The curtain came down on the 2018/19 Northern Area Point-to-Point season with last Saturday's Haydon meeting at Hexham Racecourse, which attracted runners from as far away as Inverurie, Barnsley, Scarborough and Lanark.
It turned out to be a great day for the Yorkshire raiders with 5 of the 7 winners trained in the White Rose County.
Matts Commission (Jack Teal) scored on his seasonal debut at Alnwick five months ago and ended the campaign by landing the Lycetts NPPA Conditions Race. The 6 year old held a narrow advantage from five out before extending his lead to five lengths approaching the penultimate fence. Teal's mount cruised home four lengths ahead of Habbie Simpson (Tabitha Threadgall) with Ladyvie (Lucy Provan) a further fifteen lengths away in third place.
This was a 40th career success, including 1 under Rules on Hafajay in the recent Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase, for Malton-based Teal, with 25% of these coming in the last seven weeks since recovering from a broken collarbone sustained at the Brocklesby fixture on February 16. Following a number of solid efforts under Rules last season from Nick Alexander's yard, Dutch Canyon (Lucy Brown) made the most of a drop in class with a twenty length victory over Hooligan Jack (Charlotte Tailford) in the Carrs Billington Fuels Open Maiden Race.
Returning from a nine-month break and having his first start for Selkirk handler, Lesley Coltherd, the 9 year old forced the pace from the off and, jumping boldly out in front, could be called the winner a long way from home.
The Craigsteel gelding was bought privately last year by Stow farmer and former point-to-point jockey, James Muir. It is more than 20 years since he got off the mark on Thinkaboutthat at the now defunct Lanark Racecourse.
Miss Carney hit the front five out in the Graham Reader Motor Engineer Restricted Race before powering clear from the next and Emma Todd's mount eventually came home as the only finisher when Buzzkillbob, who was more than a fence behind at the time, pulled up after two out.
This 6 year old Dansant mare was bought for £10,000 at Goffs Doncaster Sales in May 2018 by Tracey Corrigan, who trains at Sawdon near Scarborough. ''I haven't had too many runners at Hexham over the years but it's been a lucky venue as Imps Way won two hunters' chases here in 2005 including the ''Heart'', said Tracey.
Her biggest claim to fame is riding the winner of the Kiplingcotes Derby on four occasions, including the 2019 renewal in March on her own point-to-pointer, Zandino. The Kiplingcotes Derby, which takes place on a four-mile course near Market Weighton and first run in 1519, is widely accepted to be the oldest annual horse race in the English sporting calendar.
Amie Waugh was gifted a 40th career winner between the flags when her mount, Winged Crusader was the only horse declared from the 18 entries for the Chesterwood Bastle Holiday Cottage Six-Year-Olds and over Conditions Race.
The 11 year old Winged Love gelding, trained by Amie and owned by her father, Simon, is the outright leader in the prestigious National Champion Horse standings and heads to the South Durham fixture at Sedgefield on Sunday in search of a ninth victory of the season.
Jess Bedi extended her lead over Lily Bradstock and Laura Fenwick in the National Novice Riders Championship with another win on course specialist, Iron Chancellor in the NIS Group Services Ltd & High Plains Ladies Open Race. Sent on approaching two out, the evergreen 14 year old stayed on strongly to beat Damiens Dilemma (Amie Waugh) by five lengths, with Abbeyview (Laura Fenwick) a further ten lengths away in third.
Jess, who has just completed her final exams in Textile Design at Teesside University, said: ''At home you'd think he wanted to be retired but on the track he's totally different and gets into top gear after three miles.''
More than 10 years after making his debut, Iron Chancellor continues to prove that age is no barrier. From 64 career starts, he has won 14 and been placed 27 times. In the last two seasons since being bought by Jess Bedi's grandmother, Sandra Barker, the gelding has continued to thrive in the North with 6 wins and 7 placings from 15 Pointing starts under Jess.
Cherry Coward was the trainer to follow as her only two runners, Game As A Pheasant and Tom Horn struck gold to take her seasonal tally of winners to 18.
After being sidelined for most of the campaign with a broken leg, Coward's stable jockey, Jack Andrews has been making up for lost time with three winners since returning to action four weeks ago. He was content to track the leaders on Game As A Pheasant from the outset in the Strutt & Parker Men's Open Race before pressing the button after three out and the response was immediate as his mount took it up at the next before forging clear to score by twelve lengths from Carlos Gardel (John Dawson). Once again, course winner, Carlos Gardel ran his heart out and was honourably retired after the race by his Barnsley-based owner/trainer, Alison Christmas.
Three months after her first ride at Duncombe Park, Cara Richardson, 24, enjoyed a first winner on Tom Horn in the 2m4f Codlaw Renewable Energy Ltd Conditions Race. The 13 year old headed odds-on favourite, Forgivienne (Will Milburn) with a better jump three out and kept finding extra in the home straight to prevent his rival from getting back on terms.
This former 130-rated chaser and hurdler won five times under Rules in Ireland prior to November 2014 and, more recently, ran in both Cross Country Chases at the 2018 Punchestown Festival. He was bought privately last year by Drew Holmes with the intention of giving Cara a first ride in the Percy Members Race at Alnwick on February 3 but that meeting was called off due to frost.
The main action was preceded by 2 well contested pony races, both sponsored by Shaw & Co, Solicitors. The 138cm Novice Riders contest had 9 runners and saw Telynau Master Oats (Faith Rourke) beat Larkfield Lad (Jake Dickson) by a neck with Kakusta Jacobean (Enya Currie) in third. The 148cm Open race had 6 runners and resulted in a more clear-cut success for the in-form Indian River (Shay Farmer) from Hawkesfield Flyer (Joshua Thompson) and Milli Butterfly (Alfie Nichols).
Nick Orpwood carried off the Albert Bartlett (Airdrie) Ltd Men's Jockeys Chamionship for a second time, Amie Waugh retained the youngsRPS Ladies Championship, while Tabitha Threadgall lifted the NPPA Novice Rider title.
Winger Crusader, owned by Simon Waugh, won the £500 George F White Champion Horse Award, with Jimmy Walton's home-bred Frankies Fire taking both the Novice Horse Chamionship and leading mare award.
In the Hexham Racecourse-sponsored South Northumberland Point-to-Point Series covering this season's Border, Haydon, Morpeth and Tynedale fixtures, Amie Waugh was the leading jockey, while Abbeyview's consistency ensured that Laura Fenwick was the leading owner. Finally, Jack Andrews picked up the Tony Ward Memorial Trophy as the leading jockey at the Border and Haydon fixtures.