Solid Strike confirmed that he is still on an upward curve with his third victory of the season under owner/trainer/rider Paul Collins in the Formosus Tiles Intermediate Race in the Braes of Derwent fixture at Corbridge on Saturday.
The 8 year old moved with ease through the race and was always going to win once he hit the front on the bridle after two out. Staying on strongly in the closing stages, he had 4 lengths to spare over Viacometti at the line. Collins said: "He has bags of stamina, is improving all the time and relished the soft ground. He flew three out, cruised past the two leaders after the next and found another gear up the hill. His next target is the Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase at Hexham on Saturday 30th April."
Proven stayer, Beggar's Velvet extended his unbeaten sequence between the flags to three in the Blackberry Estates Ladies Open Race. Close up behind the leaders from the outset, the 10 year old went on with Sharivarry two out and, after taking a slender advantage at the last, stayed on best under Jacqueline Coward to score by three quarters of a length. This was Coward's 10th winner of the season and she needs only two more to take her career tally in point-to-points to 150. Trainer, Drew Holmes said: "He found that really hard work and is far more effective on a sound surface. His end of season target is a Kelso Hunters' Chase on May 29, which he won in 2014."
For Yes supplemented his recent Berwickshire Maiden win in the Ford Parts Restricted Race. Always going well in the leading trio under Harriett Bryce, he went on two out and stayed on strongly from the last to beat Cheshire raider, Happy Ring House by 4 lengths. Bryce said of the 7 year old: "He's a great jumper, is still improving and his stamina came into play in the closing stages." Owner and NPPA Chairman, Robert Miller-Bakewell added: "He might go for the hat-trick at Mosshouses on Sunday 1st May."
Bollin Buster provided Nick Orpwood with his 50th career winner between the flags in the Linda Philipson Horse Sales 4,5&6 year olds Open Maiden Race. The 6 year old, home-bred by Fiona Deans, drew clear from two out to beat Desimadonna by 5 lengths. His dam, Westie landed the first ever race at Overton back in March 2004 and used to love a stamina test in the mud.
Orpwood's initial success came on Dere Street in the Berwickshire PPORA Novice Riders Race at Friars Haugh on 2 April 2006 and he has also ridden 6 winners under Rules.
William Easterby, a 3rd year Agriculture Student at Newcastle University, took the riding honours with a double on stable companions, Camden and Four Oceans, his only rides at the meeting. Ex-chaser, Camden headed Ballyvesey two out and kept on well to score by a couple of lengths with the improving Nickwillis (Cameron Wadge) a further length away in third.
Four Oceans got off the mark on only his second start for the yard in the Frank White Open Maiden Race. In command from two out, he cruised home 13 lengths ahead of Dollar Mick and looks a really smart prospect. Tim Easterby, William's father, rounded off a great day for the family with his second winner of the new Flat season, Oh James at odds of 22/1 at Thirsk.
After a few near misses, the ultra-consistent Great Gusto landed the Braes of Derwent Hunt Supporters Club NPPA Club Members Race in the hands of his owner/trainer/rider Will Ramsay. Never headed from the seventh, the 10 year old was left well clear at the last when the tiring Two Stroke fell.
After 10 of this season's 15 meetings, Kit Alexander still holds a 21pts lead over Tom Hamilton in the Northern Area Men's Jockeys Championship, Catherine Walton is 16pts ahead of Rachael McDonald in the Ladies equivalent, while Connor Wood has a slender one point advantage over Laura Fenwick in the Novice Riders Championship.