More than 2,000 people attended the United Hunts Meeting at Folkestone racecourse on the night of Thursday 17th May 2012, the finale of the Point-to-Point season in the South East. The opening ladbrookes.com novices' hunter chase attracted eight runners with Ringa Bay (Phil York) sent off the 15/8 favourite. A serious mistake at the second fence saw Phil York around Ringa Bay's neck for several strides before he miraculously regained his position in the saddle to the cheers of the crowd, however Ringa Bay was not able to take up his usual position as the front runner as Little Legend and Cynthia Haydon took up that position and quickly developed a reasonable advantage over their rivals. Little Legend, priced at 5/1 allowed his rivals to gain on him as they set out on their final circuit and Ringa Bay was starting to lay down a challenge three fences from home when another mistake resulted in a fall allowing Little Legend to scoot clear of his rivals again. Little Legend, who has also allowed his jumping to let him down in the past, put in a faultless display around Folkestone and took the race by four lengths from Behind The Scenes and William Hickman replacing usual jockey Phil York. Philip Hall's Broughton Green was held up at the rear for the early part of the race before a mistake around half way saw him several lengths off of the pace. He was however able to rally late on to take fourth with East Anglian raider Alpine Breeze keeping third by a neck.
The Grants Cherry Brandy South East novices' hunter chase is in reality the final for the series of maiden races across the South East in which those horses who finish first or second are eligible to participate. Nine runners took to the 2 mile 5 furlong start including It Was Me from East Anglia who had already recorded a hunter chase victory at Towcester who was sent off the 4/9 favourite. The race was run at a sedate pace with It Was Me always prominent, but it was 20/1 chance Mr Maybe and Will Hickman who led the way until the twelfth fence where the favourite jumped into the lead and was pushed easily clear. Galbally King (Ben Rivett) and Calusa Shadow (J D Moore) chased the leader as Mr Maybe started to drop away but were unable to close on It Was Me who took the race by ten lengths. Coka (Phil York), Top Choice (Robbie McCarthy) and Time Is Tickin (Jody Sole) were the other South East area horses in the race but all made mistakes at various points in the race and all three were pulled up in the final stages.
Nine runners made their way to the starter for the third race of the evening run over 2 miles 5 furlongs again. The race was again run at a steady pace with Topthorn (Zac Baker) taking the early lead with his eight rivals tightly bunched behind. Phil York's mount, Peper Harow members’ winner Dusshera (priced at 9/4), moved into the lead with five fences to jump but a perfectly timed run by the 6/4 favourite Commander Kev and Tom Cheesman after the final fence saw them deny Dusshera by two and a half lengths. Robert Martin's Bigasabishop has failed to complete a point-to-point this season but was in touch until the penultimate fence, coming home in fourth ahead of Ilikehimmac, Righteous Glory and Toubougg Welcome who all weakened over the final three fences, and Durante, who seemed to be struggling from early in the race.
The 3 mile 7 furlong Shepherd Neame open champion hunter chase saw Gina Andrews on the 2011 Cheltenham Foxhunter runner up Mid Div And Creep sent off the 11/10 favourite. Arbour Hill and Mark Wall led early on in the race but Mid Div And Creep moved into the lead four fences from home and despite a bad mistake at the third last the favourite was eased down on the run to the winning post with Arbour Hill taking second four and a half lengths further back. Orfeo Conti (Oz Wedmore) was held up a long way off the pace in the early stages and was still detached by 20 lengths with five fences to jump but made up huge amounts of ground to finish third eight lengths behind Arbour Hill. Cold Mountain (Paul Blagg) was the only other finisher and looked to be struggling from early in the race. Swordsman (Phil York) was a 5/1 chance to take the race having won a 3 mile 1 furlong race on this card in 2011, but like Cold Mountain was being pushed along from an early stage and was eventually pulled up in the finishing straight having lost touch.
The six runner 3 mile 1 furlong ladbrokesgames.com open hunter chase saw 13/8 Start Royal and James Tudor make most of the running until the even money favourite Postmaster and Matthew Barber jumped to the lead three from home, having been held towards the back of the leading group. The pair quickly develop a clear advantage. Postmaster, whose last race was the Grand National in which he was pulled up, was eased after the final fence but still recorded a 13 length victory over Start Royal. Or Jaune (Robbie McCarthy) took third having chased Start Royal during the early stages of the race but he made a mistake at the eleventh and soon dropped back as the pace increased. Horner Woods (Hannah Grissell) made several mistakes and never looked a danger to the first trio home. Myson (Rose Grissell) was struggling from early in the race and was pulled up three fences from home. Mortar was another horse who recorded a victory on this card in 2011 and after a mistake at the first put in a good display of jumping, racing prominently until the twelfth fence. He was starting to get detached at the fourteenth and was pulled up at the next.
The final race over 2 miles 5 furlongs again went to the favourite. Divine Intavention and Mark Wall were priced at 1/4 and allowed 15/2 Mount Sandel and William Hickman to lead until just after the tenth fence where Mount Sandel blundered and quickly weakened allowing the favourite to move into the lead. Lepido from David Phelan's yard with Freddie Mitchell in the saddle chased the leading pair in the early stages and moved into second ahead of Mount Sandel at the penultimate fence. Lepido tried to close on Divine Intavention but was unable to find anything extra to chase the leader down after the final fence. Peter Bull's Master T was held in midfield but a mistake at the 12th meant he was never going to trouble the leaders. Prey Bird (Hannah Grissell) completed to take fifth but was never on terms and was well behind from the ninth fence. Polyfast (Nick Pearce) made a mistake early in the race and never seemed to recover losing touch after the tenth before being pulled up at the penultimate fence. Balableu (Oz Wedmore) was always at the back of the field and became detached from the fifth fence. He made a mistake at the ninth and was pulled up before the next.
Ladbrokes.com Novices’ Hunters’ Chase (3m2f)
1st Little Legend Cynthia Haydon 5/1
2nd Behind The Scenes William Hickman 10/1
3rd Alpine Breeze James Owen 11/4
4th Broughton Green Philip Hall 5/1
Distances 4 ½ lengths and 12 lengths Time 6 mins 23 secs
Grant’s Cherry Brandy South East Novices’ Hunters’ Chase (2m5f)
1st It Was Me Carey Williamson 4/9F
2nd Galbally King Ben Rivett 10/1
3rd Calusa Shadow J D Moore 7/1
4th Mr Maybe William Hickman 20/1
Distances 10 lengths and 18 lengths Time 5 mins 10 secs
Hamlet Oak Framed Buildings Maiden Hunters’ Chase (2m5f)
1st Commander Kev Tom Cheesman 6/4F
2nd Dusshera Phil York 9/4
3rd Topthorn Zac Baker 9/1
4th Bigasabishop B J Poste 50/1
Distances 2 ½ lengths and 1 ¼ lengths Time 5 mins 13 secs
Shepherd Neame United Hunts Open Champion Hunters’ Chase (3m7f)
1st Mid Div And Creep Georgina Andrews 11/10F
2nd Arbour Hill Mark Wall 7/4
3rd Orfeo Conti Oz Wedmore 50/1
4th Cold Mountain Paul Blagg 28/1
Distances 4 ½ lengths and 8 lengths Time 7mins 47 secs
Ladbrokesgames.com Open Hunters’ Chase (3m1f)
1st Postmaster Matthew Barber EvensF
2nd Start Royal James Tudor 13/8
3rd Or Jaune Robbie McCarthy 16/1
4th Horner Woods Hannah Grissell 8/1
Distances 13 lengths and 48 lengths Time 6mins 13 secs
Ladbrokesbingo.com Open Hunters’ Chase (2m 5f)
1st Divine Intavention Mark Wall 1/4F
2nd Lepido Freddie Mitchell 14/1
3rd Mount Sandel William Hickman 15/2
4th Master T Peter Bull 25/1
Distances 4 ½ lengths and 7 lengths Time 5 mins 13 secs