Huge crowd enjoys an action-packed day

Racegoers flocked to Hornby Castle on Saturday to enjoy an action-packed day in glorious spring sunshine.

With perfect jumping ground officially judged Good to Soft, the six point to point races attracted competitive fields and some thrilling finishes.

Things Change (W Easterby)

Things Change (W Easterby)

Leading Yorkshire rider Will Easterby registered a double during the afternoon to increase his lead in the regional championship. He picked up the valuable George F. White Men’s Open which boasts a total prize fund of £1000, aboard the progressive Things Change, before taking the Armstrong Watson Open Maiden in the saddle of Stagecoach Jasper. Trainer Robin Tate finally received reward for persevering with this ten-year-old.

For the first time, the Bedale played host to a Subaru Restricted Series qualifier and Fairy Mix, ridden by Elliot Brookbanks, came out best of the dozen runners, after a battle to the line with Mark Whitney’s According To Dan.

The classy Knocklong notched up a four-timer when taking the Silk Family Law Ladies’ Open for Cath Walton, while Battle Range (Jacqueline Coward) ran out the easy winner of an eventful Barkers of Northallerton Confined Race.

The Strutt and Parker Bedale and West of Yore Members’ Race is always eagerly awaited and despite just three runners, it was an interesting affair. Christy Furness showed plenty of patience before making his move in the straight to win in fine style aboard Shantou Prince, carrying the colours of his parents John and Grania Furness.

Following the regular races, five intrepid riders enjoyed the opportunity to tackle the point to point course in the Bon Coeur Fine Wines Hornby Challenge Cup Ride, and they were joined at the last minute by Kennel Huntsman Mikey Francis. All completed the course safely despite one or two sticky moments, and Priscilla Hetherton and Lizzie Walker shared first prize as those finishing closest to the optimum time.

The McClarrons Giant Screen proved to be a popular addition during the afternoon, showing the point to point action live, but at 5pm it became the focal point of Hornby Castle as thousands of enthusiasts thronged to follow the live broadcast of the Aintree Grand National.

Grand National

Header & Men’s Open photos: www.nephotography.co.uk