Although the College Valley & North Northumberland fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick on Sunday March 6th has attracted a smaller entry than usual, the quality is very high with the list including the likes of Crazy Diamond, Dun Faw Good, Knocklong, The Falklander, Wayupinthesky and Wicklow Lad.
Following the abandonment of last month's Percy meeting, Sunday's six race card will decide the outcome of the Ratcheugh Races Champion Horse Award sponsored by J R Adams Transport. Knocklong and Catchamat share top spot at present on 10pts with the owner of one of them looking certain to land the £500 first prize.
Crazy Diamond's (right) only defeat in five runs at Alnwick came six weeks ago when he finished four lengths 4th to Robin Will in a very slowly run West Percy Open. Nick Orpwood's mount must go close in the opening North Northumberland Hunts Club Members Race at 1pm. The other 6 entries comprise Ballyvesey, Irish maiden winner Five Piers, the Victor Thompson-trained geldings Have One For Me and Sharivarry, while Catherine Walton has a choice of rides on course winners, Catchamat or Dun Faw Good.
The 4 entries for the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders are headed by 2015 winner, Mister Splodge, who finished 3rd behind the progressive Shantou Prince at Duncombe Park last time out. Former Royal Ascot winner, Drill Sergeant (left) and the Victor Thompson-trained course winners, Cobh National and Stoney complete the list.
Dun Faw Good (left), Kilcross Boy, Knocklong, Ockey De Neulliac and Whiteabbey make up the quintet of entries for the Ladies Open Race. 'Ockey' weakened three out before being pulled up before the last in a valuable Leicester Hunters' Chase on Tuesday on his return from a 9-month break. Whiteabbey didn't jump as fluently as usual when 4th at Alnwick in December. Dun Faw Good will appreciate having 18lb less to carry than he did when landing the West Percy Members Race in January, while Knocklong is on a hat-trick after winning here in December and January.
The Subaru Restricted Race has 14 entries. Afterclass was only beaten half a length by Lord Of The Course at Corbridge last Sunday and must go close again if making a quick reappearance. Anddante rarely runs a bad race and is best on a left handed track. Ardea was very impressive when scoring at Brocklesby Park last month on his first start for Justin Landy and looks the one to beat. Others to consider are the aforementioned Five Piers, Mr Shahady, Tynedale Maiden winner Solid Strike (right) as well as course winners, Danehills Well and Summoned.
The Falklander is 3 from 3 at Alnwick and bids to extend that sequence on his return from a 13-month absence in the Men's Open Race. Others to note are the aforementioned Knocklong and Mister Splodge (right), proven stayer Wayupinthesky plus the Nick Alexander-trained duo, Rossini's Dancer and Wicklow Lad. The latter ran a blinder when six lengths 2nd to Durban Gold in a Kelso Hunters' Chase on February 18th, considering that he was conceding 19lb to the winner.
The concluding two and a half mile Open Maiden Race for 4,5 & 6 year olds has 5 entries. Comeback Story is unraced, Palm Valley and Smooth Talk were pulled up on their debuts at Duncombe Park last month, while the improving Court Painter and Strategic Island (left) finished 3rd and 5th respectively behind the promising Over To Sam at Corbridge last Sunday.
The course is located 3 miles NE of Alnwick, easily accessible from the A1 and signposted from there. For those using SatNav, the post code is NE66 3AE.