Pam King’s Dunmanus Bay took top honours at the Thurlow meeting at Horseheath on Saturday, winning the Men’s Open in emphatic fashion from My Best Buddy, with the favourite Placid Man a well-beaten fourth.
Chevington handler Julie Read, who trains the grey for her mother, had expressed her concern about running Dunmanus Bay too quickly after his Marks Tey victory a week ago, but it was a belief of her late father that persuaded her to do so. “When they’re well, you run them,” had been Gordon King’s motto.
Dunmanus Bay is likely to have a day’s hunting in midweek, with Ampton on 12 March his next target.
It was a fifth point-to-point success of the season, and a 51st overall for jockey Matt Mackley, whose half-century had come up on this horse seven days earlier.
Anne-Marie Hays, who lives not far from the Read yard, at Whepstead, saddled her consistent Bush Hill Bandit to take the Ladies’ Open in the capable hands of last minute stand-in Heather Kemp. Alex Embiricos, who had been due to take the mount, suffered a recurrence of a back injury in an earlier race, and suggested to Hays that Oxfordshire-based Kemp should take over the reins.
Bush Hill Bandit was another who had run at Marks Tey, although Hays admitted she had been wrong to run him on the soft going there. He was much more at home on Horseheath’s quicker ground, although he was all out to hold off Joe Turner’s duo of Militaire, whose jockey Zoe Turner rode a fine race despite feeling far from well, and The Wiley Kalmuck, partnered by Kelly Smith.
“Beating one Turner is hard enough,” smiled Kemp afterwards, “but having two in the same race is even more difficult.”
Alex Merriam, out of luck on Placid Man, won the Restricted on Punta Cana, owned by his mother Jean in partnership with Helen Robson, Nicky Turner and Wilf Tolhurst, who trains the seven year old at Langham, near Colchester. Punta Cana, who had won his maiden on this track earlier in the month, led turning into the straight and sprinted away to score by ten lengths from the first-time blinkered Cashari.
Alex’s father Andrew was on a speedboat while holidaying in Cornwall when he received bloodstock agent Louise Cooper-Joyce’s phone call from Ireland saying “You must buy this horse!”
Even more clear-cut was the Maiden victory of Young Lord, who made all the running in the hands of Kilverstone, Thetford, owner Celia Kemp’s son David to win by a distance. He had tuned up for the contest by carrying David’s sister Christina in a recent charity race at Fakenham.
Young Lord was off the track with suspensory damage last year, and he also suffers with chips on a fetlock, so he is, said connections, “Wrapped in cotton wool and molly-coddled.” He was originally sold by the Kemps to some owners in their yard, but when it became apparent that he would not be fit to run in 2005, Mrs Kemp bought him back again.
Montys Tag, who won the Horseheath Hunts’ Club Members on this course on 4 February, repeated the feat for trainer Simon Andrews and Wymondham-based jockey Nigel Bloom. A future target is the coveted Queen’s Cup at Fakenham on Easter Monday.
The two remaining races went to Northamptonshire raiders. Arctic Double, trained by Sam Loggin for Hampshire owner Tim Curtis, took the Intermediate on a tight rein under Stuart Morris. Arctic Double, who was making his seasonal debut, was hot favourite, but those punters in the know were able to get a reasonable early price due to an error in the racecard’s form guide which had two “pulled-ups” beside his name.
Favourite-backers in the Mares’ Maiden knew their fate early on when Mai Cure was brought down at the second fence. Victory went to Dickie Barrett on Teeton Diamond, whose owner-breeder Joan Tice has enjoyed several successes at the Cambridgeshire track in recent years.
Race One (Horseheath Club Members Race):
1 R Andrew’s Monty’s Tag (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (N Bloom),
2 M Burman’s Parson Humfry Webber (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (J Owen),
3 Ms A Embriricos’ Filous De Bois (Thurlow) (owner).
Also: Gallant Glen (4), Good Vintage (5), Pharbeitfrome (pulled up), Scare Lotte (fell), Taskmaster (pulled up). Two lengths, a distance. 6.37. W £2.50. DF £3.70. 6-4 fav.
Race Two (Mares Maiden Race):
1 Mrs J Tice’s Teeton Diamond (Pytchley) (R Barrett),
2 Mrs W Ward’s Memsahib Ki Behan (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley),
3 J Millington’s French Bey (Fernie) (N Pearce).
Also: Arofield (unseated rider), Busy Weekend (pulled up), Mai Cure (brought down), Spinosa (fell), Three Times A Lady (fell). Two lengths, three lengths. 6.45. W £5.10. DF £34.70. SP 5-1 (Mai Cure 2-1 fav).
Race Three (Intermediate Race):
1 T Curtis’ Artic Double (Farmers Bloodhounds) (S Morris),
2 N Padfield’s Lisnagar Hide (Essex) (J Owen),
3 Miss S Miles’ Brass Razoo (Farmers Bloodhounds) (J Newbold).
Also: Teeton Prince (4), Hail Stone (5), Archbishop (pulled up), Ardkilly Warrior (pulled up). Five lengths, half a length. 6.33. W £3.10. DF £13. SP evens fav.
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 Ms A M Hays’ Bush Hill Bandit (Thurlow) (Mrs H Kemp),
2 J M Turner’s Militaire (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
3 J M Turner’s The Wiley Kalmuck (Suffolk) (Miss K Smith).
Also: Macfin (4), General Confusion (pulled up). Half a length, one length. 6.31. W £1.40. DF £4.70. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Five (Men’s Open Race):
1 Mrs P King’s Dunmanus Bay (Suffolk) (M Mackley),
2 Mrs C Aldridge’s My Best Buddy (Pytchley) (R Cope),
3 Mr and Mrs J Ridge’s Bard of Drumcoo (Suffolk) (D Kemp).
Also: Placid Man (4), Baron Bernard (pulled up), Dunrig (pulled up), Quality First (pulled up), Sir William Wallace (pulled up). Five lengths, five lengths. 6.29. W £9.50. DF £4.80. SP 8-1 (Placid Man 6-4 fav).
Race Six (Restricted Race):
1 W Tolhurst’s Punta Cana (Essex and Suffolk) (A Merriam),
2 Mrs J Wilson’s Cashari (Pytchley) (S Morris),
3 Allied P and L Partnership’s Ballykilthy (Cambs University Drag Hounds) (M Mackley).
Also: Kicasso (4), Second Thoughts (5), Coppeen Sam (6), Epop (7), Battle Honours (unseated rider), Currow Kate (unseated rider), Hoplite (pulled up), Lisronagh Cross (pulled up). Ten lengths, five lengths. 6.30. W £1.90. DF £13. SP 5-2 fav.
Race Seven (Open Maiden Race):
1 Mrs C Kemp’s Young Lord (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 Mr and Mrs M McCarffrey’s Alfie Moon (Cambs and Enfield Chace) (N Bloom),
3 Mrs J Hunt’s Highland Dancer (Farmers Bloodhounds) (T Ellis).
Also: Atlantic Drift (4), Teeton Cavalier (5), Blown Away (pulled up), Charlie Tee (pulled up), Coverdale (pulled up), Hasty Boris (pulled up), Lyric Maestro (pulled up), Mountain Trooper (pulled up), Romper Stomper (pulled up), Tartar Rose (pulled up). A distance, a distance. 6.32. W £4.20. DF £1.50. SP 9-2 (Hasty Boris 5-4 fav).