Archie Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, stamped himself as a young steeplechase jockey with a bright future by scoring a breakthrough first victory at the Waveney Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday.
Wright was having just his second ever ride yet produced an accomplished display in the saddle, coaxing some brilliant leaps from his Mens Open mount, the 20-1 outsider, Rustarix, before riding a tidy finish to hold off Court Red Handed by a length.
Wright is only 18 years old and is currently on his gap year before starting a business management course at Oxford Brookes University.
He admitted afterwards that the win had accomplished a lifetime ambition ‘big time’ but was quick to deflect the praise on to Jo Briseland and Sarah Jane Clowser for their roles in reigniting the enthusiasm of Rustarix, who was formerly a good horse under National Hunt rules.
Briseland and Clowser both work for Wright’s trainer father, Nick, who later revealed he was so nervous watching his son that at one stage he feared he might pass out.
It was a fabulous day for the Wright family as Nick also saddled Wee Johnny to land a smooth three-length victory in the Restricted Race while his best horse of 2012, It Was Me, posted a career best in finishing second to the classy Sussex raider, Little Legend, in the Ladies Open.
Both were ridden by jockey Carey Williamson, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, who played a pivotal role in the afternoon’s proceedings as her only other ride, Coral Point, almost pinched a shock victory in the PPORA Club Members Race.
But having kicked clear early on the final circuit, Coral Point succumbed after the final fence to the odds-on favourite, Macklin, who was given a never-say-die ride by another local pilot currently catching the eye, James Ferguson.
Ironically, not only is Macklin trained by Ferguson’s father, John, for whom Williamson works, she also rides him out ‘nearly every morning’!
It was an up and down day for Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, trainer Andrew Pennock. It began well when his Galbally King, ridden by Ben Rivett, (from Sharrington, near Holt, in Norfolk) gave the trainer-rider partnership a third success of the season in the Hunts Club Members Race.
Galbally King, who is now owned by Alan and Jill Smith, from Frinton, and Emily Clover, from Stratford St Mary, was taking his tally to three wins from seven starts since joining the Pennock yard.
But Pennock’s day ended with a trip to hospital after he was knocked out when his mount, Minella For Ball, sadly suffered a fatal injury in a fall during a division of the Maiden race. This contest supplied an overdue first success for the Kent-trained Tomstar, who had been placed in four of his previous seven outings.
The other Maiden saw the colours of Barry Belchem, who lives just a few miles from the course at Kelvedon, carried to victory aboard Soldiers Cross, who is trained in Herefordshire by his jockey, Jeremy Mahot.
Waveney Harriers Hunts Club Members
1 – GALBALLY KING Ben Rivett 10/11f
2 – Pairc Na Gcapall Clare Twemlow
3 – Kells Castle Oliver Murphy
Time 6 mins 08secs Dists: 4L, 15 5 ran
PPORA Club Members
1- MACKLIN James Ferguson 4/6f
2- Coral Point Carey Williamson
3- Cold Mountain Paul Blagg
Time 6-04 Dists: 3/4L, 15L 11 ran
1- RUSTARIX Archie Wright 20/1
2- Court Red Handed Max Kendrik
3- The Rodeo Clown James Owen
Time 6-03 Dists: 1L, Dist 10 ran ( Ocean Du Moulin 8/15f UR )
1- LITTLE LEGEND Cynthia Haydon 2/1f
2- It Was Me Carey Williamson
3- Working Title Bridget Andrews
Time 5-59 Dists: 3L, 5L 8 ran
OPEN MAIDEN (Division One)
1- SOLDIERS CROSS Jeremy Mahot 16/1
2- Flicka’s Witness Shane O’Keefe
3- Mass Hysteria Andrew Braithwaite
Time 6-17 Dists:1/2L, 1L 8 ran ( Lotta Scares 7/4f Fell )
OPEN MAIDEN (Division Two)
1- TOMSTAR Robbie McCarthy 9/2
2- Earl Grez Joe Hill 6/4f
3- Moroman David Kemp
Time 6-10 Dists: 10L, 12L 8 ran
1- WEE JOHNNY Carey Williamson 6/4f
2- Master Workman David Kemp
3- Bit Of A Clown Jody Sole
Time not taken (start not visible) Dists: 3L, 1/2L, 10 ran