Ryan Potter and Emma Yardley have become familiar faces in the winners enclosure over the last couple of years, and this continued after their move to Caradoc prior to last season.
Don Bersy has his quirks as he showed by his reluctant to race at Brocklesby Park, but repaid connections faith by winning at Howick less than 24 hours later and he followed up with another success in a Cothelstone Mixed Open, before his reluctant trait resurfaced at Lydstep.
Ryan Potter and Bradley Gibbs after Don Bersy’s win at Howick
Llancillo Lord ran well before hitting top form with a quick double in a Maisemore Point-to-Point and a Fakenham Hunter Chase before finishing second in a similar event at Stratford.
Foxcub won three races the previous year but managed only one outing 12 months later when he unseated at the last at Cottenham. Light Flicker finally got his head in front in a North Hereford Maiden at the now defunct Eaton Hall, while Grove Castle won a division of the Ross Harriers Maiden but struggled to make his mark in Restricteds later in the year.
No Limitations early season form left a lot to be desired but he did show some form by beating eleven rivals in a Maisemore Maiden before refusing at the last at the Cotswold Vale on a return visit.
There were several newcomers on show at the yards recent Open Day, including Little Windmill who came from Neil King and judging on his past form is capable of winning his fair share of races between the flags.
Sissinghurst also has form under Rules and could be another to add to the stables tally, while First Du Charmil struggled to show any form for previous trainer Sam Drinkwater.
Mr Jim’s dam ran in Point-to-Points but his last success was at Plumpton back in 2017, while Black Spot On has been an in and out performer in Ireland although he did win at Wexford in the summer.
Family Man was with Nigel Twiston Davies and finish runner up in a Irish Point-to-Point but there were only two finishers. The stable has several 3-year-olds by Mores Well, Ask, Passing Glance, Shaperalli and Roderic O’Connor who they are hoping to sell on if they make the grade.
Crowded Room provided Callum Bickers Price with his first winner back in 2017 and the veteran is being aimed at the Harkaway Club fixture just after Christmas. Connections will be hoping the current testing conditions continue to prevail as they seem to provide this partnership with their best chance of success.
Price has updated the facilities at his Bromyard stables with a carpet fibre gallop and schooling strip which is being put to good use. Hillview Lad had a brilliant summer campaign which included a 2-mile Chase win in June, but he is on an extended break and will not be seen out until later in the year.
Oh Macassera is an unraced 6-year-old by Fleminsfirth who is just beginning to fill his frame and connections will have a better idea for future objectives after he has run at Ffos Las in early December.
Wizards Bridge could also go to Ffos Las or possibly Hexham for his first run but he has plenty of experience for previous trainer Colin Tizzard. Staying seems to be his forte and with this in mind the Lady Dudley Cup is being considered as a possible future objective
Kinnersley resident James Ridley and partner Jess Short enjoyed a successful season in 2018/19 season sending out 11 winners and 13 placed horses from just 37 runners and just 8 horses in training.
Templebraden and Green Winter proved their worth with the former winning at Barbury and Maisemore (where he took the notable scalp of Marcle Ridge), while Green Winter was successful at Larkhill, Paxford and Bredwardine where he turned the tables on Now Ben who had beaten him at Hereford Racecourse earlier in the season.
Cashmoll caught the eye in a Brampton Bryan Mares Maiden and was level with the Sophie Lacey trained Red Nika until falling at the last in a Woodford Maiden. She finally opened her account with a facile win at Bredwardine.
The winning connections of Cashmoll at Bredwardine
Newcomer Pearls Legend did not have far to travel as the 12-year-old was previously in training with Ridleys near neighbour John Spearing for whom he won seven times.
Big Georgie was all out to win over 3 miles and 6 furlongs at High Easter and is one to keep an eye on when conditions are testing or when stamina comes into play, while stablemate Chase Me won a Maiden, Restricted and Intermediate before struggling in end of season Hunter Chases. Ridley is keen to give Will Gough an opportunity and that could come on board Chase Me in Novice Races.
Ridley is training two for local owner Trea Newell who had the misfortune to lose the highly promising Freetime in a Chaddesley Maiden. Tatty O’Tara is a half-sister to Bells on Sunday who has won a Chepstow Bumper and Newcastle Hurdle, while Cicely Parsley is by Kayf Tara out of Presenting Diva. The remaining two horses are a 4-year-old filly out of Double Eclipse for Martin Oliver and a 3-year-old by Dr Massini for Jack McGarth.
On the other side of the Malvern Hills at Eastnor, Nicky Sheppard is busy preparing two for Milo Herbert. The jockey has enjoyed considerable success with Ballycahane but on last season’s form it was evident the partnership had gone as far as it could.
The Sales beckoned and Ballycahane has been replaced by Risk and Roll and Organised Solutions. The former a 5-year-old previously in training with Paul Nicholl, won 2 hurdles and been placed on numerous occasions for the Ditcheat trainer.
On paper at least Organised Solutions does not have a lot to recommend him. Unplaced in four runs for Arthur Moore (Ballycahane’s ex- trainer), it will be interesting to see if the step up to 3-miles and fences proves beneficial.
Angela and William Rucker colours are carried with distinction at all the major N.H. meetings, but the Worcestershire based couple always support local Point-to-Points with two or three horses trained from home.
Monbeg Oscar and Tossapenny both won last year, the former finishing second to King of the Clothe (successful 4 times) at Brafield before holding the sustained challenge of Miss Seagreen at Bitterley.
Monbeg Oscar (blue) holding of Miss Seagreens challenge at Bitterley
Tossapenny was the odds-on winner of a 2-1/2 mile Restricted at the second Chaddesley fixture. He did not beat much on that occasion, but should have no trouble finding another winning opportunity.
Paxman won an Irish Maiden for Colin Bowe as a 4-year-old before joining Evan Williams stable. He fell two out in a Taunton Hurdle in 2018 and was then pulled up at Ffos Llas, but is young enough to make amends.
The Smith Maxwell family have always been involved in West Midland Area Point-to-Points at both administrative and competitive levels. This year their daughter Alex Dunn is preparing Tulsa Jack and How About It.
Tulsa Jack ran in Hunter Chases before finishing 7th in a Worcester Hurdle over the summer, while How About It improved his winning tally with successes at Siddington and Andoversford.
How About It and John Smith Maxwell storm clear on the final bend at Andoversford
Silvergrove ran in East Anglia for most of last season and joined connections after winning a 2 runner Hunter Chase at Fakenham, and then finished 2nd to Diamond King in the Area Hunter Chase.
Katherine’s sister Christine Banks fields an unchanged team. Arthurs Secret started last season by finishing third in a hot ladies open at the Harkaway Club and finished it by pulling up in a Stratford Hunter Chase.
In between those efforts he had been very impressive winning a Mixed Open by 30-lengths at Brocklesby Park and annihilating the opposition in two Hunter Chases at Ludlow, beating Now Ben by 22-lengths on the first occasion and winning by no less than 43-lengths on the second.
Diamond King was not to be outdone as he won Ladies Open at Brafield and Chaddesley Corbett as well as taking the Area Hunter Chase at Worcester. Drumhart was a shade disappointing but seemed to find his level by providing Liam Harrison and Huw Edwards with victories in Novice Riders events at Chaddesley and Tabley.
Vasco du Mee never runs a bad race but his wins to runs ratio is disappointing and he was only able to chalk up one victory in the Worcester Members. Well Mett was another who struggled so it was a bit of a surprise when he got up in the closing strides to deprive Tb Broke Her of victory at Andoversford. Round Robin was finally rewarded when he won a Maiden at the end of the season. Having taken so long to win one race, will a Restricted prove a step too far.
Caroline Robinson, the Albrighton & Woodland (North) Secretary is in for a busy season with a yard full of horses at her Sheriffhales base. Oh Toodles was placed on two occasions, while Rules of War was all out to hold on when winning at Tabley. Beggars Bush had to go all the way up to Friars Haugh to land a Restricted but ran consistently for the remainder of the season.
Myoldman and Immy Robinson after their success at the Harkaway
Famous Friend was brought at Ascot after finishing third in a Barbury JRL sponsored flat race, while The Dellercheckout cost John Hales £260,000 at Cheltenham in March 2017. He won a Taunton Chase for his new connections in February 2019 but was pulled up and dismounted when favourite at Chepstow next time out and cost his new owners a tenth of his previous purchase price.
Albarone won a 3-mile Hurdle for Gary Hanmer at Cartmel in May 2018 and could be an interesting recruit as is Sambremont a half-brother to the highly rated Djakadam, but with nothing like his ability.
Emerald Chieftan won an Irish Point-to-Point in 2018 and went on to win a Kelso Hurdle for Rebecca Menzies in May 2019, while little is known about stablemate Alblak des Places.
Phil Rowley made a bold attempt to retain the National Trainers Championship he won in 2017/2018 but eventually had to settle for third place behind Tom Ellis and Alan Hill.
There is a good mix of experience and new talent at his Morville stables and this will play a major part in deciding the Trainers Title.
Point-to-Point enthusiasts had seen Hazel Hill progress firstly through the Williams family and latterly with Rowley. He was a worthy winner of last year’s Cheltenham Foxhunters against the best of his English and Irish contemporises and should be judged on that performance rather than when scrambling home in the Timico Final at Cheltenham.
Hazel Hill and Alex Edwards winning at Chaddesley
Now Ben is a consistent performer between the flags as he showed with 3 wins and 3 seconds and is expected to maintain that high standard over the coming months. Sego Success appeared once last year when beaten 7-lengths by Risk A Fine at the Harkaway.
Salvatore won his first three outings in 2018/2019 and was staying on at the finish of the Connolly’s Red Mills Final at Cheltenham and should continue his rise through the ranks.
Burndown used to carry the Gigginstown colours when trained by Henry De Bromhead but has not won since Wexford in 2016, while Caliente’s best effort was second in a Chaddesley Restricted.
Connections paid a considerable sum for Autumn Equinox at the Goffs Land Rover Sales in 2018, while Do the Honors fell at the North Shropshire. She flashed her tail when asked for an effort but was still 2-lengths third when she jumped into a rival and fell at the second from home.
Mr Knowitall and He’s A Knowall are full brothers with the year older Mr Knowitall finishing a head second in a 2-1/2 mile Maiden at Cold Harbour; it will be interesting to see if the latter can match his brothers exploits.
My Bobby Dazzler proved anything but when well beaten by the runaway winner Beni Light at the Radnor, while Lilith surely has the potential to improve on his performance in a two runner 2-1/2 mile Maiden at Chaddesley.
Optimised won 3 races in 2018/2019 and it was no disgrace to finish a length second to the vastly more experienced Southfield Theatre over 4-miles at Prestbury Park. It is not often that a Rowley runner does not figure prominently in the betting but that was the case when Stereo Sound contested a Chaddesley Maiden (pulled up when struggling at halfway).
Quinta Do Ma led two out when winning a Bitterley Flat Race and then finished ninth in the Goff’s sponsored Bumper later in the spring, while Share a Bear won a Maiden at Eyton in 2018.
The Grey Scholar was odds on when winning a Worcester Maiden and is sure to build on that success, while The Odissey was headed close home by R Bren at Kingston Blount but made amends by beating Round Robin in a canter at the Wheatland.
Trooper Jones started favourite for a JRL sponsored Flat Race at Hereford but weakened with 3 furlongs to run, while Undisputed is proving expensive to follow having been beaten into second place at Thorpe Lodge, Bangor and Hereford.
There are three unraced youngsters one by Yeats out of Ease and Grace, another by Black Sam Bellamy out of Liqueur Rose and the final one by Gentlewave out of Ease and Grace.
Max Young is another of the Area’s up and coming young trainers and the Droitwich handler hopes that Baby Jake who won 5 times under Rules for Shark Hanlon could be the type to thrive in his current environment.
Taboo is a 10-year-old mare previously with Phillip Rothwell. She has run 22 times under Rules and been pulled up on numerous occasions – that provides current connections with big challenges.
The rest have all been running in Point-to-Points with varying degrees of success, but with another summer under their belts there is no reason to believe some of them cannot improve.
Stinggrey’s jumping does not yet match his talents while Final Sting has finished 4th on two occasions in Ireland. Clondaw Tonic has pulled up twice but must have shown previous connections some ability as he started favourite on his debut, whereas Second Chapter won a short Cothelstone Maiden although he was tiring at the finish.
9-year-old Atlantic Breaker was pulled up twice last season but had had a long break prior to that, while The Feckenham Fox previous form leaves a lot to be desired.
Clondaw Ocean had one run in an Irish Point-to-Point and is currently for sale while Sheldon Cooper’s owners have tasted success in the past and the horse is capable of stepping up on his previous efforts. Their first runs will tell us if Windy Winter and Coco Bongos have any potential.
Tom Britten’s parents Paul and Sue still have Orange Nassau and Toowoomba at their Pershore home. The former is approaching veteran status and seems to reserve his best performances for Woodford so that course provides his best chance of success.
Connections have to take it day by day with his stablemate Toowomba, while Tom who is now based with Nicky Henderson may try his hand at training with State of Origin (previously with Eddie Harty in Ireland).
We have also heard that Ettington Fran Nimmo and Charlie Poste have seventeen three year olds to aim at Point-to-Points this season including a couple for leading N.H. owner Trevor Hemmings. Summer Sounds won a good number of races last year for the partnership which includes Graham and David Fisher, while the 2017 Thyestes Chase winner Champagne West is due to carry the Banks colours.
Martin Weston has Arthurs Secret, Diamond King and Vasco Du Mee, who picked up a injury at Edgcote so his seasonal debut may be delayed; the other two are likely to be out before Christmas. Following the current trend Weston also has plenty of youngsters that will be aimed at Maidens and their performances in those contests will dictate their future pathways.
Phoenix Park could provide Upton on Severn based Jo Priest with her first runner of the season, while Alfstar also returns, while Hannah Lewis has the 3-year-old Myfanwy’s Jewel, who is the first produce of that prolific winning mare Lady Myfanwy and Roc D’Apsis who came from Tom George and is being prepared for Victoria Sollitt to ride in Military Races.