Horses for Courses is an old adage in racing. But it was more like ‘jockeys for courses’ at the West Norfolk Point-To-Point at Fakenham on Sunday as Nigel Bloom, the leading rider at this unique Norfolk venue, and David Kemp, who rode a treble at this meeting 12 months ago, won five of the seven races.
This time it was Bloom who earned top billing with a virtuoso hat-trick aboard Tom de Savoie,Bunratty’s Sole and Montenegro. Bloom, who also trains the trio at his yard near Wymondham, got the ball rolling with a comfortable success on Tom de Savoie in the Members Race.
Now owned by a group of enthusiasts known as ‘The Wishful Thinking Partnership’ and headed by auctioneer Jonathan Fryer, from Sculthorpe, just a few miles from Fakenham, Tom de Savoie has been nursed back from a leg injury.
He tipped over backwards and gave Fryer a nasty fall on his previous visit to this course, for the Boxing Day meeting of the West Norfolk Foxhounds, but was on his best behaviour yesterday and had little trouble in defeating Broad Edge by eight lengths to take his career win total into double figures.
Bloom got a rare tune out of Bunratty’s Sole, who jumped and galloped his seven rivals into submission in the Confined Race. Sporting a natty pair of black sheepskin cheekpieces, he made almost all the running to come home two lengths in front of Millenium Way.
Very much the apple of the eye of his owner, Dick Fryer, from Browick, near Wymondham, this six-year-old still has plenty of mental maturing to do (hence the application of headgear) and is capable of better still.
The threesome was completed when another exciting six-year-old prospect, Montenegro, came out on top in a thrilling finish to the Young Horse Maiden. Still green and novicey at his fences, Montenegro was a length adrift of On The Day landing over the last but, without recourse to his whip, Bloom conjured a terrific late burst which saw Montenegro prevail by a head.
His dam, Spartan Sprite, won ten races under Bloom and Montenegro is the fourth generation of the family to be owned and bred by Lord and Lady Somerleyton, from near Lowestoft.
Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford, reached the 11-winner mark for the season (one clear of James Owen in the race for the East Anglian Jockeys’ Title) with victories on Nowornever and Bard Of Drumcoo, both of which he also trains.
The pair race in the black and green silks of John Ridge, from Little Chishill, near Royston, but that is where the similarity ends. Bard of Drumcoo is a model of consistency and his pillar-to-post ten length defeat of Homme de Fer in the Men’s Open took his 2004 record to four wins and two seconds.
In stark contrast, Nowornever has been most erratic and failed to win in 15 attempts since moving to the Kemp yard in 2001. He did, however, show a liking for Fakenham when second here two years ago and took advantage of the fall of the clear leader, Russian Friend, at the third last to get up by half a length and a neck from Conquistador and Eco Warrior under a power-packed ride in the Restricted Race.
Bloom and Kemp were unable to contest the Ladies’ Open and this left the way clear for Zoe Turner, from Ampton near Bury St Edmunds, to notch her 51st career success between the flags aboard Celtic Duke.
Turner had brought up her half century – and celebrated her 32nd birthday in grand style – 24 hours earlier when winning at Penshurst in Kent on Spring Gale
A hugely enjoyable meeting came to a close in ‘Wacky Races’ style when three of the five runners in the Older Horse Maiden came to grief leaving the unfancied stablemates, Macroberts Reply and Society Scandal, with the race to themselves.
Louisa Fear, from Gadsby, near Market Harborough, got the better of her boss, trainer-rider Patrick Millington, as Society Scandal scored by 20 lengths to give the 22-year-old pilot her first success.
Race One (Members Race):
1 The Wishful Thinking Partnership’s Tom De Savoie (W Norfolk) (N Bloom),
2 T P Whales’ Broad Edge (W Norfolk) (R Stearn),
3 D Wales’ Camden Loch (W Norfolk) (D Kemp).
Also: Zabadi (4), Doctor Dunklin (5). 8 lgths, six lengths. 6.36. W £2. DF £10. SP 4-7 fav.
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 R P Fryer’s Bunratty’s Sole (Dunston) (N Bloom),
2 J M Turner’s Millenium Way (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 J M Turner’s Persian Hero (Suffolk) (J Diment).
Also: Filou Du Bois (4), Lord Euro (pu), Mister Ringa (pu), Sea Victor (pu), Sir Williamwallace (pu). 2 lengths, 5 lengths. 6.20. W £4. DF £8. SP 5-2 (Mister Ringa 9-4 fav).
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 M Kemp, Mr & Mrs J Ridge & Mrs P Hamilton’s Nowornever (Thurlow) (D Kemp),
2 Ms A Embiricos’ Conquistador (Thurlow) (N Moore),
3 Mrs A Bell’s Eco Warrior (Belvoir) (N Bell).
Also: Stick Or Bust (4), Miss Biddy (5), Nonplussed (6), Badworth Gale (pu), Gale Damage (pu), Gale Damage (pu), Play Alone (pu), Russian Friend (f), Tartar Sabre (f), Troubleshooter (pu). Half a length, neck. 6.30. W £25. DF £50. SP 9-1 (Russian Friend 11-4 fav).
Race Four (Men’s Open Race):
1 Mr and Mrs J Ridge’s Bard Of Drumcoo (Suffolk) (D Kemp),
2 Countess Cathcart’s Homme De Fer (West Norfolk) (G Greenock),
3 J M Turner’s Militaire (Suffolk) (J Owen).
Also: Avalon Buck (4), Avondale Illusion (pu), Brilliant Star (pu), Fine Times (pu), Glemot (pu), Noel’s Pride (ro), The Red Boy (pu). 10 lengths, head. 6.22. W £2.50. DF £2.50. SP 5-2 (Homme De Fer 11-10 fav).
Race Five (Ladies Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Celtic Duke (Suffolk) (Z Turner),
2 Miss A Well’s Sheskinqueen (Fernie),
3 Mr & Mrs S Embiricos’ Highland Rose (Thurlow) (A Embiricos).
Also: Mister Audi (4), Catherine’s Way (pu), Step In Line (pu). 4 lgths, 5 lgths. 6.23. W £2. DF £32. SP 6-4 (Highland Rose 4-7 fav).
Race Six (Maiden Race for 5, 6 & 7 years old):
1 Lord Somerleyton’s Montenegro (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom),
2 J M Turner’s On The Day (Suffolk) (J Owen),
3 Mrs J E Shaw’s Mr Know What (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss C Bartlett).
Also: Peats Ridge (4), Rash Moment (5), First And Fourmost (pu), Geordie MacGregor (pu), Lightning Fork (ur), Lolloping Lad (pu), Pernickety King (pu). Head, 10 lengths. 6.37. W £3.20. DF £2.50. SP 5-2 (On The Day 7-4 fav).
Race Seven (Maiden Race for 8 years old and over):
1 P J Millington’s Society Scandal (Fernie) (Miss L Fear),
2 P J Millington’s Macrobert’s Reply (Fernie) (owner).
Also: A Fine Story (f), Man At The Top (ur), Marsden (ur). 20 lengths. 6.57. £10, DF £37. SP 12-1 (A Fine Story 5-4 fav).