Catherine at the double to launch the season

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West Percy Hunt Point-to-Point, Ratcheugh

CATHERINE Walton took the riding honours, with a double at the first Northern Area meeting of the season at Ratcheugh Farm, Alnwick, on Sunday, writes Pointer.

The first leg came in the Optipro Ltd’s Northern Area Members’ Race on board Jimmy Walton’s Sacred Mountain. This was a useful return to form for this previous multiple winner and he won, easing down from former chaser Rathowen.

The second leg of her double came in quickfire succession in the following race, the GA Smith Haulage Ltd Restricted Race, on board John Blacklock’s Dystonia’s Revenge, trained by step-mother, Sheena Walton. This young horse looks like one to follow, coming home in a handy time from Fife-based Amulree.

Catherine’s double was one of the highlights of a fantastic days racing when 78 runners went to post in an eight-race card.

Racing commenced at noon with the Carrs Billington West Percy and Percy Members’ and Subscribers’ Race where Victor Thompson’s extremely useful Indian Print once again came home to land the spoils. This winner, who won seven races on the trot in 2010, certainly looks like one to follow in points this year. In second place was a useful run from Jimmy Walton’s Saddle Pack.

The second race, the TSG Young Maiden Race, attracted a large entry and the race had to be split on the day.

The first division going to Yorkshire-based Bonnie Baloo, a five-year-old on its first run in point-to-points, coming home in front of Morpeth-based Clare Moore’s Coole Murphy. The second horse was giving a stone away and looks as though it will improve for the run.

The second division, sponsored by Kirstie Hargreave and the Essential Food Company who stepped in at the last minute, again went to a five-year-old, this time the John Dawson-ridden Markadam, trained in Cumberland by Jackie Williamson. Second place was officially given to Bollin River after Lord Daresbury’s Cosmic was disqualified after jumping a doll on the run-in.

Possibly the highlight of the day was the Warcup Skene Men’s Open Race when Another Rum, ridden by Cornhill-based Nick Orpwood, came with a late surge to collar Jaunty Flight on the line.

This could be useful form as there was consistency in depth in this card.

Thirteen went to post for the Lilburn Estates Ladies Open Race which went to Yorkshire raider Queen of Diamonds. Simon Shirley-Bevan’s extremely useful Minouchka was half a length away in second with former Howard Johnson-trained chaser Canada Street in third.

Racing concluded late into the day, due to the extra divisions, with the Thornton Hickey Open Maiden Race. Eighteen went to post with victory going to Farriers Flight ridden by Kate Leckenby. Second for the third time in the day was Tom Greenall riding Quick Live with third place Rosses Leader.

Throughout the day there was a lot of praise for Alan Wilson and his team for providing the course in excellent condition. Racing returns to Ratcheugh on Sunday, February 20, for the Percy Meeting.