Although the number of runners was usual at Overton Farm, Crossford on Saturday, the annual Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire and Eglinton fixture attracted a bumper four figure crowd and it was a profitable afternoon for the sixteen bookmakers in attendance.
Morpeth jockey, Amie Waugh continued her march towards a second consecutive youngsRPS Northern Area ladies' title with victories on Mydor and Nicki's Nipper. She is also making her mark as a trainer and recorded a notable double courtesy of the aforementioned Nicki's Nipper and Passnotalegend.
After being sent on six out in the STCS (Scotland Ltd) NPPA Conditions Race, Mydor always had things under control and was not extended to beat Sound Barrier by eight lengths. This ended a losing run stretching back to January 2015 for the nine-year-old but he sadly broke down in the closing stages and has been retired.
Former conditional jockey, Robert Hogg, son of Skelton handler, Donald, said: "He's had leg problems in the past and always been fragile but will hopefully make a good riding horse for someone."
Nicki's Nipper made it two wins from her last three starts in the Hillhouse Quarry Group Ltd Ladies Open Race but, after heading Habbie Simpson five out, had to be kept up to her work before drawing five lengths clear on the run-in.
"She got warmed up on the second circuit and jumped better when the pace quickened on ground much softer than she prefers," said Amie.
More than 40 years after partnering her first winner on Naoise in the Berwickshire Members Race, Duns-based owner/breeder, Doreen Calder remains one of the sport's most enthusiastic and dedicated supporters and was on hand to see her home-bred gelding, Passnotalegend get off the mark on only his second career outing in the Royal Bank of Scotland Open Maiden Race.
Bill Shanahan's mount finally got the better of Emory after two out and stayed on well to score by four lengths. Doreen said: "Amie broke him in as a four-year-old and he's been in training with her since November. He was too green to run last season as a five-year-old and I've always liked to give my horses plenty of time to mature."
Former 140-rated hurdler, Fisher outclassed his five rivals in the 2m4f Goulding's Garden Centre Conditions Race to initiate a double for Otterburn jockey, Ross Wilson and, at the same time, provide Scorton farmer, Andrew Barker with a memorable first training success. The ten-year-old was sent on after three out and forged clear up the home straight to beat the veteran Doeslessthanme by ten lengths.
Barker said: "My late father, David bought him for £46,000 as a two-year-old and he has previously been in training with Richard Hannon Snr, Gordon Elliott and John Quinn. He is flat-bred and doesn't really stay three miles, so this shorter trip was ideal. We've planned this for eleven months and backed him accordingly as we thought he was a certainty."
Ray Owen's evergreen fifteen-year-old gelding, Doeslessthanme deserves a special mention after running a blinder on his first start for almost twenty four months. In his younger days, he changed hands for £115,000 after winning his first two starts in bumpers for Clive Mulhall's yard and showed here that he has plenty to offer over a shorter trip.
Wilson, who is currently enjoying his best ever season, completed his double on Gran Paradiso in the Albert Bartlett & Sons (Airdrie) Ltd Men's Open Race. After taking it up four out from Scarlet Fire, he had the prize sewn up turning for home and, despite being eased down on the run-in, still had five lengths in hand at the line. Bought by Norman Sanderson for only £800 at Doncaster Sales last May, the seven-year-old's next target is a Hexham Hunters' Chase on April 15.
Ray Owen was rewarded for making the nine hour round trip from Denbigh by African Belle's victory in the Restricted Race. Always going well under Fred Timmis, the five-year-old was in command from two out and cruised home eight lengths ahead of The Silver Prince.
Owen said: "The sticky going didn't suit but she still had plenty in hand. She is a really nice prospect and will probably have one more run in an Intermediate Race before being put away for next season."
As usual, the main action was preceded by three pony races, all sponsored by Park's Mitsubishi. The Novice Riders Conditions Race for ponies 148cm and under went to Dino Royale ridden by 12 year old Frances Cromarty, while Ninfield Millionaire's Splendour (14 year old Elliot Stockwell) and Indian River (11 year old Shay Farmer) repeated last month's Corbridge victories in the other two contests.