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West of Yore at Askham Bryan College
Sunday 24th February 2019
by Will Milburn

This weekends meeting was staged at Askham Bryan College, the meeting was blessed with some fntastic weather ad the ground was in impecable condition with the official going as "good". Again Will Easterby rattled off a sequence of winners but this time recording a double with Black River and Absainte, both of whom were running for the second time within a week.

One jockey who was getting himself back on the score sheet after a spell out of the saddle was Jack Jordan who partnered the Jack Teal trained Shepherd's Cave to victory in the three mile Open Maiden. Always prominent the pair stayed on well from three out and fend off the Lottie Crane trained/ridden Game Risk, with Solitary Shore back in third. The son of Courtcave was having his third start in England and has gone from strength to strength, the sidelined Jack Teal was substituted by Jordan who was returning to the saddle this season after last year having a spell in Australia travelling and riding out for trainer Mick Price "he's a thorough stayer, he took some pulling up... it's great to get a winner on the board!" said Jordan of this former Denis Hogan trained gelding who Teal sourced privatley out of Ireland.

Emma Todd was another rider getting back to winning ways aboard the Lady Susan Watson trained Robin's Legend and was also giving Todd her 50th career success. The winner was kept up to his work to make all the running and never looked in great danger as the pair galloped on relentlessly to beat Frangeliko under Joe Wright, with Caviar d'Allen in third. Emma missed the earlier part of this season as she recuperated from a shoulder operation and showed she is still at the top of her game by steering the former Chris Grant trained 7yo to success, Emma was delighted to get back to action and score on her third ride back "my shoulder had dislocated so I had an oeration to tighten the ligaments up, but I'm fighting fit and raring to go thanks to Jack Berry House!" explained Todd of her recuperation. The winner was formerly trained by Chris Grant where he had shown plety of form under rules "He was entered at the sales and Chris Dawson suggested him to me, so I drove up to Chris Grants at 5am the morning of the sale to see him and bought him privatley" explained Watson of her charge.

The Intermediate went the way of the Robin Tate trained Absainte under Will Easterby, the pair took the Restricted race at Brocklesby Park the weekend previously in similarly decisive fashion and again they played catch me if you can here and made every inch of the running and comfortably beat Snow Castle who looked progressive last year and could have more to come, whilst Sam's Treasure was narrowly back in third. Will Easterby spoke highly of this mare who was bought from Doncaster's August sale last year "I was very impressed with her, I was equally impressed how she handled such a sharp track too... I think Robin has the Intermediate final at Cheltenham in mind now" said Easterby who steered the 7yo to victory in the fastest time of the day.

Easterby's second winner was in the opening race the Confined hunts race aboard his own Black River who was turning out again after winning his Members race the Sunday previously. The pair made good headway to dispute the lead in the straight and battled on well to beat Ravished narrowly and denie Guy Brewer a double, whilst Nautical Twilight appreciated this sharper test in third with Six A Side under a hefty 8lb penalty in fourth. After a long string of issues Will has finally got his charge in top form but has no lofty targets for him at the moment "we'll just keep tipping away in points, but we would like to go hunter chasing with him at some point" said Easterby.

The Mixed Open attracted only four runners and the winner would come in the form of Dark Mahler who was sent off the outsider of four. Produced nicely in the straight under Joe Wright the pair picked up in good style and beat Shantou Prince who looked in much better form, Oh Toodles was held in third whilst favourite Knocklong is looking a shadow of his former self and came home last of the four. This 8yo son of Mahler was a lightly raced winner when with Emma Lavelle and was purchased by trainer Guy Brewer from Doncaster sales for £8000, the pair were making a marked improvement on their initial performance at Sheriff Hutton and been a two mile winner under rules this sharper track likely played to his strengths.

The Restricted was a low key event with only Not Far Wrong and Fiasco taking their chances, it would go to the Andrew Nicholls trained and Will Milburn ridden Not Far Wrong who never came out of a hack canter and sauntered clear to win eased down. The winner looked a progressive type in 2017 but had to miss last year with leg troubles "that will have done him the world of good physically and mentally... he looked like been useful when he won his maiden so I'm hopeful he can progress up in grade" said rider Will Milburn.


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