The Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumes after a three week break with the Percy fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick on Sunday 29th January. It has attracted 72 entries and starts at 12.30pm.
The Sintons Conditions Race (14 entries) opens proceedings and could feature a re-match between Coole Hall, Cool Desire and Ballydonagh Boy who finished in that order in the corresponding contest at the West Percy meeting on January 8. Cool Desire (Right) was only beaten a length and is entitled to turn the tables as that was his first start for nine months whereas Coole Hall had the benefit of a previous outing at Hexham in November. The ultra-consistent Ballydonagh Boy finished three lengths 3rd that day off top weight of 12st9lb and is guaranteed to be in the mix again on 3lb better terms. Chahuteur, a multiple winner in France in his younger days, was reappearing after a 631-day absence when 7th to Oscar Wilde in the West Percy Ladies Open and that should have blown away any cobwebs.
Last year's Aintree Foxhunters' hero Latenightpass heads the 10 entries for The Dove (Seahouses) Ladies Open Race. This top-class performer would have gone through last season undefeated but for an uncharacteristic last-fence fall at Alnwick in the 2022 renewal and can make amends this time. Aintree is again his main target this season and he lost nothing in defeat on his reappearance at Chaddesley Corbett a month ago when a neck 2nd to Shantou Flyer after a sustained duel from three out.
The pick of his rivals is Oscar Wilde who has won 4 of 5 starts in this grade under Amy Coltherd in the last 12 months and scored with plenty in hand from Kalabaloo here last time. Torygraph and Billy Bronco were 3rd and 5th respectively that day without ever threatening the winner, Ryans Fancy (Left) finished eleven lengths 3rd to Oscar Wilde in the Border equivalent at Hexham two months ago, while course winners Matts Commission and Thyne For Gold, who finished in the first two on every outing last term, don't have the benefit of a recent pipe-opener.
Diable De Sivola ended a long losing run when making virtually all at the West Percy meeting to complete a memorable double for Will Ramsay who currently leads the Northern Area Men's Jockeys Championship by 10pts from Lyall Hodgins. However, his mount is unlikely to get things all his own way if adopting similar tactics in The Dove (Alnwick) Men's Open Race.
Last year's winner Monbeg Chit Chat will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing seasonal debut at Chaddesley Corbett a month ago where he fell five out when well behind. Dual course winner Overworkdunderpaid finished a remote 5th behind Diable De Sivola on his reappearance, Write It Down weakened from four out when 6th to Oscar Wilde last time, while the progressive Sine Nomine (Right) finished an eye-catching nine lengths 3rd to Diable De Sivola on her seasonal bow and is sure to come on a lot for that run.
Cullin Hills is top-rated for the Ryecroft Glenton Restricted Race. Off the mark at Charm Park last March, Will Milburn's charge subsequently found only one too good at Sheriff Hutton and Corbridge. The 6-year-old shaped well on her recent reappearance at Sheriff Hutton when 3rd to Fascinating Rhythm in this grade and can get back on the winning trail. The pick of her rivals are the locally trained Feel The Breeze and Denbigh raider Ramming Speed. Feel The Breeze (Left) probably needed the run when thirteen lengths 2nd to the useful Whosmydaddy in the West Percy equivalent, while Ramming Speed showed plenty of promise when eleven lengths 4th of 9 on debut in a Wetherby Bumper for Olly Murphy last March and the form of that race has worked out extremely well.
Stable companions Glory and Up With The Play have the best recent form on offer among the 18 entries for the Meldrum Construction Maiden Race. Glory was not beaten far when 3rd over hurdles at Carlisle and Hexham last March, and was noted finishing strongly when ten lengths 2nd to Latenightrumble in the 12-runner West Percy Maiden. Ex-hurdler Up With The Play finished thirteen lengths 3rd to Whosmydaddy in the West Percy Restricted. The lightly raced Endless Adventure (Right) showed promise on his Pointing debut when 5th behind Latenightrumble, Free Choice has changed hands since finishing a close 2nd in an Irish Maiden in January 2022, while the unraced Gabrielle De Balon represents the in-form Tom Ellis yard which has already sent out 13 winners this season and boasts a 66.6% strike rate at Alnwick since January 2019.
Even with a 10lb penalty, The Joiners Arms Intermediate Race would be a penalty kick for Go Go Geronimo (Left) who galloped his rivals into submission at the West Percy meeting. However, Kelly Morgan's charge is also entered at Horseheath on Saturday. The aforementioned Cool Desire could run here instead of the Opening Conditions Race, the veteran Mr Pepperpot rarely finishes out of the first four but usually needs a pipe-opener, while the improving Ridelonglivelong scored twice in six days last May at Charm Park and Hexham.
Pop The Question is the only one of the 6 entries for the concluding 2m IDA Homes Ltd Flat Race with the benefit of a previous run. She finished nine lengths 5th at Duncombe Park and twenty three lengths 2nd at Tranwell in this grade last season but may have to settle for minor honours behind well-related stable companion Wottinger. The Sue Grant-trained Cautiontothewind carries the well known colours of the late Trevor Henmmings and is sure to be well tuned up, while Aviewtothestars would be a first runner at Alnwick for Gloucestershire trainer Max Comley.
The post code for SatNav users is NE66 3AE.
Admission is £15 per person including a racecard with U16's free.
Cash only on the gate but both Cash and Card/Contactless payments will be accepted at the bar.