On 14th January we headed to Ampton, a point-to-point course that we are lucky enough to have a good success rate at, with our horses tending to run well there. We were hopeful with 3 runners and keen to put on a good show.
Allie Beag was our first runner of the day in the restricted race. This mare has come on leaps and bounds from last season, and ran under the new joint ownership with Ian Cobald, wearing his colours for the first time in her season debut. It was a competitive 10 runner race, which set quite a stiff challenge, however the preparations made during the pre-season showed enormously to have a great effect. Having had a wind operation and a lot of focus being made on back treatments, her jumping was superb throughout and she gave Joe a smooth ride to win easily by 20 lengths, which was a pleasant surprise to us all. An intermediate race is the next target in a few weeks.
Next was previous winner Hawkhurst; again it was a competitive race with horses with good form, and despite being made hot favourite in the intermediate, the race was no easy contest. We hoped that the stiffer course and more give in the ground than his previous success at Cottenham would help. He travelled very well, jumping with great accuracy, starting the race sat out and switched off before steadily making his ground through the field in the second half of the race to go and win in a very similar style to Allie Beag. Joe gave both of these horses a great ride and stated "It was worth the wasting!".
Our final runner of the day was Brians Well with Noah aboard in the novice riders. We took the tongue tie off for this run and tried a different bit which we thought helped him travel better in the race, as well as the ground being more to his liking. The pair were well positioned throughout the race, with Noah giving a competitive ride, before unfortunately making a bad mistake four out at which the young jockey made an amazing recovery from. However, this did knock the wind out of his sails and didn't help his finishing position but he came a pleasing 5th place considering. This was a much better run and again valuable experience was gained for Noah from this ride.
Overall it was a very successful days racing with two very impressive winners and also a better result from our novice race runner. It was good to see all three horses run to the line and hopefully this shows that the yard horses seem to be in good health and fitness. Days like this are always worth celebrating; may they continue into the season!