Berkeley Castle has been the scene of many battles throughout its long history, but nowadays the only ones that take place are in the adjoining water meadows at Woodford racecourse where the local Point-to-Point has taken place since 1946.
The Members race used to be monopolised by Dick Baimbridge but since his retirement the race has become less predictable and Saturday’s race looks as though it will fall into this category.
Ed Walker is no stranger to success at this meeting and this provides a good opportunity for Foxworthy who was unsuccessful under Rules in January to make a winning return to Point-to-Points.
The opposition does not look to have any strength in depth but in Foxworthy’s absence the race really does have an open look about it.
R Bren scored a hard-fought win at Kingston Blount and was subsequently sold to current connections but unfortunately their new charge failed to read the script as he was an early casualty for new trainer Sam Jukes at Maisemore.
Both R Bren and Foxworthy have alternative engagements in the Restricted but the opposition looks much stronger in this contest with recent winners Bonanza Sam, Diplomatico and Midnight Frensi in the field while Stay out of Court finished third in this event 12 months ago.
It has taken Midnight Frensi’s connections some time to sort out his health problems but since they have done so, his performances have improved rapidly so it may be worth taking a chance with him.
Fly West went down by the narrowest of margins on his last outing so after three minor placings deserves a change of luck; whether he gets it is another matter. Brackloon High, More than Luck, Ramble On are all lumbered with 4 lb penalties, while Premier Portrait looked as though he was coming back to form at Andoversford.
23 horses have been entered for the Open Maiden including two from Phil Rowley Flamboyant Joyaux and The Odissey. Both horses finished second on their racecourse debuts so may have the edge on experience over Sophie Lacey’s newcomer Red Nika. The latter’s stable has enjoyed success at this meeting in the past and several of them have gone on to mark their mark under Rules. All three of them receive the maximum weight allowances provided to 4-year-olds so Red Nika will need to win this impressively to justify last summer’s sales price.
Cashmoll, Dino Boy and High Coppice all have recent form between the flags and may win in time, but trying to concede weight to younger rivals may be beyond them at this stage of their careers.
The 4-5-6-year-old Maiden takes place over 2-1/2 miles and does not look as though it will take much winning. They all appear evenly matched and none of them could be backed with any confidence. Not at All has shown a semblance of form between the flags, while Sheldon Cooper has changed trainers on numerous occasions over the last couple of years and has been tried on the flat and over hurdles – that does not inspire confidence.
The finish of the Conditions could be fought out by three local horses, Too Scoops, Toowoomba and Vaillant Creek. Toowoomba’s connections won this race last year and will be keen to keep the silverware.
The Novice Riders has thrown together some interesting performers at this grade. Vivaldi Collonges is the highest rated horse but he was surprisingly beaten by the supposedly inferior Drumhart at Sandon and there did not appear to be any excuses for that defeat.
Summer Sounds has won four out of his last six races and is sure to give a good account of himself, while the Welsh raider William Money and Jack Tudor will be fancied to take the prize back over the Severn Crossing.