This weekend we travelled to the Holderness point to point at Dalton Park, there was mixed weather but as racing began to get underway the clouds parted and we were blessed with sun for most of the day. It would be a great day for three young riders who got them selves on the score board for the first time in their careers, Marcus Haigh, Kate Lowcock and Liam Carter were all having their first winners.
Marcus took the honours in possibly the most competitive race of the day, the Conditions race run over 2m 6f aboard Big Sound, owned by his father Mark Haigh and trained by Gill Walford. Marcus who has been working for the trainer's son Mark Walford for around two years, was always prominent and held the lead on the turn for two out and battled on gamely to beat an in form Black River under Will Easterby, whilst Hillview Lad ran a better race than his form figures suggest to finish third. Marcus has had only a handful of rides in points and under rules but showed a polished performance to push his mount out to the line "it's a pleasure to ride a horse like him, he knows his job...he has been delicate to train the last couple of seasons so every run we get out of him is a bonus!" said Marcus who is hoping to gain further experience pointing with aspirations of turning conditional and joining the professional ranks in the next year or two. The ony blow to the day however was that Marcus's parents who own Big Sound could not be in attendance as they were in Dubai visiting family.
Kate Lowcock took the opening Hunt Members race for Cherry Coward aboard The Mobile Man owned by Simon Gospel, always prominent Kate had only McMurphy to fend off over the last two and after a prolonged dual The Mobile Man came out on top and took his career record to six winners. Kate is currently studying at unversity two days a week in between which she works for John and Alice Dawson "without Alice and John it wouldn't of been possible, they've helped me so much!" enthused Kate who had a great deal of praise for the Dawsons, she explained that she has no imediate plans for the future but will finish her degree and hopes to continue pointing. Kate was also thankful to the Cowards "I'm really grateful to the Cowards for the ride on two such nice horses" as she also went on to partner the runner up in the Ladies Open later in the day.
Liam Carter completed the trio of riders to get their first notch on the score board when he took the final race the Open Maiden for trainer Andrew Nicholls and the Pasture Farm Racing Club aboard the six year old Princess Scorpion. The pair travelled nicely through the race and went to the lead turning for home and had only Scarlett Peak and Rory Bevin to fend off and after a fantastic tussle the pair got their head in front by a narrow margin. Liam again is light on experience but showed he is more than capable here by steering this daughter of Scorpion to success on only her sixth attempt "she jumped really well and ran like she'd get further" said Liam who rides out most days for one of Yorkshire's leading flat trainers David O'Meara, in between which he rides out for Nicholls a couple of times a week been based only 10 minutes down the road from O'Meara's base. The winner had shown potential in her previous runs but has taken time for things to drop right "we always knew she had the ability, but it's just taken time for the penny to drop, Fiona deserves a lot of credit as she's put a lot of work into her" said the winning trainer referring to his partner Fiona Mudd.
The 2m 6f Maiden went to the improving Hafajay who was turning out for the second time in a week for trainer Nicky Tinkler, he was a narrow second at Charm Park and continued his progressive profile by getting off the mark at the third attempt. Always prominent under Jack Jordan the winner had to fight hard and hold off the 4 year old debutant Artoff for Pete Fahey, the winner is on an upward curve and looks as if there is more to come "he is improving all the time, his jumping is excellent, he's tough and seems to act on any ground, he'll probably go to Sheriff Hutton next" said Tinker's partner Alex Duncan. Third went to Master Thyne who was well held but looking at his Irish form there is likely more to come from him.
The Mens Open saw the Chris Pimlott trained Streets Of Milan bounce back to form after ending last season by taking the prestigous Heart Of All England. Partnered by Tom Strawson the pair had to work hard to fend off the point to point newcomer Some Invitation who was having his first start for Sarah Stilgoe and rider John Dawson and no doubt it will be only a matter of time before they get their head in front. Placed over 3m 5f last time at Corbridge the son of Milan looks to have plenty of stamina and is now set to contest Yorkshire's highly prestigous Grimthorpe Gold Cup. Third went to Will Easterby aboard his own Things Change who was returning from over a year off.
The Ladies Open saw another stamina ladened performer score again and continue his impressive consistency in Iron Chancellor for rider/trainer Jess Bedi and beat the favourite Wizadora. The winner has been placed on all five of his starts this term and was seen at his best here with his favoured soft ground and take his tally to nine in points, Wizadora couldn't match the winner as he drew clear from two out, third place went to Sea Beat and Lottie Crane who was having his first run since finishing third at Hexham in December.
The Restricted saw a decisive win from the Midlands based the Smoke Man for team Chatfield Roberts and trained by Helen Connors, the winner quickened clear three out to win by an easy twelve lengths, with Will Easterby and Mr Pepperpot back in second and Thomas Shelby a well held third. A 6 year old son of Gold Well the penny seems to have finally dropped after scoring last time at the fifth attempt and has again got his head in front in impressive fashion.