The Croome & West Warwickshire Point-to-Point was held at Upton-upon-Severn since 1890, but following that courses closure last year, the meeting has now acquired a temporary home at Maisemore Park.
129 entries have been received for next Mondays meeting (May 7th). This course is always with participants at this time of the year and the winners of each of the 8 races will take some finding.
Kashmir Peak had a useful career under Rules but has been used by connections to provide race riding experience to staff associated with Dan Skelton’s yard near Alcester.
The 8-year-olds preparation has been entrusted to Nick Pearce and that has paid dividends with the horse has provided winning rides for Nikki Stubbs and Tristan Durrell. He has a number of engagements over the weekend but if he lines up in the Members, it will take a good one to lower his colours.
Diana Ralph has entered Distime, Rockinrolldixie and Following Mama and on this flat course it could be the latter who provides the biggest challenge. Orange Nassau won at the Berkeley meeting last weekend and is obviously in good form but the Britten family may rely on Toowoomba to try and win at their home meeting.
The Mares Maiden has attracted 11 entries. Katenka and Queen of Dragons have s0me form to their credit, as does Coco Shambhala who finished third on his racecourse debut in March and sets the standard for this contest.
Graceful Sound comes from Christy Mews yard. She has been enjoying a very successful season and this one could add to her tally.
Most of the contestants in the Restricted are evenly match which makes picking the winner a bit of a lottery, although Ballyriver Boy, Brookthorpe Taylor, Call Me Ben, Henry Howard and Stay out of Court will all have their supporters.
Gadrose comes from Phil Rowley’s yard and on paper has something to find on some of her opponents, but underfoot conditions have not been in her favour thus far but with a sounder surface she could cause a surprise.
Clive Hitchings has been a long-term supporter of the sport, so knows you have to take the rough with the smooth but even he must be getting frustrated with Double You Bee who has finished in the runners up spot on no less than five occasions so far this year.
He has come up against some useful horses and different tactics have been employed, without success, but he has to overcome this bout of seconditous at some point.
On paper the Mixed Open looks a straight fight between Sir Du Bearn and Stone, but the former has other opportunities nearer at hand over the weekend so there has to be a question mark over his participation.
Due to the conditions of the Mixed Open Stone would have to give weight to a majority of his rivals, so it is interesting to see that Clive Bennett and Sam Jukes have pencilled in George Daly for the ride. As a Novice Rider he would take 5 lbs off the horses back.
Others to note include recent Bitterley winner Gabrial the Great and Mister Dick who was disqualified after his success at Andoversford, but plenty of the other entries have chances at the weights.
You could run the 7-year-old and over Conditions Race ten times and get ten different results, so finding the winner will be extremely difficult. Pithivier from Peter Masons yard at Ablington catches the eye, while for those looking for something at more rewarding odds, The Kvilleken made provide the answer. He ran well for a long way at Andoversford and this flatter course should suit him.
Encounter A Giant was beaten at Brampton Bryan a couple of weeks ago, but has the chance to regain the winning thread in the Intermediate. Teeton Kato has the same rating but has to concede 5 lbs to his rival and that could make the difference. Lake Balaton, Emitdaad, Master Sunrise may have to play second fiddle on this occasion.
The 4-5-6 year old Maiden should prove very informative. Fran Nimmo’s Generation Gap filled the runners up spot behind the Phil Rowley trained Salvatore at Bangor, and that gives the Bridgnorth trainer add idea of where he stands with his entry Levasseur.
The Ralphs have two newcomers Beat Star and Move Above, who will obviously have had good preparations for their racecourse introduction. Tour de Pub is a rare runner from the Drinkwater stable, while Phoenix Park finished runner up at the North Hereford recently and that puts him into this race with a winning chance.
The Conditions race was devised to provide opportunities for Ledbury and North Cotswold qualified horses who had their home meetings abandoned and this has attracted 17 entries.
Chasforgold and Iberico set the standard and it is unlikely that any of their rivals will be able to get them off the bridle, but Findlays Find came back from a long absence to win at the Clifton last weekend and could be the one to spoil their party.