After steering Twill Stand To Us to victory at Mordon on Saturday, Ferryhill-based amateur Richard Smith rounded off a great weekend with a double on Volo Mio and Rock On Rodger in Sunday's Braes of Derwent meeting at Corbridge.
Volo Mio (right, yellow) enhanced his reputation when following up last month's Whitcliffe Grange success in the Gordon Smales Memorial Restricted Race. Under a confident ride, the 6 year old was held up in the last quartet before slicing through the twelve runner field like a knife through butter on the final circuit. He settled the issue in a matter of strides after quickening up nicely from two out and had four lengths to spare over Lucky Lane at the line. George White's home-bred gelding is still on an upward curve and might take his chance in the
Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase at Hexham on May 4.
Smith completed his double and at the same time lifted his seasonal tally to fifteen on the unfancied Rock On Rodger (left) in the USL Group Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds. This 5 year old home-bred Dapper gelding had unseated at the third on his debut at Corbridge seven weeks ago but gradually warmed to his task here and stayed on strongly from three out to collar the leader, Have One For Me approaching the last before drawing clear up the run-in to win by four lengths. His dam, Suetsu won five times for the same yard between 2002 and 2007.
Rock On Rodger's victory completed a first and last race training double for Iveston farrier, Russell Ross. Boher Storm (right) initiated the double in the Douglas Chapman Memorial Braes of Derwent Members Race and was a memorable first career winner for 16 year old Ross Chapman, who is now only 2pts behind Andrea Taylor in the Northern Area Novice Riders Championship. Always going well, he finally got the better of Management going to the last and stayed on dourly to score by two lengths. Chapman has a strong hunting background as his late father, Graham was a master of the Haydon and his uncle, Alan is a joint master of the Braes of Derwent. He has been working at Donald McCain's Cheshire yard since leaving school last July and landed the job via an internet search. He said of the 13 year old: ''He picked up well when I asked him to go after two out and stayed on strongly up the hill.''
Despite trainer, Clive Storey suggesting to connections of Sea Wall (left) that he was slow and lacked a turn of foot, the 11 year old finished like a train to overhaul Paddy Curry in the last hundred yards of the Northern Plastic Surgery Associates Men's Open Race and snatch a half length victory. The winner was given to the Wrigley family by leading Irish owner, JP McManus in October 2011 and, after being sidelined last year, has benefited from a tie forward operation three months ago. His jockey, Ed Wrigley said: ''He loves this quicker ground. We got a great run on the inner round the home turn and he flew up the hill after I gave him a couple of reminders.''
18 year old Joanna Walton is one of the most under-rated amateur jockeys in the North and gave Marfleet (right) a peach of a ride to land the Northumberland Tea Company Intermediate Race. Her mount tracked the leaders on the final circuit before being produced with a perfectly timed challenge to hit the front at the last and beat Weeumba by a length with the pace-setting Silent Cliche half a length away in third. The 13 year old is owned by renowned North Northumberland Texel sheep breeder, Barry Wharf, who said of his charge: ''He has very few miles on the clock and loves top of the ground. He was hardly blowing at the finish and could go for the 'Heart' at Hexham in a fortnight.''
Kisha King set a strong pace in the Dr Syntax Ladies Open Race until headed a mile from home by Carters Rest. The latter was still a length up three out before being headed after the next by Narciso (left). Jacqueline Coward's mount had the prize sewn up at the last and kept on well to beat Tiger Billy by one a half lengths in the best time of the day.
Few horses can match Narciso's amazing record between the flags since 2007, with Cherry Coward's evergreen 13 year old gelding having now won 17 times and been placed 16 times from 36 starts. Jacqueline is on course for her best ever season and this 16th winner of the campaign maintains her clear lead over Gina Andrews in the National Ladies Jockeys Championship.
After clocking up around 25000 miles in the last six months, including trips to most of the Yorkshire meetings, Kinross-based rider, Jamie Lyttle, 21, partnered his first winner of the season on A New Rising (right) in the Tow Law Open Maiden Race. Never far off the pace, the 11 year old disputed the lead with Port Echo from four out before edging in front at the penultimate. Lyttle's mount stayed on best of all up the finishing straight to score by four lengths and break his duck on his 40th career start since 2 November 2008. Bought privately in Ireland last September, the winner carried the colours of Lyttle's mother, Geraldine, who lives beside Punchestown Racecourse, and is trained for her by Mark Ellwood.