Point-To-Point punters had to stomach a 20-1 shocker for the second Saturday running at Marks Tey on Saturday as Arctic Sun, the outsider of six in the Restricted Race at the Essex Farmers & Union fixture, made every yard of the running and clung on for a narrow victory.
Some might say that his odds were not long enough for a horse that had failed to manage a top two finish in five starts this term and was running in stronger company here.
But, given a superb ride by Alex Merriam, he jumped particularly well and had half a length to spare over the chasing Nomadic Blaze and Clover Bay at the line.
Trainer Lucy Gibbon, from Great Bentley, near Colchester, revealed afterwards that she had got bored of being beaten in Maiden company so thought they would try the supposedly more difficult Restricted Race instead. Her fuzzy logic was left looking like a stroke of genius by the end of the day as the closing Maiden was run in a time five seconds quicker than the Restricted!
Merriam, from Eye in Suffolk, was signing off from riding in Points as he is about to turn professional and will largely be riding for Newmarket trainer Neil King.
The aforementioned Maiden saw another successful front-running performance as Jerry’n See More survived a penultimate fence blunder to hold off Inchadoney Boy and Jack Ford, again by half a length.
Trained and ridden by David Kemp, from Kilverstone, near Thetford, Jerry’n See More is clearly tough, as he was running for the third Saturday on the trot. And his win provided a pick-me-up for Sue Wood, wife of owner Tim, from Shipdham, near Dereham, who was not well enough to attend.
Caveman and Forget The Ref are both enjoying superb campaigns and they took their seasonal totals to four and three wins respectively with further victories here.
Caveman, trained at Wymondham by Nibby Bloom and ridden by George Greenock, from Gateley, near Fakenham, saw off a determined Thoutmosis by three lengths in the Men’s Open.
And Forget The Ref completed her hat-trick in convincing style with a three length score of her own in the Confined Race. Owned by the neighbours Ian Thurtle and trainer Robert Abrey, from Wretham, and ridden by Wymondham’s Rupert Stearn, Forget The Ref is improving rapidly.
The three-runner Hunt Race rapidly turned into a match between stablemates trained at Pebmarsh, near Halstead, by Paula Twinn. But the winning time was perfectly respectable and the triumph of Lady Ann Lewis, who was ridden by Great Yeldham’s Rosie Chinery, gave a big thrill to Bob and Sally Kirk who, when they are not owning and breeding racehorses, run East Anglia’s biggest milking goat herd at Springstep Dairy, near Maldon.
Finally, Camilla Ewart, who was brought up in the Colchester area but now lives in London, took her riding record at what used to be her local course to a remarkable four wins from five rides when guiding the Oxfordshire-trained Fauntleroy to a two length success in the Ladies’ Open.