Double delight for Blooms at Ampton

A METEOROLOGICAL miracle bestowed warm, dry weather on the point-to-point faithful who arrived expecting further monsoon conditions at the seven-race Dunston Harriers fixture at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday.

A METEOROLOGICAL miracle bestowed warm, dry weather on the point-to-point faithful who arrived expecting further monsoon conditions at the seven-race Dunston Harriers fixture at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday.

The course was in superb condition, riding no worse than good to soft, and a high-class meeting ensued, bookended by local victories in the first and last races.

Caveman quarried out victory in the opening Confined Race, responding well to a positive ride from George Greenock, from Gateley, near Fakenham, who kicked for home at the fourth last.

The partnership stayed on strongly to the line, eight lengths clear of Tuesday's Child with Bob Ar Aghaidh third while the favourite Cosmic Sky, who struggled on the sticky ground, was pulled up.

Caveman is trained at Wymondham by Nibby Bloom, whose recovery from a badly broken leg suffered race-riding almost two years ago is finally picking up pace.

It was a good day for the Bloom family as Mike, Nibby's father, was later presented with a memento to mark his retirement following 25 years as clerk of the course at Ampton.

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The other East Anglian victory came in the finale, the PPORA Novice Riders' Race. This may have only had three runners, but spectators who stayed to the end were rewarded with a stirring finish, Sure Future pouncing on High Rank approaching the final obstacle and outbattling his rival by a length.

Sure Future is trained at Langham, near Colchester, by Wilf Tolhurst and is owned and ridden by the father-daughter combination of George and Lucy Franks, from Sutton, near Woodbridge.

A similarly tight finish came in a high class Men's Open as Bon Accord made it six consecutive victories with James Tudor, the national champion jockey of 2007, edging out the man he deposed, Richard Burton (aboard Ballylusky), by a length.

Bon Accord, who begun last season as a maiden, has now qualified for March 14's Cheltenham Foxhunters, one of a number of future targets being mulled over by his Oxfordshire trainer, Alan Hill, and owner Rodney Mann.

Millennium Way lifted the Dunston Ladies' Race for the second year running (he was also runner-up in 2006) when drawing well clear of Find Me Another, who is owned and ridden by Thelnetham's Amy Stennett.

Philip Hall, from near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, took both training and riding plaudits following the Intermediate Race, won easily by the steadily-improving Winters Beau.

The Maiden Race attracted a bumper field of 14 and was won in convincing style by Bravery Scotch, trained at Wolverhampton by Sue Taylor and ridden by the reigning national champion female jockey, Claire Allen.

Finally, jockey Andrew Corbett, who began his day badly when he was fined £75 for excessive use of the whip when third behind Winters Beau on Just Jove, won the Restricted Race on Shady Minx.

Results from Ampton

Race One (Confined Race): 1 Countess Cathcart's Caveman (W Norfolk) (G Greenock), 2 M Ward and T Batterbee's Tuesday's Child (Granta Harriers) (M Mackley), 3 A Harvey's Bob Ar Aghaidh (Puckeridge) (A Braithwaite). Also: Thoutmosis (4), Tregastel (5), Balla D'Aire (pu), Breezy Betsy (pu), Cosmic Sky (pu), Dunmanus Bay (pu). Ten lengths, three lengths. 6.40. SP 8-1 (Cosmic Sky 11-8 fav).

Race Two (Open Maiden Race): 1 M Parr's Bravery Scotch (Albrighton) (Miss C Allen), 2 Mrs K Exall's Mid Div and Creep (Puckeridge) (M Mackley), 3 B Laverty's Alpha Image (Cotswold VF) (J Tudor). Also: Ski Dazzle (4), The Washerwoman (5), Le Mans (6), Ashgrove (pu), Cadtauri (f), Fairly Devious (pu), Flemensgold (pu), Huron (pu), Minehill Lad (f), Moss Campion (pu), Tabi (pu). Ten lengths, five lengths. 6.42. SP 6-4 fav.

Race Three (Intermediate Race): 1 Mrs P Wilson's Winters Beau (Southdown and Eridge) (P Hall), 2 Mrs C Taylor's John The Mole (Ashford Valley) (Owner), 3 Mrs F Macfarlane's Just Jove (Belvoir) (A Corbett). Also: Round the Isles (4), Marmalade Mountain (5), Luke Lively (6), Supreme Sir (7), Kings Reply (pu), Lighting Conductor (pu), Qualicum (pu), Winapenny (pu). Twenty lengths, one length. 6.42. SP 3-1 (Supreme Sir 5-2 fav).

Race Four (Ladies' Open Race): 1 Mrs C Taylor's Millennium Way (Ashford Valley) (Owner), 2 Mrs C Stennett, Mrs C Aldridge and Mrs E King's Find Me Another (Thurlow) (Miss A Stennett), 3 M Burman's Parsonhumfrywebber (Cambs with Enfield Chace) (Miss E Bell). Also: Political Cruise (4), Multiaire (pu). Ten lengths, three lengths. 6.49. SP 4-9 fav.

Race Five (Men's Open Race): 1 I Mann's Bon Accord (V of Aylsbury with Garth and S Berks) (J Tudor), 2 Mr and Mrs W Rucker's Ballylusky (Worcs) (R Burton), 3 The Opperman Racing Partnership's Dead-Eyed Dick (Ludlow) (G Opperman). Also: Eskimo Pie (4), Fin Bec (pu). One length, a distance. 6.39. SP 4-5 fav.

Race Six (Restricted Race): 1 Mrs F Macfarlane's Shady Minx (Belvoir) (A Corbett), 2 A Howland-Jackson's Thatmakestwoofus (Suffolk) (A Braithwaite), 3 Mrs S Embiricos' Jilted Lover (Suffolk) (Ms A Embiricos). Also: Topol (4), Nowhips (5), Limart (pu), Perfect Prefect (pu), The Longest Day (pu). One and a half lengths, ten lengths. 6.41. SP 6-4 fav.

Race Seven (PPORA Club Members Race, Novice Riders): 1 G Franks' Sure Future (Essex Farmers and Union) (Miss L Franks), 2 H Franklin's High Rank (Farmers Bloodhounds) (J Watson), 3 JM Turner's Rakatia (Suffolk) (Miss K Smith). One length, a distance. 6.54. SP 4-5 fav.

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