Pointing in Yorkshire 2017
Zetland at Witton Castle Monday 1st May

By Will Milburn & Caroline Smith
Twelveoclockhigh (grey horse) ridden by Catherine Walton win the Resticted Race. Credit Tom Milburn Photography

John Dawson extended his lead in the Yorkshire Area Men's Championship by completing a treble at the Zetland Point-to-point at Witton Castle. John's first win of the day was on the quirky Mistissio in The Hunt Race, sponsored by Todds High Way Maintenance, for trainer Richard Smith. John was standing in for Richard who regularly rides Mistissio but was stood down after suffering a fall at Easingwold. The only challenger was Ballyvessey ridden by John's wife Alice, they were carrying a penalty.  The two runners matched stride throughout the contest, with the eventual winner produced in the last strides to win. "I am delighted the horse has got his head infront, he likes everything his own way these days." Said Richard. Also taking part was local vet Jamie Stewart on his hunter Cee You J, the pair had a disagreement at the first and their participation in the contest was short-lived.

The progressive Path to Freedom, owned by Jenny Nellis was John's second winner of the day in the Sherwood's Mens Open Race, for trainer Cherry Coward. Only 5 runners went to post, with the winner racing just behind the leaders throughout before been sent on to take the lead four fences from home. Apart from brushing through the top of the second last it was another polished performance from the five year old. Sposalizio piloted by Chris Dawson was the only real challenger but could not get to the winner. Back in third place was Whats Left under Dylan Hurst. Winning rider John Dawson commented on Path To Freedom "For him to progress from a Maiden to an Open winner in one season is impressive, he is definitely better going left-handed." Connections indicated the Restricted Final at Stratford in June could be a future target this season.   

John's third winner of the day was Annys Land, whom John trains for Susan Taylor and William Crole in the Bristol Street Motors Open Maiden Race. Three fences from home, it looked like a place would be on the cards, but the complexity of the race soon changed with Chilly Morning and favourite Clashganny falling at the second last. Free Scorpion went into battle with Annys Land with the latter gaining the advantage when asked the question by her jockey. After the race John commented "It's taken time for the penny to drop, we haven't rushed her. The improvement she has shown from her first run is huge, hopefully she can keep going the right way." Third place went to Arny, ridden by Harry Kinder.

John's brother Chris Dawson won the Intermediate Race, sponsored by Greensleeves aboard Mr Bingley who is enjoying a purple patch. The combination won the Restricted at the Cleveland meeting at the same track and deployed similar front running tactics, Chris eased the winner down just enough to gain victory over the fast finishing The Mobile Man and Jack Andrews. Winning owner and trainer, Lady Susan Watson was delighted at the win "Good ground is the key to him, he is great to do at home, he even evented up to Novice Level." Winning jockey, Chris Dawson enthused "The horse's confidence is sky high that was a hands and heels win." Coming home in third was place Stagecoach Jasper and Will Easterby.
Lauren Belt also followed up her success at the Cleveland with another win on her own To Begin in the Collins Seafood Ladies Open Race. This was a more competitive affair than their previous contest put the partnership are growing in confidence and this put them in good stead from a powerful challenge from Harris and Emma Smith-Chaston, who finished second. Lauren described her mount as "Foot perfect" but wouldn't want the going too fast for him. Oaklands Bobby and Alice Dawson ran a very creditable race to finish, at 15 years of age, he may not have the turn of foot he used to but always puts a gallant performance.

There was a surprise win in the Restricted race, sponsored by Ripon Farm Services when Twelveoclockhigh and jockey, Catherine Walton beat the favourite Taylormade Boy and Rachel Taylor. Regular pilot Catherine got a great jump at the last to gain advantage of the runner up. The winner had pulled up twice in both runs this season but Witton Castle was where he lost his Maiden tag last year. Michael Broad, the winning owner explained "The visor has sharpened him up and good ground is the key to him, his run at Easingwold just put him right for today." Firmount Gent and Joe Wright were three lengths back in third place.
The remaining fixtures are:
The Bilsdale at Easingwold on Sunday 7th May
The South Durham at Sedgefield Racecourse on Sunday 28th May