Charlotte pushes champion all the way at Suffolk meeting
Charlotte Wyatt, from Snetterton, came close to a remarkable first point-to-point riding victory when pushing national champion Gina Andrews all the way in the Ladies Open Race at the Suffolk meeting at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds.
Wyatt, 19, got a tremendous tune out of her mount, Penelope Pips, helping force a strong early pace before forging clear on the final circuit.
Andrews had by this time begun to scrub away aboard the hot favourite, Top Smart, who was seeking a fifth consecutive win but had not jumped with any fluency following a blunder at the second fence.
It was only during the final climb up the home straight that Top Smart, despite two more fencing errors, managed to get on top, eventually asserting for a three-length triumph.
Andrews admitted: “It was nearly all over at the second fence – though that wasn’t his fault as he was unsighted – and then he jumped with his back legs first at the last two.”
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Penelope Pips lost little in defeat and a repetition of this form should allow Wyatt to break her duck before long.
The rest of the fixture was dominated by Andrew Pennock, who trains within view of this racecourse and has a tremendous record there.
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He notched a four-timer – all in partnership with his Welsh stable jockey, Evan David – thanks to victories from Scorpion Star (in the Club Members Race), Counting Stars (Intermediate Race), Mahlers Spirit (Resticted Race) and Royal Chieftain (Maiden Race).
Remarkably, he could even have notched a rare five-timer as Black Glen Boy, his representative in the closing three-runner Hunt Race, was sent off 6-4 on favourite.
However, Black Glen Boy got no further than the tricky second fence, a downhill obstacle which had been causing problems all afternoon, leaving the event to be fought out between former East Anglian champion jockey Rupert Stearn, on Curraghbower, and young Antonia Peck, who was having her very first ride aboard Autumn Haze.
Stearn’s experience eventually won the day but it was very tight, Curraghbower having just half a length to spare at the winning line to give the Turner family its sixth successive triumph in this race.