Leicestershire trainer Kelly Morgan enjoyed another successful trip up the A1 to Alnwick on Sunday with a double at the Percy fixture courtesy of Jumper Watt and Runwiththetide to make it 9 winners from 15 runners at the Ratcheugh Farm course since December 2021.
Jumper Watt (right) set the ball rolling when scoring impressively on debut in the 2m4f Joiners Arms Maiden Race. Confidently ridden by Joe Wright, the five-year-old was always travelling well behind the leaders before taking it up approaching four out. The youngster then quickened clear up the hill and it was one-way traffic from the next as he cruised home twelve lengths ahead of Bryman's Moon (Jack Teal).
Related to multiple jumps winners in France, this Konig Turf gelding was bought for 15,000 euros at Goffs Land Rover Sale in June 2022. Morgan said: ''He'd been flying on the gallops at home and is now for sale.'' Wright added: ''He winged four out, cruised up the hill in second gear and did it so easily.''
Runwiththetide (left) doubled up for Morgan's Waltham-on-the-Wolds yard with a first-time out victory for the second season in a row in the Hazelrigg Racing Intermediate Race under a well-judged front-running ride from Ellie Callwood.
The seven-year-old didn't see another rival and still had plenty left in the tank as she crossed the line seven lengths in front of the only other finisher Cool Desire (John Dawson).
Bought for £10,000 out of Dan Skelton's yard at Tattersalls Ascot Sale in November 2022, Runwiththetide has subsequently won all 3 Pointing starts from Morgan's yard.
This was a 10th career success between the flags for Callwood, who said: ''That wasn't the plan beforehand but she just loved bowling along in front, took lengths out of her rivals at every fence and I didn't have to move a muscle.''
Senor Lombardy and Dundrum Wood maintained their 100% records at Alnwick (both 4-4) in the opening two contests.
Odds-on favourite Senor Lombardy (right) returned from a 680-day absence to land the Percy Hunt Conditions Race in game fashion under Lyall Hodgins. In his comfort zone dictating the pace from the off, the evergreen eleven-year-old jumped well all the way and was always doing enough in the closing stages to score by a length from the fast-finishing Coole Hall (Abi Reid).
This was a popular win for owners Brian & Kelly Harding and Newton-by-the-Sea couple Adam & Kate Thompson as well as an outstanding training performance by Brian who has had to be patient after his stable star picked up a leg injury when finishing 5th to Billaway in the 2022 Cheltenham Foxhunters' Chase.
Harding said: ''He's a proper horse, is sure to come on a lot for the run and might come back here for the College Valley & North Northumberland fixture on February 25.''
Coincidentally, there was little between Senor Lombardy and Coole Hall when they met twice over hurdles more than six years ago. In a 2m6f Kelso Novices' Hurdle on 11th November 2017. Senor Lombardy beat Coole Hall by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Three weeks later, Coole Hall got his revenge in the 2m6f 'French Furze' Novices' Hurdle at Newcastle when beating Senor Lombardy by the same margin.
An across the card four-timer for the Tom Ellis yard was kick-started by course specialist Dundrum Wood (left) in the Meldrum Construction Ladies Open Race, providing jockey Martha Reeve, granddaughter of owner Shona Westrope, with her 4th Pointing winner.
Jumping and travelling well from the off on his belated seasonal debut, the ten-year-old made most of the running to beat Oscar Wilde (Amy Coltherd) by one-and-a-quarter lengths with hat-trick seeking Ballydonagh Boy (Rosie Howarth) a short head away in third.
Shona, who was brought up at Upper Hindhope in the Scottish Borders near Hownam, has now seen her emerald green colours carried to victory eight times at Alnwick since January 2019 from just nine runners, comprising the now retired Kalabaloo (4-5) and Dundrum Wood (4-4).
Carrying the well known colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, another Warwickshire raider Deise Aba (Zac Baker, right, white cap), who ran at 3 Cheltenham Festivals and was pulled up in the 2022 Grand National, provided trainer Francesca Poste with a first Alnwick winner in the Sintons Law Men's Open Race. However, the 135-rated chaser didn't have things all his own way and gave favourite backers some anxious moments before sprinting clear after the last to beat Cuneo (John Dawson) by ten lengths.
This was also a first Alnwick winner for Baker, who said of the eleven-year-old: ''A bigger field at Larkhill last time helped push him along as he's getting a bit of a monkey in his old age. It was hard enough work out there on that sticky ground and he was only doing as much as he needed to before forging clear when I pressed the button on the run-in. The plan when we got him was always to rejuvenate the old boy and sweeten him up to see if we can eventually go hunter chasing.''
Last month's Alnwick 2m4f Maiden winner Foxylee (Tom Chatfeild-Roberts) led from the tenth in the Ryecroft Glenton Restricted Race until headed three out by Courting Flow (Christy Furness, right) and Shropshire raider Bestfriend Barnaby (Guy Sankey). After holding a one length advantage at the last, Courting Flow was reeled in and briefly headed on the run-in by Bestfriend Barnaby before battling back in the dying strides to snatch a short head verdict.
Off the track for 22 months prior to finishing runner-up to Fortunes Hill on his comeback outing at Sheriff Hutton on January 14, the Grania Furness-owned and Jack Teal-trained winner clearly likes it around Alnwick having finished runner-up to Arctic Oscar at the corresponding meeting in January 2022 before going one better four weeks later at the College Valley & North Northumberland fixture.
Nantwich-based first season trainer Hannah Roach was out of luck with her Maiden runner Mexican Boy but the return journey to Cheshire would seem a lot shorter after debutante Austins Hill Lass (left) turned the closing stages of the 2m JRL Group Point-to-Point Flat Race into a procession. The five-year-old Telescope mare never looked like being caught after going clear three furlongs from home, and took some pulling up by Huw Edwards after crossing the line twelve lengths ahead of Fair Catch (Thomas Easterby), with Batsman Jack (Meisha Micklewright) a further nine lengths way in third.
A delighted Roach said: ''She was bought privately from Shade Oak Stud after being spotted in the catalogue for Tattersalls Ascot Sale in July 2022. It's taken a while for the penny to drop but we knew there wouldn't be a fitter horse in the race as she had worked well upsides stable star Time Leader earlier in the week.''
The winner is owned by Graham Briscoe who runs the family business Briscoe's Dairy with his sons Edward and Charlie. It has been offering doorstep milk deliveries for over 60 years and Austins Hill Lass is named after the family farm in Tarvin near Chester. Graham's last Northern Area runner Fair Exchange was also a winner at Corbridge in February 2018.
The next Northern Area fixtures are the Berwickshire at Friars Haugh, Kelso on February 11 and the College Valley & North Northumberland at Alnwick on February 25.