Trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds continued his remarkable recent run of success at his local course when saddling his first ever four-timer at the Suffolk Point-To-Point meeting at Ampton on Sunday.
Pennock had trained eight winners during the previous four fixtures at this venue, which stages racing twice a year within view of his Dalmer Lodge yard.
Now he added 50 per cent to that tally in just one afternoon, with victories from Scorpion Star (in the Club Members Race), Counting Stars (Intermediate Race), Mahlers Spirit (Restricted Race) and Royal Chieftain (Maiden Race).
Remarkably, he could even have notched a rare five-timer as Black Glen Boy, his representative in the closing three-runner Hunt Race, was sent off as the 6-4 on favourite.
However, Black Glen Boy got no further than the tricky second fence, a downhill obstacle which had been causing problems all afternoon, leaving the event to be fought out between former East Anglian Champion Jockey, Rupert Stearn, on Curraghbower, and young Antonia Peck, who was having her very first ride aboard Autumn Haze.
Stearn’s experience eventually won the day but it was very tight, Curraghbower having just half a length to spare at the winning line to give the Turner family, who own this course and train just down the road at Ampton Hall, its sixth successive triumph in this race.
Another young female jockey to catch the eye was 19-year-old Charlotte Wyatt, from Snetterton in Norfolk, who is yet to ride a winner but put up a very accomplished display to push the reigning National Champion, Gina Andrews, aboard the red hot favourite, Top Smart, all the way in the Ladies Open Race.
Wyatt’s mount, Penelope Pips, jumped well throughout as she helped force a strong pace alongside Bavard Court. Top Smart never really fenced with any fluency following an early error and, giving 19lbs in weight to Penelope Pips, overcame two more sloppy leaps at the last two fences to prevail by three lengths.
Trained in Northamptonshire by Jenny Pidgeon, Top Smart was winning his fifth consecutive race but, as Andrews later admitted: “It was nearly all over at the second fence – though that wasn’t his fault as he was unsighted – and then he jumped with his back legs first at the last two.”
The Pennock bonanza was all achieved in conjunction with Welsh jockey Evan David, who had never before ridden more than two winners in a single day.
The pick of the quartet was probably Counting Stars, owned by Robert Boyce, from Kentford, near Newmarket, who is bound for the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Hunter Chase Final at Cheltenham on May 5th having qualified for that race by disposing of Franks A Million by six lengths.
Mahlers Spirit had five lengths to spare over Teeton Power; Scorpion Star took advantage of the second fence departure of Susquehanna River; and Royal Chieftain scrambled home by half a length from Kev The Car.
GOING: GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES
EEA Club Members
1st Scorpion Star Evan David 11/8
2nd Carlanstown Kate Gowing 7/1
3rd Kriss William Ed Turner 7/1
Time 6-18 Dists: 6L, Dist 6 ran
also Caulkin (f) Hawkers Son (4th) Susquehana River 4/5f (UR)
1st Counting Stars Evan David 4/5f
2nd Franks A Million Rupert Stearn 10/1
3rd Virgo The First Archie Wright7/2
Time 6-28 Dists: 6L, 3L 5 ran
also Lady Vicstar (PU) Tulsa (4th)
1st Top Smart Gina Andrews 2/7f
2nd Penelope Pips Charlotte Wyatt 10/1
3rd Sharp Suit Izzy Marshall 11/4
Time 6-20 Dists: 3L, 8L 6 ran
also Bavard Court (4th) Berties Dream (5th) Citizens Arrest (PU)
Mens Open 1st Broken Eagle walked over
1st Mahlers Spirit Evan David 4/6f
2nd Teeton Power Sam Davies-Thomas 2/1
3rd Condorman Gina Andrews 4/1
Time 6-21 Dists: 5L, Dist 7 ran
also Beat The Index (Ref) More Tricks (5th) Mr Meister (UR) Muchadoboutnothing (4th)
1st Royal Chieftain Evan David 4/6f
2nd Kev The Car Rupert Stearn 5/1
3rd Shamat Richard Collinson 33/1
Time 6-25 Dists: 1/2L, 4L 9 ran
also Cakeland (4th) Distant Rain (F) Infinityandbeyond (5th) Primary School (PU) Unseen (PU) Winola (UR)
1st Curraghbower Rupert Stearn 6/4
2nd Autumn Haze Antonia Peck 7/2
Time 6-45 Dists: 1/2L 3 ran
also Black Glen Boy 1/2f (F)