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Ratcheugh Racing Club By Peter Burgon, Sunday 13th December 2020
Pictures -

The first division of the Open Maiden Race has 18 entries. Wendy Hamilton's home-bred 5-year-old gelding, Into Overdrive (left) brings the best form to the table of those we saw in action last season. He was only headed near the finish when beaten half a length by Onestepatatime over course and distance in March. Salute The King finished thirty lengths 2nd to Ahoy Senor over a shorter trip at Kimble last month and the winner was subsequently sold for 50,000 at Goffs UK Yorton Stud Sale to Lucinda Russell.
Okey Dokey finished eight lengths 3rd to Matthew Man in a Jedforest Maiden in January, while It's Your Move finished ten lengths 5th to Toni's Oscar at Hutton Rudby in March.
The list also includes a trio of unraced 4-year-olds. Betty Baloo, a half sister to jumps winner Milly Baloo, is trained by Tony Ross, who sent out Take Your Time to land the corresponding contest on debut last December. For Fitz Sake was an expensive purchase at the Goffs UK Store Sales in May 2019 and if he makes the long journey from
Harriet Dickin's Warwickshire yard it won't just be for a change of scenery,
while Tom Cody is a haf brother to winning hurdler Grageelagh Girl.

The 13 entries for the opening NPPA Conditions Race are headed by dual course winner, Roderick Random. He acts well on soft ground and was only beaten three quarters of a length by Sharney Sike on his reappearance in the corresponding contest last season.
The progressive Rio Des Echanault is the main danger. He found only Dynamite Kentucky one length too good in a Maiden contest here last December before going one better in a West Percy Maiden and Percy Restricted. Worcester Pearmain (left,17) usually goes well fresh and has secured 3 of her 4 career wins between the flags at Alnwick.
African Belle scored at Brocklesby Park and Overton in 2019 and was primed for her reappearance at Overton in March when the season was abandoned. She is still on the upgrade, has strengthened up over the summer and could surprise some higher rated rivals.
Experienced campaigners, Lord Ballim, Senor Lombardy and Un Guet Apens all had winning form under Rules up to May 2018, while My Liege and Alone No More both won first time out at Friars Haugh and Alnwick respectively last season.
Red Indian is the one they all have to beat in the Ladies Open Race (12 entries). This 139-rated chaser has recorded all 4 career wins (including 3 under Rules) on soft or heavy. He was very impressive when beating Master Baker by a distance in the Bishops Court equivalent seven weeks ago.
The pick of his rivals is Ravished from Joe O'Shea's Cheshire yard. A dual Cottenham scorer last term, this proven font-runner registered an easy twelve lengths success over
the useful Southfield Theatre on his reappearance at Kimble last month.
Band Of Blood, Carter McKay and Conas Taoi are also entered in the Men's Open. The former was rated 135 in his prime and won 7 times under Rules between February 2013 and February 2018, while stable companion, Conas Taoi has recorded 8 chase wins in his career.
Landecker, a six-time winning hurdler, provided Mhairi Ogilvie with her first winner in last season's Duke of Buccleuch's equivalent and represents Nick Alexander's in-form Kinneston yard , while Killer Crow (right) also merits consideration on his favoured soft ground.
Carter McKay shaped well on his seasonal debut seven weeks ago when finishing four lengths 2nd to Big Casino in a fast time at Maisemore and can reap the benefit of that outing by going one better in the Men's Open Race (19 entries).
Of the others, the talented Mr Mercurial has won 3 hunter chases since joining Will Ramsay's yard two years ago but needed the run when 6th behind Sharney Sike on his reappearance here last December. The versatile Eco Warrior (left), who scored on the Flat in his younger days under James Doyle and Frankie Dettori, has won his last 6 Pointing starts - all at Friars Haugh. Dark Mahler landed 3 Opens in 2019 and finished twelve lengths 2nd to Don Poli in last season's renewal.
Teddy Tee beat Shanroe Santos by a short head in a 3m2f Carlisle Chase last December, while proven stayer One Conemara (10 wins and placed 13 times from 32 career starts) has never won first time out.
The 13 entries for the Conditions Race include the aforementioned quartet of African Belle,
Alone No More, Band Of Blood and Senor Lombardy. The ratings are headed by Sparkleandshine, who could be a rare runner at the track for Aston Rowant handler, Alan Hill. He won a Huntingdon Maiden Hurdle in March 2018 for Sam Thomas and, on his first start for Hill's in-form yard, made virtually all the running when beating
Rolling Dylan by twenty five lengths in a Bishops Court Club Members Conditions Race on October 24.
The ultra consistent Nine Altars drops down in grade from Ladies Open company having been placed here last season in races won by Buck Dancing and Kalabaloo.
All 3 of General Arrow's victories in 2019 came on good ground,
while Royal Chant's 4 career wins were also on a sound surface.
Mr Pepperpot (right) showed his liking for Alnwick when scoring here in January and March,
while the improving Caviar D'Allen was an easy winner of a Derwent Maiden and Hurworth Restricted in March.
Joe O'Shea's recent ex-Irish recruit, Cousin Pascal looked as though he had a bit in hand when scoring by five lengths at Chaddesley Corbett last Sunday
and could have more to offer. O'Shea has sent out 3 winners from 8 runners this season.

Malton handler, Tony Ross also has a fancied contender in the second division of the Open Maiden (17 entries) with the unraced 4-year-old gelding, Carlo Storm, who changed hands for a significant five figure sum at the Tattersalls Ireland NH Sale in August 2019.
Other Pointing newcomers to note are Fitz In, Ingeborg Zilling, The Wise Traveller,
Dancing In Court and Thornton Le Clay. Fitz In, a 4-year-old Getaway gelding,
is also trained by Harriet Dickin. Ingeborg Zilling (also entered at Barbury on Sunday) represents
last season's Champion Trainer, Tom Ellis. The Wise Traveller is owned and trained by Jack Teal,
who partnered his own Dynamite Kentucky to success in the corresponding race last December.
Dancing In Court is a half sister to dual Hexham hurdles winner Ueueteotl,
while the well related Thornton Le Clay has been placed twice on the Flat in 1m6f and 2m contests.
Of those with experience, Teds Charley Roe (2nd) and Just Jerry (right)(4th) were beaten a neck and seven lengths respectively behind Just Don't Know at Friars Haugh in March.

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Thurlow raider, Luscious Lilly heads the 11 entries for the concluding Restricted Race. After finishing three lengths 2nd to Benefaktor at Revesby Park, Andrew Pennock's mare went one better next time out at High Easter in March.
The locally trained duo, Dream Over and Matthew Man should be in the mix. Nick Orpwood's mount, Dream Over beat Teds Charley Roe (left) over a shorter trip at Friars Haugh in January, while Matthew Man is on a hat-trick after landing a Jedforest Maiden and the Percy Members last season.
Dressedforsuccess ran well on his reappearance last term when four lengths 2nd to Mr Pepperpot in the West Percy Restricted. Gold Time represents Ray Owen's Denbigh yard. She won an Irish Maiden in January 2019, has also been placed five times and won't mind the soft ground.
The Chris Dawson-trained mare, Solstice Twilight also merits respect. She stayed on well under Lyall Hodgins when getting off the mark at Friars Haugh in March and is open to further improvement.

The 2020/21 Northern Area Point-to-Point season finally gets up and running on Sunday with the Ratcheugh Racing Club fixture at the
Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick.
It has attracted 103 entries and the seven race card starts half an hour earlier than originally scheduled at 11.30am.
Alnwick is in a Covid Tier 3 area and so the meeting will take place behind closed doors without owners and paying spectators.
There will be a single green zone for officials and participants.
Live streaming (with Andrew Thornton presenting and Darren Owen commentating)
will enable owners and hunt racing enthusiasts to follow all the action from home.
The link to follow the streaming can be found   HERE