A belated start to the season

THE Northern Area Point to Point season finally gets under way on Sunday at Ratcheugh Farm, Alnwick, writes Pointer.

There has been considerable work undertaken on the course throughout the summer to try to ensure a fantastic racing surface although the recent weather has certainly not been of assistance.

The ground conditions are currently described as soft and the underlying foot conditions coupled with the fact that new steeplechase fences have been purchased will result in this being a true test of horse and jockey.

Racing commences at noon with the West Percy Members Race.

Interesting runners in this one could be Rhona Brewis’ winning chaser Crackerdee, a course winner and one that will relish the test of stamina. The main dangers will include Victor Thompson’s Indian Print and Jimmy Walton’s Sacred Mountain, if he is back to his best.

The second race is an Open Maiden for horses that have never won before.

Advice here is to look for those that have been kept in work during the recent snow cover, although one that has been mentioned is Morpeth based Mrs Claire Moor’s Coole Murphy. This horse had a quiet run early last season but then was going tremendously well only to be pulled up when the jockey thought something had gone amiss. Certainly one to follow.

The third race, the Men’s Open Race has attracted a tremendous entry of 19.

Course winner Another Rum has proven stamina, however, sentiment dictates that my selection is Wooler auctioneer Gavin Hamilton’s Lord Who, a multiple course winner trying to emanate that success at the age of 14.

Numerous Yorkshire runners make this a very interesting contest.

The Ladies Open has drawn an entry of 22, again packed with quality.

The Shirley Bevan team from Bonchester Bridge sending down their highly exciting youngster Quotica De Poyans, or they may rely on their stable stalwart Minouchka. Main dangers could be Rose Dobbin’s Rayshan, ex-top Irish hunter chaser General Striker, winning chaser Silver Sedge or the mud lover Tynedale.

At 2pm nine go to post for the Northern Area Club Members Race which should be fought out between Sacred Mountain and Rathowen.

This race is short on quantity but certainly not short on quality and I expect winning hunter chaser Almost Blue to put a good account of himself.

The penultimate race, the Restricted Race for winners of one has attracted an entry of 11. Both this and the concluding Maiden Race will be ones for the paddock judges.

With 120 entries overall and a scheduled seven race card there should be ample entertainment for all. The first race is at noon with gates opening at 11am. There are full bar, catering and betting facilities available. Entrance is £10 per head which includes a free racecard with all children under 12 years free.