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Morpeth at Tranwell
Sunday 7th April 2019

by Peter Burgon

Morpeth jockey, Laura Fenwick had a day to remember at her local meeting at Tranwell with a first and last race double on Abbeyview and Rushour Ryan, both trained by her mother, Sarah.

Abbeyview set a sedate pace in the Go As You Please Funerals Morpeth Hunt Members Race and was always doing enough in the closing stages to hold off a late challenge from Notebook (Amie Waugh) by a length.

Rushour Ryan didn't see another rival in the Trainbase Construction Training Restricted Race and galloped on relentlessly down the long home straight to prevail by ten lengths from Afterclass (Ailsa McClung).

Looking back to the Morpeth fixture at Tranwell in 1989, Sarah Fenwick's mount Licky Beg was only headed near the line in the Restricted, while Charles Sample, a steward on Sunday, rode a four-timer on Watersign, Nijanna, Panavista and Paddy Murphy.

Middleham handler, Justin Landy made it five winners from five runners between this season courtesy of Meldrum Lad and Monte Alban.

Meldrum Lad was given a patient ride by Becky Smith in the St. James's Place Wealth Management Ladies Open Race before starting to pick off his rivals one by one on the final circuit. After being left in front when Nicki's Nipper (Amie Waugh) blundered three out, he quickly asserted his superiority and coasted home seven lengths clear in the best time of the day without coming off the bridle.

Landy said of his 126-rated ex-chaser: "He was bought privately last year by my mother, Pauline Southerington out of Seamus Durack's yard. That was much softer ground than he prefers but he won as he liked and will turn out again on Saturday in the valuable 2m6f Bedale Ladies Open at Hornby Castle."

Monte Alban showed that he is still on an upward curve with a third win of the season in the Newcastle Racecourse Intermediate Race. After taking it up five out from Sees More Finale (Ross Wilson), the result was never in doubt and Joe Wright's mount stayed on strongly to beat Takethepunishment (Nick Orpwood) by six lengths.

Wright, 21 last Friday, said: "He's a bit slow and one-paced but just keeps on galloping and will stay even further." Landy confirmed that the valuable Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase at Hexham on May 4 is a likely target for the six-year-old.

Kinneston trainer, Nick Alexander was out of luck with Lake View Lad in the Grand National but saw his brother, Jamie's ex-Irish recruit, Racing Pulse make a winning start for the yard in the St. James's Place Wealth Management Men's Open Race. The ten-year-old pulled his way to the front four out and kept finding extra when the chips were down to beat Wicked Spice (Lyall Hodgins) by five lengths.

Nick, who had a double at Kelso Races the following day, said: "He's improved a lot since joining the yard three weeks ago and was very useful in his younger days. We got the chance to buy him privately as Jamie needed a replacement for The Bishop, who has been retired."

He was a 139-rated chaser as recently as 2016 and his previous trainer, Turlough O'Connor had partnered him in 5 Open Races in Ireland this season against the likes of Burning Ambition (runner-up in last week's Aintree Foxhunters' Chase) and Ucello Conti.

The evergreen Habbie Simpson provided Tabitha Threadgall, 22, with her first winner in the Beacon Creative PPORA Club Members Conditions Race for Veteran and Novice Riders, coming off a strong pace to score, eased down, by two lengths from More Madness (Jamie Alexander), with Up To Al (Abby Robertson) a further six lengths away in third.

Tabitha, who has been a work rider with Middleham trainer, Micky Hammond for 4 years, said: "I thought about pulling him up after five out but he took off with me turning for home and had passed everything in front of him before we jumped the last."

This former 139-rated hurdler for Alan King twice finished 3rd to Bobs Worth at Cheltenham in January 2011 and also ran at the Cheltenham Festival that year. Now 14, he still doesn't have many miles on the clock and has proved that age is no barrier.

After finishing in the first four on sixteen occasions this term, including a second at Mollington the previous day, Rory Bevin finally opened his seasonal account on Raleagh Mountain in the 2m4f North East Grain Open Maiden Race. Never headed on the final circuit, the eight-year-old managed to keep a wall of five horses at bay in the closing stages to claim a two lengths verdict over Fashionistalady (Ross Wilson) and French Ticket (Kit Alexander), who dead-heated for second place.

Rory said: "He needed the run at Garthorpe last time in a better race and goes best fresh. He has improved since being fitted with blinkers two starts ago and the shorter trip here also suited him. The others allowed me to dictate a slow pace and he was idling a bit at the finish but just managed to last home." A special mention also for the gelding's Oakham-based trainer and horsebox driver, Louise Bevin who has already clocked up about 1500 miles this season with trips to Hexham, Alnwick (twice), Friars Haugh, Hutton Rudby and Tranwell as well a few other venues.

The next Northern Area fixture is the Fife at Balcormo Mains on Easter Saturday 20th April. It features the £1500 Mixed Open Race, with a first prize of £1000. In addition, any runner at the meeting that goes on to win the Bruce Farms Grassroots Hunters' Chase at Perth on Wednesday 15th May will pick up a £3000 bonus.


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