Fog continues to blight the East Anglian Point-To-Point season. At the Waveney Harriers meeting at Higham yesterday (Sunday), just as at Cottenham seven days earlier, much of the action was obscured by fog which thickened as the afternoon wore on.
But conditions failed to dampen the enthusiasm of a large crowd, who ‘saw’ 72 horses contest seven competitive races.
The best finishes of the day came at the start of the card, before the gloom descended. And, much like at the 2001 Waveney meeting, they featured fine performances from two veteran riders.
Michael Valdes-Scott, 58, from Cotton near Stowmarket, rode his own horse, Knockanard, in the Members’ Race and, in a carbon copy of the previous renewal when the margin had been 15 lengths, got the better of Treasure Dome.
This time, however, Knockanard’s triumph was harder fought as he was behind his rival jumping the last of 19 fences before rallying to prevail by two lengths.
George Cooper, who is the same vintage as Valdes-Scott, had a rough time just getting to the start of the Confined Race with Endeavour, the Nobby Clark-owned ten-year-old who has carried him to victory in the Intermediate Race here last year.
Endeavour bucked and kicked and unseated Cooper twice during the preliminaries, yet behaved much better in the race itself, helping Wise Advice force the pace and then only failing by half a length to overtake Who Am I on the run-in.
The winner was ridden by Wymondham’s Nigel Bloom, and is owned by four glamorous girls including his mother, Jenny, and his wife, Flavia. Asked what instructions she had given her son in the paddock beforehand, Mrs Bloom senior replied: “Behave yourself, or we’ll jock you off next time!”
The other local victory came in the second of two divisions of the Maiden race when Lovelock,sharpened up by a solid third at Cottenham, was ten lengths too good for Pampered Gale.
The first pointer ever owned by William Stone, a wild Boar farmer from Linton, near Haverhill, Lovelock was trained and ridden by Neil King, who paid a mere £900 for him at the Doncaster Sales.
Lovelock might not have won at all but for the fall at the fourth last of Sydney Hobart, a newcomer from the Caroline Bailey yard who carries the colours of Alice Vaughan-Jones’s North Norfolk Group.
Northamptonshire-based Bailey had been on the mark earlier when Imperial Dawn, wearing the silks of Saffron Walden’s Colin Bazley, proved much too good for Gatchou Mans in the Gerrard-sponsored Ladies’ Open.
Jemaro justified a long trip down from Shropshire when running his 11 rivals ragged before registering a five length success in the Men’s Open Race.
Surrey was the destination of the day’s other two prizes as Amber Life, trained near Cobham by the York family, made all in the opening Maiden, and Labula Bay, trained near Guildford by Chrissie Elliot, emerged from the murk to lift the Intermediate Race.