Ben Rivett, from Holt in North Norfolk, won his first ever Point-To-Point in the most thrilling circumstances during a top notch Essex meeting at High Easter on Saturday that featured incredibly tight finishes in three of its six races.
Rivett owed trainer Tory Hayter, from Semer near Hadleigh and owner Anthony Howland-Jackson, from Wakes Colne, after failing to weigh in following a race at Higham seven days earlier and costing them third place.
But he repaid their loyalty in the Restricted Race, bringing his mount, Thatmakestwoofus, from well off the pace to nail Mid Div And Creep right on the line and break his career duck by the shortest of short heads.
Rivett, 21, who works for estate agents Savills in Norwich, was quick to thank connections and also paid tribute to former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe, who taught him a great deal while the youngster was riding out for Henrietta Knight a couple of years back.
The Ladies Open, the East Anglian feature race for the 2008 season, witnessed an even more remarkable denouement as 12-1 outsider Parsonhumfrywebber produced his trademark flying finish to storm past Full Irish in the last few strides. Again the winning margin was a short head.
Parsonhumfrywebber is trained near Biggleswade by Mike Burman, who was also responsible for Frosty Run, who finished third, a mere head behind Full Irish. The winner is usually ridden by Emma Bell, but she understandably opted to stay loyal to her Horseheath winner, Frosty Run, leaving the nation’s top lady novice rider, Georgina Andrews, to come in for a lucky spare ride.
Judge Anne Nott had to be slightly less eagle-eyed at the end of the Countryside Alliance Club Race. But after a marathon three and three-quarter miles the first two, Lightningconductor and Sunyblaze, were separated by just three-quarters of a length.
Given a determined front-running ride by Matt Smith, from Burwell near Newmarket, Lightningconductor is trained near Bishop’s Stortford by Christopher Sporborg. But the result might have been oh so different had not Dead Man’s Dante got rid of jockey James Owen when travelling supremely well at the third-last fence.
Both Dead Man’s Dante and Full Irish are trained near Bury St Edmunds by Joe Turner. But it was still a great day for the Turner clan as Joe’s youngest grandson, Ed, was in action down in Parham in Sussex where he guided Thoutmosis to victory in the Men’s Open for the inaugural success of his young career. Only 22, he had never so much as schooled a horse over a fence before three months ago.
Another East Anglian to hit the target on ‘foreign soil’ was the popular mare, Scare Lotte, who made up for her unfortunate Higham disqualification to take the Mares Race at the prestigious Worcestershire meeting.
Back at High Easter, Simon Marriage, who had worked so hard with the rest of his family to produce this course in fantastic shape and organise the whole meeting, gained his just reward when a horse he owns and trains, Lord Euro, ran out the very easy winner of the opening Hunts Club Members Race under Nicky Cook.
The fast-ground-loving Ballyowen, trained at Runcton Holme by Fred Farrow and owned by Downham Market butcher Jeff Sargeant, made most of the running and proved three lengths too fast for Jazz Attack in the Intermediate Race. Alex Vaughan-Jones, from Wells-next-the-Sea, did the steering.
Finally, Sironi gave Kent trainer Karen Jewell her first success in the Open Maiden in the hands of Olivia Maylam, who has now won three races in her life with two of them have come in this very contest – she took it in 2004 aboard Miss Biddy.