by John Bulman

An 8 race card got under way at 12.30 with Kelly Canyon following up last weeks maiden win at Musselburgh by taking the members to give Vicky Simpson her first winner. The penny really seems to have dropped with this 10 year old and he scored impressively again today.

The restricted went to Dere Street under the North’s leading novice rider Morag Neill, they came with a strong late run to defeat Carlinare with Westie jumping much better than on his debut (winner here last time) back in 3rd. Both of the place horses look capable of winning in this grade.

Miss Portcello and Jane Hollands easily took the PPORA race from the odds on Dun Rose. Miss Portcello really benefited from the drop in class (as advised earlier in the season!) and the chance to avoid Riparius and Balisteros. Miss Portcello obviously has her limitations but is capable of winning more races below the top grade.

Balisteros took the Ladies Open under a very positive Jill Wormall ride. Kicking for home with nearly a circuit to race, Balisteros poached a 10-length lead which Pauline Robson on Riparius was unable to pull back. Balisteros won by 4 lengths and went on to win again the next day at Eaton Hall. Balisteros appreciates drying ground and a bit of sun on his back, no doubt he will be out twice over Easter

Bolton Forest (Peter Strang-Steele) justified favouritism to take the Mens Open from The Next Waltz and Dennett Lough. The Mens Open scene is lacking a real star at the moment with no real rivalry like that of Balisteros and Riparius.

The Confined went to Blyth Brook and Clive Story who held on from Havetwotaketwo (Andrew Richardson), Flaming Sunrise and the “evergreen” Doreen Calder stayed on to take 3rd and this looks capable of winning with stronger handling.

The first division of the maiden went to Count Keni and Andrew Richardson. This one had been 2nd on his debut last season to Jolly Minster, and comfortably justified favouritism. Briar Rose ran a promising race and should be able to score, particularly if James Ewart decides to fly back from France to partner him! The rest were a fairly moderate bunch but Laura Lugs (3rd), Roman Way (PU) and The Flying Weasel (PU) look nice enough types.

The second division of the maiden saw Ailsa Craig and James Tate (I got the right horse this time James!) make amends for falling 2 out when in command last time. James came with a very late run) to take it up at the last. James always looked confident and it would be no surprise to see Ailsa Craig progress further. Mr Thurlstone finished 2nd and should win fairly soon while of the others Allitlebitofpower (Clive Storey 5 year old) and Dun Victory (1/2 brother to Dun Rose) look to be ones for the future.