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Sinnington at DUNCOMBE PARK
Saturday 17th February 2001
by Richard Watts

Blank Cheque's victory in a high class Mens Open was the highlight of the Sinnington Point to Point held at Duncombe Park.

Ridden by owner David Coates, Blank Cheque, who normally comes with a late run, was pushed into an early lead. The eleven-year-old stayed there virtually throughout the race, only being briefly headed by the favourite Howayman approaching the last before rallying strongly up the run in to win by four lengths. The Annabelle Armitage trained J R Kay finished second under Luke Morgan. He held every chance but a blunder at the last cost him his chance. Howayman, trained and ridden by Kevin Anderson weakened in the closing stages, finishing a further neck back in third.

The Ladies equivalent was an equally good contest with Billie Thomson’s Balisteros making a successful journey South to record his fifteenth hunt racing success in the last two seasons with usual partner, Northern Champion Pauline Robson aboard. The mare Miss Accounts made much of the running in this race but on the run to the last the David Ingle trained Mr Freebie moved to the front, with Balisteros, Nova Nita and Marius in contention. Marius fell at the final fence and with Balisteros looking in trouble, the Fiona Needham ridden Mr Freebie ran on. In a great finish, Robson galvanised the twelve year old up the steep finish and just got up to win by a length. The Kevin Anderson trained Nova Nita, ridden by Val Jackson finished strongly to deprive the weakening Mr Frebbie of second by a length.

Concerto Collonges, trained by Annabelle Armitage, came with a splendidly timed run under owner Robert Hartley to win the Confined Hunts race. Two from home the eleven-year-old French bred was twenty lengths off the pace back in sixth but on the four furlong run to the last he started to stay on strongly. He cruised past four horses to be within two lengths of the long time leader, Pharlindo at the last and galloped on relentlessly to win going away by two lengths. 33-1 outsider Olympic D’Or (J Morley ) ran a fine race back in second. He was always well placed, led at the last before being outpaced by the winner. Six lengths back in third was Just Coming who stayed on well in one of his rare appearances under Clive Mulhall.

Yorkshire Mens Champion David Easterby was soon resuming winning ways, taking the opening Members race and the Third Division of the Maiden. His wins on Colonel Blazer and Havetwotaketwo also completed a training double for Ian Mason.

In the Members Colonel Blazer took the lead when long time leader Curtainsatchopwell weakened rapidly approaching the last. He stayed on well to the line, holding off the strong challenge of the favourite Total Relief, ridden by Serena Brotherton, to win by five lengths. Fifteen lengths back in third was Dromore Dream who weakened approaching the last under Stephen Swiers.

Havetwotaketwo fought out a good battle with Michael Brown’s Whatacon. The pair disputed the lead for most of the race until Havetwotaketwo was driven clear after the last to win by six lengths. Whatacon, ridden by Guy Brewer, finished twelve lengths clear in second from the favourite Avenel, whose challenged petered approaching the last.

Pauline Robson completed a double when Running Mute took the First Division of the Maiden. The seven year old raced in midfield until making steady progress on the final circuit. He went second three from home, drew level at the last and forged clear in the last 100 yards to win by two lengths. Back in second was the pointing newcomer Durham Dandy who made a very encouraging debut. Ridden by Jo Foster he was always well placed and only just outpaced by the winner close home.

Dave Thomas gave an excellent ride to The Other Eye who was the most impressive of the three Maiden winners. Always well placed, the Jinty Monteith trained horse had only to be pushed out hands and heels to pull clear on the run in and win by three lengths. The Freya Hartley trained Ailsae finished second. She made much of the running under Guy Brewer but could not match the pace of the winner on the run in. Fifteen lengths back in third was the favourite Shylock who dropped out of contention after the second last.

John Mackley’s mare Hazel Reilly, trained by Sarah Dent, won an exciting Restricted race. The ten year old was given a fine ride by Lee Bates. She was held up early, took closer order approaching the second last before staying on strongly on the testing run in to get home in the final fifty yards. Half a length back in second was the Guy Harker trained Tricky Trevor. Ridden by Holly Delahooke, he looked the winner at the last but didn’t have the staying power of the winner close home. The favourite Wills Perk held every chance at the last under Tom Oates but weakened on the run in to only finish third.