Good things come to those who wait and that was certainly the case for twice retired jockey, Will Ramsay, 46, who ended an eight year drought with a double on Great Gusto and Flying Master in Saturday's Lauderdale fixture at Mosshouses.
Great Gusto took advantage of a bad mistake by the favourite, Annie Aces to hit the front three out in the Whiterigg NPPA Club Members Race before asserting his superiority from the next to score, with plenty in hand, by five lengths. The consistent Back On The Road, who was carrying top weight of 12st 6lb and making his 50th career start, was only a short head behind Annie Aces in third.
Ramsay, who is based near Coldstream and runs his own company, Affordable Art Fairs, has got the racing bug again since acquiring Great Gusto last year after seeing it advertised for sale on the internet. "I made sure I could do the correct weight after carrying 2lbs extra at Balcormo last week and my efforts have paid off," he said.
For the record, Ramsay's last winner before Saturday was on 31st March 2007 on Mitchel Henry in the Berwickshire Members Race, in which he beat Indien Du Boulay, ridden by his brother, Charles, by a short head.
In an incident packed 3 runner Musselburgh Racecourse and Royal Dick Vet Open Maiden Race, the favourite, Lay De Brook was just in front when running through the wing of the fourth last and two fences later, when running loose, she carried out the new leader, Flying Central, who looked certain to make a winning debut under Gary Beaumont. Their departures left Flying Master in splendid isolation and the 12 year old safely negotiated the last two fences to unexpectedly break his duck and provide Ramsay with a second career double. His Duns-based owner/trainer, Doreen Calder said: "He was out in the field last Monday ready to be roughed off for the season when I found out there were so few Maiden entries. I only decided to enter him at the last minute, mainly as company for my newcomer, Flying Central, and didn't expect him to win."
Coincidentally, Flying Master made a belated hunt racing debut at Mosshouses five years ago to the day in the Lauderdale Restricted. His grandam, Eye Valley, won 11 Points (including a 5-timer in her Members) and was placed 21 times for Doreen. In a riding career spanning more than 25 years, she partnered 96 winners, including 24 under Rules, with 58 of those wins on the legendary Flying Ace.
For Morpeth-based jockey, Drew Holmes, the point-to-point world provides a welcome distraction from his high pressure job overseeing international sales and product placement for men's fashion designer, Nigel Cabourn. He had Ballyvesey up with the pace from the outset in the McTear's Men's Open Race and, after being briefly headed three out by Boy In Bangkok, regained the initiative from the next to win by one and a half lengths. Holmes said: "He deserved that after so many near misses this season and it's a pity that my grandfather, James Adams, who owns him, couldn't make it today."
Apart from a last fence blunder, Dannanceys Hill jumped superbly under Amie Waugh when making every yard of the running in the Watson Seeds Restricted Race to beat Paddy's Wish by four lengths. Waugh, who also trains the 8 year old for Tim Leslie, said: "That was awesome. He was suited by the better ground and could run in a Ladies Open or Hunters' Chase later in the month."
Appropriately, just three days after celebrating her 21st birthday, the talented Joanna Walton recorded her 21st career winner, including 7 under Rules, on Oscar Stanley in the A F Noble & Son Ladies Open Race. Still lying sixth with a mile to go, the 8 year old picked off his rivals one by one from five out before hitting the front at the last and galloped on strongly all the way to the line to repel a renewed challenge from Temple Green by a neck. Walton said: "He has a high cruising speed and was probably suited by having 14lbs less to carry on his first run in Ladies company. He was jumping a bit right at his fences early on but gradually warmed to his task, quickened up nicely when I gave him a squeeze after four out and he met the last three fences perfectly."
Placed only once from thirteen starts under Rules for Rose Dobbin, Oscar Stanley has been rejuvenated since joining Bonchester Bridge handler, Diana Walton eighteen months ago and being switched between the flags. Diana Blythe's charge has now won thrice and been placed four times from twelve Pointing starts.
Tom Hamilton took his career tally between the flags to 40 on Chandos in the Bentley Homes Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 & 7 year olds and is now only 8pts behind Nick Orpwood in the Northern Area Men's Jockeys Championship with three fixtures remaining. After failing to finish in four of his five previous outings between the flags, Chandos benefited from a positive, front-running ride and jumped more fluently than the favourite, Catchamat. However, after poaching a five lengths lead six out, Hamilton's mount was gradually reeled in by Catchamat before pulling out a bit extra when it mattered and had three parts of a length in hand at the line.
This was a popular success for Scottish owner, James Adam, his first at a point-to-point for many years. Sandy Thomson, husband of the 7 year old's Greenlaw-based handler, Quona Thomson, said: "We bought him out of Andy Turnell's yard three years ago. He is still a bit green but is a staying chaser in the making and has a very low handicap mark. He might run again at Aspatria next Saturday." Five hours after scoring on Chandos, 19 year old Hamilton completed an across the card double on Cave Hunter in the prestigious Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase at Hexham.
The policy of backing the outsider in a three horse contest came up trumps again in the Baro Castlecoole Border Hunts Club Members Race, in which the Lesley Coltherd-trained gelding, Damiens Dilemma finished alone. Carrying the colours of Northern Area Point-to-Point Chairman, Robert Miller-Bakewell, the 7 year old dictated a strong pace under Harriett Bryce and was still two lengths up when Farm Pixie ran out through the wing at the last. The odds-on favourite, The Gotfor Man was struggling in third at the time after jumping poorly and another blunder at the last gave Tom Hamilton no chance of keeping the partnership intact. This was a second career success for Bryce, 20, who works full-time for Selkirk-based National Hunt and Flat trainer, Stuart Coltherd, who said: "He has taken his racing well since coming to us from Ireland in early January, winning three of his six starts, and could go the Haydon meeting in a fortnight."