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Sine Nomine wins Cheltenham Hunters’ Chase in style for Yorkshire

Flying the flag for Yorkshire’s point-to-pointing fraternity, Fiona Needham’s Sine Nomine, raced to victory under John Dawson at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, 15 March, to land the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase.

Sine Nomine – the Latin expression for “without a name” – was in third place over the last fence but the eight-year-old grey mare, which qualified with the Hurworth Hunt, kept on well in the run-in to take victory over the aptly-named Its On The Line, ridden by Derek O’Connor in JP McManus’s famous green and gold colours.

The day after the race, Needham and Dawson were hailed as heroes at Hutton Rudby - their local point-to-point course – where they both attended the Hurworth’s meeting and displayed the famous trophy for all to celebrate. John followed up his great ride on the biggest of stages by landing the first race of the day at Hutton Rudby in the Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race on Mount Mews.

Understandably thrilled with the result, Needham - who won the famous race at Cheltenham as a jockey herself in 2002 on Last Option - explained: “The way she did it was a little bit heart-in-mouth, but in the end, she won well. John was very cool and rode her brilliantly.”

Polly Portwin, Director of the Campaign for Hunting said:

“It’s a fantastic win not only for the connections of Sine Nomine but also for the Hurworth Hunt and the whole of point-to-pointing in Yorkshire.”

Formerly known as the Foxhunters’, this race follows the Gold Cup at the Festival and is the race that amateurs yearn to win. Since its introduction in 1904 the race has seen many winners from registered hunts all over the country. Although horses no long have to actively participate in trail hunting to qualify to take part in a point-to-point or hunter chase, they have to be issued with a Hunter Certificate each year. In addition, to be eligible to take part in the Open Hunters’ Chase at Cheltenham, a horse must have won or finished second twice in hunter chases, have won two point-to-points, or have won a point-to-point and then finished first or second in a hunter chase.

Image: Hurworth Photography

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