Event reports


  • Posted: Wednesday, 7th April 2021
  • Author: Will Milburn
  • Photo: Tom Milburn

The second meeting in Yorkshire since the resumption of racing was the Middleton at Sheriff Hutton, by kind permission of Mick Easterby. There was a healthy turn out of runners on ground that was described as ‘good, good to firm in places’ and all the action could be viewed online as it was live streamed and presented by former jockey Andrew Thornton.

As was the case at the opening meeting at the Hurworth, this meeting was held behind closed doors and therefore no public could attend. The feature race of the meeting was the Grimthorpe Gold Cup, which is run over four miles, and provided an exciting finish.

Five horses went to the post for the Grimthorpe Gold Cup, which despite the tough current climate has been supported and sponsored by the Grimthorpe family. Former winner One Conemara took his place in the lineup for the fifth time and took the field along for most of the race. However, he was pestered most of the way by fellow veteran Cup Final, trained by Sarah Dent, and the 12-year-old battled hard up the run-in and had only the efforts of Point The Way and Joe Wright to fend off. With a good jump at the last, Cup Final stayed on gutsily to win by two lengths.

"The plan wasn't really to be at the front but he's an old horse and he wanted to go forward, so I just let him enjoy himself," said Ross Wilson, who was recording his first win in this prestigious race.

"We got him from Ben Haslam and he's such a lovely horse. He has a lovely nature and such a kind character," said trainer Sarah Dent, who kept her string in work throughout lockdown and is reaping the rewards now for her dedication.

Third place went to the Northern raider Killer Crow, under Charlotte Dun, who has been running consistently in hunter chases this term.

The opening Hunt Members race saw a good training performance by Jack Teal to produce Shepherds Cave to run after a near two-year absence after suffering an injury at Sedgefield in 2019. Teal and his mount led after the second and dominated the race from there on. Super Lunar and Will Milburn made their challenge turning for home but lacked a finishing kick before filling the third spot, whilst Game As A Pheasant, who was an easy winner last Monday, stayed on stoutly from the back under Jack Andrews to finish a close second.

Division One of the Open Maiden went the way of the Cheshire raider Cotton Rock, who was getting off the mark after a good effort at Larkhill before Christmas. The winner led over the last and had the debutant Desjay (Joe Wright) to fend off and did so in gutsy fashion. Kimberley Boy was in hot pursuit in third, under Phil Lawrence, and both look to have excellent chances in the coming weeks.

Division Two saw the Coward team get off the mark with Cool Desire, partnered by Jack Andrews, for local owners John and Jenny Nellis. The winner was travelling well turning for home and battled hard to beat the Will Easterby-trained and -ridden Trap For Fools. It was only the winner’s fourth career start and, with this big step forward, he should be capable of improving further.

"He has holidayed with me as a youngster and I quite liked him. He's by Scorpion, so should improve with age now," said owner Jenny Nellis, who was delighted with her winner.

The Oriental Club Conditions race produced a first career win for rider Tara Stockwell, who rode and trained the former Rebecca Menzies inmate Mr Witmore. Leading over the last, the pair only had to fend off Shantou Prince and Christy Furness on the run-in and pulled six lengths clear by the line. Tara, 17, works for trainer Lucinda Russell full time and said, "I couldn’t believe we were still in front and going so well at the last."

Shantou Prince made a welcome return to form in second and the faster ground in the coming weeks could see him get his head in front, while Spanish Arch stayed on from the back to finish third.

The most impressive winner of the day came in the 2m 4f Maiden when the Jonathan Barlow-trained Rafferty made it a pillar-to-post success under young rider Lewis Dobb. Dobb, who has been working for trainer Laura Morgan for the past two years, was recording his first success between the flags and did it in style, with an eased down 20-length victory.

"It wasn't the plan to make it, but he jumped and galloped," said Lewis of his mount, who was formerly trained by Stef Keniry and was returning to the track after a two-year absence.

Second went to the Will Easterby-trained and -ridden Euro Fou, who was returning from a spell over hurdles, while third went to Le Pinchy under Nick Orpwood.

Dark Mahler scored in the second race on the card, the Conditions race, under Joe Wright for trainer Freya Brewer. The winner had been running with great credit in hunter chases this season and deservedly got his head in front here to provide his jockey with a 50th career success. They had to work hard to hold off the locally trained Monbeg Chit Chat and Christy Furness, who if for a better jump at the last may have reversed the places. Global Racing chased them home in third.

The Restricted went the way of the ultra-consistent Dressedforsuccess, under pilot Tom Greenwood, for trainer James Latham. The pair flashed home to catch Bonamargy, who looked the likely winner coming to the last under Dale Peters but in the end could only manage third. The new Rosie Howarth recruit Rossderrin finished second.