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Zetland and Cleveland at Witton Castle
Sunday 2nd May 2021

by Will Milburn

This weekend brings the curtain down on a short but sweet season on the Yorkshire circuit as this year due to Covid the Zetland and Cleveland Hunts will hold a joint meeting at Witton Castle. Meetings will continue up and down the country until early June, including a meeting at Hexham two weeks this weekend. A healthy number of entries have been received with the first race starting at 2pm and watering will commence on Thursday where necessary. Please note that this meeting will be held behind closed doors, therefore no public will be permitted to attend.

The first race is a Conditions race for horses that have not won under rules or in open company for the last two seasons. Argot is a former course winner and was an easy winner last time at Shelfield Park, but is best suited to easy trips. Caviar d'Allen was third in a very hot race at Garthorpe recently and still looks on the upgrade, Dressedforsuccess was a restricted winner last time but this would take a career best, whilst Inca Gold made an encouraging point debut at the Bedale when third to Seefood. Lovely Job was a decent recruit under rules and Brian Harding knows how to get one ready despite have a lengthy absence to overcome. Olivers Gold has made to creditable performances in this sphere albeit the most recent ever was maybe a touch disappointing. Pillowman caused an upset in impressive style at Sheriff Hutton last time but has to take another step forward, Shepherds Cave returned from a lengthy absence to win the Hunt Members race at the Middleton, it was a very slowly run race but he has plenty of ability and should go well if building on that effort. Show And Go put up an impressive performance at Sheriff Hutton with some front running tactics, that was over 2m 4f and has to prove he stays 3 miles, whilst Winged Crusader is a prolific winner between the flags but doesn't look the force of old.

The Maiden has 26 entries and could split at the declaration stage, Will Easterbys Ask To Dance made an eye catching debut at Sheriff Hutton when 4th and this step up in trip should suit, Desjay made a very encouraging debut and can be forgiven his most recent blunder, Le Pinchy was about 10 lengths ahead of Ask To Dance last time, whilst Master Thyne made a good return and with the yard in good form could be one to go close. Thornton Le Clay has been disappointing after a close second at the Hurworth, whilst the Cowards pair in Ridelonglivelong and Three o'clock Fox could have chances with the latter taking a massive step forward on his bumper debut.

The Ladies Open looks between Argot and Seefood, the former relishes fast ground and will prefer the speed test of a Ladies race, however Seefood was a class act on his day and although advancing in age still looks to retain plenty of ability. Olivers Gold could fill the places along with Merrion Avenue and Thyne For Gold.

The Mens Open has attracted only 4 entries but all look to have an equal chance, Refusal most likely needed his return effort at Sheriff Hutton when pulling up, Royal Chant relishes fast ground and was not disgraced last time in a match race at Sedgefield, whilst Shantou Prince showed up well for a long way at Garthorpe but doesn't quite look the force of old. Stellar Notion however has been lightly raced over the last couple of seasons but got back to winning ways when winning at the Bedale meeting recently and could be the best of these on old form.

The Veteran race is for 9yo and upwards, southern raider Duke Arcadio was a no show at Sheriff Hutton and finished well behind a couple of these, Game As A Pheasant appears to struggle for a turn of foot but has still been running very creditably this season including an easy win at the Hurworth in which he is penalised for. Lovely Job was a winner last time out at Chepstow but that was April of 2019 and has been off the track for 2 years but has a chase mark of 130. Show And Go was impressive last time, whilst Six A Side continues to hold his form at the age of 13 and was runner up to Monbeg Chit Chat at Sheriff Hutton with the pair well clear of the third. Winged Crusader is held by Game As A Pheasant on form and pulled up on his recent start in a Hexham Hunter Chase.

The final race is the Restricted and Ballymac Boy took a good step forward when finishing third to Pillowman at Sheriff Hutton, Love Around has been very disappointing since winning the point to point bumper at Stratford whilst Rossderrin looked to hold every chance at Sherriff Hutton until blundering away his chances late on. Super Lunar was very disappointing recently but his form prior to that would give him every chance and Teescomponents Boy was close up with Ballymac Boy on his most recent run.

 

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