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Preview 2018
College Valley and North Northumberland preview By Peter Burgon
Pictures -

Easter Monday Point-to-Point racing takes place at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick for the first time since 1993
with the rescheduled College Valley & North Northumberland fixture.
It has attracted 78 entries on a six race card, including 19 in the North's only Point-to-Point Flat Race, and starts at 1pm.

Last Saturday's Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Restricted winner, Lord Usher (right) faces a maximum of 2 rivals in the opening Intermediate Race. Kate Leckenby's mount stays well and is still potentially under-rated. Ballinahow Bill recorded impressive victories at Sheriff Hutton and Duncombe Park earlier this year but ran out when favourite at Dalton Park last Sunday. Charlotte Crane's mount is also entered in the Middleton Intermediate at Sheriff Hutton on Easter Saturday. The lightly raced Diamond Brig landed a Tynedale Maiden on his debut last year before following up in the Jedforest Restricted in January. Last time out, he finished ten lengths 3rd to Glittering Love at Corbridge.
There are 16 entries in the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Conditions Race for Novice Riders. Abbeyview (left), who has form figures of 24U in Ladies Open company this season, is top-rated and must go close if repeating the form shown when runner-up here to Knocklong in early February. Winning chaser, Dream Flyer shaped well on his first start for Caroline Dennis when finishing sixteen lengths 5th to Pieceoftheaction at Corbridge. Lough Derg Island was an easy winner of the 2017 Duke of Buccleuch's Intermediate Race on his first outing for Joan Hollands and should come on a lot for his comeback run when 4th at Friars Haugh in February. Experienced ex-chaser, Settledoutofcourt has finished in the first four on all three starts this term under Ailsa McClung, who leads the Northern Area Novice Riders Championship. His best effort came at Friars Haugh in January where he was only beaten one length by Always Tipsy. Whats Left should also be in the mix if reproducing the level of form shown when finding only Pyjama Gama a neck too good at Friars Haugh in February.
There are 19 entries for the Mixed Open Race, including the highly rated Sarah Easterby-owned trio, Black River, Greensalt and Monsieur Jourdain, who are all more likely to run in Yorkshire this weekend. Prolific winner, Cave Hunter never got a blow in at the leaders on the final circuit of the 3m5f Tynedale Men's Open, eventually finishing eleven lengths 4th to One Conemara, but is capable of bouncing back to form here. The evergreen Crazy Diamond, who has very few miles on the clock for a 14 year old and goes well fresh, has only tasted defeat once in six starts at Alnwick. The progressive Levelling (left) scored at Tranwell and Easingwold in April 2017 before making a winning reappearance in the Percy Men's Open in February. 128-rated chaser, Pass The Hat has been off the track since May 2016 but raced against the likes of Irish Cavalier and Cantlow in Ireland, while the former Donald McCain-trained winning chaser, Rolling Thunder and The Mobile Man are probably both suited by a sound surface.
Worcester Pearmain (right)heads the 8 entries for the Restricted contest and is also at the top of the Imperial Racing-sponsored Alnwick Races Champion Horse standings which is decided on Monday and carries a £500 cheque plus a trophy to the winner. Connor Wood's mount was narrowly beaten by Wayupinthebox at Alnwick in December and Glittering Love at Friars Haugh in January before surviving a last fence mistake to beat Raleagh Mountain by a length in the Percy Maiden last time out. The consistent Crazy Penguin has alternative engagements in Yorkshire this weekend; Sorcier's sole victory came in 2011; Ripstick was a lucky winner of the Percy Members as the clear leader, Summoned ran out approaching the third last, while course winner, Roderick Random has scope to improve on this season's form figures of 54.
Steel's Cotton shaped well on her first start for Jane Clark's yard when seven lengths 5th to Fair Exchange at Corbridge and should be in the mix again in the Open Maiden Race which has 13 entries. The Tony Dobbin-trained Treliver Manor's best run of the season also came in that same race at Corbridge when two and a half lengths 2nd. Moscow Calling, who finished 3rd to Exit Ten at Corbridge, was pulled up before the second fence at Overton when the saddle slipped. Flower Ball had been absent for 301 days prior to finishing 4th to Glittering Love in the Jedforest Maiden, while the well related Coomacarrea (right), who caught the eye when 5th on her debut behind Sir Lonica at Sheriff Hutton, was travelling well when falling four out at Corbridge.
The 2 mile JRL Group Flat Race for four, five and six-year-olds has 19 entries (all unraced), including 11 from Yorkshire and 1 from Essex, and may well be divided on the day as the safety factor is only 12.

The Peter Fahey-trained 4 year old geldings, Barfly and Tooposhtowash are both of interest. The former's dam, Just Smokie was placed in 3 of her 11 starts under Rules, while the latter's dam, Dr Doocey scored once under rules and won four Points. Last season, the Fahey-trained Station Master scored at Askham Bryan and Hornby Castle before landing the Aintree Point-to-Point Bumper in great style. The Cherry Coward-trained mare, Procida is a half sister to several Flat winners. Princess Scorpion was denied a run in the third division of the Barbury Castle Flat Race in January when that contest was abandoned due to the state of the ground. Her dam, Hayes Princess won 3 of her 9 starts under Rules including a Hereford Bumper on debut in February 2009. There should be no fitness issues with Val Renwick's runner, Oh No, while Eden Collonges is related to a couple of winners in France. Fair Houxty's half brother, Banks O'Houxty landed a Kelso Bumper on debut in May 2015 and Rapaport could be a first runner at Alnwick for Essex handler, Toby Bulgin.

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.