John Ferguson was the trainer in form during a hectic weekend of Point-To-Point Racing which featured meetings at both Cottenham, near Cambridge and Higham, between Colchester and Ipswich.
Ferguson, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, saddled a treble at the Cambridge University Draghounds meeting on Saturday despite a slow start. His first runner, the red hot Mens Open favourite, Earth Dream, had to pull up after less than a mile when his saddle slipped and he lost his weight cloth, while his second, Mister Socks, was forced to settle for the runner’s up berth behind the useful Qozak in the Ladies Open.
But Ferguson inmates landed the last three races, all in partnership with James Owen, who was taking his seasonal tally to an impressive seven despite the campaign still being well short of its halfway mark.
Owen, who could have had a five-timer given that he led over the final fence in each of the first two races, skilfully made sure that the classy Macklin, who had veered off the course around the final bend at the previous Cottenham fixture, had no opportunity to repeat the antics in the Restricted Race which he went on to win by two lengths.
Then Elvis The King survived two catastrophic fencing blunders to make all the running in the three mile Maiden. And Owen completed the hat-trick despite a cautious round of jumping from Dr Harry Who in the closing two and a half mile Maiden.
“I’ve never before had four winners on the board by the end of February, let alone seven,” a delighted Owen admitted afterwards.
The Ferguson bonanza was completed at yesterday’s (Sunday) Waveney Harriers meeting when Earth Dream, turned out again 24 hours after his Cottenham travails, kept all his tack in its correct position en route to a facile win in the Mens Open.
Amazingly, the Ferguson winning spree was not restricted to point-to-pointing as the Suffolk resident also won with both his representatives at a National Hunt fixture at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, meaning that his overall tally for the weekend was six victories.
The only other trainer to be on the scoresheet at both Cottenham and Higham was Andrew Pennock, from Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds.
He was responsible for one of the biggest shocks at an East Anglian venue for many a long year when Shannina repeated his CU Draghounds Members Race triumph of 2011, this time at the remarkable odds of 33-1. Well ridden by Ben Rivett, from Sharrington in Norfolk, Shanninastayed on strongly up the run-in to catch Mister Tibus in the final 50 yards.
Pennock and Rivett were at it again in the Maiden at Higham, this time with Galbally King,who overturned last month’s course form with Filibuster to land the spoils by eight lengths.
Foulstons Ruler, who is trained a stone’s throw away from Higham at Raydon by his breeder, George Cooper, recorded a second success of the year at his local track when comfortably accounting for Mountain Emperor in the opening Club Members Race.
Then Firmount Beech, who is trained by his rider, the Thetford-based David Kemp, proved a length and a half too strong for another recent course winner, Defying Gravity, in the PPORA Members Race.
The Wymondham handler, Caroline Fryer, finally made it into the winner’s enclosure following two earlier second places when Festival Bound defied Foulstons Ruler’s brother, Mambo Ruler, by three lengths in the closing Restricted Race.
Hunts Club Members
1 Foulston’s Ruler – Rupert Stearn Ev’s f
2 Mountain Emperor – Gina Andrews
3 Pouilly – Ben Rivett
Time 6 mins 5 secs Dists: 4L 3/4L 7 ran 2 fences not jumped, frost in ground
PPORA Club Members
1 Firmount Beech – David Kemp 8/1
2 Defying Gravity – Gina Andrews
3 Mnason – Ben Brackenbury
Time 5-58 Dists: 1 1/2L, 7L 10 ran Always Roses 7/4f 4th 2 fences not jumped, frost in ground
1 Earth Dream – James Ferguson 1/4f
2 Dream Garden – George Henderson
3 The Ferbane Man – James Owen
Time 6-05 Dists: 8L, 3L 4 ran
All fences jumped in this race and all subsequent races
1 Roaringwater – Cynthia Haydon 5/2
2 Bearneen Boy – Gina Andrews
3 Jumbul Sale – Carey Williamson
Time 6-02 Dists: 5L, 3/4L 5 ran King Du Berlais 8/11f 4th
1 Galbally King – Ben Rivett 9/4
2 Filibuster – Gina Andrews 4/9f
Time 6-08 Dist: 8L 4 ran , 2 finished
1 Little Legend – Cynthia Haydon 4/5f
2 Stress – Carey Williamson
3 Irish Rebel – James Owen
Time 5-59 Dists: 2L, 5L 6 ran
1 Festival Bound – Gina Andrews 3/1
2 Mambo Ruler – Rupert Stearn
3 Shuilegoric – James Owen
Time 6-01 Dists: 3L, Dist 6 ran