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Saturday 23rd May 2015
by Peter Burgon

Amie Waugh celebrated her 25th birthday by steering Whiteabbey to victory in the D.A.Harrison Ladies Open Race in Saturday's rearranged Cumberland fixture at Aspatria. However, her mount wasn't able to dictate matters up front as usual and only gained the upper hand over Fozy Moss from two out, eventually drawing clear to score by four lengths.

The 10 year old's career has been transformed since joining Rebecca Hewit, who said: ''He's had a four week break since winning at Balcormo and that's too long for him. He will go for a four-timer in the Border Ladies Open at Hexham next Sunday.'' This was a fifth winner in the last six weeks for Waugh, who added: ''He didn't jump as well as usual in the early stages but got into a good rhythm on the final circuit and won nicely in the end.''

The veteran Gunner Jack made a valiant bid for glory on his retirement run in the William Hare Ltd Men's Open Race, setting a strong pace from the outset and jumping superbly but had nothing more to give when headed two out by Splendid Blue. the latter quickly settled the issue and had ten lengths in hand at the line. The 9 year old is a credit to her owner/trainer, Joanna Boswell, winning 7 of her 11 starts between the flags in the last sixteen months. Boswell said: ''She is much happier on a left handed track and is likely to run again at Hexham.''

Regular pilot, Nick Orpwood has enjoyed a great season with 22 winners, including 3 under Rules, and said of the mare: ''You just have to sit quiet and let her do her own thing. She always hits one or two fences which she wouldn't get away with in a Hunters' Chase but has bags of stamina.''

Ross Chapman had Kinder Scout bowling along at the head of affairs from the off in the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden Race and the 8 year old was still in pole position rounding the home turn with three to jump. Staying on well all the way to the line, her winning margin over Don't Point was a comfortable eight lengths.

The home-bred winner carried the colours of retired GP, Robert Fairs from East Kyo near Stanley and provided Iveston trainer, Russell Ross with his fifth success of the campaign. Fairs said: ''I've been breeding horses for more than 40 years and only ever bought one but this is my first point-to-point winner. Most of them have been hurdlers with the best one being the George Reed-trained Palanquin, who won five times.''

Joanna Walton has enjoyed her best season to date and lifted her tally to six on Fight Away Boys in the Subaru Restricted Race. However, it was not all plain sailing for the partnership who were last of the three runners for much of the contest. Walton's mount eventually reeled in Pharawaydante approaching two out before outstaying his rival to score by three and a half lengths.

After being beaten a minimum of twenty lengths on his last four starts over hurdles in 2014 from Lucinda Russell's yard, Ronald Barber's charge has benefited from a change of scenery and drop in grade since being switched to Bonjedward handler, Caroline Crow. ''He was carrying a bug when just beaten a head the last time he ran at Friars Haugh eight weeks ago and has been given plenty of time to recover,'' she said of the 7 year old.

Monbeg shouldered top weight of 12st 7lb to victory in the Hopes Auction Company Ltd North West Hunts Club Members Race under Tom Hamilton, deputising for his usual jockey, John Dawson, who got married to Alice Petch on Saturday. Driven upsides Nickwillis along the back straight, he hit the front five out and kept his rival at bay from that point to win by two and a half lengths. Formerly with Martin Todhunter, the 8 year old ex-chaser was given to Penton near Longtown handler, Gemma Anderson last year. ''He doesn't do a lot in front and needs to be kept up to his work but has done us proud this season, winning his last 2 Points and earned his summer break,'' she said.

Lowanbehold was sent straight into the lead and jumped more fluently than his solitary rival, Border Flora in the Milburns Solicitors NPPA Club Members Race but, after drawing ten lengths clear four out, almost threw victory away by ploughing through the next causing Ed Wrigley to lose his irons. Riding rodeo style down the home straight, his mount was headed two out before rallying to regain the initiative at the last, where a great jump sealed a two and a half lengths win. Wrigley, a London-based stockbroker, had cancelled a weekend break to Berlin to be at Aspatria.

It's always good to see a small scale family operation get some reward for their efforts and that was the case as Little But Nice finally opened her account at the 20th time of asking in the Richard Harrison & Sons Open Maiden Race. Given a positive ride by Ross Wilson, the 10 year old prevented the favourite, Bollin Buster from getting on terms on the final circuit and gradually drew well clear from two out to score by twenty lengths. The diminutive home-bred winner, jointly owned by Northallerton arable farmer, Malcolm Clark and son, Stuart, and trained by the latter, has had a busy season and this was her eighth start since the end of February. Wilson, 22 on Wednesday, said: '' She's a little tiger and tries her heart out every time.''

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