SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2004
by Peter Mansell
Caught at Dawn’s whose ability attracted numerous comments
on the discussion forum of the JumpingforFun WebSite took one of the sports
biggest prizes following his success in Saturdays Lady Dudley Cup.
The Lady Dudley Cup has been the feature race at the
Worcestershire Point to Point since its inception in 1897 and the roll of
honour includes some of the best horses to have graced the sport over the
last 100 years.
They were joined on Saturday by 17-year-old Worcester
schoolboy Tom Weston who steered Caught at Dawn to victory over one of the
best fields assembled for this race in recent years.
11 runners faced the starter, with Coole Venture preferred in
the market to the West Country challenger Out the Black with Caught at Dawn
the punters third choice.
Picket Piece led for a majority of the race and was still in
front as they raced down the back straight for the last time but Caught at
Dawn took the lead with a magnificent jump at the 17th and had
gone three lengths clear climbing the final hill.
Dominic Alers Hankey and Out the Black was alive to this
danger and went in pursuit of Weston’s mount as they turned for home. They
were poised to strike on the heels of the leader but a mistake at the
penultimate and another at the final obstacle sealed their fate and Caught
at Dawn who had been foot perfect throughout put in another spectacular jump
at the last to secure victory. The winning combination returned to rapturous
applause from the locals, as Caught at Dawn became the first Worcestershire
horse to win this prestigious trophy since Darlingate back in 1984.
Caught at Dawn’s form has flourished this year and he was
winning his fifth race in succession in the colours of Hindlip (Worcester)
Farmer Martin Weston who acquired the horse from his younger brother John.
The 10-year-old started his career in Point to Points but then ran under
Rules in Ireland before he was acquired as a schoolmaster for Tom three
years ago, and what a schoolmaster he has turned out to be!
Carthago (Members) and Sovereign Gale (Mares) and their
jockey Micky Harris provided Chaddesley Corbett trainer Teressa McCurrich
with a double at her home meeting.
The Feckenham rider dictated the pace in the Members but
looked vulnerable when Angela Rucker produced Eurobob to challenge at the
third from home, but the 9-year-old struggled to reduce the deficit from
this point and the partnership had to concede defeat between the final two
fences. The winner was purchased privately from French trainer Francois
Doumen but now runs for the Teresa McCurrich and Sheila Cartridge
Sovereign Gale’s success in the Mares provided the
McCurrich stable with their first ever double. Adopting front running
tactics, the mare lost her place about a mile from home but came with a
renewed effort turning for home and had the race in safe keeping over the
final two fences. She carries the colours of the trainer, her father
Laurance and John Doolittle whose Stourbridge based company Equimix, is one
of the three main West Midland Area sponsors.
Doolittle also has an interest in the Maiden winner Catch the
Bus who became a first ever winner for Longdon trainer Heather Newell. The
winner proved much stronger over the final three fences than the runner up
As expected Step and Run and Upton Adventure dominated the
market the Ladies, but the betting was not reflected on the course because
Jane Williams mount never jumped with any fluency behind the strong pace set
by Upton Adventure and Fanion de Nourry. The latter fell by the wayside at
the start of the second circuit and Emma James never saw another rival from
the 11th, and the further they went, the bigger the advantage and the winner
was passing the post as her rivals jumped the last.
Peter Corbetts homebred mare now heads the tables for two
National Awards. Upton Adventure has 6 races this season and that should
secure the trophy for the Leading Mare but Eastnor trainer Nicky Sheppard
will need to use all her considerable experience to maintain Upton
Adventures narrow lead in the Leading Horse Award.
The Confined went to Richard Burton and Hot Toddy from Guy Landau’s yard in Somerset. The 9-year-old hit the front entering the home straight and had little difficultly repelling the challenge of The Campdonian who ran his usual game race to take second spot. The Restricted provided the closest finish of the day with just two heads seperating the first three home. Victory went to the Steve Isaac’s trained and Rachel Reynolds ridden Magicien from Tim Stephenson on Paddy Bettalot and Adrian Wintle on Shaking Chief.