Catherine Walton moved to the head of the National Ladies Championship title standings and at the same time extended her lead over Claire Metcalfe in the Scottish Farmer Northern Area Ladies Championship to 17pts with a first career treble on Highland Cathedral, Coquet Head and New Alco in the rearranged Percy point-to-point meeting at Alnwick on Sunday.
Coquet Head (left) fulfilled the promise shown when runner-up at Tranwell last April by getting off the mark on his reappearance in the two and a half mile Portland Financial Management & Ryecroft Glenton Open Maiden Race. After hitting the front two out, the 6 year old quickly settled the issue and had ten lengths to spare at the line over Some Lad, with the promising Georges Street a further five lengths away in third. Catherine said of the winner: ''He picked up as soon as he hit the better ground after four out and I didn't have to move a muscle,'' while his Flotterton near Rothbury handler, Jimmy Walton remarked: ''He's as nice a young horse as I've had for a long time.''
New Alco (right, white cap) completed Walton's red letter day with his first win since November 2007 in the Owen Pugh Ladies Open Race. The 11 year old dictated a strong pace from the outset and only had to be pushed out with hands and heels on the run-in to score by a couple of lengths from Cast Iron Casey.Winning trainer, Tory Hayter said of the former 146-rated chaser: ''He has had a lot of problems with his feet but is still a class act on his day and the plan is to go hunter chasing if he stays sound.'' The winner, making only his sixth appearance since finishing a close 2nd in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase at the 2008 Cheltenham Festival, is owned by Ferdy Murphy, who said of his charge: ''He had an infection in a pedal bone a couple of years ago and it's taken time to get him right again.''
Buckstruther (left) made it two winners from two runners this season for Hawick owner/trainer, Alastair Bell in the TSG Men's Open Race. In command throughout the final circuit, the 10 year old forged clear from three out to beat Joseph by a distance. 17 year old Jamie Hamilton is still on the crest of a wave following a first winner under Rules on Tartan Snow at Kelso eleven days earlier and after an armchair ride on Buckstruther, said of him: ''He jumped superbly and had the race in the bag a long way from home.''
The complexion of the Jill Kelly and John Blades Restricted Race was turned on its head when the leader, Omme Antique and the favourite, Know The Rules ran out at the start of the final circuit. The business end of proceedings saw Silent Cliche (far right) and So It Will Be battle it out down the home straight with the former, ridden by Drew Holmes, outstaying his rival on the flat to win by a length.
Holmes, who is in charge of sales and product development for men's fashion designer, Nigel Cabourn, bought the winner privately out of Howard Johnson's yard last May, a few weeks after he had been pulled up in the Scottish Grand National.
Val Jackson had intended riding Wave Power (left, red cap) in the Farmway NPPA Club Members Race but returned very dehydrated after finishing 2nd on stable companion, Cast Iron Casey in the preceding Ladies Open, and so Toby Speke was called up as a last minute substitute. He gave the 8 year old a positive front-running ride and, apart from being headed between four out and three out by Anns Benefit, always seemed to have matters under control. The gelding stayed on strongly in the closing stages to secure a two lengths verdict, and Speke said: ''I've never come up the final hill at Alnwick with as much horse underneath me.'' The winner was bought privately out of Howard Johnson's yard in 2010 by Jackson and was recording his first success since landing a sixteen runner Leopardstown bumper on his debut in December 2008 under Derek O'Connor.
For the record, Jackson rode her first winner on Lothian Brig in the West Percy Ladies Open at Alnwick on 26 February 1977 (35 years ago to the day).
Highland Cathedral (far right of picture) made most of the running in the North East Livestock Sales Percy and West Percy Members Race but had been headed and looked beaten when a last fence blunder by the odds-on favourite, Monogram, who was two lengths up at the time, allowed Walton's mount to regain the initiative on the run-in.
At the last
The run to the last
At the last
At the last
At the last
A circuit remaining
After a string of near misses since landing a double at last month's West Percy meeting, Newton-by-the-Sea trainer, Victor Thompson deservedly hit the back of the net with Sharivarry (right, red and yellow) in the Warcup Skene Open Maiden Race. Given a very patient ride by Tristan Davidson, the 6 year old engaged overdrive down the home straight to overhaul Rosses Leader after the last and win, going away, by two lengths. The youngster was placed in two Irish Maidens last May before being bought by Thompson for £11000 at Doncaster Sales in August.