by Dave Scott

The College Valley and North Northumberland Hunts staged an 8 race card last Sunday. Anyone who was there will surely agree it was one of the coldest days racing for a long time. The last two fences in the straight were omitted because of the state of the ground making it an extremely long run in. By the end of the meeting the ground was cut up and any finishers looked really tired.

Riding honours went to Pauline Robson and Kevin Anderson who both completed doubles.

Pauline kicked off with King Bavard in the Confined. Always handy this one took it up some way out and always had too much for the runner up, Houselope Beck, and Passing Danger. The winner looked all out at the finish and could well be found out by a better stayer. Disappointment of the race was Mozielaw who was dropped out early and unlike last time didnít improve that position. She could be one to be wary of on this showing.  

Paulines double was completed when Riparius came with a sustained run from the last to eventually wear down Commanche Law in the Ladies. The runner up showed improved form from its first run in points and should collect before too long. Balisteros eventually ran on to be third but in all honesty he didnít look too enthusiastic under his new pilot, Jane Hollands, and it could be he now has to dominate his races.

Kevin Anderson started his double aboard Red Gauntlet in the Restricted. This one stayed on resolutely to hold the one paced Lucky Brush with Raging Torrent a respectable third. Red Gauntlet is improving and can go on to better things. The race was marred, however, by the fatal injury sustained by the highly regarded Alpacca from the Brewis yard. This was a real tragedy as the accident occurred on the flat and sympathies go out to the connections. Kevin Anderson went on to complete his double when driving Sharpaman up to win going away from Beyond Hope in the third division of the Maiden. The runner up showed nice improvement from its debut run and should pick up a race. Freeway was third and this was a step up on last yearís efforts. Further improvement can be expected and it would be no surprise if this one was suited by the track at Morpeth.

Mountain Thyne under Morag Neill held too many guns for Sam Byrne in the PPORA Members race. The winner is proven in Ladies races so the performance of the runner up was full of promise, especially when you consider the winner had a distinct fitness advantage. Mountain Thyne will continue to run well in Ladies races while I would be surprised if Sam Byrne didnít win its share this season.

Parade Racer was sent off favourite for the Mens Open but turned in a very disappointing performance in finishing third some way adrift of Supreme Day and The Next Waltz. This pair had a real ding-dong battle up the straight but the strength and experience of Clive Storey finally told as Supreme Day took the spoils by a neck. Parade Racer didnít look great in the paddock and should not be written off yet.

Division 1 of the Maiden saw an impressive performance by Dumadic who bolted up under Lee Bates. On this showing a restricted will soon follow. Lethem Air ran on well enough to take second and will surely collect before too much longer. Kanturk Star was a remote third.

The second division was fought out by two 12 year olds with Yewcroft Boy and Dale Jewett eventually getting the better of Whats The Buzz. Rutherford was a remote third and this form is poor and should be disregarded.