After the abandonment of the Ratcheugh Racing Club meeting in December, and postponements at Alnwick and Kelso in January, the 2013 Northern Area season is finally set to kick off on Sunday with the rearranged West Percy fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick. The seven race card has attracted a total of 74 entries and starts at 12 noon.
The concluding Members Race has 7 entries, comprising the Jimmy Walton-trained duo, Coquet Head and Highland Cathedral; ex-hurdlers,
Middleton Dene and Mirage Dore from Rose Dobbin's yard; George White's Rennington Blue (left), plus the Victor Thompson-trained pair,
Sir Tamburlane and dual course winner, Senor Alco. The latter should reap the benefit of a run over fences at Newcastle four weeks ago.
The 11 entries for the opening NPPA Club Members Race include the locally trained Gin Cobbler (left), who needed the run when seventh on his reappearance at Cottenham in November but should now be cherry ripe following a couple of outings over fences at Catterick last month. Of the others, soft ground specialist, Melua Maid made all when scoring at Sedgefield last April, while Barachois Silver has recorded all her career wins in May and June.
The two and a half mile Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds has 13 entries, with my short list comprising Soleil D'Avril, Mister D and Sullivans Hill. The former Alan King-trained hurdler, Soleil D'Avril finished runner-up to Corkage at Doncaster last January to earn a rating of 105, and a repeat of that effort on his pointing debut must see him go close in the hands of William Easterby. Mister D was beaten nine and a half lengths when 4th of 14 in an Irish Maiden in May 2011, while the Mike Smith-trained gelding, Sullivans Hill went under by a similar distance when 2nd of 12 in an Irish Maiden last March.
The fifteen strong entry for the Men's Open Race is full of quality with possible runners from as far afield as Fife and Oxfordshire. If Alan Hill sends either
Ocean Du Moulin or Ravethebrave on the 600 mile round trip from
Aston Rowant, it won't just be for a change of scenery. The former scored impressively at Cottenham in November, while the latter was 3rd in a seventeen runner Open at the same venue five weeks ago. Ex-chasers, Galant Nuit and Hennessy were not beaten far when finding only one too good in their respective contests at
Sheriff Hutton recently. Course winner, See You There (right) goes well fresh and likes plenty of cut, while Tommysteel, a dual hunter chase scorer in 2012, should have been sharpened up by last month's spin over fences at Catterick.
The 6 entries for the Ladies Open Race include the aforementioned Galant Nuit and Hennessy, as well as dual course winner, Highland Cathedral (right), who also landed the Buccleuch Cup Maiden Hunters' Chase at Kelso last April. The latter's in-form trainer, Jimmy Walton had a winner (Saddle Pack) and a second
(Sacred Mountain) at Kelso on January 13.
The Walton's representative in the Restricted Race is course winner, Coquet Head and this promising home-bred seven year old merits plenty of respect on his reappearance. Dust Packer was placed three times at Alnwick last season, while Yorkshire raider, Know The Rules (left) scored on his hunt racing debut at the corresponding fixture in January 2012.
There are 11 entries for the Open Maiden Race with the Victor Thompson-trained duo, Have One For Me and Red Myst coming here with the benefit of a pipe-opener at Cottenham and Musselburgh respectively behind them. The one to beat could be Alan Hill's Oxfordshire raider, Earl Grez (right), who was beaten a maximum of seven lengths when runner-up in four chases between March and October 2012, having previously finished 3rd to Know The Rules over a half mile shorter trip at Alnwick twelve months ago.
12.00 NPPA Club Members (11) : Barachois Silver, Gin Cobbler, Karshaan, Melua Maid, Native Coll, Noir Et Vert, Ocarina,Quws Law,
Silent Cliche, Viking Rebel, Waterford.
12.30 Open Maiden 2m 4f (13) : Buywise, Champerty, Chosen Keys, Heather Glen, Job For Eric, Lord Luso, Missing You, Mister D,
Retrace Your Steps, Soleil D'Avril, Sullivans Hill, Wacket Willie, Who'slaughingnow.
1.00 Men's Open (15) : Back On The Road, Derinlaur, Galant Nuit, Gwyre, Hennessy, Melua Maid, Ngong Hills, Noir Et Vert, Ocarina,
Ocean Du Moulin, Ravethebrave,
See You There, Silent Cliche, Silent Snow, Tommysteel.