A HUGE crowd watched on as Classinaglass started the new season in the same winning fashion in which he finished the 2013 pointto- point season.
Running in the Browns Department Stores Mens Open, this was the first time he was ridden in a race by Harry Bannister who has taken over the reins from the retired Tom Greenall.
This was also a first for his new trainer Stephanie Easterby and in the new ownership of the Coniston Hotel Racing Club, a club organised in memory of the late Tom Bannister who previously owned this seven time winner.
Held up in rear, just as his former rider had done, Harry produced Classinaglass in the home straight to win by three lengths.
The biggest challenge came from Special Portrait and the pair jumped the last upsides but a mistake from the Ed Glassonbury ridden grey put paid to his challenge.
Classinaglass is being aimed at the Cheltenham Foxhunters in March.
This was the second leg of a treble for Harry and Steph, their first coming in the second division of the Chris Hoggard Memorial Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point Club Members Riders Conditions Race, sponsored by White Rose Saddlery, where Port Golan surged clear of the old favourite, Amicelli who had made all.
Their final win came in the Cundalls Four, Five Six and Seven- Year-Olds Open Maiden Race, run over the shorter distance of 2m4f with Banny’s Lad. This was the first time on a course for the new recruit and he put in a smart performance to win by a head, from the Lincolnshire challenger, Murphy’s Promise who did indeed show promise last season and it won’t be long before he wins at this level.
The Ladies Open Race was part of the nationally sponsored AGA series, where the first three past the post are eligible for the AGA Ladies Open Point-to-Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at Stratford in May.
The ex Ferdy Murphy trained Ockey De Neulliac improved on his seasonal debut where he was second at Alnwick to take this in convincing style. Ridden by Catherine Walton, who had re-routed from the abandoned Kelso meeting, the pair won by a comfortable eight lengths in the joint fastest time of the day.
They shared that accolade with the winner of the first race, division one of the Chris Hoggard Memorial Yorkshire Area Point-to- Point Club Members Race.
Promising novice jockey Jack Teal was able to take advantage of the race conditions, where jockeys who had ridden four or more winners at the start of the season carried a 5lb penalty.
With three in a line jumping the last, Foreverpresenting and Jack come out on top to win by a length from Dica and Paul Collins who was making his point-to-point debut.
The closest finish of the day came in the Coniston Hotel Restricted race where the Derek Smith ridden Onetwobeat won by a neck from Drivehomeregardles.
Division One of the Open Maiden Race, sponsored by Woodhouse Barry Construction Ltd went the way of the useful looking Irish recruit, Red Tortue.
Falling on his only start over hurdles at Market Rasen in the Summer, Red Tortue was ridden with confidence and put into the race when it mattered to win by a length.
This cool, but perfectly timed ride meant his pilot, Will Milburn, was awarded ride of the day.
Cheers from the Pasture Farm Racing Syndicate could be heard over the Howardian Hills and the horse showed enough promise to suggest he can progress up the ranks.
The second division, sponsored by Steve Hull provided current area champion jockey Richard Smith with his 50th win aboard his own Mistissio. Cobblers Hill, ridden by Max Johnson and trained by former jump jockey Anthony Ross looked likely to collect the spoils until Mistissio joined them at the last and headed him up the run in.
The next Yorkshire meeting takes place at Howe Hills and is the South Durham Hunt Farmers Club meeting next Saturday.