The going was near perfect for Sunday's rearranged Tynedale point-to-point at Corbridge, where a total of 46 horses, including 12 Yorkshire raiders, faced the starter on the eight race card with prizemoney of £2150 up for grabs.
It was a case of doubles all round for jockeys, Kelly Bryson and Luke Morgan as well as Bedale trainer, Lucinda Broad.
Lady Brig set the ball rolling for Bryson when repeating last year's victory in the 3mile 5furlong Strutt & Parker Ladies Open Race, right. Always within 3 lengths of her solitary rival, Moment Of Madness, Bryson's mount closed up two out before hitting the front at the last and drawing 3 lengths clear up the run-in.
This was an 8th career win for William Hamilton's charge and trainer, Wendy Hamilton said of the mare:'' She got very worked up in the horsebox on the way to Corbridge, causing us to make a couple of unscheduled stops but that always seems to be a good omen.''
Reigning Northern Area Ladies Champion, Bryson increased her lead in this season's title race to 28pts after steering Buckstruther to an impressive pillar to post success in the McDaniel & Co Solicitors Restricted Race, left. The 8 year old didn't see another rival from flagfall and, after being given a breather approaching two out, quickened clear again up the home straight to beat Saddlers Singer by 10 lengths in the best time of the day.
Winning trainer and Hawick farmer, Alistair Bell said:'' I hadn't saddled a runner for 15 years before this one won for me at last month's Jedforest meeting. He is still improving and a hunter chase is on the cards later in the season.''
Luke Morgan made the long drive from Stow-on-the-Wold worthwhile by winning on his only 2 rides. Brother Mark was sent on a mile from home in the Maggot & Waggit 4, 5, 6 & 7 year olds Open Maiden Race, below left, and despite idling in front, still had a length in hand over Paint Me Silver at the line. The winner, trained by 3 day event rider, Lucinda Broad for her father, Michael was bought as an unraced 3 year old in 2006 from Ferdy Murphy.
Morgan had been unseated two out from Lord Who with an Alnwick prize in safe keeping the previous Sunday but the partnership made no mistakes this time under top weight in the 3mile 5furlong Brewin Dolphin Men's Open Race, below right, for the coveted William Bell Gold Cup. After finally getting on terms with Dix Villez on the home turn, Lord Who edged in front two out before forging clear to win by a dozen lengths.
Winning owner/trainer, Gavin Hamilton, a director and livestock auctioneer at St Boswells Mart, is now targeting a repeat success in the Vale of Lune Men's Open on Easter Saturday for his evergreen 13 year old charge.
Charles Carr set out to make every yard of the running on ex-hurdler, Edkay in the Barrasford Arms Racing Club Tynedale Hunt Members Race and still had a half length advantage at the last from the joint favourite, Ringa Bee. However, the latter responded well under strong driving from Andrew Richardson to lead inside the last fifty yards and score by a length.
The 7 year old was home-bred by his Stamfordham-based owner, George Reed and provided Richardson with a 75th career winner between the flags as well as his first training success of the 2010 season.
The Poor Man led from the off in the second division of the Maggot & Waggit 4, 5, 6 & 7 year olds Open Maiden Race and was still a couple of lengths up when unseating Joel Thomas two out. His departure left the unfancied Flag Hill in the lead but Minstalad stayed on strongly under John Dawson, right, to snatch the spoils near the finish.
This 6 year old Minster Son gelding was bought privately last August by the Cleveland point-to-point secretary, Gillian Sunter after failing to show much form under Rules.
Victor Thompson's Newton-by-the-Sea yard has hit a rich vein of form and made it 3 winners in as many meetings when Seaview Lass, left, landed the Dickinson Dees NPPS Club Members Race. Always close up and travelling well for Tristan Davidson, the 10 year old went clear after three out and never looked like being pegged back by the favourite, Old Rolla.
Coincidentally, Thompson's only other Corbridge winner in the last 5 seasons was provided by Seaview Lass in 2008. His stable jockey, Davidson has a healthy 13pts lead over Grant Cockburn in the Northern Area Men's Championship.
The complexion of the concluding Gilesgate Ltd 8 year olds and over Open Maiden Race changed two out when the long time leader, Arabian Consort fell and brought down the favourite, Thatsthereasonwhy, John Dawson, left. The latter's stable companion, Sendeed, right, was left in front and just lasted home under Chris Dawson as Master Saddler's late thrust failed by a length.
This completed a first training double for Lucinda Broad who picked up the winner at Newmarket Sales in 2005 after he had shown no form in 3 runs on the Flat. He graduated to intermediate level in 3 day events despite being a poor show jumper. The switch to pointing has paid immediate dividends and Broad said of the winner: '' He is the fastest horse on the gallops at home but I still don't think he's fit enough.''
The day had kicked off with the first of this season's pony racing contests sponsored by PR Racing and Mukout. Finbarr ridden by 11 year old Lorcan Murtagh, below left, won the first race for ponies 138cm and under, from Simply Simon (Charlotte Tailford) and Becca Walko The Wild Side (Lily Grace Frank).
The second race for ponies 148cm and under went to the Holderness raider, Time Will Tell ridden by 15 year old Eleanor Chester, below right, from Miss Brady (Alex French) and Chiumbo (Ross Chapman).