With a healthy entry of 116, a total which exceeds that of a majority of meetings over the weekend, this fixtures return to Maisemore Park appears to have the approval of most of its participants.
It was previously held at this venue between 1993 and 2007 but has spent the last 10 years at Andoversford and during that time the meetings secretary Jason Warner came up with the Country Fair concept which provided an enhanced experience for spectators.
The course is already the home of Gloucester Races and is in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Severn with provides excellent viewing. It also provides a great day out for all the family, with a Family Dog Show, Terrier Racing and Pony Rides.
Gates open at 10 am and an hour and a half later you can watch the Side Saddle Dash and Concour d’Elegance, followed by two Pony races at 12-30 pm with the 7 Point-to-Point Races commencing at 2 pm
A unique feature of this meeting is that a majority of races are confined to Novice or Veteran Riders which gives some of our less experienced jockeys or those of advancing years to get their names in the spotlight.
Warner could be rewarded for all his hard work with victory in the Members. Mister Dick is the best of his five entries and Byron Moorcroft’s assistance in the saddle could prove an invaluable asset and they appear to have plenty in hand over Stay Out of Court the biggest danger.
Spanish Arch has been campaigned at a much higher level than some of his rivals and on recent form might be able to provide his owner/trainer/rider Victoria Sollitt with her second success between the flags.
The Ladies Open has attracted the smallest number of entries and looks a foregone conclusion if Southfield Theatre lines up. The 11-year-old won two races earlier in the season and did not disgrace himself behind Hazel Hill in the Cheltenham Foxhunters.
Bankhall won over course and distance last year but has struggled since, while Kazuri Kate is not without a chance. Itstimeforapint always finishes strongly and a fast pace should bring out the best in him, and that could result in victory for jockey Leanne Williamson.
Sally Randall and Albi Tufnell combined to win at Andoversford last weekend and they have an interesting entry in the Conditions. Call Me Vic finished within 5-lengths of Mankala at Siddington and having gained confidence from his recent victory, the cards may fall in Tufnell’s favour against Distime and Minella Friend.
Black Jack Rover provided Henry Homer with his first win 2 weeks ago but he has an extra 3 furlongs to contend with this weekend. He was putting in his best work at the finish on that occasion so that fact would not be a major cause for concern in the Mens Open.
Minella Friend and Valco de Touzaine look the pick of the visitors, while Sam Morgan needs to make the most of the opportunities that Mighty Leader provides.
Diplomatico and You’re the Man were both successful last weekend, the former at Barbury and the latter at Andoversford and they now step up in class. The former caught the eye on his previous run at Bangor but did not beat much when winning and we will have a better idea of his future potential after the Restricted.
Monbeg Oscar is the form horse in the race, but much depends on the owner’s choice of pilot, while Stay Out of Court got to within 3-lengths of the ill-fated Bally River Boy over todays course and distance last May and would be very difficult to beat if repeating that performance.
The Maiden has attracted 30 entries but with a safety factor of 16, division has to be a possibility. Albert Cutler has been placed on his last two runs and is one for the short list, while Dino Boy, Here Comes Molly and Second Captain should all give a good account of themselves.
Miss Nightingale and Switch Hitter are both making their racecourse debuts but their handlers have proven in the past they can overcome inexperience and win with these types of horses.
Long Mile Road chased home Cheltenam de Vaige at Monmouth recently and had shown a decent level of form prior to that so this provides a great opportunity for the horse to finally get his head in front.
The 8-year-old and upwards Conditions race looks a minefield for punters although Golden Doyen has a chance if repeating his best form, otherwise the race is a bit of a lottery and could provide an upset.