VALE COUNTRY FAIR WITH POINT-TO-POINT SUNDAY 15TH APRIL
GATES OPEN 11 AM –EVENTS PROGRAMME STARTS AT MIDDAY
FIRST POINT TO POINT RACE: – 2 P.M.
Added attractions at Point-to-Points are now a common occurrence, but this was not always the case and this meeting was one of the first to embrace this concept.
It has always proved popular and with settled conditions predicted for the rest of the week a good turn out is expected on Sunday afternoon. Lack of watering facilities have proved a drawback in the past, but at times like these the course proves its worth, and that fact is emphasised by 133 entries.
The majority of the card is restricted to Novice and Veteran Riders and this has a habit of throwing up some surprising results.
Jason Warner has been a vital cog at this meeting for more years than he cares to remember and despite his busy schedule always finds time to saddle a runner in the Members.
This year is no exception with the Brookthorpe based owner/trainer accounting for 4 out of the 11 entries.
Colbert Station has yet to find his feet in Point-to-Points and has slipped down the ratings as a result, while Mister Dix ran well for a long way at last week’s meeting.
Mr Burgees is another who has failed to come to terms with racing between the flags, so American Legend offers him his best chance of success although that is tempered by the fact that he pulled up on two occasions this year and it appears the prevailing conditions are not in his favour.
Stay Out Of Court ran a promising race at Didmarton and is bound to have improved as a result of that run and at 7-years-of age still has time on his side.
Spanish Arch provided Tewkesbury based Naval Officer Victoria Sollitt with her first winner at Lockinge recently and a repeat performance gives her a good chance.
Mr Brinkley is an interesting candidate. He carries the colours of Kim Bailey who is based nearby at Thorndale Farm, and is due to be partnered by one of his members of staff Liam Carter.
He was the impressive winner of an Irish Point-to-Point but failed to make his mark in 2 subsequent efforts under Rules. This is a good chance to repay connections faith in him.
Stay Out Of Court also holds an entry in the Open Maiden where Warner’s Brookthorpe Taylor and Light Flicker could figure amongst the opposition and both filled the runners up spot at week’s meeting.
Warner has a second string in Long Mile Road, while Mothers Rest, Master Hide and Guiting Power are others of interest.
Doctor Wong represents National Hunt trainer Tom George and he has finished third in both races contested thus far. Another interesting candidate is Fergal O’Brien’s Risky Gold who was sold at Cheltenham in 2017 after three outings in Irish Point-to-Points. He has to run well to justify his purchase price.
With the weather causing so much uncertainty, trainers and owners are resorting to multiple entries in the hope that one of the meetings will survive. The PPORA Conditions race has attracted a number of potential runners from West Wales (who have a meeting on their doorstep), so their participation must be a reflection on their chances.
Mitebeall forluck, Pink Eyed Pedro and Sir Du Bearn fall into this category and each of them would be a worthy favourite. Kashmir Peak has won a couple of races by striking up a good understanding with Nikki Stubbs, while Kilmacallogue Bay finished runner up to Templebraden on his come back at Hackwood Park.
Emma Yardley has experienced success over this course which is more than can be said for some of her rivals, so whatever Kilmacallogue Bay’s fate in the previous race, Foxcub stands a good chance of taking the Ladies Open. Jumping is his forte and that is a useful tool at this venue. Ni Sin E Mo Ainm beat a couple of rivals at Chaddesley and that brings him into the picture.
Local representation is thin on the ground in the Men’s Open, where Colorado Doc or Pink Eyed Pedro seem to hold all the cards. Sacre Toi and George Daly keep finishing just out of the frame but this course could bring out the best in this partnership and if so a major surprise is on the cards.
Ballybruff is the form horse in the Restricted, but his participation depends on whether connections make the journey up from their West Country base. Jetstream Joe ran well for a long way at Ston Easton and that will have given his astute stable an indication of his ability.
High Kite won over this course 7 days ago and holds an entry in the 8-year-old and upwards Conditions. It may be doing him a disservice but he appeared to get the run of the race when beating Premier Portrait and this weekend’s rivals may not be so generous.
It has been several years since The Kvilleken visited the winner’s enclosure. He was stalwart of Martin Keighley’s stable and should give owner/trainer David Lewis some fun over the next couple of months.