The penultimate fixture of the Northern Area season saw 47 runners, including 18 Yorkshire raiders, face the starter on the Haydon's seven race card at Hexham Racecourse on Sunday and it turned out to be a good day for the White Rose county with Rosie Du Berlais, Sam's Treasure and Martha's Benefit all visiting the winners' enclosure.
Poetic Presence (left 8) was the first of four Scottish-trained winners in the Warrens Nothing Wasted Open Maiden Race, giving Thomas Willmott, 17, a memorable first win as a jockey. Always in the leading pair, the 7 year old took it up six out and held off the persistent challenge of the favourite, Areyouasking to secure a two lengths verdict.
Selkirk-based Willmott, who has been working for Stuart Coltherd since leaving school, said of the mare: ''She was very game, kept finding another gear and might be even better over hurdles as she's slick and low over her fences. I came to Hexham expecting to ride stable companion, Teddiemoy in the Open Maiden but had no hesitation in switching mounts when her owner, Johnny Ferguson made a last minute decision not to ride.''
Cave Hunter (left) didn't see another rival when landing the North's most valuable contest, the £1500 Gary Hall Building Ltd Men's Open Race, in the hands of Tom Hamilton, who had flown in from Ireland earlier in the day. Granted an uncontested lead, the 10 year old maintained a relentless gallop throughout the three and a quarter mile trip and coasted home ten lengths ahead of One Conemara in a time just outside his own course record set in May 2016.
Winning owner, Niel Manning said: '' He's had a light season, loves top of the ground and will probably go again next Sunday in the Kelso Hunters' Chase which he has won for the last two years.''
Oscar Stanley (right) had hinted that his winning turn was not far away when 3rd to Mr Raj in a Sedgefield Hunters' Chase earlier in the month and duly delivered the goods in the SafeandSecure24 Ladies Open Race under a well judged ride from Joanna Walton. Sent on five out, the 10 year old stayed on strongly in the closing stages to beat Beau D'Argent by five lengths with Whisperdale a further three lengths away in third place.
The gelding's Bonchester Bridge-based owner/trainer, Diana Walton said: ''I knew he was very well as he had put me off during the week but I didn't tell Joanna that until this morning.''
Coldstream-based owner/trainer/rider, Will Ramsay, 48, travels all over the world with his business, Affordable Art Fairs and only returned to the UK from his latest trip to the Far East on Friday. After finishing in the first four on Great Gusto (left) on all six starts earlier this season, nobody could begrudge the partnership their moment of glory in the WMH Farm Fresh Meats NPPA Club Members Race. The 11 year old was sent straight into the lead and his jumping was assured. Kitty Fisher tried hard to get on terms after the last but Ramsay's mount kept finding extra when the chips were down and prevailed by half a length. The winner, who was conceding 10lb to the runner-up, might return to Hexham for the Border's evening card on Tuesday 30th May.
Rosie Du Berlais (right) made it two wins from her last three starts in the Chesterwood Bastle Holiday Cottage 6 year olds and over Hexham Racing Club Members Riders Conditions Race. With regular pilot, Christy Furness in action at Garthorpe, Middleham-based Ross Wilson made the most of his only ride of the day. The 11 year old tracked the favourite, Five Piers from five out before taking it up after the last and staying on best to score by a couple of lengths.
Another in-form mare, Sam's Treasure (left) followed up last month's Easingwold Maiden victory by taking the Graham Reader Motor Engineers Restricted Race in the hands of John Dawson, his 25th winner between the flags this season. Susan Mason's home-bred youngster, a late foal and not officially 5 until next month, led approaching two out and kept on well to beat Danny Mags by one and a half lengths. Susan commented: ''She's not very big and her jumping improved when the pace quickened.''
There were a lot of happy Yorkshire punters after Martha's Benefit (right,blue) had justified favouritism in the concluding two and a half mile Stanegate Shooting Syndicate Intermediate Race. Given a peach of a ride by Will Milburn, the 8 year old was sent on after six out and left her rivals toiling up the home straight,
eventually cruising home fifteen lengths ahead of The Mobile Man.
In her current form, Andrew Nicholls's mare must have a live chance in the Maiden Hunters' Chase over a similar trip at Cartmel on Bank Holiday Monday.
The main action was preceded by a couple of pony races sponsored by Shaw & Co. Solicitors. The contest for ponies 13.2hh and under went to Maxi in the hands of 14 year old Aiden Redpath, while the 14.2hh division was won by 14 year old Archie Frank on Judge Fox.
The Northern Area season concludes with the Border fixture at Hexham Racecourse on Tuesday 30th May with the first of seven races off at 6pm.