A little bit of snow is still visible but is disappearing fast – all set for Didmarton Saturday
The snow which accumulated at Didmarton following last weeks “Big Freeze” has disappeared and with milder conditions forecast to continue, no problems are anticipated at this week’s re-arranged meeting.
Running plans were thrown into confusion after last Saturdays postponement and with 10 other meetings scheduled owners, trainers and riders will obviously wish to maximize their winning chances.
Oldbury on the Hill based James Tuck saddled Cock and Hen to win the Novice Riders last year and that horse could reappear in the Members. He faces 15 potential rivals in a race which looks a stronger renewal than normal with the highly rated The Flying Doc sure to start favourite.
Richard Kelvin Hughes Different Gravey has won over £70,000 under N.H. Rules and could be the type to run up a sequence of wins in this type of company – this would be a good starting point.
Punter Friendly took the Members in 2017 but has more on his plate this time, while Charlie Dando has the pick from Brass in Pocket, Kit Barry, Carrig Dubh or Loodeen.
Mike Hawkers Cecile De Volanges finished second last week but that was over a distance short of her best and this course should play to her strengths.
Carrig Dubh, Cock and Hen, Kit Barry and Punter Friendly hold alternative engagements in the Intermediate and on current form lines there is not much to choose between all 17 entries.
Master Sunrise scored at this meeting back in 2015 has found winning difficult since, but is returning to the scene of that triumph and ran well on his seasonal debut at Larkhill recently. Massini’s Dream could make the journey over the Severn Bridge (although he has easier options elsewhere) and will have a useful weight allowance against The Well Road who she beat comprehensively at Chaddesley Corbett last Spring.
Arthurs Secret should be too speedy for the opposition in the Club Members Conditions. Abi Banks’s mount held a narrow lead over the useful Vonlay de Thaix at Brocklesby Park and as the latter is bound for the Cheltenham Foxhunters that is the form level his rivals have to attain.
Chasforgold’s stable is in great form but he struggled in this class at the Albrighton meeting so will probably have to settle for a minor placing, while Dabinett Moon never runs a bad race and will ensure the favourite does not have things all his own way. Facile Ben, Frelia, High Hatton, Lotus Pond, Ni Sin E Mo Ainm are not there to make up the numbers and could also figure in the shakeup.
Most of the entries for the Novice Riders have shown a decent level of form, so it boils down to who performs best on the day. It is interesting the Areas Leading trainer Phil Rowley has chosen this for Magic Music Man’s debut between the flags.
A glance at the form book reveals the ex-Alan King trained 7-year-old finished third to Black Corton in a hurdle a couple of years back and that horse is now being aimed at the Cheltenham Festival. Out Now, Kyles Faith and In Great Form are useful yardsticks but Magic Music Man should have their measure.
Double You Be retains a high rating despite being beaten in all three outings so far this year. He is entitled to go close in the Restricted, but would not be one to trust with the mortgage. The Rowley representatives include Champagne Lilly or Pique Rock with preference for the latter who won her Maiden in impressive fashion before disappointing next time out.
Wild Ginger finished seventh on his seasonal debut but had been a model of consistency prior to that but will do well to regain the winning thread against Kensington Castle, and Charlie Breekie.
Bally River Boy put in a good performance at Barbury Racecourse and the form of that and his previous races have worked out well, which all points to the fact that a race of this type is within his remit.
Apple Mack and Foxworthy come from useful stables who have chosen the 4-5-6 & 7-year-old Maiden Conditions for their introduction. Whatever the outcome of this race keep an eye on them in the future.
Mistercobar fell when in contention at Chaddesley Corbett and has been placed second on two subsequent occasions, so would not be winning out of turn. The Weston family hold two entries, Pougne Helio and The Late Legend and both are sure to give a good account of themselves.
Phil Rowley relies on the twice placed Salvatore, but preference is given to Charlie Dando’s mount Loodeen. He was in contention until making a bad mistake half a mile from home in a Larkhill Maiden but still had sufficient stamina to finish in the runners up spot – hopefully he will not make the same mistake twice.
The meeting concludes with the Open Maiden, which has attracted 27 entries. The Jaffna Queen disappointed last week, while Redmond Hall finished second, but it may pay to take a chance with First Goodnight or Stay out of Court. The former has little to recommend him but is now with Paul and Lucy King at Weston-sub-Edge and they have performed miracles with this type of horse in the past.
Stay out of Court finished runner up in two Irish Point-to-Points prior to gaining three placings under Rules and that seems a level of form which few of his rivals will be able to match.