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2023 Race Report

Kindly written by Peter Burgon

 

The Northern Area Point-to-Point season signed off on a high with 51 runners on Saturday's Haydon card at Hexham Racecourse.

Following a disappointing spell under Rules from Chris Grant's Billingham yard, Darius Des Sources has been given a new lease of life since changing hands last May and being dropped in class between the flags. Now with Malton-based Iana Stoyantcheva, the 10-year-old completed a hat-trick under Lois Teal in the High Plains Equestrian Centre Conditions Race. Sent on a mile from home, he didn't lose any momentum when making a few mistakes and stayed on well from two out to beat last month's Corbridge scorer Ask Cory (Chloe McHattie) by three-and-a-half lengths.

Born in Bulgaria, Syoyantcheva moved to Britain eight years ago to study at Sheffield University, where she gained a degree in genetics and microbiology. She said: ''I didn't expect all these wins - I just bought him to have some fun but he's become a different horse. He gets plenty of individual attention and that seems to have paid off.''

Cullin Hills regained the lead in the National Champion Horse standings with her seventh win of the season in the featured J S Hubbuck ltd Men’s Open Race and at the same time provided jockey Paddy Barlow with a 25th career Pointing winner. Given a positive ride, the 6-year-old took it up after the first before proceeding to make the rest of the running and still had eight lengths in hand over Shropshire raider Salvatore (Darren Andrews) at the finish, with Bintheredonethat (Ben Smith) in third. 17-year-old Smith, son of Galston trainer Mike Smith, was a clear-cut winner of the Northern Area Novice Riders' Championship, finishing 9pts ahead of Chloe McHattie in the final standings.

Sheriff Hutton-based handler Will Milburn said: ''She has exceeded all our expectations this year with 7 wins from 11 runs since mid-January and deserves a long holiday as she's been in training since August..''

Former 138-rated chaser Vivas rolled back the years with an impressive victory in the 2m4f Graham Reader Ltd Motor Engineer Ladies Open Race to clinch the Northern Area Ladies Championship for Natasha Cookson.

The evergreen 12-year-old, who raced against the likes of Frodon, Kingswell Theatre and Tiger Roll between October 2020 and March 2021 when trained by Charlie Longsdon, has been rejuvenated by the switch to James Cookson's Meldon yard near Morpeth. Always going well, he hit the front after two out before drawing clear to score by six lengths from Fightfortheroses (Charlotte Tailford), his third win from four starts for new connections.

Oxfordshire-based owner Charles Mathew made the long journey north to see his home-bred youngster Monknash (John Dawson) get off the mark at the fourth time of asking over fences in the 3m2f Shotton Waste Services Maiden Race. After heading odds-on favourite Whateveryousay (Lyall Hodgins) two out, the 5-year-old forged clear to win by eight lengths.

His in-form Malton-based trainer Jack Teal said: ''He wasn't broken in until last July and showed plenty of promise when runner-up on debut in an Alnwick Flat race in January. Things didn't go to plan on his first run over fences and he's been a bit unlucky but ran much better at Dingley last time.'' The winner is related to Gallic Prince who landed the 1989 Midlands Grand National in the same colours.

 

Equine dentist Lyall Hodgins sealed the Northern Area Men's Jockeys Championship for the second season in a row with victory on Hawkseye View in the 2m4f Jacksons of Hexham Maiden Race, his 25th career winner under all codes. The 4-year-old found another gear when it mattered in the home straight and had more in hand over Warwickshire raider Lord Pethers (Ellie Callwood) than the winning margin of one-and-a-half lengths might suggest. This well-related Telescope gelding should attract plenty of interest when he goes under the hammer at Goffs Doncaster Sales this week. For the record, his dam Noir Girl won a Worcester Bumper and a 2m4f Huntingdon Novices' Handicap Hurdle under Adam Nicol when trained by Philip Kirby.

Tanora (Jack Power) led throughout the final mile of the Lycetts Insurance Brokers & Financial Services Conditions Race and just did enough to hold off a late challenge from Cuneo (Lyall Hodgins) by half a length in the best time of the day. Owned and trained by Alexander Wilson, who is based near the recently closed Easingwold point-to-point track, the 8-year-old clearly relishes a stamina test and was well off at the weights here in receipt of 9lb from the runner-up.

An eventful InSync Physiotherapy Restricted Race saw odds-on favourite Carriglux (Joe Wright) depart at the first fence. At the business end of proceedings, Welsh raider Black Aphrodisiac (Henry Crow) was left in front three out before staying on strongly to beat Matthew Man (Charlotte Tailford) by six lengths.

This was a first winner at Hexham for Rhiannon Lodge, daughter of owner Robin Lewis, and just reward for making the 480-mile round trip from Newtown. Crow, who has just completed his second year at Bristol University studying Economics and Finance, said of the 9-year-old Black Sam Bellamy mare: ''They went too quick early on and I was quite content to wait before picking them off on the final circuit. She's an honest individual who stays all day and had plenty left in the tank.''

The main action was preceded by 3 pony races sponsored by Bespoke Financial Wellbeing.

The 7-runner 148cm Novice Riders contest was won by Captain Hurricane (Freddie Knowles) who had made the long journey from Herefordshire, with the minor placings filled by Willsarben 1 (Leah Barnfather) and Tulip Three (Amelia McFadyen).

Stretcholt Carousel (Warren Fentiman) won the 138cm Open Pony Race from Africa (Harley Blackwood) and Mohammed Ali (Cara Wilson), while the 148cm Open contest resulted in an eighth win of the season for Judge Fox (Caden Beasley) from Curragh Tulip (Jake Dickson) and I'm Making It (Cara Tuke).

A Northern Area Roundup

The Northern Area has fared much better than many parts of the country this season in terms of runners and field sizes, with the 10 meetings attracting a total of 438 runners and an average of 6.63 per race.

Images provided by Hattie Austin Sport Photography

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