Going - Good

by John Bulman

A mixed day weather wise with some extremely wintry showers mixed with quite pleasant sunny spells. Amazingly (considering the amount of snow and rain that had fallen) the going was good and the track was in good condition.

Racing kicked off at 12:00pm with the Members race. Only 4 went to post and Morag Neill had to be at her strongest to win on Mozielaw who stays all day but isnít the quickest. Native Alibi was a decent second under Charley Shirley-Bevan with these two well clear of Sporty Spice. The form may amount to little but it would not be a surprise to see either of the first two win again at some point this season.

The PPORA Restricted was won by the mainly unfancied Snooty Eskimo and Henry Norton who got the better of Wild Edgar (Andrew Richardson) after the pair had led throughout. These two finished 10 lengths ahead of Timberley (Tom Oates) and the rather disappointing Faster Sweep (Ran Morgan). This race was quite a quick time so it may be unwise to write off any of the first four home. All should be capable of wining races. Snooty Eskimo was a shock winner but there was nothing about the manner of his victory to suggest it was a fluke, he may however find it difficult to step up in grade as he has taken a long time to actually win a race. Perhaps Novice riers events or weaker confinedís later in the season might be his best bet.

The Ladies Open was taken by the Pointing debutant Mytimie who boasted useful form under rules for Malcolm Jefferson. He is now part of the Pauline Robson, David Parker, Ray Anderson Green triumvirate which are always due the utmost respect in any race. Mytimie went clear three out but had to be shaken up to hold off the late run of Pharmistice (Nicola Stirling) with Dere Street (Rose Davidson) and Balisteros very close up in the minoe places. Commanche Law was fifth and the first five were only separated by about 4 lengths. I was quite taken by Mytimieís performance but the manor in which the others closed on him on the short run in suggests that he may have stamina limitations on a tougher track/softer ground. 2 Ĺ mile Hunter Chases might suit him better. Of the others, Pharmistice always wins races towards the end of the season and the others are all capable of scoring in turn.

The Menís open was won by 20/1 shot Falcons Flame (Roger Green) who stayed on well to defeat Epsilo De La Ronce (W Ramsay) with Welsh March (Nigel Tutty) third. Tis was probably a weak Menís open and the winner had never shown any sign of being up to this class. His task was made easier by the falls of Katinka (Favourite) who fell quite early on and Lively Dessert who was running quite well when falling 3 out. The time was slower than the restricted so it will be difficult to make a case for most of these against the better quality Open horses that we have already seen this season.

Rose Davidson took the Confined for Novice Riders race on Passing Danger who had been successful last season for George Whites Rennington Racing Club. She rode a patient race to produce Passing Danger to challenge Johnnyís Gone  (Charley Shirley-Bevan second again) and Harden Glen (J Riding) jumping the last and win going away. Passing Danger is useful and can win again. My only worry is that Rose Davidson (who is getting better all the time) might not be up to beating the likes of Pauline Robson or Nicola Stirling in a tight finish. This was an encouraging Northern area debut for Johnnyís Gone who had been successful in Wales last season and he may find a race at some point this season. Harden Glen ran his usual consistent race but just looks one paced and may find it difficult to score in this kind of company.

The two maidens were moderate affairs. The Mares Open miden was one in good style by Sharp Fountain (Clive Storey) who stayed on too strongly for Tallaburn (Allistair Findlay). Steady Lass (Richard Nichol) completed to take third place. They were the only three (from seven) to finish.

Clive Storey completed his Maidenís double aboard the Ian Stark (OBE) newcomer Bilingual. Bilingual had been fractious in the paddock but showed a good attitude despite running a bit green close home to justify favouritism. Ian Stark has had some useful young horses in the past including Maximise and while it is premature to make comparisons, Bilingual made a good impression and can only improve for the experience. Three Spires was quietly ridden out the back by Andrew Richardson but came with a good run to challenge coming to the last only to be outpaced by the winner. Three Spires was showing a vast improvement in form and this son of Mystic Music should win a maiden before long. Perennial loser Rutherford was third and he always flatters to deceive.(No doubt he will now bolt up having said that!!). Toorak and Storm Ahead were the others to finish and although they may well come on for the run I would not be able to make any excuses for them on this evidence.

All in all a pleasant if perhaps unremarkable days racing. Mytimie looked the best horse on display and it will remain to be seen the route they choose to take with him. Bilingual may well be able to follow up in restricted company if we see him again in Points. The next Northern area meeting is at Alnwick this Sunday (The College Valley and North Northumberland meeting). First race is again 12:00pm.