Fast ground performers were in their element at Downhills near Corbridge on Sunday at the well-supported Tynedale Point-to-Point fixture which had 46 runners on a seven race card. It saw new course record times set in the 12st Riders Conditions Race (5min 54sec), 11st Ladies Open Race (5min 53sec) and 3m5f Men's Open Race (7min 26sec).
The odds-on favourite, Winged Crusader (Amie Waugh) completed a hat-trick when galloping his seven rivals into submission in the Lycetts Insurance Brokers Riders Conditions Race. At his best when allowed to bowl along in front, the eleven-year-old was hardly blowing at the finish after cruising home ten lengths ahead of De Bee Keeper (Ross Wilson), with the veteran Settledoutofcourt (Ailsa McClung) a further two and a half lengths away in third. The victory extended Amie's lead over Laura Fenwick in the youngsRPS Northern Area Ladies Championship to twelve points.
The complexion of the youngsRPS Open Maiden Race for four, five, six and seven-year-olds changed when the pace-setting favourite, Classical Daytime (Tom Strawson) fell at the eighth. This left The Silver Prince (Amie Waugh) in front from Just Don't Know (Rory Bevin) and they were still disputing the lead when the latter ran wide on the home turn and carried out Amie's mount. Peter Fahey's promising four-year-old debutant, One For Dunstan (John Dawson) went on after two out but couldn't respond when Frankies Fire (Nick Orpwood) swept past approaching the last to record an impressive eight lengths success on only her third start between the flags.
The six-year-old home-bred mare is trained by Flotterton farmer, Jimmy Walton and has already surpassed the achievements of her dam, Watch The Wind, who was placed in 11 of her 38 starts for Walton but failed to win. This was an 80th career success for Orpwood, who said: "I schooled her for the first time on Thursday. We got plenty of cover during the race but it was only after jumping two out that I thought she had a serious chance and she galloped all the way to the line."
Abbeyview has performed consistently well for Laura Fenwick since being bought out of Sheila Crow's yard for £7000 at Doncaster Sales in August 2017 and the partnership came up trumps in the Womble Bond Dickinson Ladies Open Race. The twelve-year-old gelding was still about five lengths down in third place three out but quickened up nicely from the next to head Iron Chancellor (Jessica Bedi) at the last and score by four lengths.
One Conemara's bid for a fourth successive win in the 3m5f Brewin Dolphin Men's Open Race was foiled by last month's West Percy scorer, Gran Paradiso in the hands of Ross Wilson. Owned and trained by Sanquhar-based Norman Sanderson, this seven-year-old Galileo gelding has proved to be a bargain buy after changing hands for only £800 at Doncaster Sales last May. Always going well, he challenged One Conemara (John Dawson) for the lead from six out before taking it up at the second last and forged clear up the hill to secure a six lengths verdict.
Ross, who is now only five points behind Nick Orpwood in the Albert Bartlett (Airdrie) Ltd Northern Area Men's Championship, said: "He was still on the bridle two out and just got a bit tired near the finish which he was entitled to over a trip that he hadn't attempted before."
Roderick Random (Charlotte Dun) and Relax (Will Ramsay) disputed the lead from the outset in the Land Factor NPPA Conditions Race until the former asserted from three out and kept finding a bit extra up the home straight to beat the improving Formidableopponent (Connor Wood) by one and a half lengths.
The winner, owned by Liz Nixon and her partner, Bryan Stanners, is trained near Wark by Liz, who is a familiar face behind the counter in the Hexham Branch of Cranstons Butchers.
Buck Dancing (Jessica Bedi) led throughout the final mile of the www.srtransport.co.uk Restricted Race and stayed on strongly from three out to beat last month's Jedforest 2m4f Maiden winner, Hardrock Davis (John Dawson) as he liked by eight lengths. The gelding had been campaigned under Rules in Ireland since making a winning debut between the flags at Lisronagh in May 2013. Bought privately in August from Pat Kelly, trainer of Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite, Presenting Percy, the ten-year-old carried the colours of Jessica's grandmother, Sandra Barker.
The concluding Ward Hadaway Open Maiden Race for eight-year-olds and over resulted in a debut success for Beyond Gold, owned and trained by Charles Robson and ridden by Aaron Anderson. Always lying handy, the nine-year-old hit the front at the last and had two lengths to spare at the line over the rallying Emory (Tom Strawson). The winner, bred by Ann Rutherford, had evented at thirty different venues across the North of England and Scotland between May 2015 and September 2018. His half sister, Senora Moss, also bred by Ann, won six times between the flags and also landed a Kelso Novices Hunters' Chase.
The main action was preceded by two pony races sponsored by Mowden Hall School. The 138cm contest over four and a half furlongs resulted in a pillar to post success for Ninfield Millionaire's Splendour ridden by 14 year old Elliot Stockwell from Kiltinane Gleam (Sam Herdman) and Telynau Apollo (Lily McGhee). The youngest jockey in action on the day was 10 year old Shay Farmer, who partnered Indian River to victory in the 148cm race over six and a half furlongs. The minor placings were filled by Chilworth Dancer (Tara Stockwell) and Shorties Story (James Caldwell).
The next Northern Area fixture is the College Valley & North Northumberland at Alnwick on Sunday 10th March, which includes the only Point-to-Point Flat Race being staged in the North this season.