Fantastic action at a packed Higham point-to-point
Noah Brazg kept a cool head in the maelstrom of a 16-runner Novice Riders Race in which only seven combinations managed to successfully complete the course to break his riding duck at a hectic Essex & Suffolk Point-To-Point at Higham, on Saturday.
Sixteen-year-old Brazg, from Barrington, near Cambridge, stayed out of trouble by always holding a prominent position aboard Ballybough Gorta and, with the odds-on favourite, Midnight Cowboy, having to come from the back of the huge field, was able to pass the winning post four lengths in front of his fast-finishing adversary.
After the poor weather of recent weeks, this was a superb fixture, with cushioned fast ground and spring-like temperatures providing ideal conditions for a big crowd which was entertained from 12.30pm, when a Side Saddle Dash raised a whopping £3,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, until the final steeplechase took place five hours later.
That closing contest, the Hunt Race, produced the solitary winning favourite of the afternoon as One Fine Morning survived a hairy moment at the final obstacle, when jockey Charlie Clover was almost ejected from the saddle, to beat Nightscape by four lengths.
Just like for the Brazg family 90 minutes earlier, the result prompted a jubilant family gathering in the winner’s enclosure, as One Fine Morning is owned by Clover, from Shimpling, near Lavenham, and trained in Newmarket by his brother, Tom.
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The biggest shock on the card came in the four-runner Mixed Open as Broken Eagle, triumphant in all six of his previous visits to this track, was brought down at the very first fence by the fall of Kriss William which, sadly, left his pilot, Rosie Turner, from Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, with a nasty shoulder injury.
Master Workman, trained at Kilverstone, near Thetford, by David Kemp, proved best of the two remaining participants to revive a season which thus far had seen him pull up on each of his two outings.
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The Conditions Race was a much better populated affair, with 15 runners, and witnessed a comfortable four-length success for Mr Syntax, trained at Soham by Michelle Bentham.
There was also a great turn-out for the Restricted (14) where Hurricane Vic held off the rank outsider, Muchadoaboutnothing, by a short head.
This was a terrible case of déjà vu for Muchadoaboutnothing’s trainer, Martin Ward, from Sutton, near Ely, as it was the third consecutive Saturday that one of his charges has been narrowly denied in a pulsating finish. At least he later had the satisfaction of watching his son-in-law, Dickie Collinson, guiding Mr Syntax to victory.
Hurricane Vic’s win did, however, produce a magic moment for his Lincolnshire-based connections, as he was ridden by 17-year-old Philip Armson, renewing a successful combination between the Armson family and the winning owner-trainers, the Robinson Family, that dates back decades through Philip’s father, retired jockey Richard Armson.
A brilliant day for teenage jockeys was completed in the Maiden Race when Heated Debate, trained in Warwickshire by Fran Nimmo and ridden by 19-year-old Alice Stevens, proved ten lengths too strong for Josh The Plod.
Results from Higham
1st HURRICANE VIC (Philip Armson) 12/1
2nd Muchadoaboutnothing (Kate Gowing) 20/1
3rd Full Batten (Gina Andrews) 12/1
Blackwood Rover 4/1 Fav (pu)
Time: 5 mins 59 secs (two jumps omitted ) Distances: S/Head, 2L 14 ran
1st MASTER WORKMAN (Dale Peters) 8/1
2nd Sand Blast (Carey Williamson) 20/1
Broken Eagle 1/5 Fav ( bd ),
Time: 6-01 ( three jumps omitted ) Distance: 7L 4 ran
PPORA Club Members Conditions ( Novice Riders )
1st BALLYBOUGH GORTA ( Noah Brazg ) 12/1
2nd Midnight Cowboy ( Tim Gredley ) 4/6 Fav
3rd Ginuwinefizz ( Will Thirlby ) 7/1
Time: 5-56 ( One jump omitted ) Dists: 4L, 6L 16 ran
1st HEATED DEBATE (Ali Stevens) 7/1
2nd Josh The Plod ( Charlie Buckle) 7/1
3rd Multimedia ( Rupert Stearn ) 7/1
Age Of Heroes 5/2 Fav/1 (4th)
Time: 6-02 (one jump omitted ) Dists: 10L, 2L 12 ran
1st Mr. Syntax ( Richard Collinson ) 7/1
2nd Can Mestret ( Gina Andrews ) 4/1
3rd Karinga Dancer ( Laura Thomas ) 5/2 Fav
Time: 5-59 Dists: 4L, 2L 15 ran
Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers ( Veteran & Novice Riders )
1st ONE FINE MORNING ( Charlie Clover) 11/10 Fav
2nd Nightscape ( Charlie Buckle ) 4/1
3rd Caulkin( Seb Burnett-Wells )14/1
Time: 6-04 Dists: 4L, 20L 7 ran