Racing returns to Ratcheugh

POINT-to-point horse racing is under starter’s orders tomorrow at Ratcheugh Farm, Alnwick, for the third time this year, writes Pointer.

The Percy Meeting, scheduled for Sunday, with the first race under way at noon.

The first race, the Northeast Livestock Sales Members Race, has attracted a small entry of five. However, this race is certainly not short on quality. Three course winners this year, Highland Cathedral, Monogram and Sacred Mountain, are present and this could be an interesting clash between Sacred Mountain and Monogram if both take their chances.

The Farmway-sponsored Open Maiden over 2.5 miles has attracted a large entry of 26. As this race is for Maidens, it is certainly one for paddock judges. However, some thought should go to Borders auctioneer Gavin Hamilton’s Some Lad, who has been knocking at the door at the last two meetings at Alnwick.

The TSG-sponsored Men’s Open could turn out to be a cracker with hunter chase winner Almost Blue, former Cheltenham winner Dix Villez and the consistent Irish import, Winterwood. My choice, however, goes to the prolific Buckstruther coming from a stable that has already demonstrated form this year.

The Warcup Skene Ladies Open scheduled for 1.30pm could well prove to be the highlight of the day. Former fox hunters winner Amicelli, a strong stayer, is appearing from Yorkshire to potentially take on the Russell Ross, Iveston-trained Sea Scout, already an impressive winner twice at Alnwick this season. Catherine Walton may, however, hold the key here with a choice of mounts – the Jimmy Walton-trained Sacred Mountain or the Yorkshire-based New Alco.

The latter was staying on impressively when seen at the course in December.

The Ryecroft Glenton Club Members Race is due off at 2pm with an entry of 16. This race could end up highly competitive in the field with some open-class horses possibly taking their chance against others that are slightly unproven.

Nevertheless, one that stands out here is Winterwood, already consistent on course and distance twice this year.

The Owen Pugh Restricted Race is due off at 2.30pm and one that clearly catches the eye is the Jedforest-trained Rakavilee. An impressive winner here at the West Percy Meeting when looking in need of the run, he should strip fitter and improvement is expected.

One to press him closely will be the Jimmy Walton-trained Highland Cathedral, again impressive when winning in December but having had a break since.

The final race of the day is the John Blades and Jill Kelly-sponsored Open Maiden Race where there is an entry of 29. This race could well split on the day due to the safety factor and again being for Maidens, one left to paddock judges.

With a total entry of 117, the largest entry in a Northern Point-to-Point this year, there should be some extremely competitive racing and entertainment for all throughout the day. Full bar, catering and betting facilities available with entry at £10 per head including race card with free entry for children.