis, in the racing pages, in the coming years.

Chris and Jenny spent some time after the race, searching their memory banks to remember previous visits to the course. Jenny recollected previous journeys to High Easter whilst Chris needed reminding that he rode a winner here ! Quick search of the record books and yes he first rode at the Essex course in February 2004 and then rode the winner of the Mens Open race, Little Herman, in February 2006.

HIGHWAY ONE O ONE and Fred Gordon clear over the second last fence

The concluding Open Maiden race was divided on the day with the initial division going to the improving Allo Allo and ridden by Charlie Case. The pairing took up the running going through the meadow area of the course, on the final circuit and then  faced a renewed challenge from the favourite By Appointmentonly, ridden by Dale Peters, who attempted to make their run on the inside, of the final bend. The judge’s final verdict of a neck shows how close the outcome was and these two horses should be capable of winning future races.

ALLO ALLO and Charlie Case winners of Division One of the Open Maiden

The second division brought a welcome change of fortune for the Andrew and Ruth Pennock’s stable who were saddling their first winner of the season when Sum It Up made a pleasing GB debut with Charlie Marshall aboard. Marshall, who was returning from injury which had halted his season since the end of January, was full of praise for his mount having warmed to the task as the race developed. Despite putting in some sketchy jumps and losing valuable ground in the early stages of the race, Sum It Up, produced a perfect leap at the last to register an important success for connections.

There was a Stewards Enquiry after the race into the use of the whip by the rider of the horse placed 2nd, Edam Du Mestivel.  They concluded that the whip had been used more than the acceptable number of times and also not sufficient time had been given for the horse to respond. Consequently Jerome Power was fined a cumulative total of £150, relating to both offences.

 The Countryside Alliance Conditions race offered a match race between Castle Trump and How To Get Away, two horses that have been in dominating form this season. Alex Chadwick was complimentary of his winning partner, Castle Trump, as they notched their fourth success of the current campaign pulling several lengths clear round the final bend after the two rivals had virtually jumped in unison throughout the early stages of the race. Another success, which is becoming a fine season for trainer Rob Cundy who will, no doubt, recall his own memorable day at High Easter, when riding Rip Kirby to victory in the Hunt Members’ race at the Essex Hunt fixture in March 2004.

CASTLE TRUMP and Alex Chadwick land their fourth victory of the season


An extremely enjoyable day’s racing and we can all look forward to revisiting the delightful High Easter course for the Essex with Farmers Union fixture, on Saturday April 9th.


All photographs courtesy of Graham Bishop of www.gdbphotography.co.uk