The Worcestershire Point-to-Point has always been held on the third Saturday in April, but this year that coincides with the Easter Holiday period and with 19 fixtures scheduled for the holiday weekend that was bound to impact on the number of entries.
The Lady Dudley Cup has been in existence since 1897 and is one of the sports holy grails as far as owners/trainers and riders are concerned, but with the plethora of meetings providing easy pickings you cannot blame connections if they choose to follow this option, so the entries for the big race have a parochial feel about them.
Ballyboker Breeze did not have a hard race when winning at Bitterley last weekend so connections may deem it worthwhile to make the most of this opportunity, and on current form it will take a good one to lower his colours.
Captain Von Trappe blotted his copybook at Monmouth after winning at Bangor a couple of weeks earlier so that has to put a question mark over his chances. Drumhart is a consistent sort but it’s doubtful if he is capable of taking a race of this quality and that remark also applies to How About It who scored at Andoversford.
Mister Robbo bids to take the prize back to Wales and has a good chance of doing so as he has not been out of the frame in four outings, while Rye Cross has struggled to capture last season’s form and with several near misses over the last couple of weeks, the stable will be hoping the cards will soon fall in their favour.
Shotavodka has the highest rating and will be difficult to peg back if taking an early lead but Templebraden and Wishing and Hoping look to have better chances than most. The latter won over the course in February and anything that Phil Rowley runs has to be respected, but lack of a recent run could prove crucial in the closing stages.
Templebraden on the other hand put in one of his best performances by beating Marcle Ridge at Maisemore. He does have a tendency to hit flat spots in his races but Zac Baker is a master of his craft and will know when to press the right buttons.
The Skinners Pet Foot Ladies Open could see the reappearance of the highly rated Diamond King who was beaten by Dabinett Moon at Mollington recently.
The Banks family have been strong supporters of this meeting for a number of years, but face opposition from her mother Pat Tollit’s Well Mett who collared Tb Broke Her in the closing stages of a similar race at Andoversford.
Will Gaskins mare will be fancied to turn the tables on this occasion, while the Northern challenger Foxrock looks a big danger and will give the locals plenty to think about.
It’s an odds on certainty that the winners of the Members will carry blue and cerise hoop colours as five of the seven entries come from different branches of the Tollit family with whom these colours are associated with.
These include Captain Von Trappe, Monbeg Oscar, Round Robin, Vasco du Mee and Well Mett against the outsiders Mirs Choice and King Willie.
The Restricted looks a very tricky contest as most of the entries have shown a similar level of form. Lucarno Express is one of these but should be able to get the better of Rules of War and Midnight Harry.
Clive Bennett’s Shometheway is on an upward progression and there was much to like about her win at Brampton Bryan. The owner is well on his way to recording a century of winners between the flags and a win her would put that within his grasp.
Fran Nimmo and Charlie Poste have a couple of entries in the Maiden including Courtandbould who has finished in the runners up berth twice so is due a change in fortune, while newcomer Hereditary Rule who is an unknown quantity as far as punters are concerned.
Chase Me and Round Robin have similar profiles, both seem to run well but have difficulty getting their heads in front and history may repeat itself in this race. Equus Dreamer has also been knocking on the door so would not be winning out of turn.
Local trainer Max Young relies on Miss Nightingale who could come up against Rowley’s runner The Grey Scholar. It will be an interesting race if the Nimmo and Rowley stables choose to take one another on.