Mid Div And Creep proved herself the Queen of Horseheath at a hectic Thurlow Point-To-Point on Saturday, where a large crowd enjoyed some guest appearances from the sun interspersed between seven races that featured no less than 84 runners.
Mid Div And Creep extended her Horseheath record to a perfect six out of six when beatingPetit Lord by three lengths in the Ladies’ Open . Half of those victories, including this one, have come in partnership with jockey Kelly Smith, from Newmarket.
Having been caught on the line at Marks Tey on their previous outing, Smith gave the ten-year-old mare an admirably positive ride, stretching the field by kicking clear early on the final circuit.
King du Berlais, Mid Div And Creep’s old rival and Marks Tey conqueror, moved up menacingly from the rear to lead the chase at the fourth last fence. But his effort was not sustained up the final hill and he was a distant third passing the winning post.
Triumphant trainer Derek Harding-Jones, from North Weald in Essex, was sporting a red and white scarf to match both the colours of owners Tony and Karen Exall, from Hatfield Heath, and his beloved football team, Arsenal.
He revealed aferwards: “Mid Div And Creep knocked her fetlock when having a gallop yesterday and we had to treat the leg with clay. I had a restless night but her leg was cold when we woke this morning.”
Louise Allan, also from Newmarket and the rider of King du Berlais, had earlier had her trainer’s hat on when lifting the Hunts Club Members with Romper Stomper. Ridden by Jody Sole, he outclassed his six rivals to post an effortless victory.
Allan, who last year moved to new premises at Long Holes Stud, had suffered a frustrating time with this Sir Harry Lewis gelding after he showed abundant promise in his first season of racing. A slight leg injury then forced a year on the sidelines and last term he lost the plot, pulling up in all three of his races.
She appears to have found the key to him, reporting: “He needs to have another horse with him in the box on the way to the races. Last week I took him alone on a ten-minute journey and he was wet through by the time we got there, so today I brought Round The Bend, one of my old pointers, with him for company.”
The rest of the card was dominated by the three-time national champion jockey, Richard Burton, who increased his lifetime winners tally – which already numbered over 350 – by three .
The afternoon did not begin well for Shropshire resident Burton, as the dismal effort of his mount, the favourite, Sweden, in the Intermediate Race won by Jolly Boys Outing, prompted the stewards to call an enquiry.
Jolly Boys Outing, trained in Oxfordshire by Rosemary Gasson, did well to get the better of Exceptionnel after a great duel over the last three fences. But the horse to take out of the race is Thatmakestwoofus, trained at Semer, between Sudbury and Ipswich, by Tory Hayter, who stayed on doughtily to finish third, just a length and a half behind the winner.Burton then prevailed on all three of his other rides, the classiest of which was Unowatimeen, who put himself in line for an ambitious tilt at the Cheltenham Foxhunter with a front-running score in the Men’s Open.The Burton treble was completed by a brace from the Gloucestershire yard of Fergal O’Brien. First Horsham Lad took advantage of a last fence blunder by Broken Beau(who, like King du Berlais, is trained at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, by Joe Turner) in the Restricted Race.
The other O’Brien winner was Badger Sett, who took the second division of the Maiden.
The first, and much stronger division, saw an overdue success for Northants raider, Orient Legend, who had finished second in four of his five previous starts.