Highly entertaining jump racing at Horseheath
It sometimes only takes two protagonists to make a brilliant horse race, as was the case at the Puckeridge Point-to-Point at Horseheath on Saturday, writes James Crispe.
Curraigflemens and Ardkilly Witness fought out a compelling duel in the Men’s Open Race to steal the show.
An 18th and final fine leap seemed to have sealed the deal as Curraigflemens set off up the run-in three lengths clear.
But Ardkilly Witness summoned up a flying finish and the pair flashed past the winning post together, with the judge ruling in Curraigflemens’s favour by the minimum margin of a ‘short head’.
Trained at Kilverstone by David Kemp, Curraigflemens had run disappointingly a week earlier, leading to a new jockey (Dickie Collinson) and sheepskin cheekpieces for the first time, proving an important change.
The win completed a Kemp team double as Welsh’s Castle had held off the course specialist, Ignite A Light, to land the Conditions Race.
A big surprise came in the Maiden Race as outsider, Rollingontheriver, finished six lengths clear despite having failed to make the first three in his five previous starts.
Trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth, meanwhile was left dreaming of Cheltenham victory after Mahler’s Spirit qualified for a hunter chase there on May 4, by landing the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Race.
Sa Kaldoun, trained at Ampton by Ed Turner, put up a fine display of front-running in the Ladies Open but was unable to deny Top Smart a seventh victory in his last eight starts.
The meeting concluded with Kashmir Peak, trainer Nick Pearce, scoring a bloodless triumph in the Novice Riders Race.