Horseheath season off to a flier for trainer Tom Ellis
Trainer Tom Ellis was the man to follow at the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace Point-to-Point at Horseheath, near Haverhill, on Sunday, registering a treble in the first three races on the card.
For the opening two successes the Warwickshire-based handler teamed up with his wife, the reigning National Champion Lady Rider, Gina Andrews, landing the Intermediate Race with Total Compliance and the Young Horse Maiden with the debutant Itsnonofurbusiness.
Total Compliance scored with a little in hand to notch his third Horseheath victory and is to be aimed at the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Final at Cheltenham in May.
Itsnonofurbusiness also has Cheltenham on his agenda, but in his case it is for one of the bloodstock sales held there. He regularly lost ground with a series of jumping blunders yet still somehow managed to win having only been in third place landing over the final obstacle.
Both the second, Petistree (trained in Newmarket by Lauren Braithwaite), and third, Age Of Heroes (trained near Thetford by David Kemp), ran superb races and will surely not be long in getting off the mark.
The quickfire Ellis treble was secured when Roberto Pegasus, given a beautifully-judged waiting ride by Kate Gowing, landed a snug one length success in a 17-runner Novice Riders Race.
Gowing, 19, was celebrating just her third career success and it was the first to be witnessed by her parents, Nick and Jo, from Mulbarton, near Norwich.
The Men’s Open race saw the Fakenham-based jockey, George Greenock, prevail narrowly aboard Empire Builder, trained in Northamptonshire by Gerald Bailey. Second place went to another member of Kemp’s Kilverstone yard, Curraigflemens. He jumped superbly and was only defeated by a length on what was his first start of the season, so should be in line for a profitable campaign.
Top Smart, a second successful visitor from Northamptonshire, completed a four-timer in the Ladies’ Open, this time getting the better of the Ellis/Andrews representative, Vedetarriat.
Gina also had to be content with a minor role in the 17-runner Restricted Race, finishing third aboard Cresta One, but she at least had the consolation of a good view as her younger brother, Jack Andrews, landed the spoils aboard the highly promising Neumond.
Overall, it was one of the best meetings staged in East Anglia for a long while, with high-class racing throughout and 82 runners contesting the seven races.