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Zetland and Cleveland at Witton Castle
Sunday 2nd May 2021

by Will Milburn

Sunday saw the final meeting on the newly formed fixture list in Yorkshire as the Zetland and Cleveland came together to stage their meeting at Witton Castle. The same as at most of this season's meetings, this meeting was held behind closed doors, therefore no public was present and only participants and officials were allowed on the track. Clerk of the course Stuart Gibbon did a fantastic job in this current dry period to produce what everyone described as good ground, however it would be Susan Town's final meeting as she retired as Point to Point Secretary after filling the role for 21 years and has done a fantastic job in that time.

Jack Teal is a trainer on the up by taking the first two races on the day, the first of which was a Conditions race and went the way of Pillowman who was backing up his impressive victory at Sheriff Hutton. Partnered by Christy Furness the pair were waited with in rear and made good headway four out and stayed on strongly after the last to beat Monsun Storm and John Dawson, whilst Inca Gold ran another solid race for the Sarah Dent team in third. This lightly raced son of Gamut has been hindered over the last couple of seasons with niggly problems, however this 9yo looks a progressive horse for the remainder of the season "we've always thought he was quite nice but he's had niggly problems...we might take him for the Restricted final at Stratford, but could have another run before that" said a delighted rider who was still on a high after partnering Monbeg Chit Chat to success on Friday at Cheltenham.

Jack Teals second winner came in the first division of the Open Maiden with the very unlucky Feel Like De Baune, a 5yo son of Feel Like Dancing who was picked up for £17,000 as a 3yo store at Doncaster, he has met with trouble in running on his first two starts but under John Dawson the pair were always to the fore and looked to always have the race in hand as they stayed on strongly from the second last to win well. He looks a progressive sort who will no doubt have a bright future "he did everything and should have plenty more to give" said the winning rider, who was deputising for trainer/rider Jack Teal who has been feeling un well for the last couple of weeks but has still managed to keep his string in top form.

The second division of the Open Maiden went the way of the Lottie Crane trained and ridden Master Thyne. The pair have been knocking on the door for some time now and were always to the fore and galloped on strongly to the line and fend off a trio of rivals led by Sine Nomine who was having only her second start for Fiona Needham, Coniston Spa in third and Villa Moura narrowly back in fourth and could all be covered by about 3 lengths. Sent off the 5/4 favourite this 7yo son of Masterofthehorse was giving Crane her third winner of the season "all he does is gallop but he takes a bit of riding!" said an exhausted Lottie.

Things took an unfortunate turn for Lottie in the Ladies Open as her charge Seefood looked booked for an easy victory when 10 lengths clear until taking a heavy fall at the second last, both horse and rider were fine, however this gifted the race to favourite Argot who had to work very hard under Amie Waugh and took the advantage at the last with a better jump than runner up Thyne For Gold and stayed on well to give trainer John Barlow another successful trip to Yorkshire, Fortunes Hiding was close up in third.

The Veteran Horse race would see one of Yorkshire's longest standing contenders get his head in front for the 15th time in his career. Six A Side ridden by Will Milburn was waited with for most of the race and tracked runner up Game As A Pheasant up the home straight and a strong run after the last saw the 13yo get up near the line and win. A highly consistent performer in Yorkshire Six A Side was recording his 14th victory in point to points, with his sole win under rules coming in a Kelso Hunter Chase. This is his 8th season in the pointing field and has won every season barring the season of 2017 but can be forgiven as he went on to finish third at Cheltenham that year "he's getting a bit older and wiser and I think age is slowly catching up with him, but he's as tough and as game as he was since the day we got him!...I thought he was going nowhere, but he always seems to do enough nowadays, he's a bit of a legend!" admitted Will Milburn who has partnered him to 14 of his 15 wins.

The Mens Open saw only three runners go to post but former course winner Royal Chant scored for the second time this season to give John Dawson a double on the day, the pair worked hard close home to fend off Refusal who was stepping up on his effort previously after a lengthy break, whilst Shantou Prince completed in third under Christy Furness.

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