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Friday, 23rd Mar 2018


Worcestershire Point-to-Point trainer Jo Priest is one of the tenants at Holdfast Stables near Upton-on-Severn.

Priest has spent the previous 10 years at Abberley from where she enjoyed her fair share of success. She is a familiar face on the local Point-to-Point scene and with the help of owner Phil Rees has built a circuit of schooling fences to help ensure her charges are given every opportunity to reach their maximum potential.

The trainer starts her new venture with 8 horses, although the converted farmyard has more boxes so there is room for expansion. Facilities include a four furlong all weather loop gallop and a 3 furlong gradient as well as an indoor exercise school.

It will be interesting to see how the horses react to their new surroundings and training regimes. These include Alfstar who won two races last year before pulling up on two occasions later in the campaign. Very Keen has taken a long time to win his Maiden but finally came good at Whitfield and connections will be hoping he can build on that success.

Swiss Height’s best effort was finishing third in a Maisemore Maiden and a return visit to that track could reap benefits. Riding plans are unclear for a majority of the inmates but James Martin gets on well with Swiss Heights so their partnership is likely to continue.

Gallant Lad has been around for a few years but his form figures do not look that inspiring. He was pulled up 4 out of the last 5 times he ran for previous trainer Ray Rogers so an operation to improve his breathing must be a step in the right direction.

Buffalo Sabre ran twice under Rules. He finished third of four on his second run in a Carlisle Hurdle and that is his best effort to date. Time is on his side and the drop into the Point-to-Point field could prove beneficial.

Stoneyley Minstrel has been side-lined since finishing third in a Brampton Bryan Maiden back in 2014/15 and it would be a feather in the trainers cap if he made it into the winner’s enclosure.

Priest also has charge of an un-named and un-raced homebred for her Landlady Sue Troughton, while Liam Carter who is based with Andoversford trainer Kim Bailey teams up with the ex-Andy Martin trained Fitz Volante. This one has jumped around Aintree so should be a safe conveyance for his new rider.

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