Pointing in Yorkshire 2017
Middleton at Sheriff Hutton Sunday 2nd April

By Will Milburn & Caroline Smith

One Conemara and John Dawson on their way to land the Grimthorpe Gold Cup. (Credit Tom Milburn Photography)

It was a day to remember for John Dawson and the Coward Family, who scored four timers in the riding and training divisions respectively at the Middleton Point-to-Point. It was also first time winners for Billy Garrity and Rachel Taylor.

John rode a treble for the Coward Family including landing the Grimthorpe Gold Cup, sponsored by Timico on One Conemara. It was the first time John had won the classic race, but it was second time for the short-priced favourite, One Conemara. The pair were always in the slipstream of Monsieur Jordain, who was looking for a fourth win in the race, until jumping the last in front to win by two lengths. Monsieur Jordain and Will Easterby had to settle for second place but put in a gallant performance.Winning owner, John Nellis explained that. "The target had been the Fox Hunters at Cheltenham, but he got balloted out. To win this again, is brilliant. Occasionally, he isn't in the mood, but today was his day." Royal Deal seemed to benefit from the slower pace and was in contention for the majority of the race, finishing third under Richard Smith.

John steered the progressive Path to Freedom to victory in the Restricted race, sponsored by Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, trained by Cherry Coward this time for owner Jenny Nellis, wife of Grimthorpe winning owner, John Nellis. The winning pair led from the front and did not see another rival. Afterwards John said "I didn't want to hold him up and fight him, I just let him use his stride." Jenny Nellis added, "I wanted a horse to progress through the ranks, I am delighted he has followed up on his Maiden win at our local course."Martha's Benefit and Will Milburn put in another solid performance to finish second, a win at this grade will no doubt be soon. Sackett, partnered by Harry Kinder were looking to follow up on their victory at Askham Bryan and came third.

The Highlander was the short priced favourite in what was a highly competitive Club Members Conditions Race, sponsored by Ray Chapman Motors. Again partnered by John Dawson they never saw another rival and had the field of 15 strung out. Representing, her mother; Cherry and owner Richard Morris-  Jacqueline Coward, spoke of her relief "We took a chance running him today as he would have preferred softer going and to go right handed, but this is such a good course, we let him take his chance."John added "He has such an engine, I just wanted to let him bowl out in front. He jumped and travelled so well."Six A Side ran a great race under Will Milburn to finish second. The Banastoir and Billy Garrity, who raced prominently throughout came third.

Progressing through the ranks, the Mary Reveley owned Dance of Time, provided John Dawson with his fourth win of the day in the Intermediate Race, sponsored by Connollys Red Mills.Ridden out the back for much of the race, John timed his run for victory to perfection, despite encountering a closely fought battle with Mickey Miller and Jack Jordan to prevail by a neck. "I knew he'd do it. He just covers the ground with ease.I knew John would get there! This was his third win of the season, so we will give him a break now."Said Helena Reveley, the winning trainer.Third place went to Game As a Pheasant under Joe Wright.

Sam Coward trained Asheanymoney to land the McClarrons Hunt Race, ridden by Jack Andrews. The field went a steady gallop allowing Jack to sit behind the leaders and had a bit extra in the tank to snatch victory from Lockedinthepocket and Will Milburn, who turning for home looked the likely winners. Winning rider Jack said "The plan was to get a tow round. He got in close at the last but he is so straight forward, I just had to sit and steer!" Sam added "I knew he would run well, I would love to get him qualified to run in the Intermediate final at Cheltenham." Kahn do it and Will Easterby came home in third place. Billy Garrity on the favourite Western Jo missed a marker, thus taking the wrong course. He was fined 75.

Billy Garrity's luck quickly changed aboard Not Far Wrong in the Open Maiden Race, sponsored by Browns of York and Helmsley. The partnership did not have to wait long to gain compensation from their last fence fall at Askham Bryan last week. The son of Courtcave was purchased by Anthony Ross Bloodstock from Tattersalls in Ireland. This was Billy Garrity's first winner, since turning back from Conditional."I rode him handy and treated him as the best horse in the race. He has such a good attitude at home. I'm so grateful to Andy Nicholls and his owners for giving me my first winner. I'm full time at Richard Fahey's and help Peter Fahey school his pointers." Billy explained. The 17 year old will be not short on advice in the saddle, Billy's father is former jump jockey, Russ Garrity. Raymond Reddington and Jack Andrews came second whilst, Sam's Treasure and Richard Smith claimed third place.

Another jockey enjoying their first winner was Rachel Taylor, who steered Taylormade Boy to victory in the Non Rules Maiden, sponsored by York Van Centre. This race was over the shorter distance of 2 miles, 5 furlongs. Always in the leading group, the pair led three out and stayed on gamely to win by half a length, from About Time and John Dawson, who put in another bold show but had to settle for second. Third place went to Clashganny and Will Easterby. Rachel, who works for flat trainer, Michael Dods was rather chuffed with her purchase from former employer Edwin Tuer "I bought him as a hack for 500! I did some hunter trials, then thought I would give pointing a go." The partnership will have to step up in Restricted company, but should be capable of been competitive.

The next fixture is The Bedale at Hornby Castle on Saturday 8th April