Footloose lives up to freely fancied billing at Langholm

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ALL ROADS led to Langholm Common Riding on Friday and Saturday, when warm sunshine greeted the large crowds gathered at the Castleholm for two days of action-filled racing, writes Klondyke.

No less than 40 runners competed in the eight races on offer and spectators were treated to some thrilling, hotly-contested finishes for the generous prize money up for grabs.

Jockey Tyrone Williams was in a class of his own when claiming all four races on Friday and gave a lesson on how to ride the course with a superb display which was a treat to watch.

The opening 6f Mercury Stakes saw four runners going to post in a one-horse race when odds-on favourite Footloose ran away with the prize money and was gallantly chased home by Isobar, the only one near to mount a challenge.

The big race of the afternoon for the £1,000 Eskdale Plate, run over 7f, attracted five runners. However, the locally trained race favourite, Just a Dream (carrying top weight), was in a class of its own and had the race won at the halfway point.

Six entries were received for the one-and-a-quarter mile Tradesmen’s Plate and betting was brisk before The Pacemaker went off favourite after returning from a spell on the sidelines. His faithful followers were well rewarded when the six-year-old was asked the question by Williams and went clear for an impressive back to form win.

In the final race only three contested the one mile Innkeepers Plate when the Hawick owned and trained A Cana Canoe scared off competitors and was unbackable when romping home at 1-5 on.

Saturday’s meeting, run by Langholm Horse Racing Association, attracted another large holiday crowd. The opening race, sponsored by The Crazy Gang, was run over one-and-a-half miles and had four entries. Last year’s top distance horse, Rockstar, found his form and cruised home under the guidance of Williams and was well worth his odds-on tag.

In the 6f Ethel Johnstone Handicap six runners went to post. Just a Dream, ridden this time by Gary Berridge, proved too much for his rivals and romped home to win with ease at the attractive odds of 5/4.

In the one mile, one furlong Conditions Race, sponsored by Simon Richardson and Andy Denton, five runners, who have not yet won this season, lined up.

It took the judges several minutes to announce That’s Right as the eventual winner, ridden by the evergreen Ian Crozier, who managed to beat Williams on Get in the Box in a thrilling run to the line.

The final race for the Scott Irving Bookmaker 7f Handicap had the biggest entry over the two days with seven runners. A Cana Canoe was the hot odds-on favourite with several bookmakers betting without him to give punters more choice.

However, the race did not go to plan and Tri-Star, ridden by Wayne Hogg, had other ideas. The strong finish had the crowd on their toes when Liam Berridge, on board the favourite, drew up and the horses crossed the line together.

The decision went to A Cana Canoe to end the meeting on a high note with punters eagerly looking forward to the next flapping meeting at Hawick Moor on Saturday, August 13.