Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton impresses crowds at Cottenham in final point-to-point meeting of 2016

Sharp Suit jumping alongside Quinsman. Photo: Graham Bishop

Sharp Suit jumping alongside Quinsman. Photo: Graham Bishop - Credit: Archant

While many of us were preparing for New Year’s parties, hundreds of racing fans flocked to Cottenham for the final instalment of the 2016 point-to-point calendar.

Broken Eagle. Photo: Graham Bishop

Broken Eagle. Photo: Graham Bishop - Credit: Archant

The opening race saw Porlock Hill, owned and trained by former NH jockey and current TV Racing Pundit, skip to an impressive win.

Porlock Hill was led round the parade ring by fellow pundit and top flat race rider Jason Weaver ensuring a celebrity start to the meeting.

Local winners came from Nick Wright’s Newmarket yard in the form of the unraced Mr Maclennane which showed a fast turn of foot in the closing stages of the Open Maiden race and was particularly well handled by Wright’s son, Archie.

In the last race of the day, the Younger Horse Maiden, Bury St Edmunds trainer Andrew Pennock got off the mark for the season when his new recruit, Somme Boy, managed to hold on in a tight finish involving two other local teams.

Second place went to jockey Rupert Stearn on Kev the Car and the Wright combination, featuring Archie on his father’s Le Fou Royal, came a close third.

For many, the star of the day was Olympic gold medallist, Victoria Pendleton, who looks like becoming a regular between the flags.

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She rode her own horse, Vesperal Dream, into second place in the Novice Riders race, which was a great improvement on the partnership’s previous outing when the horse ran out at Larkhill.

The winner of the race was course specialist Lough Inch which, despite being in the hands of Novice rider, Rory Bevan, scooted around the course in one of the fastest times of the day.

Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill went home with a winning double, achieving success in both Men’s and Ladies Open.

Broken Eagle, ridden by Hill’s son Joe, hardly seemed to break a sweat when running away from the four other runners in the Men’s Open and the double was completed when leading lady, amateur Gina Andrews, put another on the board in her quest to retain the National Championship riding Sharp Suit to a comfortable win in the Ladies Open.

The season continues at Ampton on Sunday January 15.