HEYTHROP REPORT (COCKLEBARROW) – SUNDAY 12TH JANUARY 2014

 

By Andrew Norman

 
 
The Waley-Cohen family regained the Lord Ashton of Hyde's Cup as the prolific Rumbavu prevailed at the Savills Heythrop Point-to-Point on Sunday, held for the first time at Cocklebarrow.
 
Spectators, that included the who's who of National Hunt racing, turned out in their droves to support the inaugural meeting at the venue, where the ground was described as ‘good.'
 
In a thrilling finish to the day's feature, Sam Waley-Cohen galvanised his mount to deny staying-chase veteran King Fontaine by a neck. The pair drew clear of recent Chaddesley scorer Minella Stars in third. It was the winner's fifth consecutive victory between the flags, who boasts a career record of 12 wins from just 19 starts in this sphere.
 
Owner/trainer Robert Waley-Cohen, who landed the prize in 2008 with Irilut, said: "I'm absolutely delighted - how fabulous to win by a neck after 3m 6f! Full marks to them for getting the meeting on; they've been rewarded with a very competitive fourteen-runner field.
 
"I thought he wanted a trip and we've had this race in mind for a while. He was going to Chaddesley last month but he doesn't act on wet ground. It was beautiful ground at Larkhill last week and I was keen to get a run into him before this.
 
"I'm delighted for the little horse. He loves hunting and he'll go out with the Warwickshire now. He's really enjoying his Pointing at the moment so I'd like to target the classic races with him - they still mean something. The Coronation Cup [February 8th] will be on the agenda but he'll have a penalty to carry so that could make him vulnerable."
 
Like Rumbavu, Moscow Blaze made it two from two this season after galloping his rivals into ground in the William Powell Ladies Open (3m 3f). The winner poured it on throughout the final circuit and came home unchallenged by 20 lengths. Although only landing his Restricted at Cottenham last month, the gelding is improving rapidly and a Novice Hunters' Chase looks well within his compass this term.
 
Owner/trainer/rider Page Fuller, returning from a spell on the sidelines with a broken collarbone, said: "I think he's most effective on flat tracks and he loves the top of the ground. It was a step up but he was ready to run and there wasn't really another option.
 
"He's got a high cruising speed and could have gone four miles today. His jumping has improved so much, last season it was 50:50 whether we'd finish! It probably wasn't the strongest race today but he's noticeably stronger and has matured so should be competitive in better Ladies Opens. He's exciting."
 
Fuller considers the eight-year-old, purchased for a bargain £1,100 as a five-year-old, to be a contender for the AGA Ladies Open Final at Stratford in May, a race she won last year with That's Rhythm: "He's now qualified which is great because it gives you that extra option. We're looking at a couple of Hunter Chases for That's Rhythm at the end of the month as I'm keen to gain experience under rules. It would be great to pick up some outside rides too."
 
The BA Hull Restricted, the first race to be run at the new course, was landed by Oh Toodles, trained by Shropshire-based Caroline Robinson and ridden by daughter Immy. The seven-year-old son of Milan battled tenaciously past Annieegan on the run-in for a 1½ length success. However, the Zara Phillips-trained Devils Boys was still travelling well before taking a heavy fall when leading four out.
 
Winning rider Robinson said: "Despite his size he jumps so well - he loves big fences, and these are big - and I've had to teach him not to be so bold. He's consistent when he gets good ground and we'll aim him where we can find some. We may eventually go back to Ludlow and try the same hunter chase that he ran in last year, as it's sponsored by his co-owner Richard Mapp in honour of his father.
 
"We have got seven horses in for Pointing this season, and five of them are homebreds. Oh Toodles is one of the two that aren't, and he's my ride - for now!"
 
Chiquilline made a winning return between the flags, proving too classy for his six rivals in the Knight Frank Hunt Members race. After failing to settle early, rider Sam Drinkwater decided to let the hooded son of Kapgarde make the running. He never looked in any danger before giving supporters a scare when ploughing through the last.
 
The eight-year-old looked a useful prospect when winning on this card in 2012 before having a spell with Richard Lee under rules last season. Now back in the care of former handler Tom Lacey, he is likely to upgrade to Hunters' Chases before long.
 
Owner Tessa Blazey, who recorded her only success as a rider at the Heythrop in 1996, said: "I've just moved back to the area and wanted to bring him back locally. He may go hunter chasing at some stage but this looked a sensible starting point. He can get quite lit up and the hood was an attempt to calm him down. He's run with earplugs in the past."
 
Owner/breeder Peter Corbett's dynasty continued as Upton Venture scored at the second time of asking in division two of the Marriotts Property LLP six-year-olds and over Open Maiden race. The six-year-old was driven out by Rob Jarrett to deny He's A Black Sheep by a length. The winner's dam is 26-time winner Upton Adventure, who was also bred by Corbett.
 
Trainer Jeremy Mahot, who rode the gelding when fifth on debut last year, said: "Peter is a true supporter of Point-to-Pointing and it's super to win at a new course. He showed promise at Bitterley and is an exciting horse for the future."
 
The first division, completed ten seconds slower, went the way of four-length victor Irish Anthem as rider Paddy Gerety made up for being narrowly denied in the Mens Open. The winner, trained by Sheila Crow for longstanding owner Derek Pugh, arrived at Hardwicke Stables after being placed three times in five starts in Ireland.
 
Crow said: "This was our first runner of the season so it's the perfect start. I wanted to go to the Yorkshire today but Paddy persuaded me to come here - even though this looked the more difficult option!
 
"We've got fifteen horses training this season. All but two of them - Current Exchange and Fruit Fayre - are new to the yard."
Clerk of the Course Nick Phillips was rewarded for his efforts by guiding Cousin Pete to a popular success in the first division of the King's Head Inn At Bledington four, five, six and seven-year-olds Open Maiden (2m 4f).
 
The horse is named after Ablington trainer/rider Pete Mason, with whom Phillips is cousins, and trained by Elizabeth Brown, a former employee of Charlie Longsdon and Mary Hambro, who was saddling her first ever runner.
 
Owner Scilla Phillips, mother of Nick, said: "I'm over the moon. He's a homebred and when he was born, Pete had just had his first winner as a trainer so we named him after him. Hopefully he can run at our local hunt, the VWH, at Siddington in March."
 
The Weston family's Star Of Massini profited from a patient ride in division two, breezing past long-time leader Kilcrea Mill up the straight. The seven-year-old, formerly with Seamus Mullins, was picked up for £4,400 by trainer/rider Tom Weston at Ascot in July.
 
The Antonia Bealby-trained Bench Warrent justified favouritism in the Carter Jonas PPORA Club Members race for Novice Riders under Tom Chatfeild-Roberts. A winner of two similar events last season, the son of Witness Box wasn't doing a tap in front and looks set for another fruitful campaign.