Sunday was the final leg of the Imperial Racing Champion Horse award, which heard the Ratcheugh Roar bring home Always Tipsy to take the prize with an exciting win in the Warcup Law Men’s open race.
Rossini’s Dancer and Always Tipsy battled it out along the home straight, with only half a neck between them. This was the fastest race of the day, well ridden by usual pilot Nick Orpwood.
Trainer and owner Alan Wight went home with the men’s open win, the Champion horse award, and Active in Milan gave the Scot a double by also winning the first division of the Apartment Group Maiden race. This was the first win for Wight’s gelding, in an exciting finish, with three horses fighting it out all the way to the line. Active in Milan secured it by half a length.
The Maiden race was split due to high declarations on the day so had 10 runners in each division. The second division was won with a 20 length win from seven-year-old Roderick Random under Kelly Bryson.
Knocklong was back with a clear round in the Skinners Pet Foods Ladies’ open race, and gave Cath Walton her 75th win between the flags.
The Stockdale and Reid Solicitors Club race for Northern Horses was 47-year-old owner/rider/trainer William Ramsey’s turn to take home the prize after always being in the places. Pyjama Game fought off My Lady West, trained by Victor Thompson, to beat the mare by a head. Ballingarrow made it a first win this side of the water for Irish jockey Donal Delahunt. The unfancied gelding, owned and trained by Bill Hughes, had only run once in five years and battled it out to win by half a length in the Rycroft Glenton and Portland Financial Management restricted race.
The Percy Hunt Members race was a fifth win for George White’s Bafana Choice. The horse has only ever run at the Alnwick track in point to points and showed his love for the hill by storming home by 25 lengths. Sponsored by Andrew Robinson Farms Ltd, the three runner race was still a competitive one, with Fine Parchment setting the pace early on. The three geldings were grouped together until the final circuit, and Bafana choice left them standing to come home in front of Thompson’s Senior Alco. Trained by Sue Grant and ridden by Ferryhill’s Richard Smith, the 11-year-old is aiming for the Buccleuch Cup Maiden Hunters chase at Kelso in April.
The final chance to hear the Ratcheugh Roar will be March 4, the turn of the College Valley Hunt to host.