MAY 2004
by Ian Marshall
photos by Jonathan Hood

The final event of the Yorkshire season took place on a pleasant spring day at Heslaker with both the Mens and Ladies Championships going down to the wire. Nigel Tutty and Jo Foster retained their titles, but the former only just pipped Guy Brewer, while the latter was chased all the way by Serena Brotherton. 

The Hunt Members race was a walkover for Ian Bennett on Saler Sal. 

Richard Burton was in action at the dayís only fixture in his attempt to wrestle back the lead in the National Riders Championship from Ashley Farrant. In the Restricted, he came in for the ride on Ricky B and the gelding made every yard of the running to hold off Snizort and Guy Brewer in the closing stages. Ricky B is only small and has had problems with his fencing, but lacks nothing in the way of courage and Richard Burton got a fine tune out of him. Snizort came to pick up the pace setter at the top of the hill having been given a quiet ride, however he could never quite get to the leader. The application of first-time blinkers saw him step up significantly on his last two outings. The two principals were clear of Gentleman Charles (Simon Walker) in third and Don Rio (Michael Morley) in fourth. The Sea Club was the subject of a major market move, but pulled far too hard for his own good and was a spent force some way out.

Restricted - Gentlemen Charles (S Walker), Snizort (G Brewer) and The Sea Club (Miss L Robson)

The winner of the Restricted, Ricky B (R Burton) and The Sea Club (Miss L Robson) 

The Mens Open featured a second victory at the track this year for Torn Silk, this time with Clive Mulhall aboard. The ten-year-old was a warm favourite, but didnít look like one with a circuit to go. He got his act together when it mattered though and clung on from Rupert Alers-Hankey on Royal Crimson. The runner-up put in his best display yet in an open. Darak and Nigel Tutty were not beaten far in third. Out and out stayer Erzadjan (Lee Bates) finished fourth and really needs further than the ďabout three milesĒ trip, even on a stiff, long track like Heslaker.

Mens Open. Darak (N Tutty)

The winner of the Mens Open, Torn Silk (C Mulhall) 

The Maiden went the way of Man At The Top, who was not winning out of turn, under Mark Bennison. His placings in 2004 suggested that a heat such as this was within his grasp. Queenies Girl came second with Philip Kinsella on top. She showed that she possessed ability at Mordon a week ago when filling the same position and reinforced that theory today, although this was probably a weaker race. Third-placed Noggler, partnered by Serena Brotherton, will be one to look out for next season. Thixendale (Jo Foster) in fourth is none too consistent.

Open Maiden - The winner, Man at the Top (M Bennison), Queenies Girl (P Kinsella) and Thixendale (Miss J Foster) 

A competitive Ladies Open was fought out by the two leading ladies pointers in Yorkshire this year, Texas Ranger and Hadeqa. The first-named had prevailed at Hornby Castle in April, but Hadeqa turned the tables this afternoon. Serena Brotherton was content to let Jo Foster cut out the running on Texas Ranger and only moved up threateningly heading down the back straight for the final time, before taking it up and drawing away in the last half mile. Hadeqa has now won three and been second twice in five ladies opens, having been very disappointing in mens races beforehand. Hadeqa was only pulled out of a ladies hunter chase at Stratford because of the firm going this morning to come here. Texas Ranger has been victorious on four occasions in 2004 and will be a force to reckon with for several years to come. There was a long gap to Annabelle Armitage on Donnegale in third, followed by Chadswell and Caroline Hurley in fourth.

Ladies Open - Texas Ranger (Miss J Foster)

Ladies Open - The winner, Hadeqa (Miss S Brotherton) 

The closing Intermediate saw a duel up the home straight between Ben From Ketton and Simon Robinson and Purple Jean and Guy Brewer, with Ben From Ketton coming out on top. The winner had scored at Witton Castle earlier in the month and seems best late in the season. Purple Jean, the grey, gave her all and rarely puts in a poor effort. Princess Derry responded well for Chris Cundallís urgings to be third after coming off the bridle with over a lap to race. Rubon Prince and Jo Foster were fourth of four.

Intermediate - Purple Jean (G Brewer), Rubon Prince (Miss J Foster) and Ben From Ketton (S Robinson)

Intermediate - Purple Jean (G Brewer), Rubon Prince (Miss J Foster), Ben From Ketton (S Robinson) and Princess Derry (C Cundall)

Intermediate - The winner and subsequent Hunter Chase victor, Ben From Ketton (S Robinson) and Princess Derry (C Cundall)