Nigel Bloom dominated the West Norfolk Point-To-Point at Fakenham yesterday, riding a brilliant 146-1 four-timer which brought his career total of pointing winners to 150 and included the ride of the season aboard Sense of Adventure in the Confined Race.
Owner-trainer Hugh Hodge, from Braughing in Hertfordshire, described Sense of Adventureafterwards as “very, very laid back.” This was abundantly clear during the race, as he jumped deliberately and constantly dropped to rear of the field only to be coaxed back into contention by Bloom.
Yet another slow jump at the final fence seemed to have handed victory to Mister Audi. But, without resorting to his whip, Bloom cajoled his mount into quickening through a narrow gap between Mister Audi and the stands rail, and Sense of Adventure got up in the very last stride to score by a head.
Bloom, 37, from Wymondham, was again seen at his most persuasive little more than an hour later on General Assembly in the Men’s Open Race. Andrew Sansome, who had been aboard Mister Audi, poached an eight-length lead on Prince of Saints only for a terrible blunder at the third last to stop his mount in its tracks.
This gave General Assembly, who had been off the bridle for some time, the chance he needed and, hitting the front on the home bend, the Pharly gelding galloped on strongly to beat Epsilo de la Ronce by two and a half lengths with Prince of Saints back in third.
Di Hall, who trains General Assembly at Hingham, near Wymondham, in partnership with her husband, Peter, revealed afterwards that the eight- year-old had only just recovered from being badly jumped into, leaving him “dead lame”, at Cottenham on his previous start.
The Bloom quartet, which took him to 17 winners for the season and so wrapped up the In The Pink-sponsored Area Jockeys’ Title, was completed in the two divisions of the young horse Maiden.
Firstly, Cradle Mountain, who is trained by Bloom’s father Mike, but is owned by an enthusiastic bunch called ‘The Norfolk Farmers Group’, headed by Alice Vaughan-Jones, repelled a two-pronged challenge on the final turn to score by two lengths.
In contrast to Cradle Mountain, who was the evens favourite, the final Bloom triumph came on an unconsidered 20-1 chance, Tod’s Brother, who is trained at Eye in Suffolk by owner Jean Merriam.
Described by Bloom as ‘the greenest horse that I have ever ridden’ following his debut back in March, Tod’s Brother overcame some sloppy jumping on the final circuit to beat Manadaly Man by five lengths.
The opening Members’ Race saw a popular victory for Hagon Beck, trained and ridden by William Wales and owned by Sally Martin and Jacqueline Stamp, who hail from near Cromer. There were also loud cheers following the older horse Maiden race as 26-year-old Lucy Cowan, from Newmarket, got off the mark on her very first ride, aboard the Alex Johnson-trained Denarii.
Leicestershire owner-trainer-rider Patrick Millington broke a losing sequence of exactly a year when Baron Allfours proved two lengths too strong for Squaddie in the Restricted race.
Joe Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, saw his colours narrowly defeated aboardSquaddie, Mister Audi and Prince Of Saints, but he gained compensation for these reverses when Spring Gale, ridden by his granddaughter, Zoe, justified long odds-on favouritism in the Ladies’ Open.
Race One (Members Race):
1 Mrs S Martin and J Stamp’s Hagon Beck (North Norfolk) (W Wales),
2 C Carmen’s Rafter (North Norfolk) (owner),
3 P Hall’s Spufington (West Norfolk) (Miss H Steele).
Also: Classical Style (4), Rovac (5), Coptic Dancer (pu). 15 lengths: a distance. 6.32 W £1.35. D £1.70. SP 4-5 fav.
Race Two (Confined Race):
1 H B Hodge’s Sense of Adventure (Puckeridge) (N Bloom),
2 J M Turner’s Mister Audi (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
3 J Purliant Mister Fivewood (Cambs) (owner).
Also: Sign (4), Who’s Next (5), BallyDesmond (6), Ann’s Ambition (7), Broadway Singer (pu), Fire on Ice (ur). Head, 15 lengths. 6.24. W £2.50. DF £5.35. SP 5-4fav.
Race Three (Restricted Race):
1 P J Millington’s Baron Allfours (Fernie) (owner),
2 J M Turner’s Squaddie (Suffolk) (A Sansome),
3 J Robinson’s Fine Times (Burton) (M Mackley).
Also: The Red Boy (4), Holmby Copse (5), Spectre (6), Premier First (7), Ar Aghaidh Abhaile (pu), Heir of Gold (pu), Sweet
Talker (pu), Tom’s Influence (pu), Vulpin de Laugere (pu), Zafan (pu). Two lengths, eight lengths. 6.30. W £21. DF £44.50. SP 14-1 (Spectre, Squaddie and The Red Boy 5-2 jt-favs).
Race Four (Men’s Open Race) :
1 P P Hall’s General Assembly (West Norfolk) (N Bloom),
2 F E Harvey’s Epsilo De La Ronce (Puckeridge) (A Harvey),
3 J M Turner’s Prince of Saints (Suffolk) (A Sansome).
Also: Going Around (4), Very Vel (pu). 2½ lengths, three lengths. 6.33. W £1.80. DF £4.40. SP 4-6fav.
Race Five (Ladies’ Open Race):
1 J M Turner’s Spring Gale (Suffolk) (Miss Z Turner),
2 H B Hodge’s Holiday Time (Puckeridge) (Mrs S Hodge),
3 Mrs S Ruddle’s Hay Dance (Waveney Harriers) (Mrs E Coveney).
Also: Just Jack (4). 20 lengths, 25 lengths. 6.29. W £1.20. SF £1.60. SP1-4fav.
Race Six (5/6/7 y/o Maiden Race Division One):
1 The Norfolk Farmer’s Group’s Cradle Mountain (Dunston Harriers) (N Bloom),
2 M G Sheppard’s Cardinal Bud (Cambs) (P Taiano),
3 P J Millington’s Fortune Hunter (Fernie) (owner).
Also: River Surprise (4), Craft Book Marchesa (5), About Time (6), Holy Moses (pu), Sail On By (pu), Sidney Street (pu), Stick or Bust (ur). Two lengths, two lengths. 6.39. W £1.80. DF £4. SP Evens fav.
Race Seven (5-6-7 y/o Maiden Race Division Two) :
1 Mrs J Merriam’s Tod’s Brother (Easton Harriers) (N Bloom),
2 P J Millington’s Mandalay Man (Fernie) (R Armson),
3 H R Hobson’s Sixth Sense (Puckeridge) (T Lane).
Also: Nosey Parker (5), Polly Live Wire (disq), Always Trying (pu), Carr Dyke Castle (ref), Don Royal (pu), Second Thoughts (pu), There Be Demons (pu) (Polly Live Wire finished third but was disqualified as rider failed to weigh in). Five lengths, two lengths. 6.37. W £11.80. DF £88.20. SP 20-1 (Sixth Sense 5-4fav).
Race Eight (8y/o and over Maiden Race):
1 Mrs A Johnson’s Denarii (Cambs University) (Miss L Cowan),
2 C Jarvis’ Out of Actons (Suffolk) (owner),
3 P J Millington’s Father’s Joy (Fernie) (A Sonsome).
Also: City Run (4), Blazing Times (pu), Coolest by Phar (pu), Cottesmore (ref), Rising Dawn (pu), Tan Hill Sparky (f). Eight lengths, five lengths. 6.43. W £4.40. DF£3.40. SP 74-2 (Out of Actons 6-4fav).