Former Sussex National hero, Vinnie Lewis turned the featured Men’s Open contest into a procession on the Ratcheugh Racing Club card at Alnwick, which saw a total of 65 runners face the starter in seven races.

As the Northern point-to-point season got under way, there were numerous long distance travellers with horses from as far away as Alcester, Bury St Edmunds, Denbigh, Fife and Oakham.

The Chris Bealby-trained nine-year-old made virtually all the running under George Chatterton and gradually extended his advantage from five out to score by 20 lengths from Monbeg Chit Chat in the fastest time of the day.

Almost five years to the day since making a successful debut in a Newcastle Bumper, Leicestershire raider Red Indian enjoyed another fruitful trip up the A1 by trouncing his rivals in the Ladies Open Race. Patiently ridden by Alice Stevens, the odds-on favourite joined Killer Crow four out before hitting the front at the next. In command when making his only mistake at the last, the 8-year-old recovered well and had a dozen lengths in hand at the line.

Former top Northern jumps jockey, Brian Harding, who is based near Penrith, enjoyed a dream start as a trainer when his first runner, Senor Lombardy obliged in the NPPA Conditions Race. Sent straight to the front by Lyall Hodgins, the gelding was pressed hard by Roderick Random from four out before producing an impressive change of gear down the home straight to score by 10 lengths.

Ray Owen’s 5am start from Denbigh was rewarded when his stable star, African Belle took the Conditions Race on her first outing since March 2019. Always lying handy under Fred Timmis, the 6-year-old came with a well-timed challenge to head Mr Pepperpot two out before staying on strongly to win by four lengths.

Warwickshire raider, For Fitz Sake landed some nice bets under a confident ride from William Easterby in the first division of the Open Maiden. After taking it up from Okey Dokey two out, the youngster finished so full of running that Easterby had a job to pull him up after crossing the line.

Jack Teal took his career tally under all codes to 50 when steering his own 4-year-old debutant, The Wise Traveller to victory in the second Maiden Race. His mount came late on the scene to deny Alcester trainer, Harriet Dickin a famous double with Fitz In.

In torrential rain and near darkness, Dream Over was the day’s only local winner in the concluding Restricted Race. Victoria McKie’s progressive 5-year-old mare went on two out under Nick Orpwood and had a cosy four lengths to spare over Matthew Man.


11.30am, NPPA Conditions Race: 1, Senor Lombardy (L Hodgins) 11/4, 2, Roderick Random (Miss C Dun) 2/1, 3, Rio Des Echanault (N Orpwood) 11/4, 10 Ran, 10,2.

12.00pm, Ladies Open Race: 1, Red Indian (Miss A Stevens) 1/4 fav, 2, Killer Crow (Miss C Dun) 3/1, 3, Midnight Request (Miss A Waugh) 10/1, 6 Ran, 12,18.

12.30pm, Men's Open Race: 1, Vinnie Lewis (G Chatterton) 5/4 fav, 2, Monbeg Chit Chat (C Furness) 6/1, 3, Teddy Tee (L Hodgins) 2/1, 10 Ran, 20,4.

1.00pm, Conditions Race: 1, African Belle (F Timmis) 6/1, 2, Mr Pepperpot (J Dawson) 9/4, 3, Cousin Pascal (H Edwards) 4/5 fav, 7 Ran, 4,6.

1.30pm, Open Maiden Race (Div 1): 1, For Fitz Sake (W Easterby) 3/1, 2, Okey Dokey (Miss L Brown) 16/1, 3, Highland Island (R Wilson) 25/1, 14 Ran, 5,4.

2.00pm, Open Maiden Race (Div 2): 1, The Wise Traveller (J Teal) 5/4 fav, 2, Fitz In (W Easterby) 6/4, 3, No Filter (N Orpwood) 3/1, 12 Ran, 1.5,8.

2.30pm, Restricted Race: 1, Dream Over (N Orpwood), 2, Matthew Man (C Alexander), 3, Solstice Twilight (L Hodgins), 7 Ran, 4,12.

2021 Northern Area Fixtures

Sun Jan 10: West Percy at Alnwick

Sun Jan 24: Jedforest at Friars Haugh

Sun Jan 31: Percy at Alnwick

Sun Feb 14: Berwickshire at Friars Haugh

Sun Feb 28: Tynedale at Corbridge

Sun Mar 14: College Valley & North Northumberland at Alnwick

Sat Mar 20: Duke of Buccleuch's at Friars Haugh

Sat Mar 27: Lanark & Renfrew and Eglinton at Overton

Sun Apr 11: Morpeth at Tranwell

Sat Apr 24: Fife at Overton

Sat May 1: Lauderdale at Mosshouses

Sat May 15: Haydon at Hexham Racecourse