The Northern Area season gets back on track on Sunday 10th February with the rearranged Percy fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick.
It has attracted 72 entries on a six race card starting at 1pm and features the first of two Northern Area qualifiers in the Skinner’s Pet Foods Ladies Open Point-to-Point Series, which culminates in a £12,500 Final at Stratford’s Hunter Chase evening on Friday, May 31.
The five entries for the Newton Hall Hunt Members Race include this season’s leading mare, Worcester Pearmain as well as ex-Irish chasers, Back Off Mate and Tom Horn.
Recent Jedforest scorer, Sorcier could make a quick reappearance in the MKM Building Supplies Conditions Race which has 15 entries.
Lord Usher and Roderick Random finished third and fourth respectively behind Kalabaloo in the West Percy equivalent and that form was franked when the winner followed up at Thorpe Lodge. Exit Ten won first time out at Corbridge last season under his owner/trainer, Charlotte Tailford before outstaying his rivals in a Restricted contest at Balcormo Mains. Former Irish chaser, Killer Crow is top rated and looks the one to beat if reproducing the form which saw him find only Purcell’s Bridge half a length too good in the Jedforest Men’s Open.
The Sintons Men’s Open Race has 10 entries headed by the former Willie Mullins-trained chaser, Haymount, who landed a Sheriff Hutton Ladies Open on his first outing for the in-form Tom Ellis yard. The North’s leading stayer, One Conemara is likely to bypass Alnwick and wait for the 3m5f Tynedale Men’s Open on February 24. Cave Hunter should come on a lot for his recent fifth place effort at Friars Haugh after being off the track for 11 months.
Warwickshire raider, Ardkilly Witness scored here in December 2017 and finished six lengths third to Gran Paradiso in last month’s West Percy equivalent. Ardea has won on all three previous visits to Alnwick.
There are 15 entries for the Skinner’s Pet Foods Ladies Open Race and the list is headed by the aforementioned Haymount.
Charlotte Crane has a choice of rides on course winner, Knocklong or Ballinahow Bill. The latter finished five lengths third to Haymount on his seasonal debut at Sheriff Hutton and must go close if reproducing that level of form. Rossini’s Dancer (Mhairi Ogilvie), Abbeyview (Laura Fenwick) and Slim Pickens (Caitlin Hepburn) all ran well when second, third and fourth respectively behind Nicki’s Nipper in the Jedforest equivalent and should again figure prominently.
The Ryecroft Glenton Restricted Race has nine entries, including six from Yorkshire. However, four of these, Eden Collonges, Cheat Fairly, Monsun Storm and Mr Pepperpot are more likely to run in the Sinnington equivalent on Sunday.
The concluding Lycetts Open Maiden Race has 18 entries. Sheperds Cave kept on well in the closing stages when six lengths fourth to Donnie Brasco in the West Percy equivalent and the third that day, Costly Dream, got off the mark at Friars Haugh last Sunday but the first division of the Sinnington Maiden looks a more likely option for Jack Teal’s mount.
Jupiters Way produced her best form last season on her reappearance at Corbridge, where she was only headed near the line by Exit Ten.