Race Meeting Reports - 2014 (2013 reports here)
13th March 2014 - report | 31st March - report | 14th April - report | 3rd May - report | 10th May - report | 27th May - report | 7th June - report | 14th June - report | 22nd June - report and Ladies' Day Prize winners here | 3rd October - report | 11th October - report | 7th November - report | 19th November - report |
Yarridge Heights Race Meeting Not For The Faint Hearted
Horses, jockeys and racegoers braved the harshest of elements and conditions at the exciting penultimate National Hunt race meeting of the year at Yarridge Heights.
More than 40 mm of rain, which fell in the five days prior to the meeting, resulted in the heaviest of going while storm clouds and heavy showers throughout the afternoon failed to dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic racegoers.
Their reward was the best of traditional jumps racing with exciting finishes and outstanding performances in several contests on the seven race card.
Feature race, and one of the most eagerly awaited races of the year, did not disappoint.
The Northumberland County Handicap Chase, run over a gruelling, strength sapping four mile course and twenty three fences saw all five entrants negotiate three circuits of the track before Snuker (11/4), pictured left, trained by James Ewart at Langholm, ridden brilliantly by Lucy Alexander just got the better of long time leader Silver Dragon (5/2 favourite) trained by Tony Coyle at Norton, ridden by Dougie Costello by just one length in a breathtaking finish.
The winner, a heavy going specialist with a particular liking for the Hexham contours, relished the marathon trip which took just nine seconds under ten minutes to complete.
The victory was a first for the jockey - trainer partnership. Connections and backers were full of praise for the sterling efforts of both jockey and horse in such testing conditions.
Gloomy skies and drenching rain accompanied the runners in the first race on the card, the Acomb Juvenile Maiden Hurdle run over en extended two miles.
Eight maiden three year olds went to post and 6/4 favourite Deep Resolve, pictured right, ridden by Paul Maloney, the only runner on the card for trainer Alan Swinbank led throughout and drew clear to finish strongly from surprise outsider Hatton Springs, at generous odds of 50/1, trained by Stuart Coltherd at Selkirk, ridden by Derek Fox. The winning margin was thirteen lengths.
Another jockey - trainer combination to have just one runner on the day triumphed in the second race, the At The Races Novices' Limited Handicap Chase run over three miles one furlong and seventeen fences.
Just four horses competed with front runner Moyode Wood (4/1), pictured left, trained by Brian Ellison at Malton, ridden by Danny Cook, the outsider of four, staying on well to record a nine length victory from Strike Fast (11/4) trained by William Kinsey at Ashton, Cheshire, ridden by Harry Challoner.
The other two runners Simarthur (5/2) and 9/4 favourite Houndscourt failed to finish.
Followers of trainers with just one entry at the meeting were rewarded for a third consecutive time when Chieftain's Choice (5/6 favourite) trained by John Quinn at Malton, ridden by James Reveley confirmed backers' support with an easy eight length victory in the EBF Stallions/At The Races National Hunt Novices' Hurdle. Second was 25/1 outsider Central Flame trained by James Walton at Morpeth ridden by Miss C. Walton.
Northumberland family connections were celebrating after the Northumbria Handicap Hurdle run over two and a half miles.
The winner Dun To Perfection (9/4 favourite) is trained at Otterburn by Susan Corbett, is owned by husband Frank and was ridden by son James. Susan was also involved in the breeding of the winner.
The seven year old, a previous winner at Hexham in May, went clear before the last obstacle and finished strongly to record a thirteen length victory from top weight Allez Cool (3/1) trained by John Wade at Sedgefield, ridden by Brian Hughes.
With the storm clouds unrelenting, the penultimate race The Hexham Abbey Novices' Handicap Chase over an extended two miles and eleven fences was another triumph for favourite backers when well supported Uno Valoroso (15/8 favourite), pictured right, trained by Mark Walford at Sheriff Hutton, ridden by Tony Kelly went clear at the last obstacle and stayed on well to beat 20/1 outsider Alfred Oats trained by Robert Goldie at Kilmarnock, ridden by Brian Hughes by three and a quarter lengths.
The final race on the card was the Durham CCC Royal London Cup Winners' Handicap Hurdle named in recognition of Durham County Cricket Club's victory at Lords in September.
The race, run over an extended two miles saw a repeat performance by last year's winner Tikkandemickey (6/1), pictured left, trained by Raymond Shiels at Jedburgh, ridden by Darragh Bourke.
The victor was carrying ten pounds more this year and, on similar ground the performance was one of the most impressive of the meeting as Tikkandemickey, wearing a hood for the first time, asserted authority at the top of the hill and ran on to record a notable victory, by eleven lengths, from 2/1 favourite Walser trained by John Wade, ridden by Brian Hughes.
After the race Durham CCC Director of Cricket Geoff Cooke presented mementoes to the winning connections.
"Delightfully" Autumnal Race Meeting at Yarridge Heights
Tynedale was at its Autumnal best for the latest National Hunt race meeting when once again dire warnings of rain and high winds failed to materialise.
The fondness owners show to their horses was to the fore in the last race, the "Delightfully" Memorial Handicap Hurdle which was sponsored by racing enthusiast Robert Boyd who was the owner of a horse called Delightfully which was in training with Lucinda Russell. Under Robert’s ownership, Delightfully won the Golden Plover Handicap Hurdle over 3 miles at Hexham in March 2011.
Delightfully passed away peacefully in retirement just a few months ago.
The "Delightfully" three mile hurdle provided punters with an exciting two horse finish as victory went to the 7/2 favourite Madam Lilibet (photo right) trained at Richmond by Sharon Watt, ridden by Joseph Palmowski.
The winner, fit from a flat victory in the mud at Pontefract last month, gained a three quarter length victory from recent Wetherby winner Trafficker (4/1) from Graeme McPherson's stable, which had made the long journey from Stow-On-The Wold, ridden by Ryan Hatch.
Before the race, sponsor Robert Boyd presented a £50 best turned out award and the winning owner Mr. D.H. Montgomerie received a bronze horse head with the race name and date engraved on a plaque.
The meeting got off to an impressive start when the Lucky 7th. National Hunt Maiden Hurdle over an extended two miles proved to be a runaway victory for hurdles debutante It's High Time (5/2) (photo left) trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross, ridden by Wilson Renwick.
The winner led from three out and recorded an easy nine length victory from Always Tipsy (7/1) trained by N.W. Alexander, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen.
There was a shock result for punters in the second race The SIS National Hunt Novices' Hurdle over two and a half miles, when two rank outsiders were first and second past the post.
Victory by six lengths went to Red Tortue (photo right) at generous odds of 18/1 trained by Mark Walford at Sheriff Hutton, ridden by Jake Greenall.
Second, at even more generous odds of 33/1, was Allez Cool trained by John Wade at Sedgefield, ridden by John Dawson.
The victory was particularly poignant for owner Andrew Nicholls as it is his first ever winner.
Jockey Jake Greenall claimed a quick double and gave favourite backers some respite in the third race, The Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Novices' Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong and nineteen fences.
In a strength sapping, thrilling contest Jake's mount, Brave Buck (9/4 favourite) (photo left) trained by Henry Daly at Ludlow was making a chasing debut and defied top weight of eleven stone twelve pounds to beat Apache Pilot (8/1) trained by Maurice Barnes at Brampton, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen by a mere head.
The winner was conceding almost two stone in weight to the second home.
Presentations to the winning connections were made by Nick Craven, Commercial Director at Weatherbys.
Six runners went to post for the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase over two and a half miles and fifteen fences.
Soft ground specialist Milan Royale (100/30) (photo right) trained by Kevin Hunter at Natland, ridden by Callum Bewley led from four out to record a one and a half length victory from top weight Hallmark Star (11/2) trained by Lucinda Russell, ridden by Derek Fox.
There was another shock for punters in the Rowlands Chartered Accountants Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles when bottom weight Mrs. Grass trained by Jonathan Haynes at Brampton, ridden by Diarmuid O'Regan romped home by twelve lengths at odds of 16/1.
With an Official Rating of just sixty six and racing from seven pounds out of the handicap, it was twenty second time lucky as Mrs. Grass (photo left) shed her maiden tag.
Second was Nouveau Moulin (100/30) a long distance traveller from Michael Scudamore's stable at Bromash, ridden by Liam Treadwell. Trainer Michael and jockey Liam gained quick recompense in the next race The Ramside Handicap Chase over three miles and one furlong and nineteen fences.
Just four runners went to post and joint favourite No Through Road (11/8) (photo right) justified the long journey from Bromash by beating the other joint favourite Snuker trained by James Ewart at Langholm, ridden by Daragh Bourke by three and a quarter lengths.
Treble for Top Hexham Trainer Lucinda Russell
The contrasting fortunes of National Hunt Racing for owners, trainers and jockeys were sharply in focus when Hexham staged one of the most important meetings of the year at Yarridge Heights.
The Intu Metrocentre Eldon Square sponsored meeting saw top trainer, and Hexham favourite, Lucinda Russell bounce back from a very disappointing blank day at Carlisle on Friday by taking Yarridge Heights by storm a day later recording three wins and a close second from four entries.
Picnics and exciting finishes were the order of the day as the largest attendance of the year basked in Indian summer weather.
The seven race card was sponsored for the nineteenth successive year by Intu Metrocentre and Intu Eldon Square, the Region's two leading shopping centres.
The card got off to a thrilling start with two leaders going head to head across the line in the opening Intu Metrocentre Always A Winner Novices' Handicap Chase
run over two and a half miles.
Cobajayisland (7-1, photo), photo left, trained by Lucinda Russell ridden by Peter Buchanan was judged to have just pipped Carlanstown (3/1 favourite) trained by Gordon Elliott in Ireland ridden by Noel Fehily, who was making his first visit to Hexham for five years.
Favourite backers were rewarded in the second race, the Intu Eldon Square Heart of The City Mares' Novices Hurdle over an extended two miles.
It was an action replay from the last Hexham meeting for Be My Present (7/4 favourite), photo right, ridden by Daragh Bourke for new trainer James Ewart from Langholm.
The winner repeated a course and distance win, strolling home by twenty five lengths from Nautical Twilight (20-1) trained by Malcolm Jefferson at Malton ridden by Brian Hughes.
Lucinda Russell struck again in the third race, The Intu Metrocentre Always A Great day In Handicap Chase run over two and a half miles.
In another exciting finish reminiscent of the first race, top weight Clondaw Knight (5/2 favourite), photo left, another Peter Buchanan ride for Lucinda, triumphed over Qoubilai(6-1) trained by Tony Coyle at Norton ridden by Dougie Costello, by half a length.
The long journey for in form trainer Gordon Elliot, who had brought four horses from Ireland, was rewarded in the Intu Eldon Square Alive After Five Handicap Hurdle over three miles when jockey Wilson Renwick took the lead four out on outsider and top weight Bless The Wings (11/1), photo right, to record a one and a quarter length victory from bottom weight Solway Sam (100/30 favourite) trained by Lisa Harrison at Wigton ridden by Ryan Day. The winner opened in the betting at 11/2 before drifting out to 11/1.
Favourite backers had better fortunes in the Intu Metrocentre Platinum Mall Maiden Hurdle over two and a half miles which was won by Ride The Range (13/8 favourite), photo left, trained by Chris Grant at Billingham ridden by Brian Hughes.
In another nail biting finish the winner just got a head in front of second placed Uisge Beatha (100/30) ridden by Craig Nichol to deprive trainer Lucinda Russell of her third win in five races. The top trainer did not have to wait long however to complete a well deserved treble.
In the penultimate race on the card, the Intu Eldon Square World Class Service Handicap Chase over an extended two miles, Lucinda's entry Shine A Diamond (85/40 favourite), photo right, was given a very confident ride by Graham Watters, breaking clear two out, to record a seven length victory from Milan Royale (8/1) trained by Kevin Hunter at Natland, Cumbria ridden by Callum Bewley.
The win left a delighted trainer Lucinda Russell and her partner Peter Scudamore reflecting on the vagaries of National Hunt racing after their fruitless day before at Carlisle.
Fourteen runners went to post for the traditional end of meeting "bumper", the Intu Metrocentre Always A Safe Bet Intermediate Flat Race over an extended two miles.
Backing the favourite in a "bumper" is a well known betting tactic which came up trumps when, in a four horse finish, Luccombe Down (5/2 favourite), photo left, trained by John Quinn at Malton ridden by Dean Pratt passed the post half a length in front of Iffjack (9/1) trained by Gordon Elliott in Ireland ridden by Luke Dempsey. The winner had finished second in both recent starts in "bumpers."
Northern Trainers Triumph at Yarridge Heights
Regular racegoers at Yarridge Heights last Friday were full of praise for Hexham's apparent micro-climate as the heavy rain, forecast from mid morning, failed to materialise and the Course remained good- good to firm in places.
National Hunt racing returned after the summer break with a record eight race card which provided a large and enthusiastic crowd with some exciting contests.
Proceedings got underway with the Great North Run Million Selling Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles.
The race was a family triumph for owner Neville Ender from Malton whose six year old Grey Monk (left) was a first winner under rules for his daughter Sara who has rented a yard at Malton since January.
The 5/4 joint favourite, ridden by Nathan Moscrop beat the other joint favourite Cygnet, trained by Peter Bowen at Havorfordwest by an impressive nine lengths.
There was further excitement in the winners' enclosure when, at the subsequent auction, owner Neville Ender had to "buy in" the winner for 5,800guineas.
Remarkably just a few weeks ago Grey Monk was bought by the current owner at the Doncaster Sales for just 2,500 guineas.
Even more surprising, two years ago in Ireland, Grey Monk was sold as a four year old for 210,000 Euros.
After the race Tracy Cramond (right) from Darlington, the one millionth runner to cross the finishing line since the Great North Run started, presented mementoes to the winning connections.
There were several memorial races on the card the first being the Kath and Ray Hawkey Memorial Maiden Hurdle over an extended two miles.
Ray Hawkey was father in law of former trainer Howard Johnson. For many years he was a regular and well known visitor to Hexham and was one of the most respected and knowledgeable figures in National Hunt racing.
The race developed into a two horse affair and was a triumph for favourite backers as 4/9 Hurricane Hollow (left) trained by Keith Dalgleish in South Lanarkshire ridden by Wilson Renwick confidently took the lead before the last obstacle to win by six lengths from promising Brick Layer (8/1) trained by Donald McCain at Cholmondeley ridden by Adrian Lane.
After the race Carol Deverill, daughter of Kath and Ray Hawkey presented mementoes to winning connections.
One of the most popular victories of the meeting was in the Novices' Limited Handicap Steeplechase over an extended two and a half miles.
Racing stalwart Harvey Smith was delighted to see Wakanda (100-30) (right) trained by Harvey's wife Sue at Bingley, and top jockey Ryan Mania's only ride of the day, survive hitting the tenth fence to rally and win by six lengths.
Second was Purcell's Bridge (9/2) trained by Rose Dobbin at Alnwick ridden by Graham Watters.
Loyal Supporters of racing at Hexham, Youngs RPS sponsored the Handicap Hurdle, again over an extended two and a half miles.
The winner Phoenix Returns (9/4 favourite (left) was the only entry by in form trainer Alan Swinbank from Richmond. It was also jockey Paul Maloney's only ride of the day and the victory made the long journey from his base in Warwickshire well worth while.
Second placed Bell Weir (5/2) trained by Dianne Sayer at Penrith ridden by Henry Brooke made a two horse race of the contest and in an exciting finish the winner came home by two and a quarter lengths.
The Campbell Gillies (pictured right) Memorial Handicap Chase was another race which remembered one of the most popular and successful jockeys at Hexham and throughout the North.
The race, run over an extended two miles, was won in great style by Toledo Gold (5/1) trained by Maurice Barnes at Brampton ridden by Michael McAllister.
The winner was clear from three out and beat off a challenge from second place Morning Time (3/1 favourite) trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross ridden by Peter Buchanan passing the winning post three and a quarter lengths ahead of the favourite.
After the race Campell Gillies' family led by mum Lesley Gillies (left) presented mementoes to winning connections.
Despite reports of heavy rain in various parts of Northumberland and Cumbria, Yarridge Heights remained dry as the last three races on the card got underway.
Despite only four runners going to post for the BHEST Novices Hurdle over three miles, the race provided racegoers with an exciting contest.
The race, which supported the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust, a registered charity, heralded the appearance of champion jockey A.P. McCoy who had travelled to Hexham for two rides.
In his first he was beaten into second place by top weight ridden by Jason Maguire, Patsys Castle (2/1) (right) which had also made a long journey from Kim Bailey's yard at Cheltenham.
McCoy's mount Cut The Corner, the 10/11 favourite, which had travelled from Dr. Richard Newland's yard in Claines near Worcester, made it a two horse race but a mistake by Cut The Corner at the last obstacle gave the winner a three and a quarter length victory.
The penultimate race, The 55 Years of Postal Codes Interactive Handicap Chase, over three miles one furlong, was another disappointment for favourite and Champion Jockey followers when Tony McCoy's mount West End (15/8 favourite) trained by Kim Bailey at Cheltenham could only finish third behind Presenting Junior (5/1 (left) trained at Penrith by Martin Todhunter which gave jockey Wilson Renwick a well earned double.
Second at 9/2 was Settledoutofcourt trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Craig Nichol. The winner stayed on well to win by three quarters of a length
The final race of a long afternoon, The Hexhamshire Handicap Hurdle over three miles, was another triumph for a popular Northumberland family, trainer Susan Corbett from Otterburn and her son, jockey James Corbett who gave Ballyresode (7/2) (right) a confident ride.
Leading from two out and drawing clear at the last he cruised home by twenty six lengths from 7/4 favourite Beyondtemptation trained at Brampton by Jonathan Haynes and ridden by Diarmuid O'Regan.
Meeting - 22nd June - Ladies' Day - Prize Winners Revealed here
Ladies' Day Sunshine Brings Out The Best In North East Fashion
Picnics and posh frocks were the order of the day at Yarridge Heights last Sunday when racegoers proved that, whatever Royal Ascot could achieve, the North East could match or even better.
The annual Totepool Ladies' Day National Hunt meeting proved so popular with owners and trainers that two races on the original six races card had to be divided giving punters a great value eight race card.
The weather was positively balmy as nine runners went to post for the Bet totejackpot Novices' Hurdle run over an extended two miles and eight obstacles.
Bottom weight El Massivo trained by Brian Ellison at Malton and ridden by Danny Cook went off hot favourite at 4/6 but some indifferent jumping ruined his chances and he could only finish a poor third.
Winner was top weight Alderbrook Lad (15/8), pictured right, by Micky Hammond at Middleham and ridden by Joe Colliver. The winner made all and went clear before the last recording a five length victory from Indalo Return (15/2) trained by Philip Kirby at Middleham and ridden by Mr. P. Dennis.
Favourite backers gained revenge in the second race, division two of the first race. Odds on favourite at 2/7 Lyric Street, pictured left, trained by Donald McCain at Cholmondeley and ridden by Wilson Renwick started badly but by half way, a two horse race had developed and the favourite finally got his act together to beat Lucky Cody (7/1) trained by Brian Ellison at Malton and ridden by Nathan Moscrop, by five lengths.
The Bet toteplacepot Conditional Jockeys' Selling Hurdle over three miles and twelve obstacles was another disappointment for favourite backers whose selection Andreo Bambaleo (7/4 favourite), another Brian Ellison runner with Craig Gallagher on board, tailed off and was pulled up before the last hurdle.
Victory went to Malton trainer Philip Kirby's Jawaab (15/2), pictured right, ridden by Adam Nichol.
Despite a nineteen length victory from another fancied runner Baccalaureate (15/8) trained by Sue Smith at Bingley and ridden by Callum Bewley, the winner attracted no bids in the ensuing auction.
Just five runners went to post for the first steeplechase of the day the Bet totequadpot Novices' Chase over an extended two miles and twelve fences.
The changing fortunes of favourite backers were to the fore when Lucinda Russell and jockey Peter Buchanan's only runner of the day Imjoeking (5/6 favourite), pictured left, jumped far better than in previous outings to record an eight length victory over Harrys Whim (7/2) trained at Brampton by Maurice Barnes and ridden by Michael McAlister.
The winning connections were delighted with the victory as they had considered withdrawing their runner on Sunday morning because of the fast ground.
After Brian Ellison's disappointments in earlier races the popular trainer gained compensation in fine style in the Bet toteexacta Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles and ten obstacles.
George Fernback (3/1), pictured right, ridden by Danny Cook gained a most impressive sixteen length victory from 25/1 outsider Five Rivers trained by Susan Corbett at Otterburn and ridden by her son James Corbett.
Form followers needed to dig deep to find the winner of the Bet toteswinger Handicap Chase over thee miles and one furlong and nineteen fences.
St. Gregory, pictured left, last two chase outings resulted in being pulled up and last by 50 lengths in a nine race field. On Sunday trainer Nicky Richards from Greystoke fitted blinkers and jockey Brian Harding was able to steer the 5/1 shot, which was 14/1 overnight, to a first ever chase win by fifteen lengths from Solway Dornal trained by Lisa Harrison at Wigton and ridden by Ryan Day.
Once again the favourite Forestside (4/1 favourite) trained by Barry Murtagh at Carlisle and ridden by Brian Hughes disappointed finishing only sixth some fifty lengths distant from the winner.
The second division of the Handicap Chase saw nine runners go to post and was a facile win by forty five lengths for Knight Woodsman (11/2), pictured right, trained by R. Mike Smith at Galston and ridden by Callum Bewley.
The winner's stamina seemed to tell and some sketchy jumping by the second horse Winter Alchemy (15/2) trained by Nicky Richards and ridden by Brian Harding assured an easy victory.
The winner turned the tables on third placed favourite Everylasting (9/4 favourite) trained by Rose Dobbin at Alnwick and ridden by Craig Nichol.
At Hexham two weeks ago, Everylasting was second and Knight Woodsman was seven lengths away in fourth place.
There was a considerable gamble, and ultimate disappointment for many backers in the final race of the day the Bet totetrifecta Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles and eight hurdles.
The gambled on horse De Chissler (5/2 favourite) trained by Martin Todhunter at Penrith and ridden by Graham Watters led early in the race but weakened approaching the last obstacle and could only finish sixth.
Bookmakers reaped the benefit as 33/1 outsider Sohcahtoa, pictured left, trained by Andrew Crook at Leyburn and ridden by John Kington fought out an exciting finish with another outsider Koh Samui (18/1) trained at Hawick by Alistair Whillans and ridden by Grant Cockburn. Sohcahtoa finally triumphed by just half a length.
All eight races at the meeting were generously sponsored by Totepool whose representative Will Reynolds presented mementoes to winning connections after each race.
Totepool also presented £100 cash awards to the stable lads and lasses judged to have the best turned out horse in each race.
Racing is now in summer recess at Yarridge Heights and will resume on Friday October 3rd.
Ascot Of The North Gives Judges A Difficult Task
Yarridge Heights was a kaleidoscope of colour as the sunshine and warm temperatures brought high fashion to Hexham's Totepool Ladies' Day race meeting, now regarded as "The Ascot of the North"
Lesley Lister and her team from Tyne Tees Models once again had the unenviable task of judging the many breathtaking and varied outfits and accessories.
Lesley told the Courant;
"Making a decision in all the categories gets more and more difficult each year.
"On Sunday the lovely weather brought out the best in both female and male fashion proving that courses like Hexham can put on a memorable fashion show"
Lesley and her team spend several hours among racegoers searching out the fashion highlights.
A large, enthusiastic crowd gathered around the winners' enclosure to congratulate the winners.
Donna Laws from Heworth was crowned Best Dressed Lady winning a champagne afternoon tea and Spa treatment for two at De Vere Slaley Hall.
Elaine and Kelvin Stainforth from Durham were judged the most elegant couple and won a one night stay at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham City.
The wearer of the best hat was Jill Mawston from Tynemouth who received a £50 gift voucher for Hay's Travel and a makeover by Transcend Hair and Beauty, Hexham.
Nine year old Jessica Crystal from Newcastle Upon Tyne gained appreciative "Ahs" from admirers as she stepped up to receive her prize as the Best Dressed Little Miss.
She received four tickets to see Disney On Ice at The Metro Radio Arena Newcastle.
There were special cheers for the nine brave jockeys who entered the "Best Looking Jockey" Competition which was gave Sheffield based Joe Colliver a unique double.
Not only did he win the first race on board Micky Hammond's Alderbrook Lad, he also was crowned "most handsome jockey."
Joe was presented with a selection of male cosmetics by judges Sophie Brown and Christine Rutherford from Transcend Hair and Beauty, Hexham.
To cool him down after his momentous win, his fellow jockeys decided to drench him in buckets of water usually reserved for the equine inhabitants of the winners' enclosure.
International Recognition for National Hunt Racing at Hexham.
The reputation of Hexham Racecourse continues to grow both Nationally and Internationally. Following a visit to a recent meeting by a group of twenty racing enthusiasts from Australia the latest globe trotting racegoers to visit Yarridge Heights for last Saturday's meeting were from New York.
During the afternoon, the Racecourse office also received a phone call from a punter in Melbourne Australia who was watching the racing on television and was inspired to telephone and confirm how beautiful the Course and Tynedale looked.
Nationally, Hexham is attracting more and more owners, trainers and racegoers from throughout Britain.
A further example of the growing reputation, was a very rare visit last Saturday by horses from leading trainer Nicky Henderson's stable which made the 600 mile round trip from Lambourn in Berkshire. Hexham old timers were racking their brains to remember when Nicky last had a runner at Hexham while head lad in charge of the two runners, Richard Nicholas, believed that the trainer had a winner with a horse called Dancing Bay in 2003. Courant readers may know better.
An added bonus for the large and enthusiastic crowd was a quick return by champion jockey Tony McCoy.
The meeting was a first to be held at the Course in aid of the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity supported by a number of regional companies.
Racing got underway with the St Martins Care Amateur Riders Handicap Hurdle over three miles and twelve obstacles which was won by Rev Up Ruby (17/2) trained by George Bewley at Hawick and ridden by Miss Joanne Walton (photo right).
The winning margin from Tartan Tiger (100/30), trained by John Quinn at Malton and ridden by Robert Hawker, was just a head.
Unluckiest trainer and jockey of the day were Alexandra Dunn and Mr. J. Smith- Maxwell who travelled more than 300 miles from Somerset only for their horse Jetnova to refuse to race at the start.
The McCoy-Henderson combination were quick to score in the second race, the Andy Calvert Celebration Novices Hurdle over an extended two miles and eight obstacles.
Odds on at 5/6 favourite Vyta Du Roc (photo left) defied a penalty for a win at Uttoxeter, to record another encouraging performance beating Michael Smith's locally trained Mister Spingsprong (11/8) and ridden by Danny Cook by two and a quarter lengths.
The second was returning to Hexham after back to back wins here and at Kelso but was thwarted by the resultant ten pound penalty.
The weather and going were in complete contrast to the last meeting seven days ago as good ground and warm temperatures greeted the nine runners in the Hadrian Healthcare Handicap Chase over and extended two miles and eleven fences.
Victory went to course specialist Morning Time (8/1) (photo right) trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross and ridden by Peter Buchanan, recording a fourth career victory at Hexham by beating 5/2 favourite Robin's Command trained by Rose Dobbin at Alnwick and ridden by Craig Nichol, by just half a length.
All five runners in the feature race, the Marie-Curie Daffodil Dash Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles and ten obstacles, were in with a chance coming up the hill.
Bottom weight Bell Weir (8/1) (photo left) trained by Dianne Sayer at Penrith and ridden by Henry Brooke relished the good going and triumphed by one and three quarter lengths to record two hurdle wins out of two runs for the stable.
Tony McCoy riding Aalim (5/2) trained at Newmarket by John Ferguson finished second.Nicky Henderson's top weight Vasco De Ronceray (11/8 favourite) ridden by Peter Carberry could only finish third.
There were contrasting fortunes in the Teresa Duchett Novices Hurdle over three miles and twelve hurdles.
The eventual winner Bop Along (6/4) (photo right) trained by Michael Smith at Newcastle Upon Tyne and ridden by Danny Cook gave backers some anxious moments at the hurdles and at the penultimate obstacle looked as though second place was on the cards. Stamina proved to be the telling factor however and Bop Along finally got the better of Nosey Box (11/10 favourite) trained by Noel C. Kelly in Ireland and ridden by Tony McCoy to win by one and three quarter lengths.
The penultimate race on the card was The Coquetvale Hotel Handicap Chase, over two and a half miles and fourteen fences. The race which attracted thirteen runners, was sponsored, in support of Marie Curie Cancer Care, by Lee Pattison and Paul Fairless, owners of the Rothbury Hotel.
Victory went to the only runner of the day from Rebecca Menzies Brandsby stable Mister Wall Street (7/1) (photo left) ridden by Tony Kelly which made all the running and was eight lengths clear at the last hurdle before being eased down on the run in to record a half length win from Shady Sadie (10/1) trained by Rose Dobbin and ridden by Wilson Renwick. The 3/1 favourite Big George trained by Simon Waugh at Morpeth and ridden by Ryan Mania was pulled up before the last.
The final "bumper" flat race was an easy win for southern raider Streets Of Promise (1/3 favourite) (photo right) trained by Michael Scudamore at Bromash and ridden by Tom Scudamore.
She strolled into a commanding lead in the home straight to win by thirteen lengths from Blast Martha(9/2) another from Michael Smith's Newcastle stable and ridden by Danny Cook.
Incessant Rain Fails to Dampen Racegoers' Spirits.
After a dry morning last Saturday, leaden clouds and persistent rain accompanied racegoers as they made their way to Nova International Day, one of the most important fixtures on the National Hunt racing calendar at Yarridge Heights.
For the eighteenth consecutive year races on the seven race card were named after sporting events for which Nova International have gained worldwide recognition.
Despite the almost continuous downpour racegoers, who included coach parties from throughout the North of England and Scotland, enjoyed some exciting contests with a number of close finishes.
Proceedings got underway with the Great Run Org Selling Hurdle run over an extended two miles and eight obstacles.
The race was the first of two consecutive victories for Northern Irish trainers as Mighty Whitey (7/2), photo left, dropping back in grade, trained by Noel C. Kelly and ridden by Robert Dunne led from four out but had to be driven right to the line, pressed all the way by 33/1 outsider Air Chief trained by Andrew Crook at Leyburn and ridden by John Kington. The smallest margin of a "nose" separated first and second at the winning post.
There were no bids for the winner in the subsequent auction.
The second consecutive Northern Irish trainer to triumph was Stuart Crawford in the Junior North Run Novices Chase run over two and a half miles and fifteen fences. Stuart's top weight Man With Van (10/11 favourite), photo right, ridden by Richard Johnson beat Big Water (5/2) trained by Alan Swinbank at Richmond and ridden by Alain Cawley, by half a length.
The three market leaders were involved in a close finish with Scots Gaelic (5/1) trained at Malton by John Quinn and ridden by Dougie Costello finishing third by a neck.
The third race on the card the Film Nova Juvenile Hurdle over an extended two miles and eight obstacles was the first juvenile hurdle of the season.
The race became a two horse affair as 13/8 favourite Come On Sunshine, photo left, trained at Malton by Brian Ellison and ridden by Danny Cook gave favourite backers some anxious moments at the last hurdle before driving clear in the run-in to beat Izbushka (7/2) which had made the long journey from Ian Williams Alvechurch yard and ridden by Richard Johnson by eight lengths.
Eleven runners went to post for the Great North Swim Handicap Chase, the longest race of the day over three miles one furlong and nineteen fences.
Victory went to a previous course winner Presenting Junior (6/1) trained at Penrith by Martin Todhunter and ridden by Wilson Renwick. Despite the strength sapping ground the winner broke clear of second placed bottom weight Everylasting (17/2) trained at Alnwick by Rose Dobbin and ridden by Craig Nichol which stumbled at the last to come home seven lengths behind the winner.
The remainder of the field were well strung out with the disappointing 4/1 favourite The Shrimp, trained by Sandy Thomson at Greenlaw and ridden by Dougie Costello, aiming for a hat trick of wins, coming home last of the finishers in eighth place.
The feature race of the day and the most valuable of the year at Hexham with a prize fund of £12,000 was the Nova International Handicap Hurdle, once again over an extended two miles and eight obstacles.
The official going was changed to soft before the race which suited the winner top weight Bordoni (5/2) trained at Cowlinge, Newmarket, by John Ferguson. The ride was a first stable engagement for jockey Brian Hughes. The winner was second in soft going at Perth in May and gave backers an anxious moment when hitting the second last before leading before the last and going clear to record a seven length victory from 11/1 local outsider Super Collider trained at Otterburn by Susan Corbett and ridden by son James Corbett.
After the race Brendan Foster and his wife Sue from Nova International presented mementoes to the winning connections.
Racecourse Chief Executive, at the time, Charles Enderby made a presentation to Sue and Brendan in recognition of Nova International's eighteen years of continuous sponsorship at Hexham. (Photo right).
The penultimate race on the card, The Great North City Games Handicap Chase, again over an extended two miles and twelve fences, attracted just four runners.
The contrasting fortunes of jump racing were highlighted by the winner, bottom weight Grey Life (2/1) trained by Malcolm Jefferson at Malton which gave jockey Brian Hughes a well earned double. After achieving two consecutive victories the winner failed miserably thirteen days ago at Kelso but came back to form this time to beat 7/4 favourite Edmund trained by Ann Hamilton at Newcastle Upon Tyne and ridden by Wilson Renwick by nine lengths.
The unrelenting rain greeted ten runners for the traditional closing "bumper" race, the Great North Run Standard Open National Hunt Flat race over the extended two miles.
The race turned out to be a stroll for debutant, evens favourite Vayland trained by Stuart Crawford in Northern Ireland and ridden by Richard Johnson recording a seamless twenty-six length victory from Youngdocgallagher (4/1) trained at Tarporley, Cheshire by Michael Mullineaux and ridden by Ben Poste.
The winner was so impressive, the name Vayland went into quite a few punters' notebooks as one to follow.
Sponsors Nova International generously provided cash prizes for best turned out and mementoes for winning connections in all seven races.
Otterurn Trainers Triumph at Yarridge Heights
There was well earned success for two Otterburn trainers at Yarridge Heights on Tuesday when both Susan Corbett and Jane Walton gained popular victories at Hexham's second evening National Hunt race meeting of the year.
Hexham defied the weather forecasters doom and gloom as warm sunshine greeted racegoers and in spite of small fields there were several exciting finishes.
The meeting got off to a promising start for favourite backers when Line D'aois, ridden by Tom Scudamore, justified the long journey from Michael Scudamore's Bromash yard to record a second course win in seventeen days in the Agrical Maiden Hurdle run over two and a half miles. Despite the prohibitive odds of 1/4, the winner was kept up to his task by second placed Laird of Monksford (8/1) trained by Donald McCain at Cholmondeley and ridden by Adrian Lane.
The second race on the card was run in support of the Injured Jockeys Fund which provides care, compassion and financial help, to injured jockeys and was founded in 1964 following the devastating accidents to Tim Brookshaw, and then Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National.
The IJF 50th. Anniversary Mares' Handicap Hurdle run over two and a half miles was won by just a neck by The Flaming Matron (9/2) (photo right) trained at Kinneston by N.W. Alexander and ridden by Lucy Alexander. Second, headed close home, was High Fair (7/2) trained by Sandy Forster at Kelso and ridden by Mr. T. Hamilton. After the race mementoes were presented to the winning connections by Injured Jockeys Fund representatives Karen Sharpe and former jockeys Stan Hayhurst and Johnny Leach.
The richest race of the evening, with a prize fund of £10k, disappointingly attracted just four runners.
Sponsored by Hexham stalwart, owner trainer John Wade from Sedgefield, the three mile one furlong Novices Limited Handicap Chase followed the betting book and was won by Wolf Shield (2/1 joint favourite) trained at Middleham by George Moore and ridden by Barry Keniry.
The winner (photo left) made all, leading from start to finish, to pass the post an impressive six lengths ahead of Big Sound the second 2/1 joint favourite trained by Mark Walford at Sheriff Hutton and ridden by Dougie Costello.
Leading trainer David Pipe's rare Hexham runner Leader Of The Gang (3/1) ridden by Tom Scudamore, which had made the long journey from Wellington, Somerset, tailed off to finish a distant last.
The Hexham Caravan Site Handicap Hurdle run over three miles was a triumph for the Corbett family from Otterburn.
The winner Dun To Perfection (15/2) (photo right) is trained by Susan Corbett and was an impressive first career winner for son James Corbett. A delighted trainer Sue said afterwards that the win was particularly pleasing because both horse and jockey were "homebred at Otterburn."
A distant thirteen lengths second of the nine runners was Bollin Fiona (4/1) trained by Donald Whillans at Hawick and ridden by Callum Whillans.
A second Otterburn victory followed in another exciting finish in The Ramside Event Catering Handicap Chase over an extended two miles. Just a head separated the two 15/8 joint favourites. In a photo finish, winner Have You Had Yours (photo left), trained by Jane Walton and ridden by Alistair Findlay beat Sambelucky trained by Keith Reveley and ridden by James Reveley.
The winning owners, the quaintly named Highly Recommended Partnership, enjoyed an enthusiastic celebration to mark the victory.
The final race on the card, the St. John Lee Amateur Riders' Novices Handicap Hurdle, over an extended two miles, was another victory for favourite followers when 15/8 favourite Playhara (photo right) trained by Martin Todhunter at Penrith and ridden by Kit Alexander justified favouritism by beating bottom weight Raifteiri, trained by William Young Junior at Carluke and ridden by Mr. J. Dixon, by five lengths.
Courant 150th Anniversary a Test of Stamina for Horses and Jockeys
Mud spattered horses and jockeys were testimony to the heavy going at Yarridge Heights last Saturday when the Courant Family Day took place to celebrate the newspaper's 150th. Anniversary.
Heavy overnight rain which continued on and off during the meeting failed to dampen the spirits of the larger than expected crowd.
The change in going resulted in just three challengers going to post for the feature race, The Hexham Courant 150th. Anniversary Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase run over a gruelling two and a half miles.
The conditions took their toll as the winner Settled Out of Court, the 4/5 odds on favourite trained at Kinross by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Craig Nichol finished alone.
Early in the race My Dads Horse (11/4) trained by Alexandra Dunn at Wellington and ridden by Tom Bellamy tried to keep pace with the favourite but almost came to grief four out and was so exhausted approaching the last, the jockey sensibly pulled him up
The only other runner Slew Charm (11/4) trained by Sarah Dawson in Ireland and ridden by Peter Carberry never got into the race and was also pulled up four out.
After the race Courant Editor Colin Tapping presented a memento to the winning owner Andrew McAllister. (Photo right).
The meeting had got off to a bad start for favourite backers in The Hexham Interactive Novices Handicap Chase when The Shrimp (11/2) trained by Sandy Thomson at Greenlaw and ridden by Brian Hughes gained a six length victory, at the thirteenth attempt, from Big Sound( 7/2) trained by Mark Walford at Sheriff Hutton and ridden by Dougie Costello.
The favourite, at 11/4, Master Murphy could only finish fourth.A delighted winning trainer Sandy Thomson said that he believed The Shrimp (photo left) would be even more at home on better ground.
The second race on the card was dedicated to the Courant's ever popular writer
Ten runners went to post for the Hextol National Hunt Novices Hurdle run over an extended two miles.
The race was won impressively at generous odds of 11/1 by Mister Spingsprong (right) trained by Michael Smith at Newcastle Upon Tyne and ridden by Danny Cook.
Michael purchased the winner at the Ascot Sales last month for just 6,000 guineas and the Irish point to point winner looks to be a very shrewd buy judging by his impressive debut over hurdles and his first run for trainer Michael Smith.
The winner passed the post eased down with 10/11 odds on favourite Spiculas trained by Keith Reveley at Saltburn and ridden by James Reveley twenty lengths behind.
After the race Brian Tilley (left) from the Courant presented mementoes to the winning connections.
Dodging the heavy downpours became increasingly difficult as the Dr. Howard Scott Memorial Handicap Hurdle got underway over three miles with nine runners going to post.
The Race was run in memory of Dr. Scott who was Chief Medical Officer at Hexham Racecourse for many years.
Once again favourite backers were counting their losses as Northern Irish raider See Double You (5/1) trained by Ronan McNally and ridden by his trainer beat outsider Bollin Fiona (14/1) trained by Donald Whillans at Hawick and ridden by Callum Willans by three lengths.
Henry Hogarth's Pierrers Bounty ridden by Tony Kelly was 100/30 favourite but could only finish fifth. This was the eleven year old's third win this year.
After the race Dr. Howard's family presented mementoes to the winning connections (right).
Odds on favourite followers were a happy bunch after the fifth race, The Britain In Bloom Novices Hurdle run over two and a half miles.
Top weight Sealous Scout (4/11 favourite), rated at 122, trained by Donald McCain at Cholmondeley and ridden by Wilson Renwick hardly broke sweat to win with consummate ease by twenty five lengths from Cobajayisland (11/4) trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Peter Buchanan.
Twice Lucky (left), trained by Sue Smith at Bingley, lived up to his name in the Margaret Ferries Memorial Handicap Chase over a strength sapping three miles one furlong and seventeen fences.
Racing pundits discovered that winning jockey Ryan Mania had ridden in the first race at Haydock where he was fourth before making the dash across country to ride at Hexham.
His journey proved worthwhile as Twice Lucky (7/2) stayed on strongly to beat Outlaw Tom (4/1) trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by Peter Buchanan by five lengths.
The winner had finally lived up to the name as this was his second win in thirty one races and compensated for a fall at the last obstacle at Sedgefield last time out.
The final race on the card was the traditional "bumper" flat race The Yarridge Heights Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race over an extended two miles.
In an exciting finish 100/1 outsider Jpeck trained by Richard Drake at Guiseley and ridden by Jonathan England gave the eventual winner Line D'Aois (11/4), pictured right, trained by Michael Scudamore at Bromash and ridden by Liam Treadwell, a run for his money.
The latter finally took the lead inside the final furlong and kept on to win by two and a quarter lengths.
This was the winner's second victory at Hexham having won here on good ground last year.
Heart of All England attracts large crowd to Yarridge Heights
The first evening National Hunt race meeting of the year, which featured the Eve Aitchison Heart of All England Maiden Hunters' Steeplechase run over nineteen fences and three miles one furlong attracted a large crowd of enthusiastic racegoers to Yarridge Heights on Saturday evening.
The historic race is the principal race in the North for Maiden Hunters which have shown promise in Point to Point racing and the meeting attracted many point to point enthusiasts from throughout the North and beyond.
The race was an exciting affair won by the oldest horse in the race, twelve year old A New Rising (photo left) which was second in the "Heart" last year.
A raider from North of the Border, trained by M.E. Ellwood at Kinross and ridden by Jamie Lyttle, whose parents John and Geraldine Lyttle own the horse, A New Rising (6/1) made virtually all the running and stayed on well to win by three quarters of a length from Barachois Silver (2/1 joint favourite) trained in the Borders by Mrs. J.M. Hollands and ridden by Mr. G. Crow.
After the race jockey Jamie Lyttle was presented with the magnificent "Heart" trophy by sponsor Bill Aitchison in memory of his late wife Eve.
The meeting got off to a disappointing start for form and favourite followers.
The Friends of Chollerton Church Selling Hurdle over an extended two miles was won by 25/1 outsider Ardesia which had been absent from racing for an amazing one thousand and twenty four days.
A Cartmel specialist trained by Tina Jackson at Loftus and ridden by Samantha Drake, Ardesia (photo right) led from three out. Hurdle debutante and another outsider Burnt Sienna (12/1) trained by Noel Kelly in Northern Ireland and ridden by Robert Dunne provided stiff opposition in spite of making a mistake at the second last. At the finishing post Ardesia managed to hang on by a neck.
In the subsequent auction the winner was "bought in" for 5600 guineas.
Mementoes were presented to the winning connections by Dee McGowan a Church Committee member at Chollerton.
One of Hexham's most loyal supporters sponsored the second race, the Solar Signs Handicap Chase run over the extended two miles and twelve fences.
Again favourite backers were counting their losses when Forestside the 15/8 favourite trained by Barry Murtagh at Carlisle and ridden by Lucy Alexander could only finish third behind 5/1 winner Molko Jack trained at Tarporley, Cheshire by Michael Mullineaux and ridden by Ryan Mania.
The winner led from three out and was an easy ten length winner from Runswick Days(11/4) trained at Sedgefield by John Wade and ridden by John Dawson.
After the race mementoes were presented to winning connections by sponsors Janet and Patrick Doody.
There were contrasting fortunes for favourite backers in the Alastair Turnbull Forever Young At 60 Handicap Hurdle when one joint favourite finished first and the other joint favourite finished last of the seven runners.
The race was won in an exciting finish by Trust Thomas (3/1 joint favourite) trained by Ann Hamilton at Great Bavington and ridden by Wilson Renwick. Second by just half a length was Granaruid (13/2) trained by Alison Hamilton at Denholm and ridden by Mr. T. Hamilton.
The other 3/1 joint favourite was Mohawk Ridge, a winner at Hexham last time out, trained by James Moffat at Grange Over Sands and ridden by Brian Hughes. Mohawk Ridge was not fluent at several hurdles and weakened noticeably from two furlongs out.
The race was a 60th. birthday celebration for Alastair Turnbull one of the stalwarts of racing at Hexham. In the racecard, Alastair confessed that he had been racing at Hexham for as long as he could remember.
"As a child I recall the annual pilgrimage of friends and family from my then home in the Scottish Borders to the Saturday of the Whitsuntide meeting in late May as well as other visits.
"My love affair intensified in the early 1990's when I lived in the area and covered the races for the Hexham Courant. "I've been to every racecourse on mainland UK including some that are now closed and whilst I have enjoyed many aspects of each and every one, my favourite is Hexham which is unrivalled in my affections."
After the race Alastair presented mementoes to the winning connections.
There were further birthday celebrations in the fifth race the John Hardy 70th. Birthday Handicap Chase run over three miles one furlong.
Victor was second favourite at 9/2 Ultra Du Chatelet (photo right) from the very popular Hexham duo, trainer Lucinda Russell from Kinross and jockey Peter Buchanan.
Two lengths away second was Mister Philson (6/1) from Stuart Crawford's Northern Ireland stable and ridden by Anthony Fox. Mr. Philson led until headed at the last.
John Hardy presented mementoes to winning connections.
The penultimate race the Independent Racecourses Ltd. Novices Steeplechase marked a visit by representatives of the group of nine independent racecourses of which Hexham is a member.
Second favourite at 7/2 Knockanrawley ridden by Andrew Thornton, which had made the long journey from Kim Bailey's Cheltenham yard, delighted a large contingent of members of the Kim Bailey Racing Partnership by beating odds on favourite at 8/11 Man With Van trained by Stuart Crawford in Northern Ireland and ridden by Steven Crawford by three quarters of a length.
Presentations to winning connections were made by Patrick Masterson, Managing Director at Newton Abbot, James Hutchinson, Managing Director at Ripon and David Hunter, Chief Executive Officer at Fakenham (photo left).
In the gathering dusk favourite backers were counting their losses once again, when, in the final race of the evening, the Acomb Novices Hurdle run over three miles, favourite Lord Fingal (13/8 favourite) trained by J.T.R. Dreaper in Ireland and ridden by Brian Harding led approaching the third last where a mistake resulted in a weakened approach to two out and being pulled up before the last.
An easy twenty one length victory went to bottom weight Nosey Box (9/4 2nd. Favourite) trained by Noel Kelly in Northern Ireland and ridden by Robert Dunne.
Second was Head Of The Class (9/2) trained at Malton by Brian Ellison and ridden by Danny Crook.
Blue Skies and Warm Sunshine at Hexham Racecourse
Yarridge Heights was at its springtime best with blue skies and warm sunshine for the third National Hunt Race meeting of the year last Monday.
The scene was in complete contrast to the second meeting two weeks ago when hill fog obscured more than half of the course for most of the afternoon.
Favourite backers got off to a profitable start in the first race the Visit Hadrian's Wall Handicap Chase run over ten fences and an extended two miles.
Sudski Star (right) (15/8 favourite) trained by Patrick Griffin in Ireland and ridden by Brian Hughes led at the last obstacle and drew clear in the last hundred yards to beat Pamak D'Airy (7/1) trained by Harry Hogarth at Stillington and ridden by Tony Kelly by five lengths.
Luck deserted favourite followers in the second race the Corbridge Handicap Hurdle run over two and a half miles and eight hurdles.
Champion jockey Tony McCoy making a quick return to Hexham could only finish fifth of the six runners on top weight Short Takes trained by Donald McCain at Cholmondeley which went off at 2/1 favourite.
Victory went to Forty Crown (4/1), pictured left, trained by John Wade at Sedgefield and ridden by Wilson Renwick who beat Bop Along (4/1) trained by Michael Smith at Newcastle Upon Tyne and ridden by Danny Cook.
The winner led before the penultimate hurdle and went clear at the last to win by four lengths.
The pre race spotlight fell on the backroom staff in the racing industry. Representatives from Racing Welfare, the Jockey Club Charity which provides support for those in need who work, or have worked in the British Racing and Thoroughbred Breeding Industries were in the parade ring to judge the Racing Welfare Best Turned Out Competition which is being held at racecourses throughout the UK.
The Best Turned Out series, sponsored by EPDS Racing for the third year, aims to highlight the hard work and dedication shown by working staff in preparing their horses for a day at the races
The groom in the second race leading up the horse judged best turned out was Rebecca Menzies (pictured right with John Powell) who also trains third placed Vuvuzela. She received a £50 first prize, plus an "EPDS Racing Welfare BTO" series gilet. Points have been allocated to the groom's yard and a league table runs until the finale at Huntingdon in December.
The winning yard will receive a trophy and £1,000 to be shared between the yard's staff.
After the race, mementoes were presented to the winning connections by John Powell (above), Racing Manager of the Racing Welfare BTO Sponsors, EPDS Racing and Ginny Rose, Racing Welfare's Communications and Fundraising Executive.
Feature race on the card was the Thornton Firkin National Hunt Novices Hurdle run over an extended two miles.
The winner Frankie's Promise (left) (4/1) is trained by regular Hexham supporter Nick Alexander from Kinnieston and ridden by popular jockey Lucy Alexander.
In spite of a mistake at the fourth, the winner recovered to lead approaching two out, continuing on strongly and finally eased down to win by ten lengths from Tony McCoy's Wild Card (100/30) trained by Donald McCain.
Wild Card triumphed in a photo finish for second place beating Hexham regular Tikkandemickey (6/4 favourite) trained by Raymond Shiels at Jedburgh and ridden by Daragh Bourke by a head.
Mementoes were presented to winning connections by Richard Quigley representing Thornton-Firkin who have been sponsors at Hexham since 2006.
Another regular and popular combination of trainer and jockey recorded a convincing victory in the Cohort Handicap Chase over three miles and one furlong and nineteen fences
Outlaw Tom (15/2) trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross and ridden by Peter Buchanan scored an impressive twelve length win from outsider Almond Court (40/1) trained by Robert Johnson at Newcastle Upon Tyne and ridden by Kenny Johnson.
Outlaw Tom's (right) win is a landmark victory for trainer Lucinda Russell who has now equalled former trainer Lenny Lungo's record of sixty three winners sent out by a Scottish trainer in one season.
Champion jockey Tony McCoy and trainer Donald McCain finally triumphed in the Riding Mares' Hurdle over three miles and twelve obstacles.
Going off at 9/4 Bespoke Lady broke clear from the last to beat Nosey Box (5/1) trained in Northern Ireland by Noel C. Kelly and ridden by Derek Fox by seven lengths.
Another Northern Ireland raider Waltz Legend trained by Liam Lennon and ridden by Graham Watters was 15/8 favourite but could only finish third.
With the sun still shining, the penultimate race was a chance for hunters to show their paces.
The Linnels Bridge Open Hunters' Steeplechase over three miles and one furlong attracted nine runners including Current Exchange which made the long journey from Shrewsbury.
Trained by Mrs. Sheila Crow and ridden by Mr. P. Gerety Current Exchange (right) justified going off odds on favourite at 5/6 leading before the last to go clear and record a nine length victory over 18/1 shot Douglas Julian trained at Galashiels by Miss K. Scott and ridden by Mr. T. Hamilton.
The traditional last race "bumper," the Vallum Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race attracted nine runners but became a three horse affair with the regular Hexham combination of trainer Donald Whillans and jockey Callum Whillans from Hawick guiding Shades of Midnight (11/4) (left) to an eight length victory over Pithivier (5/4 favourite) trained by Peter Niven at Malton and ridden by Wilson Renwick.
One and a half lengths further back in third place was another Donald McCain horse Apples And Trees (9/2) and ridden by Adrian Lane.
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Double Victory for Champion Jockey in Yarridge Fog
Champion jockey Tony McCoy won two of his three rides at a fog shrouded Yarridge Heights last Monday.
Seventy runners went to post and the last race attracted so many entries it had to be divided into two races confirming the popularity of the Hexham course with owners and trainers.
There were some anxious moments before and during racing as the persistent hill fog swirled around the Course completely obscuring the back straight.
At times racegoers had to rely on the race commentary and television coverage as horses completely disappeared into the mist.
Favourite backers following Tony McCoy in the first race the SIS Novices Hurdle run over an extended two miles got off to a bad start when the champion jockey's 8/15 favourite Volcanic from Donald McCain's Cholmondeley stable could only finish fifth.
The race was won impressively by Mohawk Ridge (13/2), right, trained by James Moffatt at Grange Over Sands and ridden by popular Hexham jockey Brian Hughes.
Six lengths away was Hexham specialist Tickandemickey (4-1) trained by Raymond Shiels at Jedburgh and ridden by top conditional jockey Daragh Bourke.
There were better fortunes for Tony McCoy in the second race, a Novices Hurdle over three miles.
Tonvadosa (100/30), left, trained by Donald McCain brushed aside the opposition to record a comfortable eight length victory.
Total outsider Strike Fast at generous odds of 100/1 trained in Cheshire by William Kinsey and ridden by Harry Challoner was second.
The luck of the Irish prevailed in the Primary Websites Handicap Steeplechase run over an extended three miles.
Gibbstown (11/2), right, ridden by conditional jockey Derek Fox made the long journey worthwhile for Irish trainer Paul Stafford from Oldtown, Dublin. Gibbstown beat Hexham favourite Samson Collonges (6/1) trained by Rebecca Menzies at Brandsby and ridden by Tony Kelly by three lengths.
This was the winner's second career win after breaking her duck at Ayr earlier in March.
By mid afternoon the fog lifted and for the first time the entire course was visible for the St. John Lee Handicap Hurdle run over two and a half miles.
On the first circuit the five runners were very closely grouped and remained so down the final back straight.
Favourite backers breathed a sigh of relief as top weight One For Harry (11/8 fav.), left, trained by Nicky Richards at Greystoke and ridden by another popular Hexham jockey Brian Harding survived some risky jumping to draw clear to record a two and a quarter length victory from Persian Herald (5/2) trained by Sue Smith at Bingley and ridden by Daragh Bourke.
The Hexham Interactive Handicap Hurdle run over three miles was a Northumberland triumph for Otterburn trainer Jane Walton and local jockey Alistair Findlay. Their mount Master Murphy, right, went off at 11/4 favourite and duly obliged by five lengths.
Four contestants were well ahead of the rest of the field at the top of the hill before Master Murphy broke clear. Mootabar (8/1) trained at Middleham by Chris Fairhurst and ridden by Jonathan England was a one paced second.
As the fog came down again, ten challengers went to post for the SIS Handicap Steeplechase over two and a half miles.
In a hotly contested finish, a brilliantly timed ride by James Reveley aboard top weight Baileys Concerto (9/2), left, trained by Dianne Sayer at Penrith swept past the opposition in the last fifty yards to record a one length victory.
Outsider Double Whammy (18/1) trained by Iain Jardine at Hawick and ridden by Craig Nichol was second.
Nine runners contested each of the two divisions of the "Bumper", the two mile Hexham For Tourists Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Jockey Barry Keniry had just one ride at the meeting and his four year old Aniknam, right, trained by Philip Kirby at Middleham went off at 6/4 favourite and duly obliged by ten lengths from Redkalani (7/2) trained by Keith Reveley at Saltburn and ridden by James Reveley.
The second division of the Bumper gave trainer Donald McCain and jockey Tony McCoy their second victory at the meeting.
Never Never, left, went off the 6/4 favourite and led to four furlongs out before losing the lead which was regained two furlongs out. McCoy held on gamely in the final furlong to win by one and three quarter lengths.
There was a rare dead heat for second place between Present Flight (3/1) trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross and ridden by Craig Nichol and Toarmandowithlove a 66/1 outsider trained by Susan Corbett at Otterburn and ridden by James Corbett.
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National Hunt Racing Returns To Yarridge Heights
National Hunt Racing returned to Yarridge Heights last Thursday when an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the first meeting of the year in fine early Spring weather.
There were seven races on the card including four exciting finishes with winners and second horses being separated by just a neck twice, a head and a short head.
There was early success for conditional jockey Craig Nichol who gained a quick winning double in the first two races.
The opener, the BHEST Conditional Jockeys Mares Handicap Hurdle run over an extended two miles and eight flights was won by Be My Present (7-1), (photo left), trained by Rose Dobbin at Alnwick.
Just a neck behind was bottom weight Politelysed (8-1) ridden by Dean Pratt trained by Robert Johnson at Newcastle Upon Tyne. The winner was making her handicap debut.
Craig Nichol's double came in the second race, the Racing To School Novices Handicap Steeple Chase over three miles and one furlong and nineteen fences.
The race was a successful venture for favourite backers as Lady Of Verona (9/4 fav.), (photo right), from the popular Hexham trainer Lucinda Russell's yard at Kinross got off the mark at the fifteenth attempt under rules by beating 14/1 outsider Solis, trained by Dianne Sayer at Penrith ridden by Colm McCormack, by seven lengths.
After each of the first two races pupils from The John Spence Community High School North Shields, who were visiting the course as guests in association with the race sponsors, the charitable organisation The British Horseracing Education & Standards Trust, presented mementoes to the winning connections.
In line with the government’s requirements, BHEST develops and awards nationally recognised qualifications that provide the practical grounding for people to build careers and businesses in British horseracing, from equine care and transport to thoroughbred breeding and farriery.
In the third race, the Become A Hexham Member Novices Hurdle over an extended two miles, there was a second course and distance win for top weight Tikkandemickey (7/2) trained by Raymond Shiels at Jedburgh ridden by Daragh Bourke. Second by eight lengths was Wilde Pastures (5/1) trained at Langholm by James Ewart ridden by Dale Irving.
After the race trainer Raymond Shiels admitted that Tikkandemickey (photo left) was somewhat wayward but he has a fondness for Hexham and will hopefully become an even better chaser.
Stamina was the key to the fourth race, the Hexham Handicap Chase over a gruelling four miles and twenty five fences. Seven runners went to post and four finished. First past the post was 6/5 favourite Boris The Blade trained by Tina Jackson at Loftus powerfully ridden by Samantha Drake.
Boris, (photo right) at the age of twelve years, was following up a hurdle win at Sedgefield just eleven days previously and his connections were a little concerned that the Hexham marathon might have come too soon.
But he led for most of the race and stayed on gamely to beat Mansonien L'as (13/2) trained at Cholmondeley by Donald McCain ridden by Adrian Lane by seven lengths. Trainer Tina Jackson said after the race that connections believe that Boris will probably ended up point to pointing.
There was no luck for jockey Richie McGrath in the race when his mount Rojo Vojo crashed out in the back straight. Richie was taken to Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary for observation.
Richie McGrath's luck continued to desert him in the next race, the three mile SIS Handicap Hurdle when his planned ride Pierrers Bounty (photo left) opened his account under the stewardship of deputy jockey Tony Kelly.
Carrying top weight, the seven year old trained by Henry Hogarth at Stillington, went off at generous odds of 16/1 and led before the last before touching off Bollin Fiona (12/1), trained by Donald Whillans at Hawick ridden by Ryan Nichol, by a head.
Favourite backers were counting their losses again in the penultimate race, the SIS Handicap Chase, run over three miles and one furlong, and nineteen fences. Sam Patch (3/1fav.) trained by Donald Whillans ridden by Callum Whillans was prominent early on but weakened and fell two out.
Tony Kelly gained a quick double when his mount Samson Collonges (5/1), (photo right), trained by Rebecca Menzies at Bransby made smooth headway and led on the run in only managing to beat outsider Filbert Fox (12/1) trained by Alistair Whillans at Hawick ridden by Peter Buchanan by a neck. The winner was recording his first victory since November 2012.
Fourteen runners went to post for the final race on the card the Follow Us On Facebook National Hunt Maiden Hurdle over two and a half miles.
The evens favourite Greensalt trained by Donald McCain ridden by Henry Brooke sent supporters scurrying for the exits as he was beaten into second place by a short head.
Victor, at 9/1, was Bop Along (photo left), trained at Newcastle Upon Tyne by Michael Smith ridden by Adam Nichol. The winner was having his first run since December 2012.
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The reports appear in reverse chronological order.
11th December 2013 - report.
20th November 2013 - report, 8th November 2013 - report.
12th October 2013 - report, 4th October 2013 - report.
23rd June 2013 - report, 15th June 2013 - report, 4th June 2013 - report, 1st June 2013 - report.
11th May 2013 - report, 4th May 2013 - report.
22nd April 2013 - report, 7th April 2013 - report.
No success for Champion Jockey at balmy Yarridge Heights
Champion jockey Tony McCoy made another welcome appearance at Hexham's last National Hunt race meeting of the year but failed to win on any of his three rides including a hot odds on favourite in the first race.
Balmy, spring like weather greeted an enthusiastic crowd of festive racegoers and was in complete contrast to last year when the meeting was abandoned due to frozen ground.
This December's weather was also in complete contrast to the elements at two other meetings on the day, at Kempton and Lingfield, which were both abandoned because of dense fog.
There was a shock for punters in the first race when McCoy's 1/4 odds on Regal Encore could only finish second to 66/1 outsider Seeyouatmidnight (right) ridden by Ryan Mania trained at Green Law by Sandy Thompson.
Only the race sponsors, The Hexham Bookmakers, were smiling after the extended two mile Novices Hurdle which Regal Encore a Cheltenham Champion bumper winner was expected to win at a canter.
For much of the race Tony McCoy seemed to be content to hold up the favourite but the eventual winner, who had won an Irish point to point and was having a first run for new connections, had different ideas. In the lead, Ryan Mania proved the importance of stamina at Yarridge Heights and kept on in front to record a two length victory.
Regal Encore had made the long journey from Beaminster in Dorset and trainer Anthony Honeyball admitted afterwards that a few of his horses have not been running at their best recently. He urged Regal Encore supporters to "forget this run."
Tikkandemickey, a course and distance winner in November for trainer Raymond Shiels from Jedburgh, ridden by Callum Bewley, was third at 13/2. Stamina also led to success in the second race run over three miles.
Stalwart Hexham trainer Lucinda Russell won The Thank You Nova International Maiden Hurdle with Simarthur ridden for leading owner Ronnie Bartlett by popular Hexham jockey Peter Buchanan.
Simarthur 2/1 (left) led approaching the last and stayed on to record a two length victory from 13/8 favourite Hellorboston trained by Donald McCain ridden by Henry Brooke.
George Bewley's Romany Ryme 11/4 ridden by Jonathan Bewley was third.
After the race Amelia Brooks, Hexham Chief Executive, at the time, Charles Enderby's daughter and his grandchildren Saskia, Billy and Ivan presented mementoes to winning connections (pictured right).
Staying horses were the order of the day and the trend continued in the third race, The Farewell and Thanks John Sutherland Handicap Chase run over two miles seven furlongs and seventeen fences.
The race was dedicated to John Sutherland, Executive Vice President SMG Europe whose portfolio of twelve entertainment venues includes Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Whitley bay Playhouse and Tyne Theatre Newcastle. John, who is a keen race horse owner is returning to Canada after 20 years in the UK.
The race was won by another popular Hexham trainer and jockey combination Malcolm Jefferson and Brian Hughes aboard Sun Cloud 5/1 which led two out before being ridden clear to pass the post seven lengths in front of The Thirsty Bricky 17/2 trained by David Thompson ridden by Tony Kelly. The Sue Smith trained Baltic Pathfinder 14/1 ridden by Ryan Mania was eleven lengths away third.
Tony McCoy's second mount of the day, Mister Philson trained by Stuart Crawford in Ireland went off 9/2 favourite but could only get home in fourth place.
The Thank You Intu Metrocentre Handicap Chase run over 12 fences and an extended two miles was a triumph for a young conditional jockey who is rapidly making a name for himself, Darragh Bourke.
Cloverhill Lad 13/2 (right) trained by Stuart Coltherd at Selkirk clearly enjoyed the going and led from three out to beat Hexham regular Pamak D'Airy 17/2 trained by Henry Hogarth ridden by Tony Kelly by one and three quarter lengths.
Once again favourite backers were on a loser as Dianne Sayer's Discoverie 15/8 favourite ridden by Brian Hughes could only finish third of seven runners.
This was Darragh Bourke's fifth win of the season and trainer Stuart Coltherd believes he is the most talented jockey claiming 7 lbs. in the country.
The penultimate race on the six race card was a family affair.
The Thank You Intu Eldon Square Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles gave conditional jockey John Dixon his first win in eighteen rides under rules when front running bottom weight Circus Star triumphed by one and a half lengths at generous odds of 14/1.
The winner is owned by John's mother Sheila and trained by his father also called John. Carlisle based trainer John was celebrating his first win in more than three and a half years.
Circus Star had gone 27 races without a victory and beat Light The City 15/2 trained by Ruth Carr ridden by Jake Greenall by one and a half lengths with Bernardelli 7/2 trained by Nicky Richards ridden by Brian Harding just a head away third.
Tony McCoy's mount the 100/30 favourite Golden Firth trained in Ireland by A. J Martin was pulled up before the last.
This is the second time this year that the Champion jockey has ridden three fancied horses at Hexham without troubling the judges.
A torrid afternoon for favourite followers was completed in the last race of the year at Yarridge Heights.
After slogging around for three miles and one furlong in The Thank You Arup Chase, jumping nineteen fences, only a short head separated first and second at the winning post giving punters a breathtaking finish to the racing year.
The 20/1 winner Esme Rides A Gaine trained by Christopher Wilson at Darlington ridden by another conditional jockey Stephen Mulqueen was five lengths behind the leader at the third last fence.
As Esme (right) and the 7/2 favourite Fozy Moss trained by Stuart Coltherd ridden by Darragh Bourke flashed past the winning post, many punters were convinced that the favourite had held on.
However the camera never lies and the subsequent photo finish proved conclusively that the 20/1 outside had won by a short head.
The gruelling conditions resulted in six of the fourteen runners pulling up before the finish.
Third place went to Arc Warrior trained by William Amos at Otterburn ridden by Brian Harding at generous odds of 40/1.
Racing returns to Yarridge Heights on Thursday March 13th when the very popular "Cheltenham meeting" will open the new year programme.
The Racecourse Executive has confirmed that there will be no increase in admission charges for 2014.
Annual membership sales for 2014 are already showing a healthy increase on last year.
Annual membership entitles racegoers entry to all of Hexham's meetings and also free entry to more than forty selected flat and jumps meetings throughout the Country.
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Heavy Going for Horses and Punters at Yarridge Heights
Only the hardiest of horses, jockeys and punters braved the elements for Hexham's penultimate National Hunt race meeting of the year held at a wintry Yarridge Heights last Wednesday (November 20th.).
The fact that racing took place at all was a tribute to the efforts of the Racecourse groundstaff.
There were notable achievements for jockey Brian Hughes who scored a hat trick and Jedburgh trainer Raymond Shiels whose victory in the last race with Tikkandemickey gave him his first winner in 7190 days, after almost twenty years on the trainers' cold list, proving that, in National Hunt racing, perseverence does pay dividends.
With going officially described as heavy, the feature race The Solar Signs Handicap Chase was always going to be a strength sapping slog over four miles and twenty three obstacles.
So it proved for the eight runners. A long trip from Cheltenham was worthwhile for Merlin's Wish (pictured right) trained in the Cotswolds by Martin Keighley and ridden by Ian Popham which beat off the Northern challenges to win by four and a half lengths at odds of 9/4 favourite.
Merlin's Wish led from time to time in the three circuit marathon finally establishing an unassailable lead two out.
Second at 14/1 was Lucinda Russell's On Broadway ridden by Peter Buchanan and third was the evergreen thirteen year old Hexham favourite Matmata De Tendron, (10/1) trained by Andy Crook ridden by John Kington.
Mementoes to the winning connections were presented by enthusiastic Hexham supporters Janet and Patrick Doody from Solar Signs UK Ltd.
The meeting got off to a cracking start for favourite backers who were successful in the first two races, and popular jockey Brian Hughes who gained a quick hat trick of wins in the first three races.
Nine runners went to post for the At The Races Novices Handicap Chase over two and a half miles.
Hot favourite Snuker trained by James Ewart at Langholm went off at 11/8 and gave Brian Hughes his first impressive win by four and a half lengths from two outsiders. Bottom weight Fozy Moss (33/1) trained by Stuart Coltherd at Selkirk ridden by Callum Bewley was second and Farm Pixie ( 12/1) trained at Newcastle Upon Tyne by Ann Hamilton ridden by Graham Watters was third.
The second race on the card was The Ramside Event Catering Juvenile Maiden Hurdle for three year olds only.
A slow run race resulted in an impressive victory for another favourite Forced Family Fun (11/10), pictured left, trained at Malton by John Quinn, giving Brian Hughes his second winning ride.
Michael Easterby's 100/1 outsider Roycano, trained at Sheriff Hutton ridden by Wilson Renwick was nine lengths away second.
The winning juvenile is certainly one for the notebook.
Favourite followers' fortunes changed dramatically in the third race, The E.B.F. Stallions/At The Races "National Hunt" Novices Hurdle Qualifier, when odds on Johnny Og went off at 2/5 but could only finish sixth of the seven runners over an extended two miles.
Johnny Og ridden by Ian Popham was well backed when making a perfect start in a Catterick bumper in January and, despite two subsequent setbacks in National Hunt flat races, had seemed to take well to hurdling. However the long journey from Martin Keighley's Cheltenham yard was in vain.
The favourite led the race until two out when he was overtaken and quickly tailed off.
Winner in a hurdling debut was Our Boy Ben trained by Malcolm Jefferson at Malton. The 5/1 second favourite gave jockey Brian Hughes his hat trick beating outsider Lord Brendy (14-1) trained by Robert Johnson at Newcastle Upon Tyne and ridden by Kenny Johnson
The fifth race, held in memory of one of Hexham's most respected Senior Medical Officers who passed away last year, resulted in one of the most impressive victories of the meeting.
The Dr. Howard Scott Memorial Novices Handicap Chase, run over an extended two miles was a runaway win by 11/4 second favourite Surprise Vendor (pictured below left) which gave trainer Stuart Coltherd his first win of the meeting.
Expertly ridden by conditional jockey Daragh Bourke, Surprise Vendor repeated a success at Course and Distance in May making all to draw clear at the top of the hill and canter home unchallenged to record a winning margin of seventeen lengths.
Second was Barry Murtagh's Carlisle trained Cavite Eta (9/2) ridden by Henry Brooke.The favourite at 13/8 Dotties Dilemma trained by Lucinda Russell ridden by Peter Buchanan was a neck away third.
After the race, Lesley Robson, Dr. Scott's daughter, and family, presented a memento to the winning connections.
The penultimate race on the card the Northumbria Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles attracted the biggest field of the afternoon but by now the conditions had become so testing that only seven of the seventeen starters managed to negotiate the ten flights of hurdles and reach the finishing post.
First to do so gave trainer Stuart Colthard a second victory at the meeting.
Amethyst Rose, (pictured right) which attracted just one star out of five (defined as "can be given little or no chance) was surprisingly backed down to 11/2 joint favourite, given another expert ride by conditional jockey Daragh Bourke, and duly obliged by three and a half lengths from 10/1 chance and Hexham regular Saddlers Mot trained at Northallerton by Karen Tutty ridden by John Dawson.
Micky Hammond's Middleham trained Stickleback (15/2) ridden by Joe Colliver was third.
The final race on the card was run to celebrate another fantastic sporting achievement by Durham County Cricket Club who, this year, won the County Championship for the third year in the last six.
The Well Done Durham CCC Champions Again Handicap Hurdle went to 11/1 outsider Tikkandemickey owned and trained by Raymond Shiels at Jedburgh ridden by Callum Bewley, the trainer's first win in almost twenty years.
In second place, seven lengths behind was John Wade's Walser (15/2) ridden by Brian Hughes with Formulation from new trainer Rebecca Menzies from Brandsby, Yorkshire ridden by Tony Kelly third at 13/2.
After the race a memento was presented to the winning connections by Geoff Cook, Director of Cricket at Durham CCC.
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Eventful Race Meeting at Yarridge Heights
The 8th November National Hunt race meeting at Yarridge Heights provided racegoers with an exciting afternoon of jumps racing with several notable events.
The ever changing fortunes of race horse trainers was illustrated when popular Hexham trainer Lucinda Russell, who trains at Kinross in Perthshire, achieved a personal best winning four out of the seven races. For good measure Lucinda also had a winner at Musselburgh gaining her first ever five wins in one day. Contrast her last visit to Hexham in October when she had twelve runners but only one win.
Lucinda missed the excitement at Hexham as she was on duty at Musselburgh and it was left to partner Peter Scudamore to enjoy the congratulations from the many enthusiastic Lucinda supporters at Hexham.
Another remarkable first at the meeting was the achievement of up and coming conditional jockeys who managed to win all seven races.
The meeting got off to a thrilling start in the Hexham Handicap Hurdle run over three miles when Charlie Bucket (5/1) (pictured right) trained by Donald Whillans at Hawick and ridden by Callum Whillans beat Brae On (10/1) trained by George Bewley ridden by Jonathon Bewley by just a head. Lucinda Russell's Lady of Verona (100-30 favourite) ridden by Craig Nicol was third.
The Friary (9/4 favourite) gave Lucinda Russell the first of her quartet of wins in the Weatherby's Hamilton Insurance Novices Handicap Chase over three miles and one furlong.
The race was a remarkable ride for conditional jockey Derek Fox from Ireland.
In the early stages of the race the horse was completely outpaced and gave the impression that his top weight was just too much to carry and after fifteen of the nineteen fences he was in last place.
Remarkably The Friary (pictured left) woke from his slumbers and began making steady progress. Under the very skilful riding of Derek Fox he hit the front on the run in to record a one and a quarter length victory from Moyode Wood (6-1) trained by Brian Ellison at Malton ridden by Danny Cook
After the race, Peter Scudamore was generous in his praise for the young Irish jockey Derek Fox.
Lucinda Russell's winning ways continued in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase over an extended two and a half miles.
Six runners went to post and first home was another top weight Settledoutofcourt (pictured right) the 5/2 second favourite. On board was another young, talented, conditional jockey Craig Nichol who recorded a double on the day for the first time in his career.
Despite making a mistake at the sixth obstacle the winner led before the twelfth fence and was clear at the last recording a 12 length victory from Fitandproperjob (8-1) which was ridden by Kielan Woods and had made the long journey from Anthony Middleton's yard at Banbury.
After the race Nick Cheyne, Client Relations Director from Weatherbys presented a memento to the delighted winning owner Andrew McAllister.
Favourite backers were counting the cost again in the Rowlands Chartered Accounts Handicap Hurdle when odds on favourite at 8/11 Blake Dean from Sue Smith's Bingley stable ridden by Jonathan England, was beaten into second place by another Lucinda Russell runner Morning Time (5/1 second favourite) ridden by yet another talented conditional jockey Grant Cockburn.
The winning margin was five lengths. There was a pleasant surprise for each way backers when third place went to Mrs. Grass trained by Jonathan Haynes at Brampton ridden by John Kington returning odds of 100/1
After the race presentations were made to winning connections by Alan Hynd, Managing Partner of loyal sponsors Rowlands Chartered Accountants.
The Lucinda Russell roadshow continued to roll in the fifth race a Novices Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles.
Top jockey Peter Buchanan just failed to arrive in time from previous rides at Musselburgh which gave Craig Nichol and opportunity to step in and record his second win of the meeting.
His mount Kilbree Chief (13/8 favourite) (pictured left) made all and was ridden clear to win by one and three quarter lengths from Romany Ryme (15/2) from George Bewley's Hawick stable ridden by Jonathon Bewley.
The penultimate race The SIS Handicap Chase over an extended two miles was an exciting, close run affair with victory by just a neck going to Have You Had Yours(9/2) (pictured right) trained at Otterburn by Jane Walton ridden by yet another popular conditional jockey Alistair Findlay.
The winner was in touch throughout and stayed on well to beat Pamak D'Airy (13/2) trained at Stillington by Henry Hogarth and ridden by another regular Hexham conditional jockey Tony Kelly
Despite giving the ultimate winner almost two stones, Pamak D'Airy passed the post just a neck behind the winner. Owned by the Highly Recommended Partnership, the winner received a most enthusiastic welcome back in the winner's enclosure.
A similar welcome awaited the winner of the last race, The Ramside Event Catering Handicap Chase run over three miles and one furlong.
Course specialist and a veteran of Northern Courses thirteen year old Matmata De Tendron trained by Andrew Crook at Leyburn ridden by John Kington led from start to finish and delighted regular supporters by beating 9/4 favourite Presented from Brian Ellison's Malton yard ridden by Danny Cook by the wide margin of eleven lengths. The winner returned generous odds of 14/1.
Third, a further eleven lengths away, was regular Irish raider Cilliseal (11/2) trained by Noel Kelly. Only five of the nine runners finished.
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The continuing popularity of National Hunt racing at Yarridge Heights with owners, trainers and sponsors resulted in an eight race bonus for racegoers last Saturday when so many horses were entered in the intu Eldon Square Heart of The Community Handicap Hurdle the race had to be divided.
The meeting is one of the most popular on the Hexham calendar and all corporate hospitality and restaurants were fully booked several weeks ago.
Pundits in the large, enthusiastic crowd were anticipating a bold show from one of Hexham's great supporters and most successful trainers Lucinda Russell who brought no less than twelve runners from her Perth and Kinross stable.
Sadly it was not quite Lucinda's day as she only had one winner Ballyben which went off 5/2 favourite in the intu Metrocentre Maiden Hurdle.
The going was described as "Good" as the meeting began with the intu Metrocentre
Always A Winner Novices Handicap Chase.
Eleven runners went to post to negotiate the eleven fences with top weight Streams of Whiskey (pictured right) from Nicky Richards Greystoke stable ridden by Brian Harding returning from a five month break, staying on well to claim an impressive three length victory at 9/1 from Highbury High (6/1) trained by Paul Henderson at Whitsbury ridden by Brian Hughes.
Agricultural from Lucy Normile's Glenfarg stable ridden by Dougie Costello was third at 5/1.
Lucinda Russell's favourite Ballycool (4/1) could only manage fifth place.
After the race, presentations were made to the winning connections by Gavin Prior, General Manager Metrocentre and his wife Jo.
Surprisingly there were just four runners in the intu Eldon Square Alive After Five Mares Novices Hurdle run over an extended two miles.Favourite backers had their fingers burnt when odds on favourite at 8/15 Rathvawn Belle from Lucinda Russell's stable ridden by Wilson Renwick could only finish second.
Coincidentally it was another "belle" who triumphed. Irish raider Sultana Belle (7/4), pictured left, from Stuart Crawford's yard ridden by Peter Buchanan led for most of the way before going clear of the favourite before the last obstacle, to record a ten length victory.
There was a close family affair in the third race, the intu Metrocentre Just keeps Getting Better Handicap Chase over two and a half miles. First and second past the post were brother and sister jockeys Mr. Kit and Lucy Alexander.
The winner, top weight Rossini's Dance (pictured right), at generous odds of 12/1 is trained by Nick Alexander at Kinneston. Second was Allanard (15/2) trained at Penrith by Martin Todhunter. Lucinda Russell's two runners in the seven runner field, Etxalar (5/1) and Ultra Du Chatelet (3/1 favourite) could only finish third and fourth.
After the race, presentations to the winning connections were made by Councillor Mick Henry, Leader of Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council and his wife Gael.
Favourite backers were again down on their luck in Division One of the intu Eldon Square Heart of The Community Handicap Hurdle run over three miles.
Once again the result was a family affair when outsider Hartforth (10/1), (pictured right) trained by Donald Whillans at Hawick ridden by Callum Whillans beat 5/2 favourite Silver Dragon from Tony Coil's Norton yard ridden by Dougie Costello.
The second division of the three mile Handicap Hurdle was a first win in four years for I'll Be Frank (9/2 favourite and pictured right) which gave favourite backers some respite.
Trained by Maurice Barnes at Brampton and ridden by Stephen Mulqueen the eight year old broke clear before the last obstacle to record a three quarter length victory from Saddlers Mot (6/1) trained by Karen Tutty at Northallerton ridden by John Dawson.
Followers of trainer Lucinda Russell were finally rewarded in the intu Metrocentre Always A Hot Favourite Maiden Hurdle run over two and a half miles. Eleven runners went to post and 5/2 favourite Ballyben ridden by Craig Nichol made all the running and stayed on well to record a one and three quarter length victory over Milano Magic (5/1) returning after a seven month break, trained by Nick Alexander ridden by Lucy Alexander. Shimla Dawn (9/2) trained by Tim Walford at Sheriff Hutton ridden by Peter Buchanan was third.
The penultimate race on the card, the intu Eldon Square World Class Service Handicap Chase over an extended two miles was another triumph for an outsider.
Local Present (10/1) was having a first run, after a six month break, for trainer James Turner from Helperby.
Given a positive ride by Barry Keniry, Local Presen (picturd left) moved smoothly into second place four fences from home and led at the last, staying on well to beat Prince Tam (6/1) trained by Harriet Graham at Jedburgh ridden by Jonathan England by two and a quarter lengths.Morning Time, the 11/4 favourite trained by Lucinda Russell ridden by Peter Buchanan was third.
Twelve runners braved the gathering Yarridge gloom to contest the traditional "bumper" for conditional jockeys and amateur riders, the intu Metrocentre Always A Safe Bet Intermediate National Flat Race over two miles.
Favourite backers who had "stayed the course" were rewarded with an impressive win by Line D'Aois (right) which had made the long journey from Michael Scudamore's Bromsash yard and was ridden by Jack Sherwood.
Starting at 15/8 favourite, backers were given an anxious time at one stage when it looked as though there was no room in mid division.
Jack Sherwood skilfully manoeuvred the winner through the pack to lead one furlong out and run on to beat Royal Ripple (8/1) trained by Paul Henderson at Whitsbury ridden by Mr. G. Branton by three and a quarter lengths. Outsider You'resomedreamer (14/1), another Lucinda Russell horse ridden by Grant Cockburn was third.
Alexander Nicoll. Director of Corporate Responsibility for intu Properties PLC presented a memento to the winning connections.
Note: You can see larger photos of some of the winners and best turned out in the media section of our Twitter feed here.
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Note: You can see photos of winners in the media section of our Twitter feed here.
Exciting Finishes at Yarridge Heights
Enthusiastic racegoers were undeterred by the inclement weather last Friday and were rewarded with seven exciting races at Hexham's first National Hunt meeting after the summer break
In the penultimate race on the card, the first and second runners past the post were separated by a nose and in the final race, the winning margin was just a neck.
Favourite backers got off to a positive start in the first race, the Kintail Luxury Holiday Cottage Novices Steeplechase. Hexham stalwart trainer Lucinda Russell opened her Hexham autumn account when Rudemeister ridden by Wilson Renwick duly obliged at 13/8fav. beating 3/1 second favourite Balding Banker ridden by Tony Kelly by three quarters of a length.
Balding Banker was the first ever second placed horse for a delighted new trainer Rebecca Menzies. Rebecca trains at Brandsby, York and was formerly assistant to Ferdy Murphy.
Sponsors of the richest race of the day with prize money of £10,000, and long time supporters at Hexham, Varlian and Elizabeth Vyner-Brooks presented mementoes to the winning connections
Surprisingly there were no bids in the subsequent auction for the impressive winner of the second race, the BHEST Racing to School Selling Hurdle, which was won by Moufatango from Nicky Richards Greystoke yard. Going off at 9/2 and ridden from the front throughout by Brian Harding. The seven year old scored easily by thirteen lengths from Spiekeroog, the 7/2 joint second favourite from David O'meara's Nawton stable ridden by Ferghal Davis.
There were two poignant races on the card.
The Campbell Gillies Memorial Handicap Steeplechase was run in memory of the talented young jockey Campbell Gillies who tragically lost his life in a swimming accident in Corfu just a day before his twenty second birthday and two days after riding in his last race at Hexham in June 2012.
Appropriately, the race was won by a popular Hexham duo, owner trainer John Wade and jockey Brian Hughes. Despite carrying top weight of 11stone 12 lbs. Riskier at 2/1 second favourite made all, jumped exceedingly well and ran out a very easy winner by nine lengths. Mulligan's Man trained by Donald McCain ridden by Jason Maguire was second at 5/2.
Winning jockey Brian Hughes was particularly delighted to win the race in memory of his friend and fellow jockey Campbell Gillies and Campbell's mother Lesley Gillies presented mementoes to the winning connections.
A second memorial race was run in honour of another very popular character, not just at Hexham, but at racecourses throughout the North.
The 4.40 pm race, a maiden hurdle was named in memory of Ray Hawkey who passed away earlier this year. Ray was father in law of former trainer Howard Johnson
Paying tribute to Ray after the race, Racecourse Chief Executive, at the time, Charles Enderby told racegoers;
"For many years Ray was a regular and well known visitor to Hexham and was one of the most respected and knowledgeable figures in National Hunt Racing."
The race was another triumph for Kinross trainer Lucinda Russell when her 5 year old Revocation ridden by Peter Buchanan at odds of 7/1, was an impressive winner beating ten opponents. Revocation was just mid division down the back straight but powered into the lead before the last obstacle and stayed on strongly to beat joint second favourite at 7/2 Spin Cast from Philip Kirby's Middleham stable ridden by Miss H. Bethell by seven lengths.
Ray's Hawkey's widow Kathleen and family presented mementoes to the winning connections.
Another regular and loyal sponsor at Hexham, Youngs RPS sponsored the third race, a handicap hurdle run over two and a half miles.
The race attracted a rare visit to Hexham by two leading southern trainers. David Pipe sent a seven year old Decoy from Wellington, in Somerset. Kim Bailey's runner, Up For An Oscar, travelled north from Cheltenham.
The race developed into an exciting three horse finish with the southern raiders battling it out with Irish raider Call Box from Stuart Crawford's stable ridden by Steven Crawford. Victory was sealed by two lengths for the Kim Bailey horse Up For An Oscar ridden by Ed Cookson at 6/1 with the other southern horse Decoy ridden by Conor O'Farrell second at 4/1 second favourite.
The win was a particular milestone for trainer Kim Bailey as it completed his list of victories at every racecourse in the Country. There was also a close family tie as jockey Ed. Cookson accepted a memento on behalf of the owner, his mother. Presentations were made by John Turnbull, Robbie Hutchinson and Charles Raine, partners of the sponsors Youngs RPS.
Only four runners went to post for the penultimate race, the TDR Apprenticeships Novices Hurdle. Despite the small field an exciting race ensued culminating in a photo finish. The Donald McCain trained Bill From The Bar, 7/2, ridden by Nick Slatter, crossed the finishing line just a nose in front of Simarthur, the 15/8 second favourite trained by Lucinda Russell ridden by Peter Buchanan.
The narrowest of margins also separated first and second in the last race of the afternoon, the Welcome To Hexham Racecourse Handicap Steeplechase run over three miles and one furlong in increasingly testing conditions.
The winner was a success for local trainer Rose Dobbin from Alnwick, when 7 year old Pyjama Game ridden by Wilson Renwick went off at 4/1 and beat Sue Smith trained Baltic Pathfinder 9/1 ridden by Jonathan England by just a neck.
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Meeting 23rd June 2013
Cloudbursts Fail to Dampen Ladies' Day
Torrential rain storms and the occasional thunder and lightening failed to dampen the enthusiasm of another large crowd at Hexham's annual totepool.com Ladies' Day National Hunt race meeting last Sunday.
Despite a cool, blustery wind, high fashion was to the fore at the meeting described by the race day commentator as "The Ascot of the North."
Lesley Lister and her team from Tyne Tees Models had a very difficult task judging the best dressed racegoers competitions.
"Picking winners in the fashion stakes was more difficult than picking winners on the racecourse as there were so many elegant outfits to choose from," she told the Courant.
The "Best Dressed Lady" was finally judged to be Lucy Hillbeck from Kendal who was attending her first ever race meeting.
She won a champagne luncheon for two, a future race named in her honour, a £25 tote betting voucher and a bottle of champagne.
The "Best Dressed Couple" honour went to Donna and Michael Laws from Heworth, Gateshead.
They who won luncheon for two at the Racecourse, a champagne afternoon tea at Slaley Hall and a bottle of champagne.
The lady judged to be wearing the "Best Hat" was Sharon Chorley from Consett.
Sharon won a half day spa treatment courtesy of Reflections Hair and Beauty of Corbridge and a bottle of champagne.
Winners were presented with their prizes by the recently crowned "Miss Newcastle" Shannen Steinson.
Favourite backers had a torrid day with not one winner.
The meeting got off to a dramatic start when, in the first race, "The Your Favourite Pools Bets @totepool.com" Novices' Steeplechase, run over an extended two miles, four horses fell at the very first fence. Neither jockeys or horses sustained serious injury.
There was further drama at the fourth when short priced favourite Rhymers Ha (7/4) trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross unseated rider Graham Watters.
The race was won by the 3/1 second favourite, Bygones of Brid, locally trained by Karen McLintock ridden by Brian Hughes who powered into the lead up the hill to record a twelve length victory from Twill Stand To Us (13/2) from Brian Ellison's Malton stable ridden by Dougie Costello.
There were no bids for the winner of the second race "The Bet Totequadpot Txt To 89660" Conditional Jockeys Selling Hurdle run over three miles which produced an exciting three horse battle to the line and a photo finish for the minor placings.
The victor by four lengths was second favourite at 7/2 Sparkling Tara from Sue Smith's Bingley stable ridden by Jonathan England who beat 5/4 favourite Descaro, which had made the long journey from John O'Shea's Newnham on Severn yard ridden by Ciaran McKee.
There was a hat trick of wins for second favourites in the third race "The Bet Totejackpot Everyday @ totepool.com" Novices Hurdle run over an extended two miles. Howwoulduno trained in Ireland by Liam Lennon ridden by Graham Watters went off at 11/4 second favourite and led before the last before recording a one and a quarter length victory from 22/1 outsider Symphonick from Tim Fitzgerald's Malton stable ridden by Brian Hughes.
There was a diversion in the winners' enclosure after the third race when sponsors Reflections Hair and Beauty from Corbridge judged a beauty contest with a difference.
This time the contestants were jockeys and the winner was Jonathan England with Alexander Voy a close second and John Kington third.
Favourite backers fared no better in the fourth race over two and a half miles won by Cruachan at 16/1 from Lucy Normile's Glenfarg stable ridden by Dougie Costello. I'll be Frank at 11/2 was second by one and three quarter lengths for trainer Maurice Barnes from Brampton ridden by Michael McAlister. Favourite at 7/2 Hi George from Malcolm Jefferson's Malton stable ridden by Harry Haynes could only manage third.
The stormy weather continued to dominate the landscape as things got decidedly worse for form followers. The 20/1 shot Sierra Victor from Rose Dobbin's Alnwick yard ridden by Mr. J. Hamilton won "The Kingsize Pools @totepool.com" Handicap Steeplechase run over three miles and one furlong. The 11/2 co favourite Cloudy Dawn trained by Sue Smith ridden by Jonathan England was three lengths away second.
The last two races brought no respite for favourite backers.
The sixth race, a Handicap Hurdle, was another triumph for the joint second favourite at 6/1 when Peter Buchanan's Morning Time trained by Lucinda Russell beat Tennessee Bird ( 8/1) from Mike Sowersby's York Yard ridden by Eddie Linehan by three lengths.
There was a quick double for jockey Peter Buchanan who was first past the post in the last race, a Handicap Hurdle run over three miles. His mount Big Sound trained by Tim Walford at Sheriff Hutton went off at 7/2 second favourite and beat yet another favourite Auberge (6/4) trained by Dianne Sayer at Penrith and ridden by Ryan Mania by three lengths.
All races at the meeting were generously sponsored by Totepool.
General Manager Malcolm Knowles presented mementoes to all winning connections.
He was also in the Parade Ring before each race to judge the best turned out horse and award the successful stable lad lass a £100 prize.
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Meeting 15th June 2013
Contrasting fortunes for top jockeys
There were contrasting fortunes for two top jockeys at last Saturday's Family Day meeting held at Yarridge Heights.
Popular champion jockey A.P. McCoy made a rare visit to the course when he was booked for three rides.
The large contingent of McCoy supporters were disappointed when he failed to register a win.
In the opening race he could only manage fourth place on Loose Preformer which had made the long journey from David O'Meara's stable at Nawton.
In the fifth race he finished fifth on What's A Billion which had also made a long journey from Anabel K. Murphy's yard at Stratford on Avon.
Things got decidedly worse in his last race of the day, The Hexham Edge Of The Roman Empire Handicap Hurdle run over three miles when his mount Life Long, from the same stable, pulled up after the seventh obstacle.
In contrast Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania (pictured right) thrilled his growing band of Hexham followers with a hat trick of wins.
Ryan got off to a great start in the first race steering the 9/2 joint second favourite Indigo Rock from Michael Smith's Newcastle Upon Tyne stable to a three and a quarter length victory from Irish raider Soweheard, the 11/10 favourite, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Jason Maguire.
The popularity of Hexham with owners and trainers meant that the feature race The Hexham Edge Of the Roman Empire Handicap Hurdle had to be divided into two divisions. because of the large number of declared runners.
Ryan Mania delighted his followers by winning both divisions for trainer Dianne Sayer from Penrith.
In the First Division, his mount Solis went off at 15/8 favourite and beat Saddlers Mot, 13/2, ridden by John Dawson and trained by Karen Tutty at Northallerton by seven lengths.
In the Second Division Ryan and Dianne completed an action replay of a Hexham win just eleven days previously when Auberge at 7/2 joint favourite duly obliged again beating Granwood, 4/1, trained by Tim Walford at Sheriff Hutton, ridden by Peter Buchanan, by five lengths.
The meeting was not without its drama. In the second race The Roman Wall Mares' Novices' Hurdle, run over an extended two miles, More Like Mum from Tina Jackson's Loftus stable unseated rider Fearghal Davis twice, breaking loose on the way to post. The mare led a merry dance before being caught and safely withdrawn.
The race was won by 8/13 favourite Great Oak from Tim Vaughan's Cowbridge stable ridden by Richard Johnson.
Despite threatening clouds, the dry weather held for the seventh race on the card which was a first ever win for delighted owners Mr. W. and Mrs. J. Garnett. Presenting Junior, trained by Martin Todhunter at Penrith ridden by Lucy Alexander, went off at 7/2 joint second favourite and in a tense photo finish beat the other 7/2 joint second favourite, Attycran, trained by Maurice Barnes ridden by Michael McAlister by a short head.
In the Amateur Riders ' Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles, Mr. C. P Shoemark (Conor) steered 3/1 second favourite Granaruid, trained by Alison Hamilton at Denholm, to a one and three quarter length victory from 10/1 outsider Weybridge Light from David Thompson's Darlington Stable ridden by Mr. Matthew Stanley.
Favourite backers went home happy when trainer Gordon Elliott's Irish raider Definite Row, 5/4 favourite, ridden by Jason Maguire recorded an easy eighth length victory from second favourite at 13/8 Retrieve The Stick, trained by Malcolm Jefferson at Malton and ridden by Brian Hughes.
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Meeting 4th June 2013- Nova International Day
Sun Shines Again On Yarridge Heights
The early summer sunshine which graced last Saturday's Nova International National Hunt race day stayed for the second evening meeting of the season on Tuesday (June 4th.) when the Course and surrounding countryside looked its spectacular best.
Owners, trainers and racegoers were unanimous in their praise of the breathtaking landscape, a far cry from the bitter cold, rainy days of winter racing.
For the second meeting in three days, a large enthusiastic crowd enjoyed some exciting finishes on the six race card.
The meeting got underway with the "Book The Pavilion Restaurant" Novices Steeplechase run over two miles and seven furlongs which attracted eleven runners.
Balding Banker from Ferdy Murphy's West Witton yard was aiming to repeat a course and distance victory a month ago. Despite going off the odds on favourite, Balding Banker, ridden by Tony Kelly could only finish fourth.
Winner, at generous odds of 11/1, was Bobble Hat Bob trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross ridden by Peter Buchanan. In an exciting finish, the victor beat Kris Cross (13/2) from the same stable ridden by Tom Scudamore by just a neck.
Howizee (2/1 second fav.) from the Brampton Stable of Maurice Barnes ridden by Michael Mc.Alister was a nineteen lengths distant third.
Seven runners went to post for the Howard Cooper Memorial Mares Handicap run over two and a half miles. Completing the first circuit the field was closely bunched with just four lengths separating first and last at the bottom of the hill.
Progressing up the hill, Rattlin (7/2 second fav.) trained by Sue Smith at Bingley ridden by Jonathan England edged three lengths ahead of the chasing pack and held on well in the finishing straight to beat outsider Bollin Dolly (16/1) trained by James Moffatt at Grange-Over-Sands ridden by Brian Harding by two and three quarter lengths.
The well backed Blazin White Face (4/1), another runner from the Lucinda Russell stable ridden by Graham Watters was third.
The third race was sponsored by Hexham stalwart owner trainer John Wade from Sedgefield in honour of Grace Williams who, for seven years, has looked after VIP guests, winning connections, sponsors and Directors.
The "John Wade Supporting Grace in the Winners' Bar" Handicap Steeplechase was run over an extended two miles and was another triumph for Lucinda Russell. Castlelawn (3/1 joint second fav.) also gave jockey Peter Buchanan a quick double.
Outsider Pumboo (16-1), another from James Moffatt's stable ridden by Brian Harding was second and 2/1 favourite Cloverhill Lad, trained by Stuart Coltherd at Selkirk ridden by Gary Rutherford was third.
After the race Grace Williams and John Wade presented mementoes to the winning connections.
Favourite backers were having a torrid time and there was no respite in the Hexham Caravan Site Handicap Hurdle over three miles.
The strong evening sunshine led to two hurdles in the straight being omitted for safety reasons leaving the thirteen runners eight hurdles to negotiate.
Popular favourite at 11/8 Corky Dancer trained by Andrew Parker at Lockerbie ridden by Jason Maguire made all from the start and it was not until they started to climb the hill on the final circuit that Corky Dancer was headed by 16/1 outsider Auberge trained by in form Dianne Sayer at Penrith ridden by Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania.
Auberge won impressively by nine lengths with Solway Dornal (15/2) trained by Lisa Harrison at Wigton ridden by Stephen Mulqueen a further sixteen lengths away third.
The penultimate race of the evening, The "Book Now For Ladies' Day" Maiden Hurdle was run over two and a half miles and proved to be a handsome victory for another outsider by eleven lengths for Oscar Tanner(10/1) from the stable of Hexham regular Martin Todhunter at Penrith ridden by Lucy Alexander.
The winner surged clear at the top of the hill and beat rank outsider Arisda (66/1) trained by Brian Ellison at Malton ridden by Garry Lavery.
Brian also took third place with Twill Stand To Us (100/30 second fav,) ridden by Tom Scudamore.
With the breathtaking setting sun as the backdrop, the meeting drew to a close with the St. John Lee Amateur Riders Novices Handicap Hurdle over the extended two miles.
Favourite backers "retired hurt" as Brother Scott, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Mr. Callum Bewley could only manage second place to Morning Time (9/1) ridden by Rachael McDonald who gave trainer Lucinda Russell her hat trick of victories on the night.
The victory was Rachael's first ever win over hurdles.
The Ferick, trained at Richmond by Alan Swinbank ridden by Mr. Nico de Boinville was third.
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Meeting 1st June 2013 - NOVA International Day
Sun Shines on Nova International Race Day
Racegoers travelling from a dull, drizzle drenched East were pleasantly surprised to find Yarridge Heights bathed in warm sunshine last Saturday when Hexham staged one of the most popular National Hunt race meetings of the year, sponsored by Nova International.
All seven races on the card were named in honour of sporting events for which the sponsors have gained a worldwide reputation.
The meeting got off to an exciting start when Kaolak (2/1), trained in Glasgow by Jim Goldie ridden by Henry Brooke, led from start to finish in The Great Run org. selling hurdle run over an extended two miles and eight obstacles.
The second favourite beat 7/4 favourite Piment D'Estruval, trained by Tim Vaughan at Cowbridge ridden by Richard Killoran, by three and a quarter lengths.
Surprisingly there were no bids for the seven year old American bred winner in the subsequent auction.
There was an incident packed second race, The Junior North Run Novices Steeplechase run over two and a half miles and fifteen fences.
Of the eight runners only two finished and there were gasps from the large crowd when 11/10 favourite Rudemeister, trained at Lockerbie by Andrew Parker parted company with Wilson Renwick at the second last fence when looking a certain winner.
The race went to second favourite at 9/4 Bygones of Brid, trained locally by Karen McLintock ridden by Brian Hughes.
Second, a distant twenty eight lengths behind, was Indian Voyage (7-1), trained at Brampton by Maurice Barnes ridden by Michael McAlister.
Once again The Great North Swim Handicap Steeplechase over three miles and one furlong and nineteen fences was a triumph for a horse which led from start to finish.
Making all, Almond Court (5/1 joint favourite), a course and distance winner trained locally by Robert Johnson ridden by Brian Toomey, extended its lead up the final hill to win impressively by eighteen lengths.
Chernik (13/2) trained by Mickey Hammond at Middleham ridden by Henry Brooke was second and Solway Dornal, from the yard of Lisa Harrison at Wigton ridden by Stephen Mulqueen, was a 10/1 third.
The trend for front runner success continued in The Nova International Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles and eight obstacles when the winner, once again, led from start to finish. Baccalaureate, (11/4 second favourite), trained by Sue Smith at Bingley ridden by Jonathan England gained a six length victory from Foxcub (5/1) trained by Tom Symonds at Hentland in Shropshire, ridden by Felix de Giles.
After the race Brendan Foster, Chairman of sponsors Nova International and his wife Sue presented mementoes to Graham and Elizabeth Barnes representing the winning owners, The Cartmel Syndicate.
Racecourse Chief Executive, at the time, Charles Enderby, also made a presentation to Sue and Brendan Foster in recognition of their seventeen years support of National Hunt racing at Yarridge Heights.
Favourite backers gained some respite in the Film Nova Juvenile Hurdle run over the extended two miles.
The race was the first juvenile hurdle of the current jumps season and was a triumph for 11/10 favourite Akdam, trained by Tony Carroll at Cropthorne ridden by Trevor Whelan.
Akdam and Hi Candy (20/1), from Ben Haslam's Middleham stable ridden by Andrew Tinkler, were ten lengths clear two obstacles out. The favourite gave backers some anxious moments with a very poor jump at the last hurdle but recovered to win by three and three quarter lengths from outsider Lindenhurst (16/1), trained in Ireland by John McConnell ridden by Mark Bolger. In the run in Hi Candy was relegated to third place.
The penultimate race on the card, The Great North City Handicap Steeplechase, once again over an extended two miles and twelve fences, gave jockey Brian Hughes a well earned double.
His mount Sleep In First (9/2) trained by James Ewart at Langholm gained a two and three quarter length victory over 4/1 second favourite Exotic Man trained by John Wade at Sedgefield ridden by John Dawson. Favourite at 11/4, My Idea, trained by Maurice Barnes ridden by Michael McAlister, could only finish third.
The traditional "bumper" flat race resulted in a change in fortune for Grand National winning Jockey Ryan Mania and a double for trainer Sue Smith.
Ryan Mania had finished last on Strobe in the previous race but rode joint favourite at 4/1 Mister Jones to an impressive two length victory in The Great North Run Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Jimmy The Jetplane (9/2), trained by Alistair Whillans at Hawick ridden by Peter Buchanan, was second and the other joint favourite Cobajayisland from Lucinda Russell's Kinross yard ridden by Craig Nicoll was third.
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Meeting 11th May 2013 - Heart Of All England
Bumper Fields at Yarridge Heights
The popularity of last Saturday's National Hunt race meeting at Yarridge Heights, among owners and trainers from throughout Britain and Ireland, resulted in a bonus for racegoers.
With twenty four horses entered for The Margaret Ferries Memorial Handicap Hurdle, the race had to be divided resulting in a rare eight race card.
Punters had to brave a brisk wind and squally showers but the sun shone from time to time, not least when the winner of the feature second race, the TDR@Q1 Selling Hurdle over an extended two miles, was subsequently sold at auction for 9,500 guineas.
Dropping in class, winner Radmores Revenge made the long journey from John O'Shea's yard at Newnham-on-Severn. Sent off the odds on 4/6 favourite and ridden by Ciaran McKee, the ten year old recorded an impressive four and a half length victory from second favourite I'll Be Frank (7/2) from Maurice Barnes Brampton stable ridden by Stephen Mulqueen.
Samantha and Jill, daughters of Bill McGawley and Ian Young, Directors of race sponsors TDR Training, presented mementos to the winning connections.
Earlier, the meeting opened with the nine runner Maya and Reed Barham Novices, Hurdle, run over an extended two miles, won by just a neck by second joint favourite at 100/30 Damascus Steel trained by Alison Hamilton at Denholm and ridden by popular Hexham regular Brian Harding.
In a contest, keenly fought right to the finishing line, the winner beat 13/8 favourite Island Confusion, trained by another Hexham regular Lucinda Russell at Kinross and ridden by Graham Watters.
Outsider at 28/1, Tiny Dancer trained by Micky Hammond at Middleham ridden by Paddy Brennan was third.
The first steeplechase of the day, The Britain In Bloom Conditional Jockeys Handicap, over two and a half miles, was a triumph for another very popular jockey Samantha Drake. Expertly ridden Or D'Oudairies from Ferdy Murphy's West Witton yard, which went off at odds of 6/1 beat Sergeant Pink (8/1), trained at Penrith by Dianne Sayer, ridden by Tony Kelly by one and a half lengths.
Favourite and top weight Papa Caruso (11/4 fav.), trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Jonathon England could only finish third.
The first division of the divided fourth race, run over three miles saw Corky Dancer (6-1), trained at Lockerbie by Andrew Parker ridden by Wilson Renwick make all to break clear before the ninth obstacle and stay on well to record a nine length victory from 4/1 second favourite Solis from Diane Sayer's Penrith yard ridden by Emma Sayer.
The favourite Grey Command (9/4 fav.) trained by Philip Kirby at Middleham ridden by Kyle James came home third, a further twenty eight lengths behind.
The second division of the three mile Handicap Hurdle resulted in a second win of the meeting for favourite backers. Candleford (2/1 fav.), trained at Thirsk by Ashley Dodgson and ridden by Tony Kelly was held up in the rear before taking the lead before the last of the twelve obstacles to beat Granwood (5/1) trained by Tim Walford ridden by Peter Buchanan by 4 lengths.
Bob's Ticket (8/1) trained by Philip Kirby at Middleham and ridden by Adam Nicol was a further three lengths away in third place.
Seven horses competed for each of the last three races which produced exciting finishes.
The sixth race was donated by the Racecourse Executive to promote the Greggs Childrens Cancer Run Charity.
A novice hurdle over two and a half miles the race was another success for the Grand National winning combination of trainer Sue Smith from Bingley and jockey Ryan Mania. Rattlin which went off at 100/30 second favourite just beat off a challenge by Azerodegree (8/1) from Ian Jardine's Hawick stable ridden by Adrian Lane to win by half a length.
Favourite Northern Executive had earlier parted company with Paddy Brennan at the eighth obstacle.
The penultimate race was a three mile one furlong handicap steeplechase in which only three of the seven runners finished.
Lukey Luke (6-1) trained by James Turner at Helperby beat 22/1 outsider Bollin Fiona by five lengths to give jockey Peter Buchanan his first winner of the meeting. The only other finisher was Micky Hammond trained Just Joe ridden by Wilson Renwick.
Early evening sunshine greeted the final race on the eight race card, a bumper Standard Open national Hunt Flat Race over an extended two miles.
Trainer Donald McCain, who rarely leaves Yarridge Heights without a winner, had to wait for the bumper for his only success when 5/2 second favourite Ziggie ridden by Adrian Lane duly obliged by two lengths in what turned out to be a two horse contest with second placed Line D'Aois (3/1) from Michael Scudamore's Bromsash stable ridden by Paddy Brennan.
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Meeting 4th May 2013 - Heart Of All England
Entente Cordiale at Yarridge Heights
Veteran French footballers vied with Borders' racing enthusiasts for the honours at Yarridge Heights last Saturday evening.
Special guests at one of the North's most important hunter chase meetings were an enthusiastic group of footballers from Perpignon who were enjoying a sporting weekend in Tynedale.
They witnessed an impressive win in the Ramside Hotels Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Steeplechase by Show Public trained by Simon Shirley- Bevan at Hawick and ridden by Jamie Hamilton.
Show Public, the joint second favourite, dominated the race, impressively beating fourteen opponents by twenty one lengths returning odds of 4-1.
A New Rising, trained at Kinross by M.E. Ellwood, and ridden by John Lyttle was second at a generous 50-1, with the other joint second favourite Barachois Silver, trained by Mrs. Hollands Gordon Berwickshire, ridden by Mr. S. Fox, a further 10 lengths behind in third place. Favourite Soleil D'avril could only manage a distant fifth.
David Wood, Catering Manager for sponsors Ramside Event Catering presented the Heart of England trophy to winning owner Philippa Shirley - Bevan.
Favourite backers among the larger than average crowd were successful in the first two races on the seven race card.
The opening event, The Friends of Chollerton Handicap Steeplechase run over an extended two miles was won by top weight Surprise Vendor trained by Stuart Coltherd at Selkirk and ridden by Gary Rutherford.
The 5/2 favourite was hampered by a loose horse four out but went on to record a five length victory from Andrew Crook's Leyburn trained Zazamix (8-1), ridden by John Winston.
The sponsorship of the race was generously donated by the Racecourse Executive to the Friends of Chollerton to promote fundraising which keeps the architecture and the fabric of Chollerton churches in good repair.
Dee Mc.Gowan a member of the Friends Committee presented a memento to the winning connections.
Favourite followers enjoyed a quick double in the second race, The Caravan Site Selling Hurdle.
Chris Grant's Billingham trained Milano Supremo, ridden by Henry Brooke was heavily backed down to 8/15fav. and duly obliged beating That'll Do Nicely (6-1) from Nicky Richards' Greystoke yard by one and a half lengths in an exciting finish.
In the subsequent auction there were no bids for the winner.
For the tenth successive year, Newcastle based designers, planners, engineers and consultants Arup made a welcome return to Yarridge Heights to sponsor the Arup Mares Only Handicap Hurdle run over two and a half miles.
Favourite backers celebrated a hat trick of wins when Mrs. Eff, trained by Philip Kirby at Middleham, ridden by Kyle James, went off at 11/8 favourite and beat Overpriced (8/1) trained by Maurice Barnes at Brampton, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen, by three and three quarter lengths.
Presentations were made by David Peck and Andrew Wilkinson from sponsors Arup.
The evening's Entente Cordiale came to the fore after the fifth race, a Handicap Steeplechase, sponsored by one of Hexham's most loyal supporters, owner and trainer John Wade.
The race was a triumph for the Grand National winning partnership of trainer Sue Smith and jockey Ryan Mania as Highrate, in the familiar green and yellow quarters of top owner Trevor Hemmings, duly obliged at 5/1.
The winner broke clear of the chasing pack two fences out and came home thirty one lengths ahead of 100/30 favourite Don't Tell Sailor from the Leek stable of Jennie Candlish, ridden by Conor Ring.
Presentation were made to the winning connections by the self styled "mature" French footballers who, earlier in the day, had been defeated in a match at Corbridge, by a team of Tynedale players who, paradoxically, had loaned the French veterans a player who scored both goals in the two nil Tynedale victory.
After the presentation, and to show there were no hard feelings, "Les Vieux Du Stade FC Aspres" (roughly translated as "The Old Codgers of Perpignon) burst into an impromptu rendition of La Marseillaise which brought warm applause from racegoers.
The chill wind, which accompanied the last two races on the card, failed to dampen the spirits of the large crowd and favourite backers were counting their winnings yet again.
The penultimate race, the Jimmy Adam 80th. Birthday Novices Steeple Chase over two miles and seven furlongs was won by Balding Banker at 15/8 favourite.
The Ferdy Murphy trained seven year old, ridden by Tony Kelly, went clear two fences out and scored an impressive thirty four length victory over the second favourite Brady from Donald Mc Cain's Cholmondeley stable ridden by Henry Brooke.
The highly successful and enjoyable meeting's final race was the Acomb Novices Hurdle over three miles.
Well backed favourite, top weight Wolf Shield from George Moore's Middleham stable, ridden by Barry Keniry, went off at 6/5 fav., and, although giving backers an anxious moment when hitting the eighth fence, duly obliged beating 2/1 second favourite Nodforms Violet from Karen Mc.Lintock's local stable, ridden by Brian Hughes by 6th lengths.
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Large Fields and Exciting Finishes at Yarridge Heights
A brisk drying wind created good going for Hexham's second National Hunt meeting of the year last Monday.
The good going attracted large fields for the seven races and several exciting finishes ensued.
An enthusiastic crowd saw the meeting get underway with the Visit Hadrian's Wall Handicap Steeplechase which was won by second favourite Sleep In First (7/2) trained by James Ewart at Langholm, ridden by popular Hexham jockey Brian Hughes.
The winner was ten lengths ahead of 5/2 favourite TwentyPound Luck.
Luck deserted conditional jockey Tony Kelly, whose mount Gavroche Gaugain was in the lead before suddenly running out at the second last of the twelve fences.
Favourite backers gained some recompense in the second feature race the Thornton Firkin National Hunt Novices Hurdle run over two miles and half a furlong.
Odds on favourite Flaming Arrow (10/11) trained by Kevin Ryan at Hambleton and ridden by Bryan Toomey beat Irish raider Maggio(3-1) by five lengths with John Wade's Quest Magic third at 16/1 ridden by John Dawson.
The biggest field of the day lined up in the Cohort Handicap Steeplechase which attracted eighteen runners who were so keen to attack the nineteen fences, the starter had to call a false start.
The heavily backed Pyjama Game, which came in to 7/1 joint second favourite duly obliged beating Almond Court (12-1) from Robert Johnson's Newcastle Upon Tyne Stable, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen, in a closely fought finish, by just half a length.
The popular winner was trained by Rose Dobbin at Alnwick and ridden by Wilson Renwick.
Outsider Borolee, at 28/1, was a further fifteen lengths behind in third place.
Joint favourites at 4/1 battled for honours in the Corbridge Handicap Hurdle run over two and a half miles. Go Now trained by Micky Hammond and ridden by Joe Colliver finally got the better of John Wade's Glencree ridden by Brian Hughes.
Favourite backers were not so lucky in the Riding Mares' Only Hurdle which resulted in 13/8 favourite Lady of Verona, trained by Lucinda Russell at Kinross, ridden by Craig Nichol, finishing third behind Hidden Horizons (3-1), a worthy winner for Irish trainer Stuart Crawford, ridden by Peter Buchanan, with Valsesia (4-1) trained by Christopher Wilson at Darlington, ridden by Ewan Whillans, second.
There was early drama in the sixth race, The Linnels Bridge Hunters' Steeplechase, run over three miles and one furlong.
With nineteen fences to negotiate well backed 6/4 favourite Palos Conti trained by Alison Christmas at Hoylandswain, South Yorkshire, ridden by Mr. G. Brewer came to grief at the second obstacle bringing down Granaruid.
The race ended in triumph for 16/1 gamble Ocarina trained by N.W. Alexander at Kinneston and ridden by Mr. C. Alexander.
Popular five times winner at Hexham, Harry Flashman, from the stable of G.I. Aitken at Hawick, ridden by Mr. N. Orpwood was second at 100/30 second favourite with Playing The Field trained and ridden by Mrs. Freya Brewer was third at 18/1.
The meeting came to a close with an exciting and rare photo finish in the bumper race - the Vallum Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Fifteen runners went to post and in a closest of photo finishes the judge awarded the race, by the margin of a head, to Zermatt (9/4 fav.) from John Quinn's Malton yard ridden by Dougie Costello.
Unlucky second was the Alan Swinbank trained Powder On The Bonnet at 4/1 ridden by Joe Colliver with John Wade's New Academy ridden by Wilson Renwick third at 12/1.
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Eventful Meeting at Yarridge Heights
The contrasting fortunes experienced by National Hunt jockeys were highlighted at Yarridge Heights last Sunday when the International spotlight fell on Hexham's first meeting of the year.
On Saturday afternoon, Galashiels based jockey Ryan Mania was being welcomed into the winner's enclosure at Aintree on board Aurora's Encore, winner of the 2013 Grand National.
Seventy thousand racegoers and six hundred million television viewers worldwide celebrated the victory for popular Hexham regulars, trainers Sue and Harvey Smith.
Less than twenty four hours later, at the fifth hurdle in the 3.10 race at Hexham, Ryan's mount Stagecoach Amber stumbled and fell.
The racecourse medical team expertly attended to Ryan, watched by anxious racegoers and several national television and radio crews who had descended on Hexham to interview the National winner.
After more than thirty minutes treatment, the Air Ambulance arrived and Ryan was flown to The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Thankfully, after several scans, Ryan's injuries were discovered to be not as serious as first thought and (at the time of writing) he is expected to be discharged from hospital on Tuesday.
The appearance of the Grand National winning jockey at Hexham, on the day after his fairytale triumph, resulted in a large, enthusiastic crowd.
Favourite backers were rewarded in the first two races.
In the first, the SIS Novices' Hurdle run over two miles and half a furlong, top weight Swaledale Lad, trained by Richard Ford at Garstang and ridden by Harry Challoner went off the 1/2 favourite and duly obliged. The six year old led from the first, cantered up the hill and was clear at the last hurdle to win by five lengths from Ivan Boru (8/1) from the Saltburn yard of Keith Reveley, ridden by James Reveley.
Northern Oscar trained by Tim Walford at Sheriff Hutton, ridden by Peter Buchanan was third at generous odds of 50/1.
Favourite backers were counting their winnings again after the second race, the TDR's Apprenticeship Novices' Steeplechase over three miles and one furlong.
The race was a first sponsorship venture at Hexham for TDR Training Ltd.
Based at Team Valley in Gateshead, the Charitable Trust's objectives are to get young people interested in science and engineering, providing training for all ages.
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