It was a case of doubles all round for jockeys, Tristan Davidson and Kit Alexander as well as trainers, Victor Thompson and Nick Alexander in Sunday's West Percy fixture at Alnwick. As expected, both maiden races were divided on the day, resulting in a marathon nine race card with a total of 89 runners, including 25 Yorkshire raiders and 4 from Cheshire.
Monogram (right, red and yellow) set the ball rolling for Davidson in the Carrs Billington West Percy and Percy Members Race. Sent on five out, he stayed on well in the closing stages to beat his solitary rival, Rakerin Lad by 3 lengths. The next target for the 8 year old winner, one of a quartet bought privately last year by Newton-by-the-Sea handler, Thompson from Howard Johnson, is a two and a half mile Musselburgh Hunters' Chase on February 5.
Stable companion, Senor Alco (left, grey) opened his account in the first division of the Rix Petroleum and Dennis Common Open Maiden Race but was made to pull out all the stops by ex-hurdler, Accordingtotheboss before snatching a short head verdict after a prolonged duel from four out.
Native Coll (right) ended a near four year losing run when initiating a double for last season's area novice riders champion, Kit Alexander in the Grainco Ltd NPPA Club Members Race. The 12 year old was never headed on the final circuit and had 2 lengths to spare at the line over Anns Benefit. 20 year old Alexander, a 2nd year Maths student at Durham University, said of his father's home-bred gelding: ''He will be suited by an easier three mile trip as he was getting very tired at the finish.''
Amulree (left) rounded off a great afternoon for the Alexander family with a gutsy 3 lengths success over Dust Packer in the concluding division of the Open Maiden Race.
Sea Scout (right) followed up last month's course win in the Hazelrigg Racing Ladies Open Race but his task was eased when market rival, Special Portrait departed at the second fence. Sent into an early lead by Claire Metcalfe, the diminutive 9 year old jumped his rivals into the ground and coasted home 5 lengths clear of Canada Street. Iveston trainer, Russell Ross is considering running his stable star again in next Sunday's AGA qualifier at the Jedforest meeting if underfoot conditions remain favourable.
Another former inmate of Howard Johnson's yard, Top Dressing (left, green) struck gold on his first outing for Mordon-based owner/trainer, Maria Myco in the Northern Structures Men's Open Race. Patiently ridden by John Dawson, he was produced with a perfectly timed challenge to lead close home and secure a head verdict over Sheriff Hutton. This was a richly deserved first winner since returning from injury in November for 21 year old Dawson, who required three operations last summer to complete the reconstruction of an anterior cruciate ligament. He said of the winner: ''I waited until the top of the hill approaching three out before I pressed the button as I knew he would stay, and ideally he wants a track without as many undulations.''
East Witton farmer, Ian Smith celebrated his 25th birthday in style by steering his mother, Gillian's recent acquisition, Know The Rules (right) to an easy 20 lengths victory over Gin Cobbler in the first division of the Ancroft Tractors two and a half mile Open Maiden Race. The 7 year old was bought privately out of Ben Haslam's yard in October, having managed just one placing in sixteen starts under Rules.
Hawick farmer, Alastair Bell was certainly not expecting his 6 year old mare, Rakavilee (left, grey) to stroll home 20 lengths ahead of Into The Light in the other division. '' She looked big and that was a huge surprise'', said Bell after his charge had forged clear from the last in the hands of 17 year old Jamie Hamilton, who has been based with leading Yorkshire trainer, Richard Fahey since leaving school last June. The winner, bought for 18000 euros as a foal at Tattersalls in November 2006, is ridden out at home by Bell's postman, Glyn Martin.
The Rustlin Rhino (blue and yellow) supplemented last month's Maiden win at Alnwick in the Northumbrian Leisure Ltd Restricted Race. Given a great ride by Richard Smith, this 7 year old half brother to 2007 Grand National hero Silver Birch took it up three out and kept Classical Music at bay down the home straight to score by a couple of lengths, with the well backed Cheshire raider, Tinkwood a further half length away in third.