Gina Andrews claims a double at season-opening Cottenham point-to-point
The 2017-18 East Anglian point-to-point season got off to its usual hectic start as 60 horses contested seven high class races at the Cambridge University United Hunts Club meeting at Cottenham.
The locals are often thoroughly outgunned at this fixture, but the East Anglians more than held their own this time around, accounting for both the Maiden Races and also contributing the winning jockey and winning owner to two other contests.
The rider in question was Gina Andrews, the reigning and four-time National Champion lady point-to-point jockey.
She began the defence of her title by not only lifting a Maiden aboard Full Batten for Newmarket trainer James Owen, but also teaming up with her husband, trainer Tom Ellis, to land one of two divisions of the PPORA Club Members Race on Celtic Silver.
The other East Anglian-trained Maiden Race hero was This Breac, from the Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, yard of Andrew Pennock.
The successful owners here were Michael Clarke, from Hartest, George Wright, from Middleton near Sudbury and Steve Stevenson, from Little Henny.
Meanwhile, Keith Loads, from Thursford, near Fakenham, was left dreaming of a first ever success at his local course (which hosts a point-to-point on April 22nd next year) after his light blue and white colours were carried to victory by Hawkhurst in the Restricted Race.
The tightest finish of the day came when Bear’s Affair, trained in Shropshire by Phil Rowley, came out on top by just a head following a terrific duel with Full Trottle in the Mens Open Race.
Bear’s Affair has the Foxhunter Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree next April as a possible target for the campaign and if he does get to Liverpool he may well meet the winner of the Skinner’s Pet Foods Ladies Open, Bound For Glory.
Trained in Gloucestershire by David Fitch-Peyton, Bound For Glory came from well off the pace to beat Foxcub by four lengths.
Finally, Gallox Bridge landed the second division of the PPORA Club Members Race.