This year Balcormo has attracted 76 entries, the highest figure here since 2012, on a six race card starting at 2pm. The pony racing starts at 1pm with three races, and 18 entries.
2016 went with a swing - big thanks to all the runners who came to entertain a record crowd since the new Committee took over the running of the p2p after the passing of Sir John Gilmour who had managed the course for 40 years previously (see History)
2016 Review by Peter Burgon
One of the North's most experienced amateur riders, Jamie Alexander, 51, rolled back the years with the first double of his career on Allthekingshorses and Royal Chatelier in the Fife meeting at Balcormo Mains on Saturday.
Ex-chaser, Allthekingshorses supplemented a recent Friars Haugh victory on his 25th career start in the Pentland Land Rover Mens Open Race. The 10 year old was allowed to dictate the pace on the final circuit and outstayed his rivals to score by two lengths from For A Finish. Alexander said: “He was changing his legs a bit on this quicker ground and only doing just enough to run.”
Royal Chatelier, also trained at Kinneston by older brother, Nick, completed Jamie's double in the Bruce Farms NPPA Club Members Race. Still last of the four runners with a mile to go, the 11 year old edged into contention down the back straight before heading Mr Shahady after the last and drawing clear to win by two lengths. Alexander, who opened his account on Fordstown at Lanark in February 1996, added: ''He was run off his feet in the early stages and is much better on soft or heavy ground. He'll now try to land the £1000 bonus by winning the Bruce Farms Hunters' Chase at Perth on Wednesday 11th May.''
Ross Wilson, 22, was seen at his best on Pharawaydante in the Subaru Restricted Race. He got the eight year old in a great rhythm from the off, bowling along in front and turned the closing stages into a procession, coasting home 25 lengths ahead of Afterclass. Wilson, who is based with Middleham trainer, Karl Burke, said: ''He was a bit disappointing earlier in the season but first-time cheekpieces have made a difference. He enjoyed being able to make the running and found plenty when I kicked for home after four out. I must have driven about 20,000 miles already this season, including today's nine hour round trip, but days like this make it all worthwhile especially when the winner is owned and trained by my uncle, Norman Sanderson.''
Morpeth jockey, Amie Waugh maintained her 100% record at the track on the Victor Thompson-trained gelding, Sharivarry in the Lundin Homes Ladies Open Race. Always going well, her mount swept past Whisperdale at the last to score by three lengths in the best time of the day and is now 4pts ahead of Catchamat in the £500 Northern Area Champion Horse standings. The 10 year old gelding is in the form of life and his recent form figures now read 11221.x
Carrying the well-known blue and red halved colours of Peter Russell, Badger Foot took his career tally to 12 under a polished, front-running ride from 16 year old Connor Wood in the Turcan Connell Fife Foxhounds Members Race. Last year's winner, Milano Magic was unable to get past him when the chips were down and still had four lengths to find at the line. Wood, who has worked for the gelding's Milnathort trainer, Lucinda Russell since July 2015, said: ''He's a joy to ride, jumped superbly, never gave me an anxious moment and found another gear when Milano Magic came upsides after three out.'' He carries about 4 stone of lead in the saddle and certainly won't have any problems doing lighter weights when he gets the chance to ride under Rules in the future.
Penton near Longtown handler, Gemma Anderson has not enjoyed much luck since Robin Will scored at Alnwick in January but Elusive Classic's victory in an incident packed Rathbones Open Maiden Race hinted that better times lie ahead. Tom Hamilton's mount managed to avoid the departures of Time For Vino and Lockiesedge five out and four out respectively, and stayed on best to beat the only other finisher, Burnett's Joint by five lengths. Anderson said: ''He was placed in Irish Points earlier in the season and finished 4th of 14 on his last Irish outing seven weeks ago. I acquired him last month for The Six Thix Partnership through bloodstock agent, Mel Smith. Tom had a job to pull him up after crossing the line and he was hardly blowing. He's still a bit green and a summer out at grass will do him a power of good.''
The meeting featured the Northern Area's first full colour racecard and with a record prize fund of £3200 on offer deserved to have more runners.
Pony Racing by Fiona Drysdale
There is a big difference in the ponies brought forward now compared to 10 years ago when pony racing first started at Balcormo. The ponies in the Open races looked like very smart little dedicated fit racing ponies. The Musselburgh Races 138cm Open race went to Elliot Stockwell, a local Crail rider, on Ninfield Millionaire's Splendour. The most filled race of the whole day was the Perth Racecourse Novice Riders race which went to Robbie Ashe on Millie Butterfly. The final pony race was the Knight Frank 148cm Open and the two competitors put in a very polished performance on a couple of smart ponies, with Nick Barratt Atkin always edging it for the win on Doppio Movimento.