The Yorkshire point-to-point season fired into action at Sheriff Hutton on Sunday in good style as 66 runners lined up for the seven race card.
Despite the promise of ice and snow, the skies cleared and provided a sun filled afternoon which drew in record crowds.
Not only did Shane Mariott achieve his first winner this weekend, he also earned ‘ride of the day’ for his success aboard the Gill Walford trained King Penda. Shane works full time for Tim and Gill Walford and is based just one mile from the course.
Confidently ridden, the pair made steady headway through the field to lead two out, however a sustained challenge from hot favourite Galant Nuit made the winning duo work hard towards the line and without picking his stick up Mariott drove his mount out to gain a narrow win.
“Gill, Tim and Mark have all been very supportive and I hope it’s the first of many winners” said the winning rider.
A former winner under rules for the yard, King Penda was brought out of retirement for Shane to ride and could now look a useful recruit between the flags.
Another success story came in division two of the Open Maiden when Bollin Line broke his maiden just four weeks after changing hands at Ascot sales “we call him Bob because Bob Woodhouse helped me buy him”.
Previously with the Campbell family, Bollin Line travelled well throughout for Guy Brewer and with four in a line jumping two out the pair stayed on well to win by five lengths.
The runners-up Danebrook Lad and Willofhisown’s chances were scuppered when they were interfered with when Cobblers Hill came down at the last when looking to have every chance.
It sees a good start to the season for the film director turned trainer Lucy Egerton as three of her first four runners were placed.
Harry Bannister was another on the score sheet when he took division one of the Open Maiden aboard the David Easterby trained Port Golan. Settled in the rear Harry worked his way through the field and quickened up nicely in the straight to win well.
“Port Golan has the most unbelievable set of gears” enthused Bannister “he should be capable of further progress in the near future.”
Runners up Nalim and Darnborough ran well at big prices and look to have the ability to score at some point.
The opening race was the Club Members race which saw Elusive Swallow romp to victory and give Jacqueline Coward her first winner of the season on her grandfather’s track.
Bustled along in midfield the pair made rapid headway at the 13th to lead and entering the straight they stayed on strongly to win with Sportingfriendship staying on in second with a tired Bear Witness in third.
The Ladies Open was a qualifier for the AGA final which is now to be held at Stratford.
The winner went the way of southern raider Palypso De Creek who quickened clear in the straight to win well.
Former winner Amicelli, who won last year’s final had to settle for second place this time whilst Kildonnan was running a creditable third for his new stable at the age of 14.
Mister Splodge went one step closer to emulating his brother Mister Bromley who won eight point to points.
Partnered by Colm McCormack the pair made all and despite being challenged by runner-up Dead Ringa approaching two out, the pair stayed on well to win comfortably.
Dead Ringa ran his best race to date ridden by Emma Todd who replaces the retired Mark Walford, while Oakland’s Robbie returned to something like his best back in third.
The Men’s Open saw Tom Greenall win on his seasonal return aboard the talented Classinaglass which was the first of a double for David Easterby.
Settled well in rear Tom made good headway approaching three out, the pair had to fight extra hard as the formerly talented Hennessey pushed him all the way to the line with the winner narrowly coming out on top.
Be There In Five stayed on back in third for William Easterby.
The winners were as follows:
Club Members - Elusive Swallow (Jacqueline Coward)
Restricted - Mister Splodge (Colm McCormack)
Ladies Open – Palypso De Creek (Miss C Hart)
Novice Riders - King Penda (Shane Marriott)
Mens Open - Classinaglass (Tom Greenall)
Open Maiden Div 1 - Port Golan (Harry Bannister)
Open Maiden Div 2 - Bollin Line (Guy Brewer)