The Great Phoenix (Left, Jack Teal) proved that he is still on an upward curve by supplementing last month's Alnwick Maiden win in the Carr's Billington Restricted Race. Diana Prince (Lyall Hodgins) set sail for home approaching four out and was six lengths clear at the next but then stopped quickly allowing Teal's mount to take control two out. The Great Phoenix settled the issue in a matter of strides and had seven lengths to spare over the only other finisher, Okey Dokey (Lucy Brown) at the line.
The gelding's owner, Paul Clifton said: ''He never raced beyond a mile on the Flat and was a bargain acquisition from Gay Kelleway. He is always a handful when getting saddled up but definitely has no stamina issues after winning here twice on soft ground.''
His full brother, Phoenix Dawn, who is trained by Dr Richard Newland, also showed a liking for soft ground when scoring over hurdles at Newton Abbot in July 2021.
Nick Orpwood joined a select band of Northern Area jockeys who have ridden 100 winners following his success on Dream Over (Left) in the West Percy fixture at Alnwick on Sunday.
In receipt of 14lb from her solitary rival, Coole Hall (Will Ramsay) in the Stephen Kirkup Livestock Alnwick Hunt Members Race,
Orpwood's mount was content to sit in second place from the off in a slowly run affair.
Coole Hall was never more than two lengths ahead throughout the final mile and that advantage was reducing all the time down the home straight. A more fluent jump at the last saw Dream Over hit the front before going clear on the flat to win by one and a half lengths.
The 7-year-old Shirocco mare is trained at Lanton near Wooler by Jessica McKie, who hopes to have her permit holders licence in place before March.Jessica said: ''Dream Over was bought as a foal by my mother, who rides her out every morning. Although all 4 career wins have been on soft, I think she'll be just as effective on better ground. She jumps for fun, has a great temperament and might run next at Friars Haugh on January 23.''For the record, Orpwood's total comprises 93 winners between the flags and 7 under Rules.
He opened his account on Dere Street in a PPORA Novice Riders Race at the Berwickshire fixture in April 2006.
Gina Andrews made it 10 winners from 12 rides at Alnwick since January 2019 with a short-priced double on Kalabaloo (Right) and Dundrum Wood.
The stable companions formed part of an across the card five-timer for last season's champion trainer, Tom Ellis, with the other 3 winners coming at Ampton.
Kalabaloo made a heartwarming return from injury in the Chatton Trout Fishery Conditions Race. Shona Westrope's 10-year-old mare, nursed back to full fitness after suffering a stress fracture of the pelvis in a Kelso Hunters' Chase last February, gradually worked her way into contention on the final circuit before taking the lead two out and kept on well to beat 136-rated chaser, Minella Fair (Lois Teal) by two lengths in the best time of the day. The mare has now won on all 4 visits to the Ratcheugh Farm course.
Gina said: ''She is one of the strongest stayers I've ever ridden but is so lazy and only does as much as she needs to.''
Half an hour later, odds-on favourite Dundrum Wood (Left) carried the same colours to victory in the Hazelrigg Racing Ladies Open Race. Always going well, Gina's mount reeled in the leaders from six out and, after taking it up two out, was always doing enough to repel a late challenge from Thyne For Gold (Immy Robinson) by two lengths.
Winning trainer, Tom Ellis said: ''He's taken his time to get his confidence up and is a high class individual who we got the chance to buy privately out of Olly Murphy's yard last March.''
He might well be the most expensive Irish point-to-point winner ever to run at Alnwick, having been sold for £270,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sale in December 2018 less than three weeks after landing a Rathcannon Maiden Race under Derek O'Connor. Ellis was happy to admit that he had only paid a fraction of that price for the gelding.
Leicestershire raider, Overworkdunderpaid (Right) followed up last month's Alnwick success in great style in the Lycetts Men's Open Race. Confidently ridden by George Chatterton, the 9-year-old cruised up the hill from four out to lead at the next from Matts Commission (Jack Teal) and stayed on strongly down the home straight to score by twelve lengths.
Chatterton said: ''He loves it here almost as much as I do but is very ground dependent as he needs it soft or heavy. He was very keen but had plenty left in the tank and won as he liked. I think the plan now is to try him in a hunters' chase next month at one of the northern tracks.''
There was drama ahead of the concluding Matt Gregory Transport Maiden Race when the favourite, Pedley Wood (Gina Andrews) was withdrawn just before the start. Finian O'Toole's debutant, Doyen Wood (Joe Wright) went on by two lengths from Sine Nomine (Right,John Dawson) approaching four out before being joined at the next. Dawson's mount then asserted her superiority and, after going a length clear two out, stayed on strongly to score by six lengths.
The winner, bought for £2,400 as an unbroken 3-year-old at Goffs UK Doncaster Sales in August 2019, is owned by Thirsk farmer, Robin Tate and daughter, Fiona Needham, who also trains the mare. Robin still rides out stable stalwart, Mr Pepperpot at home but lets his daughter ride the younger horses, including Sine Nomine. Still as enthusiastic as ever about the sport, he recalled having his first ride between the flags at the age of 15 in the early 1950's. His finest hour as an owner/trainer came in 2002 when Last Option (Fiona Needham) won the Cheltenham Foxhunters' Chase.
The next Northern Area fixture is the Jedforest at Friars Haugh, Kelso on Sunday, January 23.