Where’s My Baby came out on top as Fakenham staged one of the most exciting finishes ever seen at an East Anglian Point-To-Point course as less than four lengths covered the first five home in the Men’s Open race at Sunday’s West Norfolk meeting.
Trained at Kilverstone, near Thetford, by David Kemp, Where’s My Baby looked a beaten horse when a mistake at the third last dropped him back to fifth place. Regaining his momentum rounding the home turn but faced with a wall of horses, he was switched widest of all at the final fence and, responding to an all-out-drive from jockey Andrew Braithwaite, got up in the last few strides to score by a head.
Go North, whose chance was compromised by a slow start, took second, with the front-running pair of Gun Smith and Bob Justice close behind in third and fourth.
Where’s My Baby, who was maintaining his incredible record of never having finished out of the first two in nine career Pointing starts, may now head for a Novice Hunter Chase at Folkestone on May 14.
The denouement to the following Ladies’ Open was equally thrilling, although this time only two horses were involved. Scotland Yard, trained at Bressingham by Fleur Hawes and ridden with her usual aplomb by former national champion, Clare Allen, just got the better of a tremendous duel with Assassino by a head.The East Anglian champion lady rider, Gina Andrews, was well beaten back in third aboard Delightful Cliche. But Andrews, from Lilley in Hertfodshire, once more proved that, even at the age of just 17, she can already mix it with the best when landing a quick double in the first two races on the card.
Her victory on Toe To Hand in the opening Hunt Members Race was particularly popular as it was a first triumph for six years for trainer Will Wales, from Binham, and his owner-father, David, from Marham.
Wales junior has done a brilliant job as Clerk Of The Course at this meeting for some years now and his superb efforts in spraying up to seven and a half centimetres of water on some sections of the course in the five days preceding the fixture prompted universal praise from contestants.
Andrews then took her seasonal total to a personal best score of ten when guiding Bunratty’s Sole to a smooth victory in the Confined Conditions Race. Bunratty’s Sole represents the same trainer-owner combination of Nibby Bloom and Sandra Fryer (who are both from Wymondham) that was later narrowly denied with Go North in the Men’s Open.
It was a big day for George Kennedy, 32, originally from County Offaly in Ireland but now based at the Great Gidding, near Peterborough, yard of Henry Hill, as he landed his first riding victory aboard Tuesday Club in the Open Maiden. Sneaking up the inside on the final turn, Tuesday Club stayed on well to beat Ocean Fou by three lengths.
Matt Smith, from Great Wratting, near Haverhill, had a rollercoaster day, begun when fined for over-exuberance with the whip and ended when one of his stirrup leathers broke before his fancied mount, The Legal Limit, had even reached the first fence in the Maiden. In between he managed a winner, guiding the Lincolnshire-trained Dix Huit Cyborg to a three-length score in the Restricted Race.
Race One (W Norfolk and N Norfolk Harriers Members Race):
1 D Wales ‘ Toe to Hand (W Norfolk) (Miss G Andrews),
2 Mrs C Kemp’s Young Lord (N Norfolk Harriers) (B Rivett),
3 Mrs A Vaughan-Jones and G Luck’s The Fairhill Boy ( W Norfolk ) S Vaughan-Jones.
Five lengths, three lengths. 6.30. SP 5-1 (The Fairhill Boy 4-6 fav).
Race Two (Confined Hunts Race):
1 Mrs S Fryer’s Bunratty’s Sole (Dunston Harriers) (Miss G Andrews),
2 P Andrews’ The Longest Day (Cottesmore) (J Owen),
3 R Green and Mrs B Sayers’ Philson Warrior ( Cambs University ) (M Smith).
Twenty-five lengths, five lengths. 6.22. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 R H Lee’s Dix Huit Cyborg (Rockwood Harriers) (M Smith),
2 Mrs M Martin and M Ward’s Nomadic Blaze (Granta Harriers) (Miss R Ward),
3 B Dowling’s Si Anthony (Puckeridge) (Miss K Smith).
Three lengths, five lengths. 6.23. SP 7-2 (Clash 4-6 fav).
Race Four (Mens Open Race):
1 Mr and Mrs J Ridge’s Where’s My Baby (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite),
2 Mrs S Fryer’s Go North (Dunston Harriers) (S Morris),
3 A Parkin’s Gun Smith (S Notts) (D Devereaux).
Head, neck. 6.14. SP 5-2 (Go North 2-1 fav).
Race Five (Ladies Open Race):
1 The Air Hair Lair Partnership’s Scotland Yard (Waveney Harriers) (Miss C Allen),
2 J M Turner’s Assassino ( Suffolk ) (Miss L Allan),
3 Mrs P Rogers ‘ Delightful Cliché (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss G Andrews).
Head, three lengths. 6.29. SP Evens fav.
Race Six (Open Maiden Race):
1 H Hill and T Belcher’s Tuesday Club ( Cambs University ) (G Kennedy),
2 S Stiff and J Wright’s Ocean Fou (Granta Harriers) (R Stearn),
3 Mr and Mrs N Edwards’ Castleconner Lad (Worcs) (A Pennock).
Three lengths, five lengths. 6.31. SP 3-1 (Ocean Fou 7-4 fav).
Pony Race One (Children’s Pony Flat Race, 138cm and under):
1 Mrs K Vaughan-Jones’ Cwrt-y-Bettys Vocalist ( W Norfolk ) (Daisy Taylor),
2 Miss C Wyatt’s Sebastian (Dunston Harriers) (Charlotte Wyatt).
Pony Race Two (Children’s Pony Flat Race, 148cm and under):
1 A Dean’s Tricky Vicky (N Cotswold) (Tom Bellamy),
2 O and Mrs O Vaughan-Jones’ Jemima Two (N Norfolk Harriers) (Daisy Taylor).