by John Bulman

The Tynedale was run in sunshine and a warm wind. The ground was reported to be good with dead patches.

The opening members race was easily won by Freddie Arthur on his families horse Ardmayle who led throughout and always held too much speed for Laura Lugs (T. Mounsey Heysham) who blundered 5 out when starting to stay on.

The Confined was the quality of a decent open and went to Parade Racer under a positive Dale Jewett ride. Andrew Richardson had deserted this one in favour of Golf Land and this one was making some progress when unseating 2 out. Opinion was divided as to whether he would have caught the winner. Donallach Mor made an eye catching comeback from a long absence to finish second and still looks to retain a lot of ability.

The intermediate looked a hot race on paper but it was the Tom Tate 5-year-old Royal Corrouge who completed a hat trick for the season by winning as he liked at shades of odds on. The winner looks destined for the top as he was again unextended and the result was never in doubt once the button was pressed.

Both of the opens were over 3 miles 5 furlongs with JR Kay springing a surprise at big odds in the ladies, repelling the game Riparius and Balisteros with Light The River back in fourth all looking likely winners in the near future. A slightly sub standard looking Men’s open was won by Red Gauntlet (Kevin Anderson) who led most of the way and jumped well.

The restricted was split on the day and the first division went to The Rennington Racing Clubs Hoh Tel under Chris Gillon. Colonel Conca looked to have completed a double for the racing club (which runs in the colours of the White family) when careering away with division two under Tom Oates. However this is when the afternoon descended into farce as the Stewards announced an enquiry into the race (after some bookies had begun to pay out). The enquiry rumbled on with rumours of horses taking the wrong course and going the wrong side of a dolled off fence. The enquiry was delayed and an announcement was scheduled for after the last race! In the end, the first FOUR horses were all disqualified and Katinka who had originally finished fifth (after Clive Storey had turned round and ran around the other side of the fence) as the winner and only finisher. To be fair Katinka was soundly beaten and whichever side of the fence they had run would not have changed that.  Hopefully compensation awaits Colonel Conca who looks a nice type.

The first division of the maiden went to Incroyable Mais Vrais under Tom Oates (who managed to take the right course in this race!). The winner had looked reluctant on a few occasions last season and took a pull for the first few fences until settling. He held the challenges of Rainha and Highland Monarch.

Finest of Men took the second division under Jimmy Walton at shades of odds on. He was being pushed all the way by the Ian Hamilton newcomer Bacyan who still held a slender lead when depositing Dale Jewett at the last. Over The Urrin ran another sound race and should be able to collect before too long.

For me the high quality of racing was spoiled by a general feeling of disorganisation and sheer amateurism from the stewards and course organisers. The enquiry turned into a farce and overshadowed the next couple of races for many people. The horses gained nothing by running the other side of the fence. In the very next race, a steward had to stand in front of the fence in front of the spectators with the marker chevron upside down above his head because they were facing the wrong way. The organisers also need to think about how people cross onto the middle of the course as the most commonly heard announcement was the commentator shrieking “get off the course, the horses are coming”. Someone needs to be responsible for stopping people crossing unless it is safe to do so. It is an accident waiting to happen and something should be done now before someone is trampled.

There were a lot of fallers even though the ground was good and horses finished quite well. The downhill (back straight) and uphill fences in the straight caused the most problems and I believe at least 2 horses won’t be returning to their stables tonight.

Next meeting is the rearranged Berwickshire P-to-P on Sunday at Kelso.