Enormous entry of horses for eagerly-awaited race day

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THERE is an enormous entry of 144 horses for this Sunday’s Percy Point to Point at Ratcheugh Farm, Alnwick.

The Percy meeting has been moved from its traditional Easter Saturday date to allow racing to occur on more favourable ground conditions at Ratcheugh Farm. The change certainly seems to be working well with big fields expected for competitive racing.

The meeting commences at noon with the Hunter Members and Subscribers Race where Victor Thompson’s Indian Print is expected to regain winning ways after a recent excursion in Market Rasen Hunter Chase. He did not really show his true form that day and a return to hunt racing should see a change of fortune. Main dangers would be Catherine Walton’s pick of course winner, Sacred Mountain or Saddle Pack.

There are 33 entries for the Maiden over 2½ miles scheduled for 12.30pm. The majority are newcomers to hunt racing and close inspection of the paddock and also for any market movers is advisable.

The Men’s Open due off at 1pm has attracted a strong entry of 17. Another Rum got up in the dying strides of the January meeting and is expected to relish the soft underground conditions and stay on at the end.

The Ladies Race following could prove a very interesting contest. Phillippa Shirley-Bevan’s French bred Quotica de Poyans, widely regarded as one of the best young horses in the Northern Area could well take on Robbers Glen, Morpeth based Val Jackson’s stable star who in the past has been placed at the Cheltenham Festival. An interesting entry here is that of Sacred Mountain, impressive at last January’s meeting if he takes his chance in this contest.

The Northern Area Club Member’s has an entry of 22 with the aforementioned Sacred Mountain possibly the one to watch. Catherine Walton, his jockey, however, is double handed as her father has Dr Hellier entered whilst Wooler based auctioneer Gavin Hamilton has former Irish Chase winner Aggie’s Lad.

The latter was extremely unfortunate when ducking out at the last in the Jedforest Ladies Race when well clear of the renowned Minouchka.

The Restricted Race with an entry of 17 could well be the prize that could stay locally. Simon Orpwood’s Commonburn has shaped well as a young horse whilst the Walton trained Saddle Pack ran well to finish second in the West Percy Members Race and is possibly one to watch if taking this opportunity rather than the Members Race.

The concluding race, the Open Maiden Race has attracted a large entry of 30. Again as this is a race for newcomers, paddock observation is recommended particularly if this race is divided on the day due to observation of safety conditions.

Racing commences at noon with gates open from 10.30am. Full bar, catering and betting facilities are available. Entrance £10 per head with all children free.