A highly popular second career victory for young jockey Patrick Bullard capped an afternoon of tight finishes at the Thurlow Point-To-Point at Horseheath, near Haverhill, on Saturday (February 25th).
21-year-old Bullard, from Higham, near Bury St Edmunds, was given a rousing reception after he guided Susquehanna River to a three-quarters of a length success over Roberto Pegasus in the Novice Riders Race.
The complexion of this contest changed when the long-time leader, Bincombe, unseated his pilot, Tim Gredley, just as he had been overtaken by Susquehanna River at the second last.
This left Bullard with a healthy lead and, although Roberto Pegasus did his best to whittle away at that advantage on the run-in, a brilliant jump at the final obstacle effectively sealed the deal for Susquehanna River, who is trained at Badlingham, near Newmarket, by Nick Wright.
Another Newmarket handler, Lauren Braithwaite, was also on the mark, her decision to employ sheepskin cheekpieces on Pettistree paying off handsomely as he landed the closing Maiden Race.
This was almost a carbon copy of the Novice Riders event as Pettistree produced a fabulous jump at the last to seemingly put the race to bed only for Age Of Heroes, trained near Thetford by David Kemp, to rattle home and get to within a head of the winner.
It was a well-deserved success for the son of Kayf Tara, as he had finished second on each of his three previous outings, and was a particularly satisfying moment for his owners, Clare and Adam Signy, from Pettistree, near Woodbridge, as it was the first time they had won a Point-To-Point with a home-bred horse.
Jack Andrews, Pettistree’s 18-year-old rider, had earlier initiated a double and taken his own tally for the season to nine when Neumond lifted the Club Members Race.
Jumping superbly when put under serious pressure by the runner-up, Counting Stars, over the final three fences, the Northamptonshire-trained Neumond drew clear up the run-in to extend his unbeaten record between the flags to three.
Another Northants triumph came in the Mens Open Race as Thetalkinghorse, trained by Gerald Bailey, got back to his best following a disappointing seasonal debut to hold off Legal Legend by three-quarters of a length. The Kemp-trained Curraigflemens ran a solid race to finish a close third, a further half a length adrift.
Long-distance visitors took the other two races on the card. Oh Toodles justified a five and a half hour round trip from Shropshire to land the Ladies Open by three-quarters of a length from Celtic Silver.
And Urban Storm journeyed even longer, from Wiltshire, to take the Restricted Race by a hard-fought half-length from Brianogue.
GOING: GOOD (GOOD TO FIRM IN A FEW PLACES)
EA Area Club Members
1st Neumond Jack Andrews 2/5f
2nd Counting Stars Evan David 4/1
3rd Mr Raj Sam Davies-Thomas 3/1
Time 6-12 Dists: 3L, 1 1/2L 6 ran
also Breaking The Bank (4th) Hawkers Son (pu) Road To Freedom (pu)
PPORA Novice Riders
1st Susquehana River Patrick Bullard 7/4
2nd Roberto Pegasus Kate Gowing Ev f
3rd Horatio Caine Cordelia Chugg 33/1
Time 6-14 Dists:3/4L, 1/2L 5 ran
also Bincombe (ur) Curragh Hall (4th)
1st Oh Toodles Immy Robinson 4/5f
2nd Celtic Silver Gina Andrews 5/4
3rd Houseparty Tabitha Worsley 20/1
Time 6-11 Dists: 3/4L, dist 6 ran
also Bavard Court (pu) Breezy Kin (ur) Joe The Trucker (ur)
1st Thetalkinghorse Tom McClorey Ev f
2nd Legal Legend Nick Meek 3/1
3rd Curraigflemens Shane Roche 5/4
Time 6-16 Dists: 3/4L, 1/2L 5 ran
also Bishop Wulstan (4th) Desertmore Valley (pu)
1st Urban Storm Johnny Bailey 3/1
2nd Brianogue Peter Mason 7/1
3rd Mazurati Max Kendrick 5/2
Time 6-24 Dists: 1/2L, 3L 6 ran
also Avidius Cassius 6/4f (5th) Hi Lucy Lou (pu) The Master Remover (4th)
1st Pettistree Jack Andrews 2/1
2nd Age Of Heroes Sam Davies-Thomas 4/5f
3rd Bollin Ali Charlie Marshall 6/1
Time 6-25 Dists: hd, 2L 10 ran
also Barrymore Legal (7th) Blue Prairie (5th) Cakeland (f) Gilliamstown (4th) State Trooper (pu) Tin Tack (6th) Woodstyle (f)