Hornby Castle was in excellent condition and the ground was predominately Good with a few easier patches. There was only one brief shower of rain and a sizeable crowd saw more exciting action in what has been a fantastic season in Yorkshire thus far.
The Confined was limited to horses that hadn’t won an open point-to-point or under Rules and there were eight runners. It was turned into a one horse race though by the impeccable six-year-old Always Right under Chris Dawson. This facile triumph by 20 lengths made it a hat-trick for Always Right. Travelling sweetly throughout, Always Right was let loose approaching three out and he cruised into the lead before powering away with the minimum of fuss. He claimed his maiden at Sheriff Hutton in January and the five horses immediately behind him that day have subsequently gone on to take maidens of their own. Runner-up North Island made some late headway for Oliver Greenall and was ten lengths clear of the remainder. Although well beaten, he ought to be able to go close in a lesser event of this kind. Bobby Buttons came third in the hands of Nigel Tutty. Bobby Buttons doesn’t lack for effort, but is finding it difficult to live with younger progressive types. In fourth, the aim of the game for Abandon Ship will have been to complete the course, which he successfully achieved. His fencing is a major cause for concern, but he isn’t talentless. Toms Party set a sedate pace and was booked for a respectable second when he jumped the second last perfectly well, but failed to get out the landing gear. Thankfully, both the horse and jockey Oliver Williams appeared none the worse for the heavy fall.
The Hunt Members was for both Bedale and West of Yore qualified horses and attracted six competitors. Out To Lunch, a maiden, had been knocking on the door all season and he got on the scoresheet under Ian Smith. Out To Lunch was sent on in the back straight on the final lap and he wouldn’t let any of his opponents past thereafter. He’s contested some fair races in the past, as was this, and fully deserves to get off the mark. Second went to Monte Cristo and Charlie Johnston. Monte Cristo had taken a Brocklesby Park heat last month and is a decent performer. Dark Thunder (Toby Greenall) in third, a winner at Welbeck in March, had the best credentials on paper, but couldn’t get to grips with Out To Lunch when that one hit the front. This didn’t quite reach the standard of his recent efforts. Go Nomadic was tailed off in fourth, although he did stay with the main body of the field for longer than on his previous outings this year.
With Freya Hartley still on the sidelines following her spill in the Aintree Foxhunters, Jacqueline Coward got the leg up on the five-year-old Wasntme as a competitive field of 15 took their places for the Restricted. Produced with precision when it mattered, Wasntme mugged his market rival Quinta De Lobo in the closing stages to lift the prize. Wasntme made a successful debut at Charm Park on Easter Monday when he disposed of his peers in a 17-strong maiden. He has an interesting style of racing in that he travels sweetly in touch, is steadied inside the final half mile, and is then delivered in the last furlong where he has made use of a highly impressive turn of foot. The fact that Wasntme took in a restricted at all must have been a tip in itself as he might have been expected to go straight to Doncaster Sales in May after his maiden victory. Unbeaten in two starts, he’ll now have a hefty price tag indeed. Quinta De Lobo secured second for Richard Smith. He stuck his neck out and it seemed as if he would hang on, but the winner swooped late to deny him. The chestnut goes about his work in the right way and was only just held at bay by the rapidly improving The Artful Fox at Whitwell-on-the-Hill last week. Quinta De Lobo looks sure to pick up a restricted in the coming weeks. Third-placed Elusive Swallow (Nathan Moscrop) again ran her race, tried her best and came up just short once more. It is hard not to like this mare as she is most consistent and her endeavour thoroughly warrants her getting her head in front soon. Master Jackson ran a reasonable race in fourth and will have benefited from his reappearance at Hutton Rudby. A blunder at the final fence put paid to any chance Malton had of sneaking a place, while Montebank did all right.
The Ladies Open that saw eight horses come under orders had a dramatic conclusion. Misty Gem had been too keen early on and looked like she would become outpaced, but rallied in the last quarter mile and held an advantage of a length or so when she dislodged Sophie Staveley at the last. Misty Gem appeared all over the winner in waiting and can be considered a desperately unlucky loser. Her Hutton Rudby conqueror Sea Scout is so smart he doesn’t really need his form upholding, but that was about to happen nonetheless. Compensation awaits for Misty Gem. The fortunate recipient was Plutocrat ridden by Jo Foster. He had been up with the generous pace for the entire journey and would have been a good second otherwise. That doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a fine effort though as Plutocrat returned to the scene of his victory in a mens open in 2006. The fences are there to be jumped after all. Plutocrat hadn’t contested a ladies open before and, as there isn’t all that much of him, the 11st of these races is a lot more suitable than the burden of a double penalty that he had shouldered in two hunter chases earlier in 2008. His hunter chase form from 2007 reads favourably and he can make an impact again at this level between the flags. Lodestar ended with a flourish to take second in the final strides. Chloe Kirkby’s mount was flying when others had cried enough. He was 20 lengths behind Plutocrat, but at least showed willing. Be Upstanding needed plenty of encouragement from Jacqueline Coward to be third. He didn’t really threaten to take a hand in the finish. This grade probably offers his best hope as Miles Seston is out injured for the foreseeable future. Widemouth Bay in fourth helped make the running and weakened in the last half mile. He might have needed this after being a solid second at Sheriff Hutton in January. Although it was a long way from home, recent Mordon confined winner Knightsbridge King held every chance when he unshipped Sam Drake six out.
Eight horses went to post for the Mens Open and perhaps unsurprisingly the bookmakers were taking no chances with Chorizo as he went off at cramped odds of around 2-5 in his first open. There were few alarms for the seven-year-old and he justified warm favouritism without any trouble at all. Confidently ridden by Oliver Greenall, Chorizo was given the office at the top of the home run and he eased away to score by ten lengths. This was Chorizo’s fourth triumph of 2008 from five outings (he was an early casualty in the other) and who’s to say he won’t add to that tally in the next eight weeks. Jupiter’s Fancy filled second spot under John Dawson and was the only challenger to make a race of it with Chorizo from the third last. Considering that there was some give underfoot, this was an even more commendable effort. Should she encounter her favoured fast ground before the end of the season, either in a point or hunter chase, she will go close. There was a distance back to the rest. Lutin Du Moulin and Nathan Moscrop simply stayed on past beaten horses to be a distant third. Lutin Du Moulin was in the frame for third race running. Ben From Ketton was back in fourth. Queenies Girl got very tired in the last quarter mile having been prominent.
There was a big field of 17 for Division One of the Maiden and most were pretty experienced. Sukey Tawdray had previously raced over hurdles before coming to pointing this year and put in a gutsy display to land the trophy. Never far away, he was not for passing over the concluding two fences and dug deep for a well earned success. His attitude was top class and his pilot Charles Clark was registering his first victory in the saddle. Sukey Tawdray had broken a blood vessel on his pointing debut at Witton Castle before only giving best close home at Brocklesby Park, following which his jockey that day Jacqueline Coward spoke favourably of him. There is yet more improvement in Sukey Tawdray. Liverpool in second went down with all guns blazing for Jo Mason. Running on from the fourth from the finish, he never quite got there and found Sukey Tawdray nothing if not resolute. He has now thrice been beaten by five lengths or less and has shown more than enough to take a maiden. Find The Way, with Jo Foster on top, secured third and again ran his race. He hasn’t been able to quicken sufficiently yet, but is capable of collecting a small event. In fourth, Artic Omen is thought to prefer going right-handed, which gave this performance extra merit. This was a return to something like it for a horse that reached the frame regularly in 2007. Not without ability under Rules, Sergio Coimbra gave some encouragement and can progress further. Mystically was given every chance like at Charm Park in March, but didn’t have any answers when others were going forward. He is shaping like a non-stayer at three miles between the flags and a short maiden will possibly give him his best opportunity. Hello Noddy was disputing third and in contention when he got rid of Richard Smith at the third last. If he can get his act together in the jumping department, he won’t be far away. Hailes Hill Lad is a big fellow and evidently quite backward. Making his debut at the age of seven, he will do better in time.
Division Two of the Maiden featured 12 runners and Esme Rides A Gaine, with Chris Dawson in the plate, claimed the spoils. Whilst this won’t have been the strongest of affairs and they were well strung out, she really couldn’t have done much more. Esme Rides A Gaine has changed hands into the care of Julie Wilson since a couple of runs in February, on the first of which she had exhibited some promise. The penny had certainly dropped here and she put the favourite Culbann to the sword from three out. The grey has a bit more improvement in her was ten lengths ahead at the line. Culbann was outpaced in the home straight, but Mark Walford wasn’t hard on her when beaten. She can come on a little for this comeback and second was satisfactory. Romanov Rambler took third for Lee Bates and doesn’t have a change of gear, but might have a little race in him. Undoubtedly the horse to take from the race is fourth-placed Kayfhorn, who wasn’t knocked about by Jo Foster. The mare will learn a lot from the experience of this initial visit to a racecourse and was far from disgraced. Temple Wood may have needed his first run since the autumn. He was no great shakes over hurdles, but ought to make his presence felt in the future. High Moor pulled hard at the head of proceedings and it wasn’t a shock that he was eventually pulled up. He is sure to have found the outing of benefit.