was only hardy souls that braved the worst of the weather to visit one of
the Yorkshire Area’s premier courses Hutton Rudby on Saturday. The car
park ended up a total quagmire and the organisers worked valiantly to rescue
stranded vehicles, with tractors putting in overtime. The first race was run
in truly atrocious conditions with gale force winds and torrential rain
sheeting across the track. I’ve seen blizzards at Catterick and Market
Rasen earlier in the year, but this really took the biscuit. The three
participants gave it their all nonetheless. With testing ground, the three
miles took some getting. In such a strong breeze it was hard to keep fence
wings upright and the marquees were in danger of taking off. Having
completed four of the eight races and given the conditions every chance to
improve, the stewards, after consulting with the jockeys, sensibly decided
to abandon the meeting because the safety of all concerned could not be
opening contest was the Hunt Members and, although just three took part,
there was a nail-biting finish, which saw Maitre De Musique and Michael Tate
come out on top. The winner had led for much of the contest, but Welsh March
and Nigel Tutty went on leaving the back straight and tried to stretch away.
However, Maitre De Musique got back on terms at the final fence and nosed
ahead on the run-in as Welsh March tired. Maitre De Musique had come on
nicely from a good second to Golden Rivet on his seasonal reappearance at
Charm Park earlier in the month. Baby John and Lucy Horner were always in
third and couldn’t keep tabs on the front two after the fourth last.
Tutty went one better in the Restricted, guiding Journey to success. In the
leading pair throughout, the striking chestnut gelding stuck on gamely in
the last half mile to repel all challengers. Having lacked finishing pace in
the past, there was no doubt that he stayed the trip today. Orleans (Simon
Robinson) was five lengths behind in second. Orleans is a quirky customer,
but obviously likes it here, as he took his maiden at the same fixture in
2003. There was a further two lengths to Mister Bromley and Serena
Brotherton in third and it was an extremely promising effort from Mister
Bromley in his first restricted. Just Fluster would probably have claimed
fourth, but for falling at the last. He’s better than this. That position
went to Colonel Ludlow (Guy Brewer), who took on Journey for the lead, but
faded late on. Sylcanny was returning from a lay-off and was pulled up when
beginning to lose touch. She’ll be sharper for the race.
Ranger and Jo Foster claimed their second Ladies Open in a week with a
pillar to post victory, in similar fashion to at Dalton Park last Sunday.
They were also owner Richard Chew’s first wins in points. The six-year-old
was an expensive summer purchase and was formerly with Charlie Mann. Texas
Ranger did get in a bit close to a couple of fences in the latter stages,
but looks a class act. Runner-up Emperor’s Son (Serena Brotherton) headed
the chasers for most of the way and acquitted himself well in his first
open. There was some distance to third-placed Hessac under Wendy Gibson,
while Dannicus (Claire Metcalfe) filled fourth spot. Sally Scally once again
didn’t get seriously involved.
Bates took over from the unfortunate Michael Morley and partnered Imps Way
to a facile success in the Mens Open. Replacing the pace-setting Bowfell at
the head of affairs with a circuit to go, the mare jumped soundly and made
the best of her way home to complete a hat-trick in points this campaign. A
credit to Tracy Corrigan-Clark, she’s also been far from disgraced in two
hunter chases. Mademist Sam (Nigel Tutty), an unlucky loser at Dalton Park,
went in vain pursuit and couldn’t peg Imps Way back. Only two finished.
Bowfell was pulled up by Guy Brewer entering the home straight when a tired
third. Londolozi Lad and Philip Kinsella took a horrible fall at the final
ditch, but both seemed to have got away with just bruises.
The Yorkshire circuit now moves on to the Middleton at Whitwell-on-the-Hill on 4th April, where the showpiece is the 4m1f Grimthorpe Gold Cup.