Start Royal makes history at Higham point-to-point
- Credit: Archant
Start Royal completed surely an unparalleled feat, winning at least one race for 12 consecutive years when landing the Ladies Open at a chilly North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham, writes James Crispe.
Now 15 years of age he’s trained in Oxfordshire by Alan Hill, who has maintained the gelding’s health and enthusiasm throughout, for the same owners.
Start Royal and jockey Izzie Marshall, showed great tenacity to hold off Sand Blast and Sa Kaldoun. The field of three was covered by just over two lengths at the finish. Trail blazing tactics were also successfully employed by another Hill stable stalwart, Broken Eagle, in the Mens Open Race. Archie Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, rode Broken Eagle clear of his two opponents with a mile to race.
Wright, completed a double when Butredgipandgump, trained by his father, Nick, landed the closing Conditions Race.
Trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, and jockey Dickie Collinson, from Sutton, near Ely, enjoyed another Higham brace of victories with Bullsempire (Maiden) and Somme Boy (Restricted).
In the Maiden all four runners still had chances at the second last where two rivals crashed out, leaving the favourite, Josh The Plod, to contest the finish with Bullsempire.
Despite a serious mistake at the last, Collinson and Bullsempire conjured a final thrust to win by three-quarters of a length.
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In the Restricted a bad jumping error by Captiva Island, at the second last allowed solitary rival, Somme Boy, to take advantage. A sweet result for Pennock’s wife, Ruth, Somme Boy being a firm favourite of hers. A sweet-natured horse is sometimes ridden, at home, by the couple’s seven-year-old son, Henry.
In the Novice Riders Race One Fine Morning benefitted from a fine ride from young Charlie Clover, from Shimpling, near Bury St Edmunds, to defeat Abbey Lane by ten lengths. Trained in Newmarket by Clover’s older brother, Tom, he was full of praise for the intelligent riding of his brother.
Finally, the meeting’s secretary, Tina Hayward, from Heydon, near Norwich, was presented with a painting to mark 40 years of service in the role.