The curtain came down on the 2012 Northern Area point-to-point season with Sunday's well supported Haydon fixture at Hexham Racecourse. Near perfect jumping ground resulted in 67 runners contesting the seven race card, and it was a case of doubles all round for jockeys, Gillon Crow and Tristan Davidson as well as trainer, Victor Thompson.
Cool Star (right) made it four wins from five starts between the flags in the last couple of months in the Knarsdale Estate Haydon & North Tyne Members Race, forging clear from three out in the hands of Andrew Richardson to beat Sunset Song by a distance. David Carr's exciting 6 year old prospect is expected to reappear on Saturday on the adjoining National Hunt track in either a beginners chase or novices hurdle.
Desperate Bob (right) provided Richardson with his first winner in the Northern Area for 12 months in the Lycetts Haydon & North Tyne Members Race.
After being sent on approaching two out, his mount stayed on well down the home straight to beat Up The Boreen by 4 lengths.
The 9 year old is trained by Richardson on the outskirts of Hexham for Throckley livery yard proprietor, Michael Kavanagh who reported that his charge
missed the 2010 campaign with a suspensory problem.
Barachois Silver (right) always seems to come good at this time of year and completed a hat-trick with her third course win in the Tyne Vale Wealth Management Intermediate Race. Sent clear before setting out on the final circuit, the Jane Hollands-trained mare maintained a relentless gallop and still had five lengths to spare over Sportingfriendship at the line. Crow said of the 8 year old: ''She loves to bowl along in front and had plenty left in the tank.''
Mission Beach (left) set the ball rolling for Crow in the John Warren ABP two and a half mile Open Maiden Race. He dictated matters up front from the third and recovered well from a blunder at the last to beat the favourite, Red Myst by eighteen lengths. This half brother to 2011 Grand National winner, Ballabriggs, owned and trained by North Tyne farmer, James Thompson, was bought for only 2500 euros as an unraced 4 year old at Tattersalls, Ireland in November 2009. Crow said of him: ''He is still a bit green but jumped and travelled well, and was so full of running at the finish that I had a job to pull him up.''
Killeaney Princess (right) finally came good on her 14th career start in the Graham Reader Motor Engineer Open Maiden Race to initiate a double for Davidson and Thompson. However, after taking it up from long time leader, Mistic Academy three out and going clear at the next, the 9 year old had to pull out all the stops to repel a late thrust from her rival by a neck. She was bought privately by Thompson in Ireland three years ago.
Davidson completed his double and at the same time took his seasonal tally to 14 on Gin Cobbler (left) in the Orange Plant Wood Chipper Specialists Restricted Race, On his eleventh outing of the campaign, the 6 year old collared the tiring Beau Traveller inside the last one hundred yards to win, going away, by two lengths,with the fast finishing Bonnet Rouge a further half length back in third. The victory clinched both the £500 Northern Area Champion Horse Award and the Area Novice Horse Championship for Thompson's charge. There was a sting in the tail for Davidson, who was
fined £100 by the stewards for over-use of the whip on the run-in.
Former Cheltenham Foxhunters hero, Amicelli (right) and Buckstruther had a titanic duel on the final circuit of the Vercelli Restaurant Mixed Open Race, with the former asserting from three out to secure a one length verdict. However, the winner was subsequently disqualified when Jacqueline Coward weighed in 5lb light, although she did not appear to have lost a weight cloth during the contest. Buckstruther's promotion into first place rounded off a remarkable season for his trainer, Alastair Bell, with six winners from as many runners from his Hawick base.
After a couple of narrow defeats over course and distance last season, Marfleet (left) deservedly went one better in the W.M.H. Meat NPPA Club Members Race. Barry Wharf's home-bred 12 year old gelding was delivered with a perfectly timed challenge by Joanna Walton to collar Silk And Roses on the long run-in and score by half a length. Walton, who has recently moved to Kevin Ryan's yard, has registered all three career wins on the evergreen Marfleet.
Tristan Davidson (102pts) carried off the Albert Bartlett Men's Jockeys Championship for the third year in a row, with Gillon Crow (40pts) runner-up, and Andrew Richardson a further three points away in third place.
Catherine Walton (50pts) retained the Scottish Farmer/Scottish Horse Ladies Championship, with Rachael McDonald (21pts) runner-up, and Claire Metcalfe a further three points adrift in third.
Blair Campbell finished two points ahead of Amy McGregor in the Novice Riders Championship.
The John Swan Hunt Awards were won by the Percy (104pts) from the Fife (89pts) and Jedforest (88pts).
Gin Cobbler's final day victory at the Haydon saw him land the £500 George F White Northern Area Champion Horse Award as well as the Area Novice Horse Championship.
The Area's 15 surviving meetings attracted 1671 entries, with 947 runners in a total of 111 races, for a healthy average of 8.53 per race. Significantly, only one fixture throughout the five and a half month long season had less than 45 runners.