James Owen and Georgina Andrews wrapped up the County Linen Services-sponsored East Anglian Men’s and Ladies’ Jockey Championships with victories at the final meeting of the Point-To-Point season, the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace, at Northaw yesterday (Monday).
The anticipated last day battle between Owen, from Timworth near Bury St Edmunds, and Rupert Stearn never materialised. Owen went seven points clear by triumphing in the Confined Race aboard Winapenny and Stearn drew a blank from just two rides.
Trained at Ampton by Joe Turner, Winapenny had pulled up in a hunter chase at Huntingdon only five days earlier. But, relishing this drop in class and ground that was soft in places, the nine-year-old reponded to a vigorous ride to keep snapping at the heels of the leader, Quid Pro Quo, throughout the final mile and get up in the shadow of the post to score by a neck.
Deposed last season by Matt Mackley, Owen has now won this title five times in the last six years.
Andrews is in line for an avalanche of awards after she took her seasonal tally to eight when Loose Lips was allowed a walkover in the Hunt Race. A GCSE student at Hitchin School For Girls who only turned 16 - the minimum riding age - in February, Andrews is on course to pouch the national awards for leading lady novice and top under 21-year-old who was winless at the start of the year, not to mention a trio of East Anglian titles.
Andrews, from Lilley, Hertfordshire, had also guided Parsonhumfrywebber, like Loose Lips trained near Biggleswade by Mike Burman, to a brilliant come-from-behind win in a four-miler at a meeting in Northamptonshire on Sunday. And her weekend was brought to a crescendo when she was announced as the East Anglian Jockey Of The Month for April.
The other title decided yesterday was the Marriage Horse Feeds-sponsored Mares Championship, which went to Mid Div And Creep after she has finished runner-up in Men’s Open. This witnessed the day’s most impressive performance as Hatsnall, trained in Kent by Chris Lawson and owned by Great Dunmow’s Bill Poulton, jumped quite brilliantly to come home a distance clear of his eight rivals.
Lawson also collected two runner’s-up prizes in the Ladies Open and the Restricted Race. Even the golden touch of Georgina Andrews could not get Lawson’s Celestial Heights closer than five lengths to the Northants-trained Limerick Leader in the Ladies while the Sussex raider, Prey Bird, overcame a sloppy round of jumping to deny Lunch Was My Idea in the Restricted.
The curtain came down on the season in the most thrilling fashion, with five in with a chance jumping the last in the Open Maiden. Victory went to another Kent visitor, the front-running Earls Rock, who edged home by half a length to give trainer Rosemary Turnwell her first success.