Thirty six years after opening her account at Alnwick on Lothian Brig, Morpeth Hunt joint master, Val Jackson, 53, remains as enthusiastic as ever and lifted her career tally to 91, including 67 between the flags, on Cast Iron Casey (right) in Sunday's well supported Tynedale point-to-point at Downhills, Corbridge.
Always travelling well in the Matfen Hall Hotel South Northumberland Hunts Club Members Race, her mount hit the front two out and stayed on well up the hill to beat Charming Knight by three lengths. This former 124-rated winning chaser and hurdler also landed a Wetherby bumper on his racecourse debut back in February 2007. Jackson said of him: ''He is still a bit burly and needed the run when second to Kildonnan last Sunday. He has come on a lot for that outing and been ridden out every day.''
Job For Eric, a 6 year old home-bred half brother to Sacred Mountain, provided Catherine Walton with her fifth winner of the season in the first division of the Backworth Metals Ltd Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds. Always in the leading trio, the gelding went on three out before drawing clear going to the last and had four lengths to spare at the line over Boric in the best time of the day. Walton said: ''I rode out as usual for Mark Johnston at Middleham this morning before heading north for the one ride. He jumped well today apart from a blunder at the tenth.'' (right)
Buywise (right) fulfilled the promise shown when runner-up on his debut at Alnwick last month by going one better in the second division of the Backworth Metals Ltd Open Maiden Race for 4,5,6 and 7 year olds. Given a confident ride by Steven Fox, he led on the inner approaching two out before changing gear up the hill and would have beaten Raifteiri by more than three lengths had he been more fluent at the last.
The winner, owned and trained by Bonchester Bridge handler, Iain Jardine, was bought for 10,000 euros at Goffs Land Rover Sale as an unbroken three year old in 2010. Fox, who only reverted back from conditional to amateur status last Wednesday, said of his mount: ''He picked up as soon as I asked him turning for home and won with plenty in hand. He has the scope and acceleration to go well in a bumper.''
Sea Scout (right) repeated last year's victory in the Bedmax Ladies Open Race over three miles and five furlongs but had to pull out all the stops under Claire Metcalfe to get the better of Accordingtotheboss by a length after a prolonged duel on the final circuit. The diminutive 10 year old is a credit to Iveston handler, Russell Ross with ten wins and ten placed efforts from twenty five career starts since March 2007.
Gunner Jack (right) is another standing dish at Corbridge and landed the Brewin Dolphin Men's Open Race over three miles and five furlongs for the third season in a row. Fred Bethell set sail for home four out on Theatre Dance and the partnership still led by half a length at the last but couldn't respond when Gunner Jack swept past them on the flat. This was a seventeenth career success for the Clive Storey-trained 12 year old, and almost seven years to the day since he scored on his debut in an Ayr bumper when trained by Nicky Richards. Winning rider, Ed Wrigley, 23, said: ''He was cruising when he ploughed through two out but recovered well and, as usual, stayed on strongly all the way up the run-in.''
Beverley-based owner/trainer, William Bethell's decision to bypass the West of Yore meeting at Ripon and head further north to Corbridge was vindicated when Nalim (right) took the Maggot & Wagg-It & Butter-It Restricted Race in impressive style in the hands of his daughter, Harriet. Always close up, the 7 year old forged clear from two out to beat Rosie Du Berlais by eight lengths with the favourite, Nickwillis a further ten lengths away in third. Bethell, a joint master with the Holderness Hunt, said of his charge: ''He ran in Trevor Hemmings' colours out of Malcolm Jefferson's yard and was bought privately after five outings in 2011. He is a late maturer and needs plenty of cut in the ground.''
Cool Star (right) returned to form in the Stelling Hall Wealth Management NPPA Club Members Race to provide Andrew Richardson with his 90th career winner between the flags. He initially set a strong pace before being content to track Senor Alco on the long run to three out. Richardson's mount swept past Senor Alco after the next and settled the issue in a matter of strides, going clear at the last to score by half a dozen lengths. Richardson said: ''He didn't enjoy the tacky ground at Kelso last week. He settled much better today and I was able to give him a breather after four out. He has a high cruising speed and just kept up a relentless gallop in the closing stages.''
The concluding Metnor Property Group Ltd Open Maiden Race for 8 year olds and over resulted in a first career winner for 16 year old Philip Dennis on only his fourth ride on Mighty Magnus, owned and trained by his mother, Caroline. His mount already had the prize in the bag when left ten lengths clear of the favourite, A New Rising by the last fence fall of the tiring Otter Mist. Formerly with Martin Todhunter, the 10 year old was breaking his duck at the twenty fifth time of asking. Dennis said: ''I lost my irons when he blundered two out but soon got them back and we got a flyer at the last.'' (right)
The main action was preceded by two competitive pony races sponsored by Eastmoor House Equestrian and Livery Services.
The first race for ponies 138cm and under went to Honky Tonk Girl (below left) partnered by 11 year old Ella McCain, daughter of leading Cheshire trainer, Donald McCain, with Proud Diamond (Connor Murtagh) six lengths back in 2nd, and Heslington Vanetta (Lorcan Murtagh) a further six lengths away in 3rd place.
The second race for ponies 148cm and under was a much closer affair with Scribblin (below right, red and green) ridden by 14 year old Emma Chaston beating Little Bull (Abbie McCain) by a neck with Judge Fox (Lily-Grace Frank) three lengths away in 3rd place.