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Duke of Buccleuch's at Friars Haugh
Saturday 12th March 2016
by Peter Burgon

Scottish-trained horses dominated proceedings at Friars Haugh, Kelso on Saturday by winning five of the seven races on the Duke of Buccleuch's card.

After riding three winners under Rules at Carlisle and Ayr on Thursday and Friday for his father, Stuart, Sam Coltherd,17, made virtually all on Damiens Dilemma in the A. Hume Border Hunts Club Members Race. The 8 year old gelding is owned by Robert Miller-Bakewell, Chairman of the Northern Point-to-Point Association. Stuart, husband of winning trainer, Lesley Coltherd said: "After plenty of near misses for our horses this season, everything seems to have clicked this week and just like London buses when one turns up a few more quickly follow. "

Seven years after landing a Lemonfield Maiden on his debut in Ireland, the Lucinda Russell-trained gelding, Badger Foot is still going strong and provided former Hawick schoolboy, Connor Wood, 16, with a memorable first winner on only his second ride in the Turcan Connell NPPA Club Members Race. Remarkably, Badger Foot's 11 career victories have come under 11 different jockeys, including A P McCoy, and he has a 70% strike rate between the flags.

Kinneston trainer, Nick Alexander is enjoying a great season and, after recording an Ayr double on Friday, the versatile Rossini's Dancer added to the yard's tally under son, Kit on his reappearance in the Brewin Dolphin Men's Open Race. The 11 year old always seemed to be going better than the favourite, Wayupinthesky on the final circuit and stayed on well to score by 6 lengths. This was a 13th win on his 79th career start and it is worth noting that he actually made his racecourse debut for Richard Fahey in September 2007 as a 6 furlong sprinter.

Rachael McDonald gave Wind Of Hope a peach of a ride to win the AGA Ladies Open Race by 7 lengths from Oscar Stanley. Patiently ridden for a circuit, Alan Brown's charge made eye-catching headway throughout the final mile before asserting his superiority between the last two fences. Hawick-based Brown said: "I bought him privately in October out of Lucinda Russell's yard. He had gone off the boil just before he ran in a Musselburgh Hunters' Chase last month but this is more his level. Rachael got him into a good rhythm and his confidence returned in the jumping department. "

Ryan Nichol, 24, registered his first point-to-point success on the Quona Thomson-trained 10 year old gelding, New Vic in the Volvo Open Maiden Race. In front from the sixth, his mount came home 4 lengths ahead of Hewhodareswins. "The plan was always to keep him out of trouble up front and it worked perfectly. He was looking around as we passed the horseboxes three out and idling a bit but picked up again as soon as I gave him a couple of reminders, " said Nichol.

Flash Garden booked his place in the £7000 Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Championship Final at Cheltenham on April 27 by landing the Northern Area's only qualifier under Tom Hamilton. After taking it up three out, he had to be kept up to his work to keep Whisperdale at bay by a couple of lengths. Hamilton commented "He's still a big baby and that was only his fifth career outing. He is such a god mover and really wants better ground. "

Catherine Walton's only ride of the day was a winning one on Play Practice in the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden Race. Always going well, the 6 year old easily reeled in Hands On Scarlet from two out before hitting the front at the last and drawing right away to score by 6 lengths. Walton said: "She schooled well over the Alnwick fences after racing last week and I thought she must go close here. She has plenty of scope for further improvement. "

Flying the flag for the Northern Area, Walton and Nick Orpwood are looking forward to riding on their respective GB teams in the Anglo-Irish Point-to-Point Riders Challenge at the Inch fixture, held near Tallow in County Cork on Wednesday 23rd March.

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