A shock 20-1 upset in the feature event, the £1,000 Timico Mixed Open, was the highlight of Sunday’s Dunston Harriers Point-To-Point, which survived a 10a.m. inspection, frost, rain and mist to reward a crowd of hardy enthusiasts with some excellent racing, as 65 runners contested its seven steeplechases.
The Mixed Open surprise was down to the father and son partnership of trainer Tim Thirlby and his son William, from Grendon, in Warwickshire, and their doughty 13-year-old gelding, Arkose.
Arkose clears the last
Given a fine ride by William, who is only four years older than his mount and was notching just the second triumph of his career, Arkose, came home four lengths clear of Trafficker to lift this valuable prize.
Another young Warwickshire-based rider to shine through the Suffolk gloom was 18-year-old Alice Stevens, winner of the closing Novice Riders Race. She took her lifetime tally to four when guiding another veteran, the course specialist Citizens Arrest, to a three length defeat of Bincombe.
Citizens Arrest (right) en route to taking the Novice Riders Race for the second time in three years
And a third win for horses hailing from that Midlands county came when Samarnni, trained near Rugby by Tom Ellis, registered a fourth consecutive victory in the Intermediate Race.
Samarnni completes his four-timer
Strength in the saddle was a key here as Samarrni is a very hard puller. He had to be restrained at the rear of the field on the first circuit by Ellis’s wife, the two-time National Lady Riders Champion, Gina Andrews, before proving three lengths too strong for the persistent challenge of Danners in the closing stages.
The only East Anglian victories on a day of highly competitive sport were achieved by Andrew Pennock, who trains within view of Ampton Racecourse at Timworth.
Pennock started the day in a blaze of glory by landing each of the first two races in partnership with his new stable jockey, the Welshman, Evan David.
Abbey Lane in full control as he measures the last
Firstly, Abbey Lane justified some chunky bets which saw him returned the odds-on favourite, when defeating Niki Royal by a length and a half in the Club Members Conditions Race.
Slightly more unexpectedly, Tailspin then left behind the form of his moderate Cottenham debut for Pennock when storming home 20 lengths ahead of his nearest pursuer in the first division of the Maiden.
Tailspin (yellow cap) in the thick of the early action
Tailspin is owned by Julie Turner, from Wickham St Paul, near Sudbury, and her near-neighbour, Sue Stevenson, from Little Henny, and was recently purchased to replace their six-time winner, Play The Ace, as he is by the same sire, Scorpion.
Allie Beag shaped like a mare with a decent future when landing the other Maiden for a second father-son trainer-jockey combination, Alan and Joe Hill, from Oxfordshire, while the longest-distance winner of the day was Forrardon Xmoor, a visitor from Tetbury in Gloucestershire, who held off the Hill representative, Pride Of Parrish, by just a neck to land the Subaru Restricted Race.
Allie Beag is comfortably ahead of West Lake (right) and Weve Got Company at the final fence
The two greys Forrardon Xmoor (right) and Cresta One force the early pace alongside Brianogue (blinkered, left)
GOING: GOOD (down the hill); GOOD TO SOFT (remainder)
(10 y-o’s & over) East Anglian Area Club Members Conditions
1- ABBEY LANEEvan David 4/5 fav
2- Niki Royal David O’ Brien 7/2
3- For A Change Rory Bevin 5/1
Time 6 mins 34 secs Dists: 1½L, 2L 10 ran
Open Maiden ( Division One )
1- TAILSPIN Evan David 4/1
2- Pettistree Jack Andrews 4/6 fav
3- Barrymore LegalCharlie Buckle 12/1
Time6-33 Dists: 20L, Neck 8 ran
Open Maiden ( Division Two )
1- ALLIE BEAG Joe Hill 6/4 fav
2- West Lake Shane Roche 8/1
3- Weve Got CompanyEvan David 3/1
Time 6-36 Dists: 1L, 1½L 8 ran
1- ARKOSE William Thirlby 20/1
2- Trafficker David O’ Brien 4/1
3- LauberhornSam Davies-Thomas 18/1
Man Of Steel 13/8 fav (pulled up)
Time 6-30 Dists: 4L,2L 10 ran
1- FORRARDON XMOORHannah Lewis8/1
2- Pride Of Parish Joe Hill 5/4 fav
3- Cresta One Gina Andrews 5/1
Time 6-36 Dists: Neck, 3L 11 ran
1- SAMARNNI Gina Andrews 7/4 fav
2- Danners David O’ Brien 5/2
3- Conna Cloud Philip York 16/1
Time 6-37 Dists: 3L, Distance 7 ran
( 6-y-o’s & over ) PPORA Club Members’ Conditions ( Novice Riders )
1- CITIZENS ARREST Alice Stevens 7/2
2- Bincombe Tim Gredley 8/1
3 –Current Exchange Carrie Tucker2/1 fav
Time 6-37 Dists: 3L, Sh.Hd 11 ran