Last laugh is on Keith as Troufion silences bookies at Cottenham point-to-point
- Credit: Archant
It was no joke for the bookies at Cottenham as Norfolk farmer and erstwhile stand-up comic Keith Loads was on hand to welcome the well-backed Troufion into the winner’s enclosure following the two-and-a-half mile Maiden Race at the Cambridge University Draghounds Point-To-Point at Cottenham.
Loads, who hails from Hindringham, near Fakenham, has been a keen racegoer for over four decades. But when Troufion, trained at Wymondham by Sandra Fryer, held off the late challenge of My Nosy Rosy by half a length, he became the first horse to win whilst sporting the silks of the colourful 57-year-old.
Spotted by Loads when running under rules at Huntingdon in November and subsequently purchased, Troufion was backed in to 6-4 favourite from an opening show of 3-1, although the successful owner later claimed that he had nothing to do with this gamble.
Two speedy front-running geldings, Kilbeg Opera and Galbally King, were the other East Anglian-trained winners at a seven-race meeting which was postponed for a fortnight after torrential rain had left the course unraceable.
Kilbeg Opera took the opening Members Race to give both trainer Martin Ward, from Sutton, near Ely, and his jockey son-in-law, Dickie Collinson, from Little Downham, their first victories of the season.
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Ward has been forced to be patient with Kilbeg Opera, who suffered badly with a virus last season. But he now looks to have a good prospect on his hands, and a cheap one at that – he cost just £700 at Ascot Sales in June 2012.
Galbally King continued the excellent start to the season of trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth Green, near Bury St Edmunds, and jockey Ben Rivett, from Sharrington.
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His winning Intermediate Race margin of one length would probably have been extended had all 19 fences been jumped – two were bypassed to protect fallen jockeys – as Galbally King is a very accurate fencer.
The rest of the afternoon was dominated, as is so often the case at Cottenham, by trainer Alan Hill, from Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire. Despite living some 90 miles from this venue, Hill is by far its most successful handler, and three more winners on Saturday brought his tally for the 2013-14 campaign alone to seven.
By far the most significant of the trio was the facile Men’s Open triumph of Harbour Court, who will now head to the CGA Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham on March 14 as one of the favourites.
Clearly none the worse for being cruelly brought down at the first fence of a Kelso Hunter Chase 10 days earlier, enduring a fruitless 700-mile round trip to Scotland into the bargain, Harbour Court was barely out of second gear in beating Nikos Extra by five lengths.
Welshman James Tudor was aboard Harbour Court and he also partnered Hill’s other winners, Sharp Suit in the Restricted and Cool Klan in the three mile Maiden, to secure the trophy as Cottenham’s leading rider for the season.
The Ladies’ Open went to Moscow Blaze, who repeated the trail-blazing tactics of his November win here and again jumped superbly before crossing the line five lengths clear of Invisible Man.