The Northern Area season continues on Sunday 4th February with the Percy fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick,
where a six race card with 65 entries starts at 1pm.Virtually unraced on for the last twelve months following
the abandonment of the College Valley & North Northumberland (March 2017) and West Percy (7th January 2018) meetings,
a lot of the course will be on fresh ground.
The 12 entries for the opening Warcup Law Firm Men's Open Race are headed by Justin Landy's prolific winner, Ardea. He lost nothing in defeat when beaten a length by One Conemara on his seasonal debut at Sheriff Hutton three weeks ago and a 7lb penalty is unlikely to prevent him from returning to winning ways. The Nick Alexander-trained ex-Irish chasers, Killer Crow and Thomond are both entered in a 3m2f Musselburgh Hunters' Chase on Saturday. Fever Pitch finished nine lengths 4th to Winged Crusader in the Ladies equivalent here in December. Klepht's three wins for Drew Holmes came at Musselburgh, Overton and Tranwell in the last two seasons and he also holds an entry in the concluding Hunt Members. Levelling is on an upward curve having landed Maiden and Restricted contests at Tranwell and Easingwold respectively last April. Shantou Magic (right) had plenty in hand when taking last Saturday's Jedforest Ladies Open under Charlotte Dun. The Mobile Man needs to step up again after easily outpointing his solitary opponent, Bravehearted Harry on his reappearance here in December, while Thinger Licht, a winning chaser and hurdler for Tony Carroll and Dan Skelton, finished twenty five lengths 3rd to One Conemara at Sheriff Hutton.
Knocklong, Abbeyview and Winged Crusader are the pick of the 13 entries for the BA Electrical Contractors (Northern) Ltd Ladies Open Race, however the latter is likely to run at Musselburgh or Wetherby on Saturday. Knocklong has won all five completed starts at Alnwick in the last couple of years and was narrowly beaten by Global Power and Siro Demur on his recent reappearance at Sheriff Hutton. Abbeyview finished 1st or 2nd in 10 of his last 15 starts from Sheila Crow's yard and his 4 victories included hunter chases at Cartmel and Towcester. The gelding changed hands last year and should go well for new jockey and part owner. Laura Fenwick. Clues And Arrows, De Bee Keeper and Hand Act Or Part all have some decent placed form in this grade. Present Accepted returned from a near three year absence to win three of his six starts over fences in 2016 at Ffos Las, Stratford and Newton Abbot but has been off the track for seventeen months. Scarlet Fire (left) registered a five-timer in 2014 for Joey Richards, while Men's Open entries, Shantou Magic and
The Mobile Man would have 14lb less to carry here.
The Northumbrian Pellet Company NPPA Conditions Race has 10 entries, including the aforementioned trio of De Bee Keeper, Levelling and Scarlet Fire. Of the others Dynamic Island scored at Alnwick and Friars Haugh in January 2017 but fell at the first on his reappearance at Thorpe Lodge on Sunday. Leavethelighton was given an Irish Pointing rating of 104 following his win in a Ballindenisk Open Race for Novice Riders in December 2016 and will be ridden by John Dawson. Summoned (right) won nicely at Friars Haugh on Saturday after a length lay-off but conditions were pretty testing and not many horses turn out on consecutive weekends these days. Dual course winner, Weston Flame has been ready to run for almost two months but has yet to make her eagerly awaited comeback.
Sir Lonica was the most impressive Maiden winner of the season so far in the hands of Joe Wright at Sheriff Hutton and cannot be opposed if taking his chance in the Ryecroft Glenton Restricted Race which has 15 entries. Beyond The Glen and Active In Milan (left) finished 3rd and 4th respectively behind the useful Diamond Brig at Friars Haugh last Saturday. Aldergale caught the eye when fifth at Sheriff Hutton behind Maguires Bridge having led until two out and his yard had a winner at Thorpe Lodge on Sunday. Great Anticipation finished six lengths 4th to Wayupinthebox here in December. Lord Usher stayed on late to finish sixth to Maguires Bridge at Sheriff Hutton and should be in the mix under Kate Leckenby. Pieceoftheaction scored over a shorter trip at Friars Haugh on his first start for Susan Grant's yard, while it's hard to believe that it's almost seven years since Sorcier made a winning debut at Corbridge.
The C.A.McBratney Racing and J Murdoch Contracts Open Maiden Race has 9 entries and should chiefly concern Pads, Worcester Pearmain, Matthew Man, Emory (right) and Raleagh Mountain. Pads, who was placed in 6 of his 20 starts under Rules, finished runner-up to Chanceiton on a sound surface at Alnwick in December and was then beaten twenty five lengths by Sir Lonica at Sheriff Hutton. The ultra-consistent Worcester Pearmain had a hard race when beaten a couple of lengths by Glittering Love at Friars Haugh on Saturday with Matthew Man a further twenty five lengths away in third. Emory was prominent until weakening after three out and being pulled up at the next in Pieceoftheaction's race at Friars Haugh, while Raleagh Mountain, formerly with Dan Skelton, was beaten more than thirty five lengths when 4th to Sir Lonica at Sheriff Hutton.
The Joiners Arms Hunt Members Race concludes proceedings at 3.30pm and is likely to have 3 runners. George White's colours have been carried to victory many times at Alnwick and any one of the aforementioned trio of Beyond The Glen, Pieceoftheaction or Summoned could turn out. March 2017 Overton Maiden winner, Ripstick represents Jimmy Walton's Flotterton yard, while Drew Holmes can choose between Klepht (left) and Pass The Hat. The latter, a 128-rated chaser for Arthur Moore, has been off the track since May 2016 but is taking a big drop in class having run at three Punchestown Festivals and contested some high profile chases against the likes of Irish Cavalier and Cantlow.
The course is located 3 miles NE of Alnwick, easily accessible from the A1 and signposted from there.