Andrew Pennock and his wife, Ruth, from Timworth Green, near Bury St Edmunds, gained reward for their Christmas labours when Galbally King and Warwickshire gave them a training double at a sun-kissed Cambridgeshire Harriers Hunt Club Point-To-Point at Cottenham yesterday (Sunday).
Both horses were going one better having finished second at Cottenham’s previous fixture four weeks earlier and both were given well-judged front-running rides by jockey Ben Rivett, from Sharrington, Norfolk.
Galbally King proved four lengths too strong for Chief Heckler in the Club Members Race while Warwickshire came home the same margin in front of Bold Knight in a division of the two and a half mile Maiden.
Afterwards Andrew revealed that he and Ruth had kept going despite a nasty bout of flu over the holiday season and on Christmas Day itself had to muck out all 13 horses at their yard as their regular helpers had the day off. And all this while looking after their two-year-old son, Henry, and organising his unwrapping.
Pennock also had glowing words for Rivett, saying: “Ben has been in virtually every day in the last week. He’s not just a good jockey, he puts in the graft too – people don’t see that.”
Can Mestret, the only other East Anglian winner on a marathon nine-race card, looks a horse with big future. Trained near Luton by Simon Andrews and ridden by his oldest daughter, Gina, Can Mestret stepped up on the performance he showed when beating Warwickshire at the previous Cottenham fixture.
This time he absolutely trounced his 11 Restricted Race rivals and the winning distance of 20 lengths could have been at least doubled had Gina ridden Can Mestret out to the line instead of easing right off having jumped the final fence.
As usual, this fixture produced a plethora of high class racing and, after the opening race had been put back for half an hour to enable frost to thaw, officials did extremely well to stage all nine races – including four different Maiden races – before daylight gave way to darkness.
The Maidens were dominated by Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill who has made Cottenham such a happy hunting ground over the past decade or so. He saddled Champion Versions and Sharp Suit to land both three mile Maidens and then, over five hours after the action was meant to have begun, he was in the winner’s enclosure again to welcome Broken Eagle following the finale – division two of the 2m4f Maiden.
Qrackers, a shock 33-1 winner on his only previous visit to Cottenham back in February, obliged at exactly the same odds in the AGA-sponsored Ladies Open to give Tor Collins her first winner since last summer relocating her stable to near Ludlow.
The Mens Open also had a surprise result as Brunswick Gold, a 14-1 chance who hails from the East Sussex yard of Rose Grissell, warded off Shy John and King’s Legacy.
The classiest horse on show was Wiltshire raider, Khyber Kim, who, less than four years after finishing runner-up in the Champion Hurdle, was barely out of first gear in landing the Novice Riders’ Race.
Hunt Club Members
1st Galbally King (Ben Rivett) 7/4
2nd Chief Heckler (Alex Edwards)
3rd Martys Mission ( David Pritchard ) 5/4f
Time 5 mins 55 secs* Dists:4L, 3L 7 ran
*2 jumps omitted frozen ground
1st Can Mestret (Gina Andrews) 6/4f
2nd Areuwitmenow (Ali Stirling)
3rd Guido DArezzo (Marcus Gorman)
Time 6-01 Dists:20L, Nk 12 ran
1st Brunswick Gold (Stuart Robinson) 14/1
2nd Shy John (Peter Mason)
3rs Kings Legacy (Joe Hill)
Time 5-57 Dists: 1 3/4L, 3L 11 ran Earth Dream Evs f (4th)
1st Khyber Kim (Camilla Henderson) 9/4
2nd L’Eldorado (Tom Chatfield-Roberts)
3rd The Ferbane Man (Charlie Hammond)
Time 6-02 Dists: 15L, Hd 11 ran Hall Kelly 7/4f (4th)
1st Qrackers (Ali Stirling) 33/1
2nd Nowurhurlin (Emma Todd)
3rd Now Then Charlie (Carey Williamson)
Time 5-51 Dists: 9L, 7L 13 ran Sagalyrique 2/1f (4th)
3 Mile Open Maiden Div One
1st Champion Versions (Joe Hill) 10/1
2nd Silver By Design (Peter Mason)
3rd Grey Bobby (Andrew Barlow)
Time 6-09 Dists: Hd, 8L 11 ran The Doom Bar 4/6f (Fell)
3 Mile Open Maiden Div Two
1st Sharp Suit (James Tudor ) 4/6f
2nd Sitting Back (Tabitha Worsley)
3rd Silver Man (Will Telfer)
Time 6-12* Dists:7L, 1/2L 10 ran
*2 jumps omitted, Low Sun
4,5,6,& 7 year old Maiden 2 miles 4 furlongs Div One
1st Warwickshire (Ben Rivett) 9/4f
2nd Cold Knight (Tom Weston)
3rd Celtic Intrigue (Andrew Barlow)
Time 4-33* Dists: 4L, 1L 15 ran
*6 jumps omitted, Low sun
4,5,6,& 7 year old Maiden 2 miles 4 furlongs Div Two
1st Broken Eagle (James Tudor) 4/1
2nd Pyro (Jamie Insole) 2/1f
3rd Kilcrea Mill (James Seivwright)
Time 4-36* Dists: 5L, Nk 15ran
*6 jumps omitted, Low sun