Report on Balcormo Races, held on Easter Saturday 2019

by Peter Burgon

One of the biggest crowds seen at Balcormo Mains for many years enjoyed some competitive racing in glorious sunshine at the Fife meeting on Easter Saturday.
As usual, Clerk of the Course, Jim Drysdale and his team provided near perfect jumping ground for the time of year following four days of intensive watering and their efforts deserved to attract more runners.
On a day dominated by horses trained in Northumberland, the only Scottish success was provided by the Nick Alexander-trained gelding, Racing Pulse, owned and ridden by younger brother, Jamie, in the £1500 Pentland Land Rover Mixed Open-the Northern Area Feature Race for the 2018/19 season.
Produced with a perfectly timed challenge, the 10 year old headed last year’s winner, Nicki’s Nipper (Amie Waugh) approaching the last and kept on well to score by two lengths, with stable companion, Killer Crow (Kit Alexander) a further twenty five lengths away in third place.
This former 144-rated hurdler, trained in the past by John Quinn, Rebecca Curtis, Richard Hobson, Willie Mullins and Turlough O’Connor, was bought privately five weeks ago from the latter and was following up a recent Tranwell Men’s Open victory on his yard debut. Nick Alexander’s tally of winners for the last twelve months is 30, comprising 25 under Rules and 5 between the flags. Nick Orpwood took his seasonal tally to 11 with a double on Doldrum Bay and Rolling Thunder, and, at the same time, extended his lead over Ross Wilson in the Albert Bartlett (Airdrie) Ltd Northern Area Men’s Jockeys Championship to 19 points.
After being left in front at the sixth following the departure of Afterclass, Doldrum Bay proceeded to make the remainder of the running in the Lindores Abbey Distillery Restricted Race and had more in hand than the official winning margin of one length over Moores Novelty (Kit Alexander) might suggest. This 8 year old Presenting gelding is a full brother to Weapons Amnesty, a Cheltenham Festival winner in 2009 and 2010, and was bought privately by Orpwood, who also trains him, from Paurick O’Connor at the beginning of January.
Making only his third start since changing hands at the 2017 Doncaster May Sales, the former Donald McCain-trained chaser, Rolling Thunder landed the 2m4f Rathbones PPORA Club Members Conditions Race in smooth fashion by a length from Rossini’s Dancer (Mhairi Ogilvie) after dictating matters from six out.
The 9 year old is owned and trained by Victoria McKie, who said: ”He goes well fresh, likes a flat track and appreciates a sound surface. It’s good being able to run in these types of races without having to carry a penalty.”
Nick Alexander’s evergreen 14 year old gelding, Rossini’s Dancer deserves a special mention after being retired following his second place finish on his 99th career start under all codes. He made his debut over six furlongs at Pontefract on 27th September 2007 and proved to be very versatile, winning on the Flat, over hurdles and fences and between the flags. His 12 victories included 2 at Balcormo Mains in 2015 and 2017, and he was also placed 28 times.
Frankies Fire made it three wins from her last four starts in the Turcan Connell NPPA Conditions Race. Well ridden by Charlotte Tailford, 21, this home-bred 6 year old Flying Legend mare had her four rivals in trouble after changing gear from five out and still had plenty left in the tank as she crossed the line eight lengths ahead of More Madness (Jamie Alexander), with Molten Brown (Charlotte Dun) a further two lengths away in third.
Only 2 horses faced the starter in the Bruce Farms Conditions Race and the odds-on favourite, Winged Crusader (Amie Waugh) was soon left in spendid isolation after Chicago Outfit unseated Megan Davies at the fourth fence. This was his 6th win of the season and owner Simon Waugh said: ”He didn’t have much more than a racecourse gallop and we’ll keep him going as we might never get another chance to be the leading horse in the country.”
Fashionistalady stands up to her racing remarkably well, having appeared at 10 of the 11 Northern Area meetings this season since the opener at Hexham on Sunday 2nd December, and deservedly opened her account in the concluding Rae Grieve Memorial Open Maiden Race. Ross Wilson’s mount outstayed long time leader, Okey Dokey (Poppi Shepherd) from two out before asserting close home to score by a length.
This 7 year old Kadeed mare, owned by Liz Nixon and her partner, Bryan Stanners, is trained by Liz on their smallholding in the North Tyne valley near Wark, and was bought privately in Ireland from Bryan’s brother, Edward who was happy to offload her after she had finished tailed off in 2 National Hunt Flat Races in 2017.
As usual, the main action was preceded by pony racing with a total of 17 ponies in action in the three contests. Ninfield Millionaire’s Splendour completed a four-timer in the hands of 14 year old Elliot Stockwell in The Ship Inn, Elie 138cm Open Race, with Telynau Apollo (Lily McGhee) and Heidi (Heidi Henderson) filling the minor places.
The 10 runner Wigwam Holidays Montrave Estate 148cm Novice Riders contest went to Dino Royale (Frances Cromarty) from Raemoir Vermillion (Conner McCann) and Black Magic Special (Lana McDougall).
The long trip from Yorkshire paid off for Abrickinthewall, who completed a hat-trick under 15 year old Sarah Longthorn in the Perth Racecourse 148cm Open Race. Indian River (Shay Farmer) finished runner-up, with Chilworth Dancer (Elliot Stockwell) in third place.

Report by Peter Burgon for 2018

The annual Fife Foxhounds Point-to-Point fixture took place in glorious sunshine on perfect jumping ground at Balcormo Mains on Saturday and attracted one of the biggest crowds of the Northern Area season. A total of 35 runners faced the starter, the highest figure here since 2014.
After taking her tally of winners for the 2017/18 National Hunt season to 46 following Thorpe’s victory in a £15,000 Perth Handicap Hurdle the previous day, Milnathort trainer, Lucinda Russell’s promising youngster Chanceiton made it 3 wins from 6 Pointing starts in the last five months in the Turcan Connell Fife Foxhounds and NPPA Conditions Race.
Always prominent with Frankie’s Promise, Cameron Wadge’s mount was sent on a mile from home and forged clear after three out to score by eight lengths. This was a 6th career winner for Wadge, who joined Russell’s yard last summer. He said of the 7 year old: ”He’s a machine and a totally different horse on a sound surface as shown by his previous wins at Alnwick and Corbridge. The plan is for him to be campaigned under Rules in the summer.”

After seeing all three runners at last week’s Perth Festival not beaten far when finishing in the first four, Molesden near Morpeth-based owner, Simon Waugh enjoyed better luck card at Balcormo  where one of his recent acquisitions, Nicki’s Nipper landed the £1500 Pentland Land Rover Mixed Open Race-the most valuable Point-to-Point contest ever staged in Scotland.
Given a positive ride by daughter, Amie, who also trains her, the 10 year old quickened up nicely on the downhill run to the second last and was left a few lengths clear when ex-chaser, Rolling Thunder, who was disputing the lead at the time, fell. Thomond tried hard to bridge the gap in the closing stages but was still three lengths down at the line.
This was a 40th career success, including 14 under Rules, for Amie, who is now only two points behind Charlotte Dun in the Northern Area Ladies Championship. She said of the mare: ”She’s not very big but picked up well at her fences and hardly made a mistake,” while father, Simon added: ”I bought her for £2500 at Doncaster Sales in November out of Sam England’s yard. She bled after her last run at Musselburgh in mid-February and so I decided to give her two months off. She has plenty of stamina and appreciated the better ground.”
Haydon Bridge owner/trainer/jockey, Charlotte Tailford, 20, spent four weeks on the sidelines after breaking her collarbone in a fall from Exit Ten at Overton last month but the partnership made a winning comeback in the Strutt & Parker Restricted Race. Always up with the pace, the 7 year old stayed on well from two out to join Afterclass at the last before finding plenty when the chips were down to secure a half length verdict.
Treliver Manor made it three victories on the day for Northumbrian raiders in the 8 runner Rae Grieve Memorial Open Maiden Race and, at the same time, provided Liam Ruddy, 18, with his first winner. After being sent on four out, the 10 year old looked set to cruise home as he entered the finishing straight with a clear advantage but had to dig deep to repel a late surge from the unfancied Royal Flush (Aaron Anderson) by half a length. The latter, home-bred by Simon Waugh, was foaled on 28 April 2011, 7 years ago to the day and his dam, Mystical Feelings made her debut in the corresponding Maiden Race at Balcormo in 2005.
Ruddy said: ”I’ve been working for Tony and Rose Dobbin at their Chatton yard since leaving school in 2016. Treliver Manor has been waiting all season for better ground and it’s a pity this is the first time that Tony, who owns and trains him, hasn’t seen him run but I was on the phone straight after the race.”
Good things come to those who wait as Lauder-based owner/trainer and farrier, Jock Threadgall ended a near five year drought with Tambour Major in the 9 runner 2m4f Rathbones PPORA Club Members Conditions Race. Given a peach of a ride by Connor Wood, 20, who is also based in the Dobbin yard, the 11 year old dictated a strong pace from the outset and galloped on relentlessly in the home straight to prevail by a length from the favourite, Nine Altars (Charlotte Dun).
Originally bought as a foal in France by Philippa Shirley-Beavan, the gelding won his first two Pointing starts in 2014 for her Bonchester Bridge yard. Threadgall said: ”He stands over 17 hands high, has been well hunted and I bought him privately in September from Alison Hamilton.”
This was a 5th career success for Wood, who added: ”I hadn’t ridden him before but he’s such a big horse that he made the fences look tiny. I tried to give him a pull once or twice but he just kept bowling along and showed no signs of stopping at the finish.”
Unfortunately, the Bruce Farms Intermediate which had only 3 entries, including Chanceiton (NPPA Conditions Race winner) and Left Back (finished 3rd in Restricted Race) was a rare void contest, having received no declared runners-only the second time this has happened at a Northern Area meeting since 1982.
However, the Bruce Farms Bonus is still up for grabs as any runner on Saturday that goes on to win the Bruce Farms Hunters’ Chase at Perth on the evening of Wednesday 16th May will receive a £3000 bonus.
As usual, the main action was preceded by three well contested pony races. The 6 runner Musselburgh Racecourse Treehouse Sporting Colours Novice Riders Race for ponies 148cm and under went to Milli Butterfly ridden by 12 year old Archie Parsons from Anstruther. His twin brother, Murray finished 2nd on Altered Images. A special mention also for 11 year old Benjamin Rogers who finished 5th on Boom Boom, having travelled all the way from Caithness.
The 4 runner Open Race for ponies 138cm and under, sponsored by The Ship Inn, Elie, was won by Ravara Super Ted ridden by 10 year old Shay Farmer from Hawick. They were chased home by another long distance traveller, Merryment Top Cat ridden by 11 year old Thomas Bradburne, son of Hungerford-based former National Hunt jockey, Mark Bradburne.
Sarah Longthorn (14) made the long journey from Hull worthwhile by winning the Perth Racecourse Open Race for ponies 148cm and under on Springs. Doppio Movimento (Nick Barratt-Atkin) finished runner-up with Rubyroo (Tara Stockwell) in third place.
Reviews from 2017

Terrierman: “Credit to Fife huge crowd perfect ground pity trainers don’t trust the ground and bring their horses”

Wee Borderer:  “They always make a great job of watering at Fife.  So disappointing for them that more people don’t support them and run their horses”

Tracy Turner:  “Thank you to fife for a great meeting.  Safe ground and an excellent idea giving owners trainers and jockeys tickets for their own hot meal, snacks drinks etc.  You don’t get hospitality like that anywhere else.”

Poor Payed Groom:  “Brilliant day at the fife point to point perfect hospitality and a fun day for my 3 year old 🙂 Ground very safe always made to feel very welcome”

Steven:  “Spoke to a couple of the jockeys today and they said the ground was spot on.  Glad they were rewarded for all  their efforts with a large crowd if not with a big turn out of runners”

graysoncolumn:  “Superb day out again, and you’ll struggle to find ground as good as that in the course of a whole season.  A joy to see One for Arthur, too.  gc”

lordanthony31: “very impressed with the young Bradburne boy on Push the Button in the pony race”

Mens Open winner 2017 All the Kings Horses ridden by Jamie Alexander leads Raftieri, and Another Dark Rum

Mens Open winner 2017 All the Kings Horses ridden by Jamie Alexander leads Raftieri, and Another Dark Rum

Royal Chatelier (nearside) ridden by Jamie Alexander, Nickwillis, Cameron Wade, the eventual winner with Great Gusto (Will Ramsay) on the right.

Royal Chatelier (nearside) ridden by Jamie Alexander, Nickwillis, Cameron Wade, the eventual winner with Great Gusto (Will Ramsay) on the right.

Competitive Ladies Race, winner nearside Whisperdale, owned by Jack Clark, ridden by Charlotte Dunn, with Shantou Magic, ridden by Kelly Bryson, owned Will Ramsay.

Competitive Ladies Race, winner nearside Whisperdale, owned by Jack Clark, ridden by Charlotte Dunn, with Shantou Magic, ridden by Kelly Bryson, owned Will Ramsay.

Two Balcormo favourites in the first race 2018, Great Gusto, Will Ramsay, and Badger Foot, Rachel Kennedy

Two Balcormo favourites in the first race 2017, Great Gusto, Will Ramsay, and Badger Foot, Rachel Kennedy

Rossini's Dancer with owner Harry Turcan and jockey Kit Alexander, led by Amy McGregor

Rossini’s Dancer with owner Harry Turcan and jockey Kit Alexander, led by Amy McGregor

The 2017 Grand National Winner, One for Arthur, parading at Balcormo led by jockey Derek Fox. Lucinda Russell is giving an interview in the background

The 2017 Grand National Winner, One for Arthur, parading at Balcormo led by jockey Derek Fox. Lucinda Russell is giving an interview in the background

Doppio Moviment, Nick Barratt Atkin, pony race at Balcormo point-to-point on 29Apr2017.

Doppio Moviment, Nick Barratt Atkin, pony race at Balcormo point-to-point on 29Apr2017.

ONE FOR ARTHUR (Derek Fox) Wins The Randox Health Grand National at Aintree 8/4/17Grossick PhotographyThe SteadingsRockhallheadCollinDumfriesDG1 4JWTel: 07710461723

ONE FOR ARTHUR (Derek Fox) Wins The Randox Health Grand National at Aintree 8/4/17Grossick PhotographyThe SteadingsRockhallheadCollinDumfriesDG1 4JWTel: 07710461723

 

2016 Robbie Ashe receiving the JockeyJan Trophy from Lucy Alexander, leading Lady Jockey 2015/16 National Hunt Season

2016 Robbie Ashe receiving the JockeyJan Trophy from Lucy Alexander, leading Lady Jockey 2015/16 National Hunt Season

The Pentland Rover Mens Open Race at Balcormo Point-to-Point on 23 Apr 2016. Have One for Me (4th) is leading Supreme Regime (5th) with Oldrik (3rd) just behind, eventual second For a Finish in light blue followed by the winner All the Kings Horses waiting at the rear.

The Pentland Rover Mens Open Race at Balcormo Point-to-Point on 23 Apr 2016. Have One for Me (4th) is leading Supreme Regime (5th) with Oldrik (3rd) just behind, eventual second For a Finish in light blue followed by the winner All the Kings Horses waiting at the rear.