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Preview 2024
College Valley and North Northumberland preview By Peter Burgon
Pictures -

The Northern Area Point-to-Point circuit heads to the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick on Sunday 25th February
where the College Valley & North Northumberland fixture has 72 entries on a six race card starting at 1.00pm.

The opening 2m4f Womble Bond Dickinson Maiden Race has attracted 19 entries and, on paper, promises to be a competitive affair. The list includes A Law To Himself (also entered in the Young Horse Maiden at Larkhill), Alma De Dios, Fair Catch, Henry's Regime, She Is The Enemy and Slaney Opera (Right) who all finished in the first four last time out, as well as unraced Yorkshire raiders Follow The Leader and Shalliorsharnti from the yards of Tony Ross and Jack Teal respectively who both know how to get one ready first time out. Joe Wright's mount Follow The Leader has been kept under wraps despite being entered a few times over the last ten weeks, so if he turns up at Alnwick the hint should be taken.
The top-rated contenders in the Lycetts Insurance NPPA Conditions Race (10 entries) are Senor Lombardy (121), Bintheredonethat (109), Coole Hall (107) and Supremely Lucky (105) who all hold alternative engagements on the card. Senor Lombardy (Left) overcame a 680-day absence when making all here last month to maintain his unbeaten course record (4-4) and a 3lb penalty is unlikely to halt his winning run. Bintheredonethat and Coole Hall act on soft ground and were not beaten far at Friars Haugh a fortnight ago, while the consistent Supremely Lucky deservedly got his head in front for the first time since joining James Cookson's yard when beating Jimmil in a Veteran Horse Conditions contest at Duncombe Park three weeks ago.
The 11 entries for the Saffery Champness Ladies Open Race are headed by course specialist Dundrum Wood (Right) who has scored on all four previous visits to Alnwick and looked as good as ever when making a winning reappearance under Martha Reeve in last month's Percy equivalent. Unpenalised for that success, the 10-year-old can strike gold again from Oscar Wilde, who was beaten one-and-a-half lengths by Reeve's mount off level weights in the Percy Ladies Open, while Kingrullah who was a further eight lengths away in fifth that day and the consistent Bintheredonethat also merit consideration.
Warwickshire raider Benefaktor heads the 13 entries for the Charles Stanley Investment Management Conditions Race. After being off the track for 23 months, he made a pleasing comeback when four-and-a-half lengths 3rd to Seven No Trumps at Garthorpe three weeks ago and can get back on the winning trail here. Of the others, course winners Cool Desire, Coole Hall and Courting Flow should be in the mix, while recent Friars Haugh Maiden winner Something Golden (Right) has scope for further improvement.

The concluding 2m JRL Group Point-to-Point Flat Race has attracted 8 entries, including a trio with previous experience in this grade. Stress Reaction and Alltalknoaction were not beaten far when 2nd and 3rd respectively behind Long Time Listener in the Duncombe Park equivalent three weeks ago, while locally trained Where's Willy (Left) finished thirty three lengths 4th on debut to Austins Hill Lass in last month's Percy equivalent. Of the others, Madam Maroon receives a minimum of 7lb from her rivals, Liveyourbestlife is a half-brother to winning hurdler/chaser Etania, Warwickshire raider Silver Sunrise is related to several high profile winners including The Jigsaw Man, Stormyfairweather and Definite Ruby, while The White Rat's dam Jaunty Flight scored six times under Rules and was also a dual winner between the flags.

Admission is 15 per person with U16's free.

The post code for SatNav users is NE66 3AD.
The aforementioned Senor Lombardy is top-rated in the Bedmax Men's Open Race (11 entries) ahead of last month's Percy scorer Deise Aba (Left) who failed to back up that effort when pulled up three out in a Badbury Rings Open last Sunday. Their rivals include Ratcheugh Racing Club Conditions Race winner Wild Romance, last season's Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase hero and dual course winner Matts Commission, and Cuneo who matched strides with Deise Aba for much of the final circuit in the Percy equivalent.