by Dom Bradshaw

Conditions for horses, riders and spectators were testing at Sundayís Holderness fixture at Dalton Park.

Balisteros was undoubtedly the star of the show, gaining his fourth victory of the season. At one stage it looked as though he was in trouble on the sticky going, but Carrie Ford re-galvanised Billie Thomsonís 13-year-old on the final circuit to come home well clear of the remainder, headed by Cadrillon (Jo Foster) and Temple Garth (Freya Hartley). He is still head and shoulders above the majority of Ladies horses in the north and will no doubt continue his winning ways.
Cadrillon ran well on his re-introduction to points and may be able to take a small race this season.
Third placed Temple Garth was once again flying at the finish and looks as though he needs 3m4f+.
Half Each (Lucy Watson) was a close second and still going well when coming down six from home. She relishes a good test of stamina and a testing surface and should be followed when encountering similar conditions.
Over The Beck (Fiona Needham) looked a big danger to the winner three from home, but went out quickly and looked as though he failed to stay. Heís worth bearing in mind when encountering easier conditions and with Fiona Needham onboard.

Earlier, there was a shock result in the four-runner members race where The Graduate (Simon Walker), previously a maiden under all codes, got the better of the heavily odds-on favourite Silver Groom (Gino Carenza). The winner, a 33/1 shot, was always kept handy and was given an enterprising ride by Simon Walker. 
The race was run at a slow pace and turned into a sprint between the final two fences and Silver Groom simply couldnít quicken as expected. He looks better coming off a true gallop and should do better in larger fields.
Maiden winners Captain Oates (Fiona Needham) and Princess Derry (Clive Cundall) made up the final two places and will have to improve if they are going to be successful in restricted company.

Blank Cheque lowered the sights of the previously unbeaten Just Jake (Nicky Tinkler) in the Mens Open. The winner has a tendency drop out and does most of his running at the finish, but on this occasion David Coates had him up with the leaders from flag fall. This tactic seemed to suit, as he was able to readily pull away from Just Jake. Itíll be interesting to see what connections do with him now, as on this form, he looks capable of taking plenty more races this season.
The second looked to be going really well between the third and second last, but had no answer to the winner. He lost nothing in defeat here and will compensate when conditions are less testing.
Concerto Collonges (Robert Hartley) came with his usual late run to finish a never nearer third. He needs every yard of the trip and will be better suited by an extreme test of stamina.

Native Drum (Gino Carenza) followed up his maiden win at Hornby Castle to take the restricted, but had to pull out all the stops to deny Paddington Jones (Nick Kent). Iíd be surprised if the winner, a progressive 7-year-old by Be My Native, doesnít have a future under rules. The runner up ran his best race yet and seemed to enjoy making the running. He is capable of taking a race of this kind.
Third placed Mashwe (Freddie Crawford) showed his first signs of form since winning an Irish maiden. Heís not without ability, but has seemed a little clumsy at his obstacles (had fallen in two of his past four starts). Heíll need a bit of luck on his side if heís going to progress further.

The Marsh Mares maiden looked a modest affair on paper and proved to be with only three of the eleven starters finishing. The spoils went to Ailsae (Guy Brewer), but there was a distinct slice of luck here as Sylcanny (Stuart Gibbon) looked to be going best of all and was in the lead when capsizing two out. This left Ailsae and Hopping Mad (Ed Gretton) to fight out the finish, with Guy Brewerís mount just getting the upper hand. Rising Talisker (Rachel Clark) was two fences back in third.
This was a poor race by anyone's standard and the winner wonít get an easier opportunity than this.

The final race, the maiden, went to Nicodemus (Stephen Swiers), who handled the conditions better than his rivals to win comfortably. Imperial Line (Tina Jackson) and Riveaux (Nick Kent) were back in second and third. The winner is a half brother to high-class chaser Simply Dashing, but would appear to have inherited only a little of his brotherís ability! This aside, he does appear to have a preference for testing conditions and should be watched when encountering similar.
The runner up ran well after a couple of years off the course and is more than capable of winning a maiden on a less testing track.
The third, now a 12-year-old, showed his first sign of ability in years and like the winner, needs a good test of stamina.
Make a note of Chiefís Son (Gino Carenza), a 5-year-old son of Be My Chief from the David Easterby yard. He was given a sympathetic ride from Mr Carenza in conditions that clearly didnít suit and was pulled up after a mistake three from home. I will be very surprised if he isnít winning a maiden before long.
Blue Bud, a good second to Colonel Blazer in the members race at the Sinnington meeting, but was unable to land a blow here. Again, it would appear that the testing going didnít suit him and this run should be ignored.

Iíd like to pass on my thanks to the gentlemen who were kind enough to give my car a push out of the car park. I had tried to move the car earlier in the day, but became stuck somewhere between a rock and a hard place. Without the help from the three gentlemen, Iíd probably still be stuck there now!