Racegoers enjoyed some top class action on a very mild afternoon at Ratcheugh Farm near Alnwick on Sunday where 53 runners faced the starter on a six race card hosted by the West Percy Hunt.
Almost six years to the day since making his racing debut in a Chepstow Bumper, Winged Crusader took his career tally to eight in the Ladies Open.
Annie Waugh’s mount was 20 lengths behind in third with a circuit to go bujt got up to win by three quarters of a length from Iron Chancellor.
Annie said: “They went very quick and although he has a high cruising speed he was out of his comfort zone.
“A visor has sharpened him up again and he seems in better form than ever this season. He is likely to run next in a Hunter Chase at Musselburgh or Wetherby on Saturday, February 2.”
Odd-on favourite Monto Alban provided Joe Wright with a 25th career winner in the Restricted Race. However, it was not all plain sailing as the six year-old had a prolonged duel down the home straight with Templepoint before securing a narrow half length verdict.
His main target this season is the Buccleuch Cup Mainden Hunter Chase at Kelso on Monday, April 8.
Nick Orpwood extended his lead in the Northern Area Men’s Jockeys’ Championship with a third win of the season on the Tony Dobbin trained mare Worcester Pearmain in the Members’ Race.
In a slow run race the nine year-old was never headed and cruised home by 12 lengths ahead of solitary rival Frankies Fire.
Gran Paradiso caused an upset in the Men’s Open race under a positive ride from Ross Wilson. Always travelling well, the seven year-old went on three out and turned the closing stages into a procession ahead of Ardkilly Witness with Boa Island a further eight lengths behind.
Five times National ladies Champion jockey, Gina Andrews took her career tally under all codes to 270 with a double on Donnie Brasco and Kalabaloo, both trained by her husband, Tom Ellis.
Dominic Brasco looked a class act on his debut in the Open maiden Race and had things under control after hitting the front four out to finish ahead of Summervieu and Costly Dream.
The winner is now likely to head straight to the sales.
Kalabaloo recorded a very popular victory in the concluding Conditional race carrying the colours of Shona Westrope. As expected, Relax established a big lead but began to tire at five out. Gina’s mount led three from home and went on to win by two and a half lengths with Lord Usher a further six lengths behind in third.
It was the 50th career success for Tom Ellis, who is based near Rugby. His in-form yard has sent out five winners and had six placings from 15 runners this term and another trip north to Sheriff Hutton is on the agenda next Sunday.
The next Northern Area fixture is the jedforest at Friars Haugh near Kelso on Sunday, January 27.