I had 6 rides at Sheriff Hutton and my old faithful Amicelli gave me my best result of the day, coming second in the club members’. He never lets me down!
It was his first outing since fracturing his pelvis last season.
The new Bannister team got off to a flying start with 3 winners all ridden by Harry Bannister, whose club is in memory of his late uncle Tom. Tom would be very proud, especially as his favourite horse Classinaglass won the men’s open.
Catherine Walton was delighted to be rerouted to Sheriff Hutton due to Kelso being called off, after winning the AGA ladies’ race comfortably on Ockey De Neulliac.
The Heythrop meeting at the new Cocklebarrow course was a great success, attracting bumper entries of 234 and huge crowds.
Surprisingly, the classic Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup men’s open, with £500 prize-money up for grabs, only received 19 entries — the ladies’ race had 28.
Talking of new meetings, there are now 3 being held at John Wade’s Howe Hills Farm, Morden. The South Durham Hunt Farmers Club is holding a new one there on 25 January, which looks set to be a good meeting. If only there were more people like John about — he loves his hunting, pointing and racing and wants to help in any way he can.
It was really sad to hear about Horseheath racecourse having to close its gates this season. British Horseracing Authority officials deemed the surface unsafe to race, because of uneven going in places.
The South Midlands Area Club meeting due to take place at Whitfield on 20 January has been abandoned due to financial restrictions. The Old Raby are in the same position and not holding their meeting usually staged in February at Witton Castle.
Hopefully, these courses will make their way back on to the schedule next season. They will definitely be missed this year.