CAMBRIDGE HARRIERS HUNT CLUB
SUNDAY 5 JANUARY 2003
by Dom Bradshaw
|With most of the country still
frozen solid, Cottenham dished up a pleasant surprise on Sunday providing
us with the first meeting of 2003.
Christopher Sporborg pulled off a
tremendous training feat in the Club Members race with the classy Rob Mine
(Andrew Braithwaite) returning from a two-and-a-half year absence to deny
the South East raider Splash And Dash (Andrew Hickman) by a length and a
half. The winner jumped and travelled well throughout under a patient ride
from Andrew Braithwaite, who looks a pilot of note and as long as he
doesnít suffer from the ďbounce factorĒ, then heíll be scoring
again soon. The runner up lost little
in defeat and will be winning before long.
Teenager Alexander Merriam is starting to
shape into a decent rider and he took the Restricted on the ex-Irish
Always On The Line, staying on at the death to deny the front running
Helmsley Flyer (Nigel Bloom) by a neck. This was a decent performance by
the winner, but heíll have to improve again if heís to step up in
There was drama before the Mens Open when
Real Value reared up and fell over backwards in the paddock, but
thankfully he was none the worse for the experience.
The Countryside Alliance Club Members
Novice Riders race saw a great finish fought out by Tirley Gale (Sam
Thomas) and Dixon Varner (Fraser Marshall) with the former getting the
judges verdict by a head. Both horses and riders did themselves proud and
represent what the sport is all about.
The Ladies Open was taken by Andsuephi (Sam
Hodge), making his pointing debut after a successful career under rules.
He did this in good style and should give some of the better East Anglian
ladies horses something to think about.
Tragedy turned into triumph for trainer
Caroline Bailey with Whichway Girl (Joe Docker) taking the Eight-year-olds
and above Maiden in good style. Placed four times last season, she
wasnít scoring out of turn and with a little improvement, she may be up
to restricted class.
There was carnage-a-plenty in Division One
of the 2m4f Five, Six & Seven-year-olds Maiden with no less than nine
of the eleven who started failing to complete. This left the enigmatic
Patrick Millington to equal his 2002 score to appear late on the scene,
landing the spoils on his ex-Irish pointer Ballycotton. Millington never
gave up on this one even when his chance looked to have gone and the 7yo
son of Executive Perk responded in game fashion, collaring the long time
leader Javelot De Thaix (Nick Pearce) and going onto score by eight
lengths. With so many fallers, itís hard to weight up the value of the
form, but Millington and Ballycotton should be applauded for their efforts
(as they were when returning to the winners enclosure).
The final race, Division Two of the 2m4f
Five, Six & Seven-year-olds Maiden, saw Richard Burton onboard
Chocoholic just get the better of Braceys Girl (Christian Williams). The
winner looks the type to go to better things and should be able to step up
in class as the season progresses and the runner up looks a maiden
The ninth\eighteenth fence claimed a high number of the total casualties and gave many spectators cause for concern. Although Iím no expert in fence positioning, the excessive number of fallers at this particular obstacle does appear slightly abnormal and perhaps the course staff may want to investigate why this is the case?
On a positive note, for the second year running, thanks to Michael Gingell and his ground staff for ensuring that the course was in tip-top condition so that we all could enjoy a great dayís racing.