SATURDAY 19 APRIL 2003
by Peter Mansell
Every Point to Point season throws up a talented young jockey
and this year that accolade falls upon Tom Weston's young shoulders after
the 16-year-old Worcester Schoolboy had scored his second success on
Caught at Dawn in the Members Race during Saturdays Worcestershire Point
to Point at Chaddesley Corbett.
Upton Adventure won her fourth race of the season for Eastnor
trainer Nicky Sheppard after an easy win in the Ladies Open under Stoke
Bliss rider Emma James. This partnership had finished behind Gill'Mar at
Bitterley recently but that danger was removed when Candy Thomas was
forced to pull the favourite up at the 11th.
Chaddesley Corbett residents Teressa McCurrich and her joint
owners Sheila and Terry Cartridge had cause for celebration after Early
Dawns win in the Mares Race. As often happens in small fields, it produced
an exciting finish with just half a length separating Early Dawn and her
solitary rival at the post.
This was the second leg of a double for Bradley Green rider
Micky Harris, who had taken the Restricted earlier in the afternoon for
Upton Snodsbury trainer Elizabeth Grainger. The 11-year-old was
supplementing his Maisemore victory, which was achieved in similar fashion
as he quickened away from his rivals to win in impressive style. His
Redditch based owner Victor Hollier intends to enter the gelding for
Cheltenham's Hunter Chase evening at the end of the month.
Despite extensive watering efforts only three runners faced
the starter for the days principal event, The Lady Dudley Cup. General
Wolf who had made the journey up from Cornwall made much of the early
running but his Bromsgrove based owner Mark Gichero soon knew his fate as
the 14-year-old started to weaken down the back straight.
Fontaine Again then took up the running but was closely
pursued by Paymaster. There was nothing between the two horses at the
third from home but Julian Pritchard's mount had drawn 6 lengths clear by
the next and still held a healthy advantage at the last, but suddenly
Paymasters stride began to shorten there was only a neck separating them
at the post.
To most seasoned observers, Paymaster appeared to be coming
to the end of his tether, but Pritchard stated afterwards that he had not
been too strong at the finish because of a knock of the knee he had
sustained following a rare unseat from Lestat in the previous race. This
was another big race win for Pritchard and Gloucestershire trained Jelly
Helen Hart and her daughter Claire landed the Maiden with a promising young mare called Lava. The 7-year-old had fallen at the 11th at Mollington but Mark Wall took over on this occasion and she was anchored at the rear until being produced with a race-winning run down the home straight. She had taken the measure of Little Dish when that rival departed at the penultimate and the manner of this victory indicates that the Chipping Campden based owners will enjoy further successes with this headstrong mare.