Almost five months to the day since this season's only other Northern Area fixture took place at Alnwick, the 2020/21 campaign ended on a high with 67 runners on the Haydon's eight race card at Hexham Racecourse on Saturday.
This was the best figure since 2012 and the meeting also had a divided Maiden Race for the first time since 2010 thanks to the fantastic support of owners and trainers from all parts of the UK who were full of praise for the perfect going provided by Clerk of the Course, Hector Rutherford.
It's always good to see one of the smaller yards get rewarded for their efforts and that was the case for Pickering-based handler/rider, Rosie Howarth who recorded her first double courtesy of Rossderrin and Merrion Avenue.
Rossderrin got off the mark for his previous stable at Wadebridge in December before enjoying a couple of outings under Rules. He changed hands privately earlier this year and now runs in the colours of The Oscar's Club, a syndicate headed by Rosie.
The 6-year-old was back in a winning groove in the Robson Contracting Restricted Race. Coming from well off the pace, the gelding survived a mistake at the last to overhaul Cotton Rock half-way up the run-in and secure a one and a half lengths verdict over Sergeant Brody (Huw Edwards).
Rosie, a work rider at Mick Easterby's Sheriff Hutton yard since October, said: ''They went a bit fast in front but I was in no rush. He is a strong stayer with a turn of foot and I didn't want to hit the front too soon. With the Pointing season drawing to a close I might try him in some amateur riders' hurdle races.''
Merrion Avenue produced a season's best effort to complete Rosie's first double in the Skinner's Ladies Open Race. Still four lengths down approaching the last, her mount found the decisive thrust to head the tiring Nine Altars (Charlotte Dun) on the long run-in and score by three quarters of a length.
Rosie, 24, who only got home from Hamilton Races at 3am on Saturday, said: ''He had been very flat on his previous two starts but I knew he was fired up here as he took some saddling up beforehand.''
It was also a memorable day for trainee accountant, Harry Carlisle, 24, who sits his final exams in July. He recorded a first winner on Fivecardstud in the 2m4f Insync Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Conditions Race.
Sent on after four out, the 10-year-old forged clear from the next and it was one way traffic in the closing stages as his mount cruised home twenty lengths ahead of Mahlerdramatic (Rosie Howarth).
The winner is owned by Harry's mother, Judith and was a first training success for Finghall near Leyburn-based Sarah Fanning, wife of leading Flat jockey, Joe, with only her 4th runner.
''I've got the Pointing bug and would quite like a few more horses,'' said Sarah, while Harry added: ''Joe often rides him out during the week and it doesn't seem to bother Fivecardstud that there is a big weight difference between us. His last run at Garthorpe came too soon after Sheriff Hutton. He settled much better today and I'm confident he'll stay further.''
After steering Point The Way to victory in a Perth Hunters' Chase three days earlier, William Easterby rounded off his best week of the season by landing the 2m4f DJ & SJ Recycling Maiden Race (Div 1) on Ask To Dance, in the colours of his mother, Sarah.
Always in the leading quartet, the 5-year-old joined long-time leader, Coniston Spa (Tristan Durrell) at the last before finding another gear to draw clear on the flat and score by four lengths.
William said: ''He was bought as a foal in Ireland. We've taken plenty of time with him and he has improved with every run. I thought first-time cheekpieces would wake him up and they did the trick.''
The youngster has been given a late entry in this week's Goffs UK Sales at Doncaster.
Singasongsam provided John Dawson with a 180th career winner, including 40 under Rules, in the 2m4f High Plains Maiden Race (Div 2). The 4-year-old swept past Universal Run (Gina Andrews) on the home turn as if that rival was standing still before forging clear to score by ten lengths.
John said of the Jack Teal-trained gelding: ''The response was immediate when I pressed the button and he put the race to bed in a few strides.''
Jack has an amazing strike rate this season, having sent out 8 winners from 13 runners between the flags. Bought for £8000 at the Goffs UK Sales last July, the youngster is making a return visit to the same sales ring this week.
Denbigh raider, Gold Time is still on an upward curve and produced a polished round of jumping under Amie Waugh when following up her recent Witton Castle victory in the Lycetts NPPA Conditions Race.
The 8-year-old was never headed on the final circuit and still had plenty left in the tank as she crossed the line three lengths in front of Frankies Fire (Nick Orpwood), with Lovely Job (Lyall Hodgins) a further three lengths away in third.
The winner, bought for £4000 at the Goffs UK Sales last July, is trained by Ray Owen, who has been a great supporter of the Northern Area in the last few seasons.
Almost nine years after making a winning racecourse debut from Nicky Henderson's yard when dead-heating in a Uttoxeter Bumper, the evergreen One Conemara proved that the fire is still burning with an 11th career success between the flags in the Hector & Jillian Golden Wedding Today Conditions Race under the reigning Men's National Champion jockey, Jack Andrews.
Always prominent, the 13-year-old took it up on the long downhill run after four out and kept finding extra when the chips were down to repel the persistent challenge of Six A Side (Will Milburn) by a neck
Jack said: ''He's been running longer than I've been riding, is a great old servant and could have gone round again. He is as tough as old boots and didn't want to let Six A Side pass him on the run-in.''
Owned by John and Jenny Nellis and trained for them since the 2015 season by Cherry Coward, the gelding has been a familiar sight on the Northern and Yorkshire Area circuits but his initial runs for the yard didn't fill John with much enthusiasm. He said: ''We were almost ready to get rid of him when he surprised us by winning at Heslaker in May 2015 at odds of 20/1 and he has bounced back to form today after a long losing run.''
The in-form Monbeg Chit Chat (Christy Furness) completed a hat-trick when outclassing his four rivals in the JS Hubbuck Ltd Agricultural Merchants Men's Open Race. After heading Rattle The Cage with a better jump four out, the 10-year-old gradually extended his advantage and turned the closing stages into a procession as he powered home fifteen lengths in front of Rattle The Cage (William Easterby) with a distance back to Stellar Notion (Dan Cherriman) in third.
The winner, a former inmate of Henry de Bromhead's yard and now trained by Gill Walford, was bought at the Goffs UK Sales in September 2019. Christy, who works in corporate finance in London, said: ''I couldn't believe how far he was in front turning for home. He's at the top of his game and has had an easy time since his Cheltenham Hunters' Chase victory a fortnight ago. He'll probably have one more run at Stratford or Kelso at the end of the month.''
The main action was preceded by two pony races which were sponsored by Shaw & Co, Solicitors. They both attracted a maximum field of 10, with ponies travelling from as far away as South Wales and Gloucestershire. The 138cm contest was won by 10 year old Bruce Vaughan on Avalon Dancer from 9 year old Harry Vigors on Dough Boy, with 15 year old Millie Parrington in third on Kodala.
The 148cm contest went to 14 year old Scarlett Frank on Judge Fox from 12 year old Cara Tuke on I'm Making It and 13 year old Alice Cooke on Tell Me Twice.