A bumper crowd turned out in the sunshine for the Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire and Eglinton point-to-point fixture at Overton Farm, Crossford on Saturday. After a near clean sweep by Scottish-trained horses at Friars Haugh the previous week, it was the turn of the cross-border raiders to dominate with 5 winners from North Northumberland, 1 from North Yorkshire and 1 from County Durham, with the highlights being a four-timer for trainer, Victor Thompson and a treble for jockey, Kit Alexander.
Anthea Morshead combines her role as Clerk of the Course at Kelso and Cartmel with training a few pointers at her Brandsby yard and her first runner at the track, Locked Inthepocket came up trumps in The Goulding's Garden Centre 6 year olds and over Overton Racing Club Members Conditions Race. This was the first Northern Area Race, other than a young horse Maiden, to be run over the shorter trip of two and a half miles.
After being held up in the early stages under son, Henry, the 12 year old made smooth headway to lead at the final ditch, six from home. Left clear when Anzinger fell three out, he quickened up well between the last two fences to beat Tommysteel by six lengths.
Anthea said: "I bought him at Doncaster Sales three years ago out of Pauline Robson's yard and he's been great for Henry who had his point-to-point ride on him in January 2014. I spotted this race a while ago as the shorter trip is ideal for him and although he's had a few niggles this week whatever happened he was always going to run. This is a lucky course for us as Henry won his first pony race here a few years ago."
Henry, an 18 year old A-level student at Cheltenham College, added "He pricked his ears as soon as he hit the front and quickened clear."
Sposalizio made a winning reappearance under Kelly Bryson in a slowly run 4 runner Hillhouse Quarry Group Ltd Ladies Open Race. Always close up, he was produced with a well timed challenge to hit the front after two out before staying on strongly to secure a three lengths verdict over the favourite, Milano Magic. "You gave him a peach of a ride," said Wingate farmer, John Armstrong to Kelly of his Chris Dawson-trained charge, while she added: "He's magic. He jumped and travelled well from the off and did it quite easily in the end."
Sharivarry got the Victor Thompson bandwagon rolling in the STCS (Scotland) Ltd NPPA Club Members Race. Little Fritz (Ryan Nichol) held a narrow advantage from six out but had nothing more to give when headed at the last by Sharivarry. The latter kept on well under Kit Alexander to score by one and a half lengths, his fifth victory on his 48th career start.
Stable companion, Mr Shahady ended a two year losing run in the Royal Bank of Scotland Restricted Race. Always in the first three, the 11 year old jumped superbly under Kit Alexander and, with the benefit of a couple of recent outings in his locker, outstayed Paddy's Wish in the closing stages to win by one and a half lengths.
Court Painter, a £4800 purchase by Thompson at Doncaster Sales last May, has improved with every run this term and completed Alexander's treble in the Taggarts Land Rover Lanarkshire 4, 5 & 6 year olds Open Maiden Race over two and a half miles. The 6 year old led all the way, easily justifying odds-on favouritism to beat Bollin Buster by twenty lengths.
Thompson's red letter day was rounded off by S For Estuary in the Albert Bartlett & Sons (Airdrie) Ltd 6 year olds and over Open Maiden Race. Purchased for £6000 on the same day at Doncaster as Court Painter, the 7 year old never looked like being pegged back after taking control under Gary Beaumont on the home turn, and had six lengths to spare over Abbeygold at the line.
Klepht outclassed his rivals in the Park's Mitsubishi Men's Open Race under owner/trainer/rider Drew Holmes. He jumped well out in front and maintained a relentless gallop to beat Rossini's Dancer by a comfortable four lengths. He raced against the likes of Boston Bob and Darna under Rules and landed a Grade A 2m 4f Handicap Chase at the 2013 Punchestown Festival. Bought privately by Holmes last August, his main target is a 2m 5f Cheltenham Hunters' Chase on Wednesday 27th April.
The winners of the 3 pony races which preceded the main action were: Millie Butterfly ( Robbie Ashe), Stretcholt Hermes (Charlie Todd) and Doppio Movimento (Nick Barratt Atkin).