The Sinnington made it third time lucky this weekend and put in a tremendous effort in staging their meeting at Duncombe Park, Helmsley. The weather relented enough through the afternoon to allow racing to take place with many people enjoying the heated bar and live coverage of the meeting where the first point to point bumper in Yorkshire was held. Both Will Easterby and Joe Wright recorded doubles on the day with the latter ending the afternoon with an impressive performance in the final bumper.
The Novice riders race got owner-trainer Tom Sowersby off to a flying start as he saddled the 13yo Big Sound to victory. Tom acquired the son of Supreme Sound from his previous yard of Gill Walford last summer and, after only starting to ride last February, he's produced his first training success. He was piloted to good effect by Lyall Hodgins, who currently works for trainer Nicky Richards, who was recording his second victory in the saddle. Tom, who hopes to build on his small string in time, works for his parents company which sells cleaning supplies and fits in training Big Sound between work. The winner had to dig deep under his young pilot as he and the favourite Port Melon fought it out all the way up the run in, however the winner was gutsy and held on.
Will Easterby never leaves Duncombe Park without a winner and his first victory came courtesy of Panthers Creek in the Restricted. Previously trained in Ireland where he won his maiden and finished runner up in a Tipperary Hunter Chase, he's shown little since coming to these shores, however the application of blinkers looks to have revived some of his old form. "He's a lovely big horse, but he's been disappointing since we got him... we tried blinkers today which seemed to work, although it wasn't a great race, next time will be the test" said Will who hopes his charge can now build on this performance, the pair made all the running and had only Buzzkill Bob and Leah Cooper as a threat after the last.
Although the Mixed Open only attracted four runners, it provided a competitive event - Black River, Cup Final and One Conemara all fought it out in a bunched finish, but it was Black River who found the most near the line to stretch onto win. "He needed the run at Alnwick and I think he'll be aimed at the Grimthorpe Gold Cup" said his trainer and rider Will Easterby, which could see all three of these re-oppose in a month at Sheriff Hutton, with the runner up Cup Final also having Yorkshire's feature race as a target.
The Confined saw Six A Side continue his long run of consistent efforts, just getting up on the line to beat the Dale Peters trained and ridden The Unmentionable with Things Change in third. "He had some niggly problems behind last year but touch wood, our vet Charlie Cook seems to have fixed him… I was sure the ground would be too soft for him, but he's tough!" said Will Milburn, who steered and trained him to success and was recording his third victory on the track from five runs and could turn out again next week at Charm Park depending on how he comes out of the race.
The most impressive performance of the day without a doubt came in the Open Maiden race for Jack Teal who trained and rode Daly An Sceil to an impressive victory. The pair had only Trap For Fools and Will Easterby to fend off, but it was clear sailing from the second last as they were eased down near the line. "She came from Ireland from our usual source… we've had to work on her jumping, but she had good flat form" said Jack, who's charge had run only once over hurdles when tailed off. Jack's string are in fantastic form at the moment and continue to turn out progressive looking youngsters all the time. Second place went to Ballygown Bay and Natalya Irvine, while Trap For Fools looks a four-year-old to follow - he was making his debut and served it up to the winner for a long way.
The final race was the first bumper to be staged in Yorkshire and was well supported with 10 runners going to post and it was the four-year-old Twist About who surged home up the run-in to get up close home, beating the Gary Rutherford trained Star Of Markinch. Piloted by Joe Wright and trained by Steph Easterby, this home-bred son of Phoenix Reach produced a very likeable performance and will no doubt be winning again. "He put up 7lb over weight, but we didn't mind because we knew he was a good horse" said Mick Easterby, who was present to watch his daughter-in-law's winner. Walk With Kings was well fancied for the Will Easterby yard and it is likely the first three home could all have bright futures.
Joe Wright began his double in the opening Hunt Members race with Snow Castle rallying strongly to deny Will Easterby and Greensalt. The latter looked to have the race won, however a strong finish from the Guy Brewer trained eight-year-old saw him get up close home.