George Cooper and Michael Valdes Scott, a pair of fiftysomethings, put the youngsters in their place with brilliant riding performances as the Waveney Harriers Point-To-Point kept a large crowd regally entertained at Higham yesterday (Sunday).
Cooper, 57, showed the benefit of his 110 previous career victories as he guided the 16-1 shot, Endeavour, to a three length victory in the Intermediate Race.
Owned by Nobby Clark, who is Master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds and lives in Tiptree, Endeavour was making his debut for Cooper, who trains him in partnership with Cherie Cunningham at Raydon, near Hadleigh.
Never far off the pace, the French-bred nine-year-old was produced to challenge the leader, Mai Point, jumping the final fence and stayed on strongly to assert on the run-in.
Cooper was giving the best part of 40 years to Coral Grissell, Mai Point’s jockey, and he returned to a rapturous reception in the winner’s enclosure.
Valdes Scott is quite different to Cooper in that he had never completed the course in a point-to-point prior to partnering Knockanard in the Members’ Race.
The 4,000 guineas Doncaster Sales purchase not only completed but made every yard of the running to beat Treasure Dome by 15 lengths. Knockanard is trained at Saxmundham by Matthew Gingell while his pilot, who politely refused to reveal his precise age, lives at Cotton, near Stowmarket.
The appearance of Unsinkable Boxer, a former top class horse under rules having his first start since the 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup, turned into something of a damp squib. The 12-year-old sank without trace at the very first fence in the Men’s Open, leaving the way clear for Evan’s Collier Boy to post an impressive front-running performance.
Trained near Bridgend, in Wales, by David Brace and given a fearless ride by Jamie Jukes, Evan’s Collier Boy set off like a scalded cat and, despite getting tired in the closing stages, held on by five lengths from My Shout and Call It A Day.
The Gerrard-sponsored Ladies’ Open was an equally high quality affair, with Pharare suffering his first defeat in 12 completed runs between the flags. He proved just unable to reel in Shirley Vickery’s mount, the Surrey raider, Noyan, who dug deep to score by two lengths.
The Sporborg family, from Bishop’s Stortford, had managed a very creditable fourth and a second from their two runners at Larkhill in Wiltshire on Saturday.
So it was no surprise when they broke their duck for the season in the Confined Race, Secret Streams overcoming a number of right-handed leaps to beat Ar Aghaidh Abhaile by 15 lengths under Simon Sporborg.
The Maiden races turned into a bonanza for the visitors from outside East Anglia, just as they had at Cottenham a week earlier. Indeed, Division Two was an East Sussex benefit as Daydreamer, trained at Rye, was given a well-judged ride by Andrew Hickman to beat his near-neighbours, The Winkster and Scotch Bob.
The other Division saw Mountain Tae, who is trained at Cobham in Surrey and was ridden by Philip York, prove ten lengths too strong for Give Him A Chance.
Race One (Hunt Race):
1 J M Valdes-Scott’s Knockanard (Waveney Harriers) (owner),
2 J W & Mrs A Whyte’s Treasure Dome (Waveney Harriers) (T Lane),
3 J W & Mrs A Whyte’s Salisong (Waveney Harriers) (N Bloom).
Also: Foodbroker Star (4), Colemore Green (pu), Deep Refrain (pu), Henry Tartar (ur), Remilan (pu). Fifteen lengths, 10 lengths. 6.18. W A310.20. DF A3100. SP 12-1 (Remilan 7-4fav).
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 Sir Chips Keswick and C H Sporborg’s Secret Streams (Puckeridge) (S Sporborg),
2 Mrs P Twinn’s Ar Aghaidh Abhaile (East Essex) (Miss C Grissell),
3 Mrs A McVay and R Oliver-Smith’s Wrekengale (Easton Harriers) (N King).
Also: Dream Packet (4), Corrimulzie (ur), Monyman (f). Fifteen lenghts, two lengths. 6.08. W A31.80. DF A36. SP 10-11fav.
Race Three (Men’s Open Race):
1 D Brace’s Evan’s Collier Boy (Llangeinor) (J Jukes),
2 Mrs D Flory’s My Shout (Pytchley) (B Pollock),
3 Mrs J Lane’s Call It A Day (Farmer Bloodhounds) (M Appleby).
Also: Mister Spectator (4), Mystic Isle (5), Dockmaster (pu), Mister Audi (pu), Pangeran (tnp), Salmon Breeze (pu), Samba Sharply (ur), Sherwood Boy (pu), Tantara Lodge (pu), Unsinkable Boxer (f). Five lengths, two lengths. 6.03. W A36.10. DF A333. SP 5-2 (Unsinkable Boxer 5-4fav).
Race Four (Ladies Open Race):
1 R Cook’s Noyan (Surrey Union) (Miss S Vickery),
2 Mrs M William’s Pharare (North Ledbury) (Miss C Spearing),
3 Mrs L Stock’s Kincora (W Street/Tickham) (owner).
Also: Dawn Alert (4), Island Vision (5), Polo Pony (6), Weather Wise (7), Gunner Boon (8), Andrelot (9), The Cockertoo (10), Caddy Man (pu), Prince of Saints (pu). Two lengths, eight lengths. 6. W A35.50. DF A33.50. SP 4-1 (Pharare 4-6fav).
Race Five (Open Maiden Race – Division One):
1 Mrs K H York’s Mountain Tae (Staff College) (P York),
2 B Belchem’s Give Him A Chance (East Essex) (H Fowler),
3 T W Edmond’s Carraig Brol (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (B Hitchcott).
Also: Bavard Push (4), Ardluck (5), Morning Mover (6), Dreamisle (pu), Larkus Aurelius (pu), My Glendalough (pu), River Surprise (pu), Second Thoughts (ur), Tabula Rasa (pu), Twin-Cylinder (pu). Ten lengths, a distance. 6.14. W A311.50. DF A352. SP 8-1 (Carraig Brol 5-4fav).
Race Six (Open Maiden Race – Division Two):
1 A Hickman’s Daydreamer (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (owner),
2 A Cowing’s The Winkster (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (B Hitchcott),
3 P Hughes’ Scotch Bob (E Sussex and Romney Marsh) (P Hickman).
Also: Andrew’s (pu), Banteen (pu), Beau Matelot (ref), Call The Tune (f), Camden Loch (pu), Dons Delight (f), Harkness Warrior (f), Henry Tartar (pu), Lord Drakkar (pu), Over And Under (pu), Plessey Rose Lee (ur), Tartan Shot (ur), Three Spires (pu). One and a half lengths, a distance. 6.12. W A38.30. DF A322. SP 8-1 (The Winkster 5-2fav).
Race Seven (Intermediate Race):
1 D W Clark’s Endeavour (Essex and Suffolk) (G Cooper),
2 D L Claydon’s Mai Point (East Essex) (Miss C Grissell),
3 Miss E Neyen’s Our Man Flin (Grafton) (owner).
Also: The Red Boy (4), Ballinure Boy (5), North City (6), Premier First (7), In The Stocking (8), Eveies Boy (pu), Glenmont (pu), Irisheyesaresmilin (pu), Review Board (pu), Society Lad (pu).Three lengths, five lengths. 6.04. W A316.60. DF A36.50 (winner with any other). SP 16-1 (Irisheyesaresmilin 7-4fav).