Racing took place at Yorkshire's newest course at Askham Bryan College on Sunday 22nd March, where competitive racing was the order of the day and the Maiden race had to be divided at declaration stage.
The day started with the Wetherby Racecourse and Conference Centre Confined Hunts Race where a field of seven went to post. The race was run in the quickest time of the day, which is quite remarkable considering none of the jockeys had any experience of the course, but Chris Dawson showed why he has been area champion three times by guiding Sposalizio into first place. Riding a patient race he asserted on the final bend and went on to win by six lengths from Kings Lodge and William Easterby in second and Pertemps Networks a further five lengths back in third ridden by Craig Hoggart. Craig was deputising for Joanna Mason who broke her back in a fall at the Hurworth meeting last Saturday. An operation was performed on Wednesday and she was present at the meeting to give final instructions.
Six of the seven entries turned up for the Yorkshire Agricultural Society Restricted race which was quite eventful. Genetic Code fell at the second fence on Sam Pugh's first ride, damaging the fence which had to removed for the remainder of the day. The Ketchup Kid fell on the final circuit and brought down Barton Jubilee, but the winner, Oh So Serious ridden by Max Johnson had already passed this pair and went on to win by a distance from the only other finisher, Prince of Ivagh and Chris Dawson. "He hung quite badly in his previous race at the Holderness but we had a pricker on him this time which really helped. He deserved to win a restricted so I'm really pleased," said Max Johnson. His win was made slightly easier by the departure of Burtredgipandgump at the final fence but he already looked held at this point.
The hosts, Askham Bryan College sponsored the Men's Open race where Force of Habit continued Sarah Dent's good vein of form, the trainer having won the Hurworth's equivalent last week with Executive's Hall. "He's got stacks of ability, but needs cajoling along," said Sarah. "He is very laid back and has a long stride so looks like he isn't doing a lot. I'm not sure where we will go next but he has form over two miles and is quite versatile," she added. The winner was ridden by John Dawson who beat his brother Chris on Know The Rules by three lengths and Zitenka finished four lengths further back for William Easterby.
Division One of the Caddick Construction Mens Open race saw Mr Mistopheles follow up on his impressive point-to-point debut last week to go two better and win this under Tommie Dowson. Hi Ho Julio was once again the bridesmaid under Chris Dawson and Twelveoclockhigh put last week's unseat behind him to finish third for William Easterby.
In Division Two, Shabach finally managed to get his head in front for Will Milburn, in a time four seconds quicker than the first division. "He deserved to win, he's learnt to settle this season and he's a genuine horse but I think cheek pieces just helped get that bit more out of him at the end," reported the winning jockey. "Ground is the key to him too, he needs it good or firmer," added Will. On Vacation pushed him to the line but was one and half lengths further back under Richard Tierney and Chantry Melody finished third for Andrew Bartlett.
Young Hurricane came out on top in the Rudding Park Ladies Open Race. Ridden by Freya Brewer, the pair rode a similar waiting race to that of their Charm Park victory and he was expertly produced to win by five lengths. "We were really pleased with him," reported trainer Guy Brewer. "He was good enough to win, despite not really handling the track," he added. French Seventyfive battled on well under Emma Todd to finish second by five lengths and Blackthirteen was third for Jess Gillam.
Only three turned out for the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members race for novice riders and much of the running was made by Scots Gaelic and Fionn McSharry. Craig Hoggart was once again aboard My Old Piano who took quite a hold and struggled for cover with only two other participants, however the pair were victorious although the win was made easier by the departure of Scots Gaelic at the last. Although My Old Piano was probably going slighty better, Scots Gaelic was really putting it up to him until making a mistake at the final fence. "We ran in the novice riders race because Craig didn't have a ride and it looked the easier option," explained Steph Easterby, My Old Piano's trainer. "This was his 27th point-to-point win and he's had one under rules. We'd like to get more than 32 wins to beat Urser's (trained by Steph's father in law Mick Easterby) record," she continued. James Wyatt finished in second under Alice Petch but the pair were beaten a distance.