BY Laura Braithwaite

FIVE-TIME National Ladies Champion, Gina Andrews, made it a day to remember when riding her 200th Point to Point winner in the season's opener at Cottenham.

Gina was partnering the Alan Hill trained, Cottenham specialist, Sharp Suit and made all to win going away from favourite Net D’Ecosse.

Gina rode her first winner on her first ever ride, back in the February of 2008, a week after her 16th birthday aboard Moving Earth.

That day set Gina on a path to becoming one of the best amateur jockeys of a generation.

She was full of praise for Sharp Suit and his trainer Alan Hill and it was a great to see her cheered into the winners enclosure by the Hill team, her family and husband Tom.

While Gina was the star of the day her younger brother Jack was also seen to great effect when winning the 2m4f maiden aboard Captiva Island, making it a double on the day for trainer Alan Hill.

Jack gave the horse an ultra-confident ride, not committing for home until after the last fence.

The gamest performance of the day went to the Men’s Open winner, Now Ben.

Having made all the running, Now Ben was taken on for the lead by favourite Just Cause three fences from home but stayed on the strongest to win by a length and ridden confidently by Alex Edwards, last season’s National Champion.

There was a first career win for Josh Lovegrove Fielden winning the restricted race aboard Urban Storm by an impressive 12 lengths, making the long trip from Wales.

The closest finish came in the 3m maiden when the Francessca Nimmo trained Black Jewel got up to win by a head from Latenightpass.

Regular visitor to East Anglia, Laura Thomas riding the evergreen Karinga Dancer, stormed home in the opening 2m4f conditions race to win by eight lengths.

Despite a small number of entries there was some really high quality racing and a huge amount of excitement in all the races and it will be great to be back at Cottenham for the next meeting on December 30.