The Northern Area point-to-point season resumes after a two week break with the Percy fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick on Sunday 15th February. It has attracted 85 entries, including all 7 winners from the recent West Percy meeting, on a seven race card starting at 1.00pm.
Whatsthestoryman found only Stoney too good last time out and will be aiming to go one better in the concluding Open Maiden Race which has 16 entries. After being placed on both starts over two and a half miles at Alnwick this season, Afterclass (right) should be ideally suited by the longer trip. Of the others, Old Roan came from off the pace to finish 3rd to Rush House on her reappearance at Friars Haugh, Rathsallagh was not beaten far first time out last year when 3rd to Kalastar, while Senate Law and King Of The Dark also warrant respect.
Pyjama Game (right) will be looking to repeat last month's course win over Ballyvesey in the opening Members Race. Tommy Dowson's mount scored a shade cosily that day by half a length and, on identical terms, it is hard to see the placings being reversed. The other 4 entries are Bafana Choice and Chanceofa Lifetime along with recent maiden winners, Cobh National and Mister D.
The 9 entries in the two and a half mile Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds are headed by the Chris Dawson-trained mare, Lady's Favourite, who posted a career-best effort here last time when staying on well to finish two lengths 3rd to Cobh National. Of the others, Portrait Star is an unraced full brother to prolific winner, Special Portrait. Damiens Dilemma unseated at the ninth at Friars Haugh three weeks ago, having finished in the first four on his three previous pointing starts in Ireland last year, while Caherelly (left) was prominent for a long way on her debut at Friars Haugh before finishing fifth behind Rush House.
The Men's Open is this season's Northern Area Feature Race which has a total prize fund of £500, with £350 to the winner. The Falklander (right) has yet to taste defeat in three visits to Alnwick and, once again, he is the one they all have to beat. On paper, two of his main rivals could be Barachois Silver and Royal Chatelier, however both of them are also entered in a Kelso Hunters' Chase on Thursday 12th February. Former 133-rated chaser, Rossini's Dancer, a winner at Aintree as recently as October 2013, ran five times under Rules in the autumn and should be capable of making his mark at this level. Dual course winner, Know The Rules and Mister Splodge are the pick of the other 9 entries.
Sharivarry was produced with a well-timed challenge by Catherine Walton to land the West Percy Ladies Open and a repeat performance is on the cards in Sunday's equivalent. Tasheba kept on well when finishing five lengths 3rd to Ockey De Neulliac at Friars Haugh last time and should be in the mix again. Stable companions, Keeeverfield and Tipsy Dara will both strip fitter after making their seasonal debuts in the last three weeks, while the progressive Whiteabbey (left) has not been seen since landing the Border Ladies Open last May.
Special Portrait (right) is well treated by the conditions of the NPPA Club Members Race and so, with no penalties to carry, is expected to go close after shaping well on his recent comeback outing at the track when 3rd to Senor Alco. Another Cumbrian raider, Monbeg was beaten around twelve lengths when 3rd to the useful Woodview Prince in the Jedforest Open. Last month's Restricted winners, Crazy Diamond and Whisperdale are still on the upgrade but this will be their stiffest test to date. The in-form Victor Thompson yard is represented by Indian Print and Senor Alco, while The Brig At Ayr is another one to consider.
Oscar Stanley must be thereabouts in the Restricted Race if reproducing the effort which saw him finish one and a half lengths 3rd to Crazy Diamond in the Jedforest equivalent. Milano Magic (left) was a further six lengths away in 4th and should come a lot for the run. Mister D got off the mark in an incident packed Jedforest Maiden with only two finishers. Stoney jumped and travelled well under Kit Alexander when scoring on his first start for Victor Thompson's yard a fortnight ago, while Prince Of Ivagh and Hardy Oscar filled the minor placings in Whisperdale's race that day.
All the fences, with the exception of the third last, have been moved since the West Percy meeting to provide as much fresh ground as possible on what is effectively a second track. The bends have also been moved.
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.