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West Percy at ALNWICK
Sunday 28th January 2001
by David Scott (Pointer of the Northumberland Gazette)

The rearranged West Percy Point to Point got the Northern Area season underway last Sunday. The weather was kind and a decent crowd enjoyed some excellent sport.

It was business as usual for last season’s champion, Balisteros, who easily accounted for Storm Alive and the staying on Marius in the Ladies race. Sent to the front at the farm on the second circuit he readily forged clear up the home straight. Storm Alive ran well enough to suggest a win should not be long in coming. Castle Owen, a recruit from the National Hunt arena ran creditably until blowing up from four out. This one should be watched in coming weeks.

The day started with Andrew Robson galvanising Riverside Run from the top of the hill to collar the long time leader Falcon’s Flame at the last to come away for a ready win. He looked beaten going up the hill but with the second starting to tie up he stayed on really well to land the spoils.

The Restricted looked a competitive heat and at the fourth last four still held chances. The well backed Boulta made a terrible mistake when travelling well and this put paid to his chances. Superior Weapon, a comeback ride for Kevin Anderson, and Tricky Trevor then pulled clear. Under a typical Anderson drive Superior Weapon then held the persistent challenge of Tricky Trevor and Holly Delahooke all the way to the line with Deer Park Lass a distant third. The runner up may benefit from stronger handling and it remains to be seen if Superior Weapon can take the next step up in class.

With Coole Abbey an absentee in the Mens Open, Sunnycliffe was sent off favourite. This one was easily held by long time leader Fiscal Policy, well handled by Rupert Trotter, when he fell at the last leaving Fiscal Policy to come home a distance clear from the only other finisher, Geordies Express. The winner looked exceptionally fit and this definitely made all the difference. Sunnycliffe took a long time to rise after his fall and hopefully this hard race won’t take too much of a toll as he is still a promising type.

The confined was turned into a procession by the former Colin Parker inmate, Teelin Bay. This one was never out of a canter and came home a distance clear of Trivial and Houselope Beck. Well handled by Pauline Robson, completing a double, the only moment of danger was a bad mistake at the second last. The runner up needs better ground and the third will improve for the race. Of the others Don Carlos travelled well until blowing up four out and a confined should be within his compass.

The Maiden had three divisions. In the first Victor Thompson’s Arctic Star was given a patient ride by trainer’s son Mark and came with a wet sail to collar long time leader Ardmayle and Santa Barbara. The manner of the winners success was such that a quick follow up in a restricted must be on the cards. The runner up plugged on at one pace and the third failed to stay, in keeping with its Irish form. Nothing really caught the eye in behind in this race. The second division fell to the much-touted Pillaging Pict. Brought with a well-timed run by the evergreen Jimmy Walton he easily saw off Gimme Shelter and Jolly Minster. The runner up had a little form under rules and may be capable of picking up a small maiden while the third has had too many chances for me. He may eventually pick up a race but doesn’t look one to follow. Of the others Wellthereyouare ran well for 2 ½ miles but didn’t get home. As a five-year-old he needs a less demanding track.

The concluding race went to the Clive Storey ridden Valley Hopper. Taking it up at the third last this one was all out to hold the challenge of Royal Palm and Lady Persia. The runner up runs best fresh and may not progress while the third had a lot of use made of her and could well land a race in due course. The winner was legless at the line and only just saw it out. An easier track is a must in better company.

It was disappointing to see the entry being £5.00 per head this year. I heard quite a few grumbles from people and when you consider it’s only £4.00 to use the Silver Ring at Newcastle it looks poor value to casual racegoers. I would be interested to know if this method of charging actually increased the takings on the gate and what effect it had on the attendance. In the long term it may be detrimental if people don’t feel it provides value. I would welcome some feedback that I can pass on to those people who have spoken to me on the subject.


1 Riverside Run A Robson 4/6 fav
2 Falcon’s Flame   4/1
3. Buckaroo 2/1
Dist: 4l, 4l 4 ran


1 Superior Weapon K Anderson 2/1 fav
2 Tricky Trevor   8/1
3 Deer Park Lass 7/2
Dist: 2½l, Dist 11 ran


1 Balisteros P Robson 2/5 fav
2 Storm Alive   9/2
3 Marius 7/1
Dist: 20l, 25l 7 ran


1 Fiscal Policy R Trotter 14/1
2 Geordies Express   5/1
Dist: Dist 7 ran (only 2 finished)


1 Teelin Bay P Robson Evens fav
2 Trivial   8/1
3 Houselope Beck 14/1
Dist: Dist, 2l 10 ran


Maiden Div 1
1 Arctic Star M Thompson 20/1
2 Santa Barbara   10/1
3 Ardmayle 2/1 fav
Dist: 8l, 6l 13 ran


Maiden Div 2
1 Pillaging Pict J Walton 3/1
2 Gimme Shelter   10/1
3 Jolly Minster 5/1
Dist: 3l, 7l 13 ran


Maiden Div 3
1 Valley Hopper C Storey 2/1 fav
2 Royal Palm   7/1
3 Lady Persia 8/1
Dist: 2l, 1 l 14 ran