The closing fixture of the East Anglian Point-to-Point season took place at Northaw on Bank Holiday Monday on extremely testing ground in front of a good-sized crowd at this traditional May Day fixture. A great deal of credit must be given to Clerk Of The Course Douglas Pirie and his team for their work in facilitating the running of the fixture on a course that has had to withstand a lot of recent rain on the back of a very wet winter.
The stamina-sapping conditions meant that only 24 runners contested the six Point-to-Point races on the card. This did not deter the area's leading trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth near Bury St Edmunds, who saddled another double in his quest to record his best ever season. His tally for the season now amounts to 18 winners, one short of his previous best total of 19, after The Admiral Benbow won the Intermediate and Mister Serious was victorious in the Restricted. Both horses were steered to success by Sam Davies-Thomas who has profited this week from the misfortune of regular stable jockey Dicky Collinson who unfortunately suffered concussion in a bad fall at Whitfield. In addition to these two winners at Northaw, Sam travelled to Sedgefield during the week to partner the Andrew Pennock-trained Play The Ace to a Hunter Case success.
Sam Davies-Thomas managed to round off the week in style by going on to record a Northaw treble on All For The Love in the Maiden. Victory aboard this James Owen-trained gelding continued Sam's best-ever season of 22 Point-to-Point winners plus this week's Hunter Chase victory.
Another jockey enjoying his best season is the national novice rider title leader Jack Andrews. He recorded victory number 11 of the season on Star Of Massini in the East Anglian Club Members Conditions Race for Abridge near Chigwell trainer Nigel Padfield, whose High Easter winner Excitable Island acquitted himself so well when finishing third at the prestigious Cheltenham Hunter Chase fixture this week.
Jack Andrews was not resting on his laurels, however, as he quickly jumped into his mother's car to be driven to Mollington in Oxfordshire for a ride in the last race there aboard his regular mount Nightcap Jack. Unfortunately the combination were thwarted into second place.
Two South-East raiders won the remaining two races on the Northaw card, as Duke Of Kentford won the Novice Riders' contest under Stuart Wright, while the Ladies Open went the way of Major Decision for jockey Tabitha Worsley and owner/trainer Julie Wickens.
In addition to the Point-to-Point action, Northaw also played host to the East Anglian pony race final for 128cm and under ponies. The contest was won by Silaz under 11year-old Will Featherstone.