Holderness Point to Point Review 


The Holderness Point to Point at Dalton Park avoided the cold weather and snow recently to produce a very well supported days racing. Ground conditions were on the softer side and it was a productive day for jockey Joe Wright who recorded a double on the day.


It was a great start to Ben Stephens’s point to point career has he piloted Matts Commission to victory on his first ride between the flags, for trainer Jack Teal. The pair were always travelling strongly and after three out pulled clear of stablemate Minella Fair and Lois Teal who could never quite bridge the gap, allowing Matts Commission to win by a comfortable 12 lengths, Game As A Pheasant and Rosie Howarth were a long way back in third. Formerly a conditional jockey, Ben never rode a winner under rules but now works for Jack Teal who is currently nursing a broken leg “Jack said if I wanted to get my licence out, he would give me some rides…I never rode a winner under rules so I felt I had unfinished business” said Stephens.


Clondaw Anchor bounced back to form in the Owners and Trainers Conditions race under Christy Furness after a disappointing run at Alnwick a couple of weeks previously. The pair looked under pressure from a long way out, with the favourite Mustmeetalady and Joe Wright seemingly travelling much the better, however several jumping errors aloud Clondaw Anchor to gain the advantage three from home, and under a galvanised ride from his pilot stayed on strongly to win for the Denny family “he was much better suited by the softer ground today and this very long track…he stays all day!” said the winning rider. Here He Comes ran a nice race back in third under Will Thirlby.


The 2m 6f Conditions race saw Between The Waters pull well clear of his rivals under Joe Wright, who was making this a double on the day. Trained by Karen Clifton, the winner’s task was made easier with the departure of Fresh New Dawn three from home and had only the efforts of Braavos to fend off under Will Thirlby. Formerly with Jamie Snowdon, Paul Clifton purchased the 12yo cheaply “we had one pick up a small injury so we were down to two horses…we have three ladies ride out, so getting him kept the team together” said a delighted owner Paul Clifton, who owns the winner jointly with friend Peter Richardson.


The Hunt Members saw another horse returning to form, this time in the locally trained Mary Sowersby runner Exod’ela. Always keen to be at the head of affairs, but let down by his jumping on occasions, the winner looked in command a long way from home under Joe Wright. Nortonthorpelegend and Hester Hardy put up a bold display of jumping in second, but was no match for this formerly talented rules performer.


The Restricted race saw a change of fortunes for the Mason family after sadly losing there prolific Roycano earlier in the day. Red Opium, a homebred daughter of Phoenix Reach, out of the out and out of staying pointer Poppy Day, looked beat approaching three out, however stamina kicked in up the home straight and she powered clear under Rosie Howarth close home to beat the strongly travelling Inviction and Ross Wilson “she’s a tough hardy mare!” said trainer Cherry Coward and will no doubt continue to improve with time.


The final race of the day saw a promising start from 4yo debutant Pragnell. Piloted by John Dawson, the pair kicked for home into the straight and always looked in command over the final two fences to win by 4 lengths. Bought for 18,000 euro as a yearling at the Tattersalls Ireland sales, this son of Diamond Boy showed a good attitude when striking the front, his dam was an impressive bumper winner in Ireland, so will surely have more to offer in the future. Fly Awhile Johnny and Aiden Blakemore put up another improved effort in second and he should be winning soon, whilst Lockdown Ludo made a pleasing start to the season in third.