The 2017/18 Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumed after a seven week break with the rescheduled Jedforest meeting at Friars Haugh, Kelso and it turned out to be a day to remember for Tom Hamilton, who recorded the second four-timer of his career on Summoned, Cave Hunter, Diamond Brig and Pieceoftheaction.
Despite being off the track for 383 days, Summoned set the ball rolling for Hamilton in the Musselburgh Racecourse and Royal Dick Vet Intermediate Race and, at the same time, initiated doubles for owner, George White as well as trainer, Susan Grant. Always in the leading pair and jumping well, the 7 year old was sent on at the tenth and never looked like being overhauled by Denbigh raider, Indigo Island in the closing stages, eventually winning by a length with a further twenty lengths back to Kitty Fisher in third. After seeing his charge score for the third time from seven starts since being bought privately in Ireland in November 2015, White said: "He struck into himself when runner-up to Always Tipsy at Alnwick last January and has been given plenty of time to recover."
Hamilton doubled up on Cave Hunter in the Gain Horse Feeds Men's Open Race, the first leg of a training double for his mother, Wendy. After being allowed to dictate a modest pace from the off, his mount was pressed initially by Whats Left from four out and then Killer Crow from two out but had all the answers and stayed on well to beat the latter by half a length. The 11 year old has a 75% strike rate from sixteen outings between the flags in the last four years for owner, Niel Manning, who said: "He's not fully wound up yet and Wendy has done well to get as much work into him after being snowbound on the family farm at Hawick last week."
Stable companion, Diamond Brig defied an eleven month lay-off when retaining his unbeaten record in the James Swinton & Co and A.S.Crawford Groundworks Restricted Race. Recent Alnwick winner, Chanceiton took it up six out but couldn't respond when headed turning for home by Hamilton's mount, who steadily drew clear to score by four lengths. Wendy has always thought a lot about her exciting 6 year old Black Sam Bellamy gelding and didn't run him again after his Corbridge debut victory last February when the ground quickened up. His comeback this term had to be put on hold when he started coughing just before the Alnwick meeting seven weeks ago.
Hamilton's red letter day was completed on Pieceoftheaction in the two and a half mile Brown & Turner and Charlotte Agnew Eventing Open Maiden Race, for the same owner/trainer combination as Summoned. Always handily placed, the 5 year old forged clear from three out to beat Ask Jd by a dozen lengths. Newton Bewley handler, Susan Grant commented: "He was quite lean when we got him last month and hardly ate for a week but it's probably a blessing in disguise that he was pulled up on his last start in Ireland otherwise George wouldn't have had the chance to buy him."
Always Tipsy made it five wins from his last six Pointing starts under a well judged ride from Kit Alexander in the Storage Express and Border Berries Jedforest Conditions Race. After being sent on four out, the 9 year old maintained a one length advantage from the next to the line. Ailsa McClung deserves a special mention after finishing runner-up on her debut ride on ex-chaser, Settledoutofcourt, who was conceding 7lb to the winner. Winning trainer, Alan Wight said: "I was a bit disappointed with him first time out at Alnwick but he was never travelling well that day and didn't let himself down on the quicker ground. He might return to Friars Haugh in a fortnight (Feb 10) for the Berwickshire fixture."
Shantou Magic, a former 144-rated chaser with Charlie Longsdon, bounced back to form in the Scotty Brand Ladies Open carrying 17lb less than he usually does in Men's Open company. Positively ridden by Charlotte Dun, the 11 year old gelding was always up with the pace and quickened clear approaching two out to beat Clues And Arrows by five lengths in the best time of the day. Winning owner/trainer, Will Ramsay said: "I decided to run him here rather than take on Cave Hunter in the Men's Open. If he wins again at the Berwickshire meeting I'll enter him in the Cheltenham Foxhunters."
Glittering Love, who was bought in Ireland as an unraced 3 year old in June 2015 by Nicky Richards, fulfilled the promise shown when third at Alnwick last month by landing the St Boswells Mowers and Billy Stenhouse Memorial Open Maiden Race. John Dawson's mount disputed the lead throughout the final circuit with the favourite, Worcester Pearmain before gaining the upper hand on the run-in and scoring by one and a half lengths.