Andrew Pennock notched his first ever treble at a sodden North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday which consisted of no less than nine races featuring 107 runners.
Pennock, who trains at Timworth Green, near Bury St Edmunds, was quick off the mark, winning the first two races – both divisions of the Open Maiden. On each occasion he teamed up with jockey Ben Rivett, from Sharrington in Norfolk, initially with Mizen Mix and then with American Eagle.
Pennock’s third triumph came in partnership with rider Tom Kindleyside in a division of the Novice Riders Race. Their representative here was Strathcal, who is normally ridden by his owner, Jade Pringle, from Barningham, near Thetford, but Pringle is still recovering from a fall from Stratchal over New Year which left her suffering from severe concussion.
Pennock is never short of confidence and he admitted after his third victory that he had been expecting a fruitful afternoon. “I was chatting to my team last night and I reckoned that we could be on for a big day as we had a host of horses with winning chances,” Pennock said. “I was less sure on arrival at Higham as the rain-softened ground was not ideal.”
The bookmakers reckoned that Pennock was likely to have a fourth win in the closing Restricted Race as they made his charge, Warwickshire, hot favourite to win this 17-runner cavalry charge. But by then conditions had become very testing and, after making most of the running, Warwickshire faded rapidly to allow Volcan Surprise, who is trained by Caroline Fryer at Wymondham, to beat Kilbeg Opera by two lengths.
The day’s other East Anglian success came in the Mens Open Race as Wymott, owned by Alice Vaughan-Jones, from Brancaster in Norfolk, stayed on dourly from a highly unpromising early position to catch the runaway leader, Tara Royal.
Wymott was having his first start for Northants trainer Gerald Bailey having last year been purchased out of the yard of Grand National winning handler Donald McCain. He was ridden by Vaughan-Jones’s son, Alex, who said afterwards: “Wymott wasn’t enjoying having mud kicked in his face in the early stages but he kept grinding it out on the final circuit.”
Oxfordshire-based trainer Alan Hill rarely leaves an East Anglian fixture empty-handed these days and he bounced back from the dismal effort of the favourite, Ravethebrave, in the Mens Open, to saddle Start Royal to land the Ladies equivalent.
“Start Royal put his pelvis out when running badly at Cottenham last time and we have done extensive work to get him back to full fitness,” Hill revealed.
The classiest horse on show was the 2010 Champion Hurdle runner-up, Khyber Kim, and he followed up last month’s Cottenham success when putting his rivals to the sword with the minimum of fuss in a division of the Novice Riders’ Race.
In the Club Members Race, Glint Of Steel maintained his perfect record (which now reads five out of five) since coming over from Ireland to join the Sussex yard of Philip Hall. But he had to work hard, only overhauling the gallant I’m So Lucky after the last fence.
Finally, Noelle Supple, from Whitfield in Northants, was celebrating her first victory as a trainer when Red Danaher stormed through the mud to lift the third division of the Open Maiden.
GOING: GOOD (GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES) becoming GOOD TO SOFT (SOFT IN PLACES) after race 7.
Open Maiden Div One
1st Mizen Mix (Ben Rivett) 6/4f
2nd Tigeralley (Sam Painting)
3rd Rise To it ( Ciaran Gethings)
Time 6-20 Dists: 1L, 5L 15 ran
Open Maiden Div Two Part One
1st American Eagle (Ben Rivett) 7/4
2nd Vertige Fatal (Sebastian Desmontils) Evs f
3rd Bally Marlow (Ben Brackenbury)
Time 6-22 Dists: 10L, 5L 10 ran
Open Maiden Div Two Part Two
1st Red Danaher (Jo Buck) 4/1
2nd Eliades Run ( Gina Andrews)
3rd Grey Life (Samantha King)
Time 6-24 Dists:Dist, 6L 9 ran Bardeli 2/1f (PU)
Novice Riders Div One
1st Strathcal (Tom Kindleysides) 3/1
2nd Casson (John Morrey)
3rd Rather Curious (Tabitha Worsley)
Time 6-27 Dists: Dist, 3L 9 ran Dushera 2/1f (6th)
Novice Riders Div Two
1st Khyber Kim (Camilla Henderson) 2/5f
2nd Pairc Na Gcapall (Zoe Meen)
3rd Roaringwater (Charlie Marshall)
Time 6-33 Dists: 10L, 3L 11 ran
CA Club Members
1st Glint Of Steel (Phillip Hall) 1/2f
2nd I’m So Lucky (Tom Ellis)
3rd Captive Audience (Gareth Henderson)*
Time 6-28 Dists: 1L, Dist 15 ran
*This was the official result but many thought that Thornleigh Ben was actually 3rd.
1st Wymott (Alex Vaughan-Jones) 7/1
2nd Tara Royal (Phil York)
3rd Court Red Handed (Max Kendrick)
Time 6-35 Dists: 5L, 3L 9 ran Ravethebrave 5/4f (PU)
1st Start Royal (Gina Andrews) 4/1
2nd Rossmore Lad (Clare Hart) Evsf
3rd Quinsman (Lutie Akinci)
Time 6-30 Dists: Dist, 6L 13 ran
1st Volcan Surprise (Bridget Andrews) 5/2
2nd Kilbeg Opera (Dicky Collinson)
3rd Moonax Pride (Charlie Buckle)
Time 6-42 Dists: 2L, Dist 17 ran Warwickshire Evs f (PU)