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Middleton
Sheriff Hutton
Easter Saturday 4th April 2015
by Charlotte Russell

It was a record breaking day at the Middleton Point-to-Point on Easter Sunday as William Easterby teamed up with his mother Sarah's Monsieur Jourdain to win the Grimthorpe Gold Cup for the third successive year a feat which has never been achieved before. Always handy, Monsieur Jourdain was up with the pace which was largely set by Killary Bay and Max Johnson and the pair simply stayed on and on to beat Oaklands Robbie and Alice Petch by 10 lengths. Sportingfriendship was a further eight lengths back in third under Harry Bannister. "It was a great training performance by mum," reported the winning jockey. "He is one of the most honest horses who always tries, even when he doesn't like it. Mum rides him out every day and she deserves the credit," Will continued. Winning the same race three times on two different courses which run in different directions is an achievement that will be very hard to equal, let alone beat in the future.

There were 62 runners on the day which drew a huge crowd of spectators and racing started with the McClarrons Insurance, Guy Cunard Middleton Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers Race. This is always one of the most competitive races of its type in the area and another strong renewal was evident given that it was the fastest 3 mile race of the day, by 10 seconds. It was won by Christine Drury's Railway Dillon, ridden by Emma Todd and the horse was due a win having finished second on both his recent starts in hunter chases. He was carrying a 7lb penalty but won by a length from Battle Range and Cath Walton in second and Royal Deal finished third under Craig Hoggart.

In the Openfield Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point Club Members Conditions race, jockeys who were not novice riders had to carry a 7lb penalty, meaning most riders were carrying 12st7lbs, however the winner, Roycano ridden by Harry Bannister had an allowance being a five year old and took this by eight lengths providing the first leg of a double for Harry. "We were really pleased with him as we thought Drom would take this, but it was good to see him win clear. Harry gave him a great ride and he has come out of the race well," said winning trainer Stephanie Easterby. Be There In Five was second for William Easterby and Drom finished third for Emma Todd. This was the first time Drom hasn't won this season but the ground was far from ideal for him and he can bounce back next time we see him.

Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors sponsored the Restricted race and Aldreth managed to avenge Comedinewithme who won last time they met in a Sinnington Maiden and beat the mare by eight lengths. "He struck into himself last time out and we have given him some time to recover so we were very pleased that he could win again for the second time in a row," enthused the winning trainer. The Manager set a really good pace and nearly looked like he had the rest of the field in trouble before coming back to them with a couple of fences to jump. Aldreth had stalked the field from the rear and joined The Manager at the second last before going on to win comfortably by eight lengths. Comedinewithme was a very fast finishing second and can take a race at this level before the season is over and The Manager was third under Jack Jordan.

The first Maiden race was an Open Maiden run over three miles and sponsored by Browns of York & Helmsley. Anddante who has been close on several occasions finally lost his Maiden tag and won this well under Chris Dawson, deputising for the injured Jack Teal. There was however drama in the race as Devil At Midnight, another who is regularly partnered by Jack Teal was going very well under Jack Jordan until being carried out on the final bend by a loose horse. Anddante won by 12 lengths from Chantry Melody who was ridden by Andrew Bartlett and keeps improving with each run. Glorianne was very impressive on her debut and finished a further length and a half further back under Richard Tierney. "We're thrilled to bits as he deserved to win," said the winning owner, trainer Gillian Lee. "We had to take our own champagne to the pub as they hadn't restocked from the Hurworth meeting where we had a good celebration to mark my retirement as secretary of the Hurworth point-to-point," she added.

The Intermediate was a qualifier for the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate hunter chase final to be run at Cheltenham at the end of the month and the first four past the post are eligible. Six A Side followed up on his two previous successes this season to take this by 12 lengths from Lowandbehold in second under Eddie Wrigley. His task was made slightly easier with the departure of Pebbleglen four from home but he still won well. "He seems to have improved a lot this season, so we're really excited about where he could go next. We might consider Cheltenham now he's qualified," said the winning trainer Emma Todd. TC Spitfire was a further three lengths back in third for Max Johnson.

The final race was a Maiden for those that have never run under rules and over the shorter distance of 2m4f. It provided a first point-to-point win for the owners of Glens Return, who was partnered by William Easterby. "Unfortunately they weren't here to witness it as planned. He is a lovely horse and one that should do well for the rest of the season," said winning trainer Stephanie Easterby. See Mores Finale was two lengths further back in second and Mafate Fortin was third for Emma Todd.

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