by Dave Scott

Last Sunday the Tynedale Hunt staged a 9 race card at Downhills, Corbridge. I am loathe to criticise the organisers of meetings as it is a massive and thankless task but the day was spoiled by an ongoing catalogue of announcement errors regarding runners and jockeys as well as a twice announced result which some feel was still wrong and a stewards enquiry which was originally going to be carried over to the end of the meeting when there were still two races to run and the crowd was in the dark over what was happening and why there was an enquiry. I will deal with these matters as I go on but irrespective of the problems the day should be remembered for an outstanding performance by the highly progressive and talented Royal Corrouge. Ably partnered by Richard Tate this one made mincemeat of the Intermediate field when completing its hat trick for the season when sauntering home from Don Carlos, showing its best form in a while, and Rainton which will improve for this run. Unlucky horse in the race was Dun Rose which was still going well when stumbling and unseating Clive Storey four out. She would probably have been second and will surely pick up a race this season. Royal Corrouge is a name to remember and we should follow its progress with interest.

Elsewhere on the card the George White yard was deprived of a treble when the first four home in the second division of the Restricted were disqualified for taking the wrong course. The second of the downhill fences was omitted after being damaged on the first circuit and the field led by Colonel Conca, which was first past the post and a comfortable winner at that from Ben From Ketton and Distinct bypassed the fence to the outside. It appears the fence should have been bypassed to the inside and it was only the quick thinking Clive Storey who pulled up went back and passed the fence on the correct side. Colonel Conca and all those which followed were disqualified and the race awarded to Katinka. From what I can gather the fence should have been bypassed on the inside so the decision eventually taken was correct. My gripe is that the stewards eventually announced an enquiry but failed to inform the public why and when an announcement was forthcoming it referred simply to a complicated matter that the stewards were looking at. The next announcement was that the enquiry would be concluded after the last race which really was unsatisfactory to the betting public and to a lesser extent the bookmakers. The result of the enquiry was announced before the last race and simply stated the first four home were disqualified for taking the wrong course. This, quite frankly, was a shambles. The betting public deserves better and while the decision was correct surely it could have been arrived at sooner than it was.

The White yard had earlier landed the first division of the Restricted with Hoh Tel which was an easy winner under Chris Gillon, an improving jockey, from Kilcaskin Gold, which showed marked improvement from its debut run at Wetherby, and Kelly Canyon and later landed the first division of the Maiden with Incroyable Mais Vrai which behaved much better both in the preliminaries and in the race and was a cosy winner from Be A Better Boy which was ridden more prominently than previously and Rainha which looked a real danger 3 out but failed to see it out up the hill..

Earlier Ardmayle and Freddy Arthur landed the Members from Harry Laws and Laura Lugs. Kanturk Stars early departure helped but the manner of his success suggested he would have won anyway.

Parade Racer under Dale Jewitt returned to something like his best in the Confined and had too many guns for Donallagh Mor and Boulta. Always handy the winner looks to be on the way back and can figure in Opens and Hunter Chases during the rest of the season. The placed horses can both make their mark in this grade.

JR Kay and Annabel Armitage sprang something of a surprise in the Ladies Open when holding Balisteros and Riparius in a driving finish. It took the judge 2 attempts to announce the result and even then some on the line reckon the places were wrong. Pharmistice, which will improve for this run and firmer ground, was originally placed second but later demoted to fifth with Balisteros being given runner up and Riparius third. I wasn’t on the line but some good judges reckoned these placings were the wrong way round. This unfortunately was symptomatic of some ordinary organisation and some poor announcing regarding runners and riders.

The Mens Open went to Red Gauntlet which made every yard of the running under Kevin Anderson and this one can make his presence felt in Opens for the rest of the season. Supreme Day finished second and looked a real danger turning for home before being outstayed by the winner. Houselope Beck was a respectable third.

The other race on the card was the second division of the Maiden and it fell to Jimmy Walton who guided Finest Of Men to victory. Their task was made easier by the final fence departure of Bacyan who was upsides and held every chance when taking a crashing fall. Over The Urrin ran a nice race to be second and should surely land a Maiden.