Sunday 9th April 2000
by Richard Watts

Michael Brown’s Prominent continued his meteoric rise to the top by taking the prestigious Grimthorpe Gold Cup at the Middleton Point to Point held at Whitwell On The Hill.

Bargain buy Prominent (Sinnington) was scoring for the fourth time this season and the fifth time from only nine outings over fences. Partnered by David Easterby, who has a commanding lead in the jockeys championship, Prominent was held up in the early stages of the race; he moved into a prominent position with a mile to run before moving smoothly to the front with four to jump. As soon as he hit the front a good field was left for dead; a gap of ten lengths was soon opened up and that lead was only reduced to six lengths at the line as the six year old was heavily eased on the run in. South Wold raider Mr Freebie (Mrs R Banks) stayed on strongly from the third last and finished fast to take second place under Nigel Bloom. Last year's winner, the John Wade owned and trained Overflowing River (South Durham) finished third. He made most of the running until being easily outpaced by the winner. He kept on under Trevor Glass but lost second right on the line.

Trainer Tim Walford and stable jockey Guy Brewer both landed doubles. The first leg came in the Members when David Dickson’s Victoria’s Boy easily took the Members. Victoria’s Boy made most of the running; he went four lengths clear three from home, an advantage that was maintained to the line. Second place went to Kendor Pass, ridden by owner Nicki Wilson; he was always well placed but could only keep on at one pace when the winner quickened.

The Walford/Brewer doubles were completed in the First Division of the 2 mile Maiden when Ambersam (Mrs G Walford/Middleton) landed the spoils. The five-year-old was in the first two for most of the race; he took up the running three from home and quickened away from an above average Maiden field to win by eight lengths. The favourite, Michael Brown’s Young Rab (Sinnington) finished second; he could only stay on at one pace under Gordon Markham when the winner quickened. A further ten lengths back in third was Jolly Minster (D Atkinson/Bedale) who was let down by his jumping with Peter Atkinson riding.

Clive Mulhall was another jockey in double form. Noble Hymn (G Featherstone/York & Ainsty) followed his winning point debut at Charm Park by taking the Restricted. This race was a great battle between Noble Hymn and the Liz Clark trained Not So Prim (D Ibbotson/York & Ainsty). Not So Prim led under Stephen Swiers until Noble Hymn took it up three from home and he was two lengths clear three from home. Not So Prim rallied to take it up again at the last but Noble Hymn was able to renew his effort and he just got back up to win by a head. The favourite was Monica Dickinson’s Never Wonder (Bramham Moor), ridden by James Tate. He was made to look one paced by the first two.

Mulhall completed his double when the Stephen Wiles trained Tiger King (Rockwood) won the First Division of the three mile Maiden. In a race where half of the ten runners were eliminated after the first fence for missing a marker (due to the sunlight), Mulhall gave Tiger King a very determined ride. The Mary Sowersby trained Joe Smoke (Holderness) challenged strongly on the flat under Steve Charlton but could not get to the winner who won by a length.

Alan Moore’s five year old Ella Falls (South Durham) continues to look a mare of considerable potential. She was very impressive when landing favouritism in the Confined. The favourite was waited with in the early stages under Chris Wilson; the pair crept closer until moving to the front with a mile to run and quickening away from the field after the third last. Ella Falls held an eight-length lead at the line. Chris Cundall on his own Final Beat (Derwent) finished second; Final Beat stayed on well to take second from the Wayne Burnell ridden, Silent Snipe (D Ibbotson/York & Ainsty) close home.

Fiona Needham had success as a jockey and trainer. Her jockey win came on her father’s The Happy Monarch (R Tate/Bilsdale) in the Second Division of the three mile Maiden. The much improved Lulaugh-B (N Barnes/Middleton), looked to have taken the race by the scruff of the neck under an enterprising ride from Richard Wakeham but The Happy Monarch looked to have plenty of staying power. He ran on strongly approaching the last and just got up on the nod in an exciting finish.

The training success was courtesy of Calleva Star (M Abrahams/West Of Yore) in the Point to Point Owners race. Ridden by Rupert Abrahams, Calleva Star led for most of the final circuit. Running on well he pulled well clear of the field from the second last. Seven Four Seven (Pendle Forest) stayed on at one pace to take second for Keith Rosier.

The Second Division of the 2 mile Maiden was a first point to point winner of Ben Woodhouse partnering the favourite Eddie Rombo (Sinnington) to success. The five year old (carrying 7lb overweight) looked to have the race won when reaching the last three lengths clear but the Annabelle Armitage trained Aunty Norma (J Vietch/Middleton) was galvanised for a final effort by David Thomas and as Eddie Rombo idled Aunty Norma just failed to peg him back by a length. The Simon Robinson owned and ridden Ben From Ketton (Zetland), who showed plenty of early speed finished a further eight lengths back in third.