By Mike Ashby


With a season that extends for over 3 ½ months there is always the likelihood of  a variety of weather conditions being experienced. This certainly was the case for the recent 2022/23 East Anglian season which commenced with a couple of inclement Horseheath fixtures, early on. Then came an extremely dry spell, in the middle of the campaign which necessitated Ampton’s second fixture to be, unfortunately, abandoned, before more settled and appropriate weather prevailed, allowing the remaining meetings to take place on better course conditions. As a result, the Good Friday, Higham meeting attracted a massive crowd although the second of High Easter’s fixtures saw some very soggy, underfoot conditions in the car parks and enclosures.

 The season’s jockey honours went to the Andrews’ sister and brother, Gina and Jack both of whom, from the start, established commanding leads in their pursuit of their respective East Anglian championship titles. It became a foregone conclusion, with only a few weeks of the season having take place, that Gina would land another leading female rider championship for the area finishing with 9 winners in total including two trebles; one at Horseheath and the other at High Easter.

During the season Gina achieved another milestone in her career with her overall total of winners, in point-to-points, now putting her in 4th place behind only Will Biddick, Richard Burton and Julian Pritchard. Just another remarkable statistic to add to her ever improving, winning CV and Gina’s season’s overall total of 31 winners saw her acquire her 10th national title.

 Jack having resumed his amateur status and obtaining an East Anglian rider’s licence, for the first time, enabled him to make his bid for the area’s leading male rider which he duly secured, also with 9 successes which included a treble at Horseheath’s final fixture. Jack was leading at one stage of the season and looking to possibly regain the national title, for leading male rider, which he won in 2019/20 season but he eventually finished 2nd at the close, on a total of 41 winners.

 As always, we were privileged to see both of these siblings maintain and expand their riding careers, not only locally but also on the national scene, having also witnessed their early riding days when achieving many honours via their East Anglian pony racing exploits.


Twenty one years on from his first success, Norfolk-based jockey Rupert Stearn rolled back the years, at High Easter in March, 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.

The almost white Clara Sorrento and Rupert took their chances in the 64th running of the Horse and Hound Championship Hunter ‘Chase at Stratford at the end of the season and they finished an honourable 3rd in one of the prestigious races in the amateur calendar. Rupert’s final total of winners for the season stood at seven together with a hunter ‘chase victory in the Queen’s Cup at Fakenham, for the Turner family.

Two teenagers from the area, Jamie Gambin and Cian Murphy, achieved their first career wins and both look to have a bright future in the sport. Jamie’s first success came on Twilight Girl at Ampton and the pairing followed this up with another victory at Horseheath. Cian’s red letter day came at Higham on Good Friday on Prairie Town and they enjoyed a second success, together, at the final meeting of the season, at Fakenham with Cian concluding his season with his third success at Edgcote.

In the East Anglia area there were three trainers, again to the forefront, who have consistently, season after season, saddled numerous winners,. Based at Kilverstone, near Thetford, David Kemp, even by his own high standards enjoyed an exceptional season with fifteen winners from just twenty two runners, giving him a strike rate of 68%. During this phenomenal season, David passed through the 150 winner mark in point-to-points. Five of  David’s winners for the season came in East Anglian meetings and a notable treble was attained at Higham’s Easter fixture with any runner saddled by him warrants respect.

 During the East Anglian season, James and Jenny Owen amassed a total of eight winners between them, sent out from their Hamilton Road, Newmarket stables. Twilight Girl’s performances became one of the highlights for the yard and her three victories all came in East Anglia whilst Ragnar Lodbrok achieved five wins during the season including successes at Horseheath and  High Easter.

Tom Ellis’ horsebox was a regular visitor to the area from its base at Marton, near Rugby and what a memorable start the Ellis team made to the East Anglian season at the first fixture, on New Year’s Eve at Horseheath. From the seven horses saddled, on the day by Tom, they visited the winners’ enclosure on six occasions and he continued the trend throughout the season, registering 17 victories in East Anglia on the way to retaining his national title of leading trainer, with a final total of 70 winners.


The outstanding ownership honours must go to the Signy and Marriage Families who could not have believed their luck in the canny purchases made on their behalf, for this season. Of the three horses they acquired, all trained by Tom Ellis, their colours were successful on twelve occasions in point-to-points, with each horse namely, I’m Spellbound, Koyote and Fairly Famous winning 4 races apiece. The latter was unbeaten in points and added a hunter ‘chase victory at Cheltenham to his tally which would have given all involved great delight. As Simon Marriage stated immedaitely after the Cheltenham success “What a result. What a season”. The families from Suffolk (the Signys) and Essex ( the Marriages) are long standing, staunch supporters of the East Anglia area and their success story is richly deserved and good to acknowledge that two of the horses were qualified with East Anglian certificates and 7 of the 12 races won were on East Anglian courses. 


So another East Anglian season was completed which saw nine of the ten scheduled meetings taking place, with only the Suffolk losing their fixture, due ironically to the extreme dry weather. Summarising comments from Stephen Howlett, Chairman of The East Anglian Point-to-Point Association

“ I would like to thank all those who have been involved running a fixture and also all the owners, trainers and sponsors who have supported us this season”