After 11 meetings over 6 months the destiny of several Area Championships has still not been decided and this provides added interest when the Albrighton & Woodland (South) stage the final West Midland fixture at Chaddesley Corbett on Monday afternoon.
Early arrivals will be able to see the Hound Parade at 1 pm, while Hazel Hill the winner of this year’s Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Timico Final at the same venue a month later will be parading in the paddock at 1-30 pm.
The prestigious Dairy Products West Midlands Open Race Championship has been in Wishing and Hoping’s grip for a month or so, but victory for Diamond King in the Ladies Open will snatch the prize from his grasp.
The former has two victories to his credit but does not hold an entry at this meeting so that is the best he can achieve, while Diamond King has one victory and a third place so another success would tip the scales in the Worcestershire trained geldings’ favour.
The same race could also have a significant impact to the outcome of the Leading Horse Award. You’re the Man is the current leader but will do well to gain any points in the Mens Conditions.
There are numerous permutations but if his principal opponent Ballyboker Breeze finished second in the Ladies and You’re the Man failed to score any points it would end up in a tie, while success would see Jo Priests gelding pip his rival at the post.
There are 7 points separating Josephine Banks and Alice Stevens in the battle for the Ladies Title and with Banks partnering Diamond King and Stevens riding Ballyboker Breeze, this race will play a significant part in deciding the outcome of who becomes the Areas Leading Lady Rider.
Diamond King and Ballyboker Breeze both have to concede weight to their rivals and this complicates things even further.
Big Man Doe is an interesting contender and his chances have to be respected but like Celtic Silver both have alternative engagements over the weekend.
King Willie has shown a good level of form between the flags, but may just lack that vital turn of foot in the closing stages. Vasco du Mee ran no sort of race at Edgcote last weekend, while Well Mett could spring a surprise as he has done in the past.
Tb Broke Her has not been out since finishing fourth at Cheltenham but she is still in contention for the Mares Award and victory will provide crucial points towards that target.
Her best performance was at Monmouth Showground earlier in the season and if she is in that sort of form her rivals will struggle to catch her.
Two other contenders for the Mares title are competing in the Restricted earlier in the afternoon including Tb Broke Her’s stablemate R Bren. Sam Jukes has enjoyed another successful campaign and will be keen to finish off the West Midland season with a winner.
Jeans Lady still has a chance of winning the Mares Award but she has gone off the boil since winning at Paxford in April and others are preferred.
Behomebymidnight, Brass in Pocket and Diplomatico could cause a surprise, while Chief Sittingbull jumped well and easily outpointed a more fancied rival over course and distance a couple of week ago, whether he can repeat that feat in a bigger field is debateable.
Charles Brown jumping was a cause for concern earlier in the season but he got his act together at Dingley, but the old problems resurfaced at Edgcote last weekend, so you are taking a chance that he can go around without a mishap.
Waterloo Warrior nearly threw away a winning opportunity at Bredwardine but buckled down to quicken into the lead on the flat, so James King will need to keep his wits about him if the partnership hope to follow up in the Restricted.
The meeting opens with the Club Conditions where the experienced Mister Dix and Son of Suzie pit their wits against the likes of Aupcharlie and recent Bredwardine winner Galbally King.
Ballycahane, Carrig Dubh, Drumhart and Summer Sounds look a cut above the rest in this contest. Ballycahane has struggled to give weight to rivals for most of the season, while Summer Sounds was pulled up on his last outing, a blip on an otherwise progressive campaign and he is bound to go close if you forgive him that in digression.
Drumhart won over course and distance 12 months ago comes from a stable in form and just gets the nod.
Summer Sounds also has an alternative engagement in the Mens Conditions which has attracted 21 entries. These include Big Casino who finished 3rd over 4 miles at Cold Harbour, the improving Chase Me who has won his last 3 races, Hawkhurst and Gina Andrews who are always to be feared in these type of contests, Phil Rowleys Knight Bachelor who had his stamina limitations exposed when placed third at Knightwick, the Welsh Challenger Spencer Moon who is also entered at Lower Machen and the aforementioned You’re the Man.
Stone is rated a few pounds behind his rivals in this contest but there was much to like about his first run for 12 months behind Ballyboker Breeze at the last meeting and there is nothing of that quality in this race.
The 8 entries for the Mares Maiden are a moderate bunch and you could probably pick the winner out with a pin. Italian Symphony has been placed several times but this race could be right up her street and gives her a good chance of opening her account.
The Kitchenmecanic had reasonable form in Irish Point-to-Points but has subsequently joined Emma Moseley’s stable in Pembrokeshire. She has an alternative option at Lower Machen which is much closer to home.
The Open Maiden brings the curtain down on the West Midland season at 4-55 pm. Most of the runners have had plenty of chances already this year and have failed to trouble the judge, which is an indication of their ability.
It has been impossible to subdue Amadoue who needs to conserve his energy to stand any chance of seeing out the 3-mile trip, while Barefacedcheek and Beech Hill seem to lack the pace to get into contention.
Catwalk Frank and Dover the Moon always find one or two too good in the closing stages, while it will be interesting to see what Second Chapter is capable of following his recent move to Max Youngs yard at Droitwich.
Round Robin always gives you a good run for your money, but his supporters must be running out of patience as he has been placed 18 times from 24 appearances between the flags.
He generally forces the pace but his jumping has not been his strong point this year and a rethink in tactics may be required before he is successful.
Loodeen has got his act together over the last month but unfortunately has come up against some above average performers.
Crowbar from Ryan Potters Ross on Wye stable and Ready for War from Fran Nimmo’s Stratford on Avon yard look the pick of the bunch.
Neither of them have racecourse experience but are bound to have been schooled well by their respective connections.
Nimmo had a winner in a similar event last weekend and the yard do not fire many blanks so hopefully our season ends with a winner.