by Dave Scott

The Percy Hunt staged a 7 race card last weekend. The main race of the day the Alnwick Grand National, a mixed open over 4 miles, didnít attract the highest quality field but did provide a thrilling finish. At the entrance to the home straight the race looked to lie between market principals Winsome Wallace and The Next Waltz but as these two battled it out Nicola Stirling was bringing Minella Gold from well off the pace to mount their challenge. At the last any of the three could have won but as Winsome Wallace mastered The Next Waltz so Minella Gold found extra reserves to land the spoils by half a length.

Earlier in the day the meeting started with the members race. Riverside Run under Andrew Robson came with a strong late run to catch Flacons Flame on the run in. The race was marred by the fatal fall of The Green Fool. This one was a good performer in his day and lately had been a grand servant to Harry Humble and it was extremely sad to see him go.

The Restricted race was won by Kirkharle who survived a couple of blunders up the home straight before running on just a little too strongly for Kimothy who looked to appreciate the better ground. Mozielaw was a distant third.

The 2 Ĺ mile maiden was won in fine fashion by Peppernick. Given a patient ride by Clive Storey before being given the office between the last two this one quickly asserted his superiority over The Preacher Man and Musical Socks. The winner looks a decent prospect and should be followed while the runner up will surely appreciate a return to 3 miles and should soon win a Maiden.

The Confined race was turned into a procession by Arctic Star and Mark Thompson. Well backed in the ring (7/2 from 8/1) this one put two awful runs behind him to quicken clear from the top of the hill and win pulling the proverbial cart. Flaming Sunrise was a distant second in front of Supreme Day who may appreciate it a bit softer. The winner did this really well and is capable of further wins. A lot of people were surprised that the stewards didnít feel it necessary to enquire into the improvement in the winners form. Given the strength of support in the ring and the manner of his win after two pulled up runs I think an explanation could have been asked for. There may be a perfectly reasonable answer but the public arenít about to find out. As a sport we have to be seen to be policing ourselves and I donít think this happened here.

There were two divisions of the Confined Maiden. In division 1 Ben Buckley made up for running out at the second last at Musselburgh when clear and accounted for Smiths Wynd and Merry Major. Always handy he galloped on too strongly for his rivals. The runner up is a consistent performer in this grade and deserves a success although he does look a little one paced. The concluding race was a real thriller. Sixties Melody, Sinch and King Of The Forest were duelling all the way from four out. King Of The Forest looked to be first beaten of the three. A slow jump at the last by Sixties Melody handed the advantage to Sinch who looked sure to win but with his rider doing just enough to hold Sixties Melody he failed to see Clive Storey conjuring another run from King Of The Forest and this pair grabbed the spoils right on the line. The runner up was unlucky and should soon receive compensation.