Berwickshire at FRIAR'S HAUGH
Sunday 27th February 2000
by David Scott (Pointer of the Northumberland Gazette)

Last Sunday the Berwickshire Hunt staged an 8 race card in cold, blustery conditions. The going was on the soft side but fortunately the rains held off preventing any deterioration of the ground.

Across The Card was a comfortable winner of the Hunt race under William Ramsay. They held too many guns over the last three for Fiscal Policy who looks a shadow of his former self. The Caffler took minor honours. The first three are well exposed and this race tells us precious little.

Parade Racer turned the Confined race into a procession. This one was always travelling well and ran out a comfortable winner from Midsummer Glen who had finished within length of him at Alnwick. The winning distance was increased to a comfortable 12 lengths which shows the measure of the Parade Racer’s improvement. The winner looks to be on the upgrade and is one to follow perhaps to Open class while the runner up, who finished strongly, may need a stiffer test of stamina to be seen at his best. The veteran Whispering Steel plugged on for third only being denied second close home.

Love Actinium landed the Restricted for Wilson Renwick galloping on strongly to account for Border Glory and Kings Token. The favourite, Geordies Express, had jumped poorly before finally departing with a circuit to run and the overall form of this race doesn’t look great and further success may be difficult to come by for the principals.

In the Ladies race local favourite Muskora fell early on and Kingennie jumped poorly and generally didn’t look in love with the game. When Little Santa, ridden by Kirstie Hargreave, kicked on up the hill for the final time it looked like she might have stolen a march but gradually Nova Nita, under Val Jackson, bridged the gap and under a strong ride finally got up in the last 100 yards. The runner up ran well on her seasonal reappearance and was in front soon enough. More patient tactics might see her in the winners enclosure soon.

A moderate Mens race went to Jimmy Walton aboard Excise Man who came with a rare rattle between the last two to collar long time leader Rainbow Times. The front two were a distance clear of Mullingar. While you can only beat the field against you I think the winner is only moderate and in my opinion the Mens division is bereft of real quality at this time.

There were three divisions of the Maiden. In the first Wills Perk ridden by his owner, Tom Oates, was left a distance clear when the well supported Dere Street unseated Clive Storey at the last. The winner, who jumped well and had quickened nicely, had his measure anyway but Dere Street can gain quick compensation. The winner looks capable of going on to Restricted company. Christie Mouse ran pretty well until getting very tired in the latter stages and should be watched on better ground on an easier track.

Division two fell to Hookys Treat and Mark Bradburne but in the most fortuitous circumstances. Senso was well clear and increasing his lead when slipping on the bend and falling after the downhill fence which is normally four out. Hookys Treat then stayed on well enough to see off Lady Alice and Gallant Major. The form is very moderate although Senso should find compensation in the near future.

The final division saw a pointing introduction for Dun Rose, a daughter of that superb local mare Dun Gay Lass, having previously run briefly under rules. She won cosily for Clive Storey, sitting on the tail of the leaders before being set alight on the run to two out. She quickened readily to account for Bold Navigator, who lost nothing in defeat, and looks to be one to follow. If she shows half as much as her Dam then she could be very useful indeed. The runner up is unlucky to have caught another tartar having previously run up against useful performer Solway Donal, and he should pick up a maiden very soon.