Yorkshire Pointing Season Gets Under Orders
It was delayed a week, but the first Yorkshire point-to-point did not disappoint in terms of quantity or quality of horses, with winners coming from as far afield as Towcester. The ground was soft and fairly testing but the significant grass coverage meant the morning frost was beaten into submission and the racing got underway at 12 noon.
The first two races were divisions of the club race, sponsored by White Rose Saddlery, where jockeys who were not novice riders carried a 5lb penalty. Christy Furness was able to take advantage of his novice rider status and made his lighter weight count by taking the first division on his father John's Shantou Prince. Purchased in Ireland last year, the gelding has now won all three of his point-to-point starts and continues to progress. The pair won by a length from long time leader Mattara and Abbie McCain with Sportingfriendship half a length back in third under William Easterby. Winning owner John Furness retired as Chairman of the Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point Committee at the end of last season and on top of his winning owner presentation he was also given a painting of Shantou Prince to mark his retirement from the position he has held for 19 years.
William Easterby improved his placings in the second division to win on Carlton Ryan trained by Steph Easterby. The pair put in a great challenge to beat Fearthedark, who was ridden by Alex Vaughan-Jones and had led for most of the race. At one point he had a 15 length lead but tired going into the last which gave Carlton Ryan his winning opportunity.
Fifteen went to post for the Coniston Hotel Restricted Race, which was won by Susan Mason's Comedinewithme, ridden by Richard Smith. "We always knew she was nice," enthused Joanna Mason, the mare's former rider. "We're not sure where she will go next but we might look for a novice hunter chase for her," she continued. The mare pulled clear by an impressive 10 lengths from Asheanymoney, owned, trained and ridden by the winning owner's niece, Jacqueline Coward.
The Coral Bookmakers Ladies' Open Race was a quality affair with the 13 year old, Palypso De Creek still showing that he retains class and ability. "You do worry if they've still got it when they get to this age but I'm really pleased with how he's run," said winning Lincolnshire owner, trainer Mike Dawson who is aiming Palypso De Creek at the Wetherby hunter chase in February that he has won every year since 2013. Railway Dillon was 12 lengths behind under Emma Todd with Galant Nuit staying on for third under first time pilot Yasmin Eagle.
Gunmoney made the trip from Towcester worthwhile to take the Browns Department Stores Mens' Open race under Johnny Russell, who was also awarded the ride of the day for his front running tactics. He had to fend off the fast finishing Robbie and John Dawson but managed to keep them a length at bay in what was the fastest race of the day. Camden was six lengths further back in third for William Easterby.
Racing concluded with two maidens, the first was the Open Maiden sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors. Former hurdler Greensalt put his racecourse experience to good use to take this for William Easterby and this affirmed his position as the leading rider of the day. Young QC, another traveller from the Midlands was the main challenger but was held by two lengths and Filbert Fox was six lengths further back in third for Harry Kinder.
Racing UK sponsored the final young horse short maiden which went the way of Gray Wolf River who looked as though she would lose her maiden tag at Alnwick in December before running out at the last fence. She was ridden by Robert Hogg and winning trainer Neil Mechie commented, "She got a bit lonely out in front but really ran on after she jumped the last. She's only small but very tough and we might consider a career under rules for her." Freddy Coole was second by six lengths for William Easterby and The Ibbster was a neck back in third under Ed Glassonbury.
The next Yorkshire meeting is hosted by the Sinnington Hunt and takes place at Duncombe Park, Helmsley on Sunday 14th February.