Penshurst hosted their first point-to-point of the season on Sunday 12th March which produced some exciting races throughout the day.
The fixture started with the restricted race run over the 2mile 4-furlong distance which saw seven runners declared and provided the first part of a treble on the day for Phil York as Touch Tight pulled away from his rivals after the eleventh fence. At the third fence from home four of his rivals were giving chase, but Jasmin des Bordes unseated his rider leaving Iron In The Soul, Vermilion Cliffs and Wireless Operator chasing whilst Fayre Enough continued a distance behind the others and Destination Dylan had already pulled up. Vermilion Cliffs closed in on Touch Tight at the penultimate fence but Phil York have saved enough to be able to pull away again on the run to the final fence. A solid jump at the final fence secured the victory for Touch Tight whilst Wireless Operator closed in on Vermilion Cliffs and managed to get his head in front at the winning post to secure second place. Iron In The Soul looked as if he would take fourth but a tired jump at the final fence saw him unseat his jockey which allowed Fayre Enough to take fourth spot.
The level two conditions race was the only race of the day which saw the bookmaker’s favourite reach the winners enclosure as Jenny Gordon trained Thegallantway, ridden by Molly Landau played a waiting game, before again much like Touch Tight in the first race making a move at the fourteenth fence to open up a significant advantage over his seven fellow rivals. By the penultimate fence there was no catching Thegallantway who safely negotiated the final two fences to take the victory. Sarah Ashby’s Monkey Puzzle and Tim Underwood’s Ask Nile were the only other remaining runners from the starting eight and Monkey Puzzle managed to gain the advantage to take second place with Ask Nile in third.
A small but select field of three lined up for the ladies’ open race with Jenny Gordon and Molly Landau looking for a double with Commanche Red sent off the favourite. Nevertheless, No Hassle Hoff who is a previous course winner, trained by The Turner Family in Suffolk came to challenge Commanche Red at the penultimate fence and Commanche Red wasn’t able to answer the challenge set down by No Hassle Hoff and Kate Gowing as the pair rounded the final turn into the finishing straight, with No Hassle Hoff getting the victory by one and a half lengths. Vivaldi Collonges had been in contention until the twelfth fence but when Commanche Red added a burst of speed Vivaldi Collonges was unable to match the pace of the other two runners, but he came home to take third place.
The Men’s open race also had a select field of four runners with James King ridden Jack Dillenger sent off the even money favourite. However, Phil York riding Andrew Coveney’s Definite Dilemma once again kicked clear of his rivals at the fourteenth fence and came home a comfortable winner, for Phil’s second success of the day, twenty-five lengths ahead of Jack Dillenger. Sarah Humphrey trained Railway Muice made it home in third whilst Hannah Grissell trained Ballintara pulled up.
Phil York’s third victory was in the intermediate race which only saw three runners declared. Simon Stearn’s Cereal Killer decided he had had enough at the eleventh fence when he passed the horse box park for the second time leaving Phil on Happy Larry and Charlie Marshall on the favourite, Andrew Pennock’s Sum It Up battling it out. But once again Phil sent his mount off for home at the fifteenth fence and soon opened up an advantage over Sum It Up. With only the fences in front of him as a danger, Phil York guided Happy Larry whom he trains himself safely home whilst Sum It Up pulled up before the final fence.
The largest field of the day came in the final race as nine runners made their way to the starter for the maiden race. The testing conditions once again played a part as the favourite Frontieres Lad, Italian Legend, Compose Yourself and Hatchet Jack all pulled up during the race whilst Westtara ran out / pulled up. Phil York once again made a move after the fourteenth fence on Tim Underwood’s Must Have Hope, however William Rekert on Why Didn’t Ya whom he owns and trains had made his move. Must Have Hope had closed in on Why Didn’t Ya at the penultimate fence but Why Didn’t Ya had the advantage of the inside as the pair turned into the finishing straight and Why Didn’t Ya managed to gain a length at the final fence. Phil York urged Must Have Hope all the way up the run-in to the winning post, but Why Didn’t Ya and William Rekert on only their second start were able to deny Phil York a four timer. Hannah Grissell’s Gold Bandit completed for third five lengths behind Must Have Hope whilst Luke Price trained Ballard Prince was the final finisher fifteen lengths further back.