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Witton Castle
Monday 4th 2nd May 2015
by Will Milburn

Monday completed the weekend's pointing in Yorkshire with the Zetland meeting at Witton Castle. Despite heavy rain during the week the ground was almost perfect with it officially described as good, good to soft in places. With glorious sunshine all the day the car parks were full to their peak and was a very well supported meeting, from spectators and competitors. The most exciting race of the day was the Ladies Open and despite there been only four runners, only half a length separated the first two. Odds on favourite Ockey De Neulliac who was partnered by Cath Walton made most of the running, however Oakland's Bobby under Alice Petch who usually likes to set the pace too had to settle in behind the leader this time. Coming to the last Walton looked to have the race won, but Oakland's Bobby who was two lengths down was galvanised by Alice Petch and rattled home to lead at the line "I really wasn't expecting that, I cant believe how Bobby just took off!" said winning rider Alice Petch and was recording his tenth success in points at the age of 13. Third place went to Emma Todd and For A Finish who held every chance three out but could not quicken with the leading pair.

The opening race saw another surprise winner as odds on favourite in Drill Sergeant was turned over. Always tracking the leader Ballyboker Boy, Drill Sergeant couldn't quicken over the final two fences and made heavy weather of things, however Ballyboker Boy and Andrew Bartlett pulled out more after the last to win. The pair have failed to trouble the judge at all this season and this was a big step up on his form "he's not been quite right on his last few runs" said the winning rider, Roman Cruise and Chris Dawson battled on for third.

Another popular winner on the day was in the Intermediate when Chris Dawson partnered the late Simon Robinsons Kilmacallogue Bay to victory. Always not far off the pace in a very strung out field, Chris went to the lead in the home straight and pulled clear with relative ease and won in impressive fashion "I'm sure Simon is looking down on us" said a delighted Chris who has a progressive individual on his hands now. Second place went to Five Point Plant and John Dawson who set the early pace, whilst favourite Pebbleglen never looked like landing a blow under Will Easterby and could only manage third.

One that continues to look a potent force in point to points is Executives Hall after he took the Men's Open and made it three on the bounce this season. Partnered by Elliott Brookbanks, the pair were never far off the pace and stayed on well up the straight and hold of Paul Collins and Dica who made up plenty of ground from the rear to be only narrowly denied. Almond Court who was always prominent stuck on for third under Tommy Dowson. A multiple winner under rules, Executives Hall looks a force to be reckoned with now in points and could be more than capable of stepping up into hunter chases.

The final race of the day was the Open Maiden and went the way of the promising Game As A Pheasant trained by Cherry Coward and ridden by Cath Walton. The pair led with under a circuit to go and galloped on strongly all the way to the line and fend off all oncomers, with Lucky Sun a close second with Stagecoach Jasper narrowly back in third and On Vacation was only a length further back in fourth. The winner is a son of Supreme Sound and since showing promise on debut has been unlucky in his runs this season.

The Restricted race saw a cosy success from Probably George and Kelly Bryson, the pair were always travelling smoothly at the head of affairs and stayed on well to beat Prince Of Ivagh under Chris Dawson and Bonnet Rouge and Tommy Dowson who were also prominent through out.

Hunt Members Ballyboker Boy Andrew Bartlett 11-2

Intermediate Kilmacallogue Bay Chris Dawson 7-2

Restricted Probably George Miss Kelly Bryson 9-2

Mens Open Executives Hall Elliott Brookbanks 11-10FAV

Ladies Open Oaklands Bobby Miss Alice Petch 7-2

Open Maiden Game As A Pheasant Miss Cath Walton 5-1

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