The Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumes after a six week break with the West Percy fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick on Sunday 24th January.
There is plenty of quality among the 60 entries, which include the likes of Dun Faw Good, Royal Chatelier, Crazy Diamond, The Falklander, Wayupinthesky and Nowurhurlin, on a seven race card starting at 12.30pm.
The concluding Open Maiden Race has 4 entries. Cousin Guillaume (left) was placed in 8 of his 15 starts under Rules and did little wrong here in December when two lengths 3rd to Summoned on his first outing for Caroline Dennis. Danehills Well has been placed 3 times under Rules and also caught the eye when four lengths 3rd to Catchamat on his reappearance. Lonely Soldier was pulled up three out on his debut in Summoned's race, while Here's To Harry has been absent since being pulled up in the College Valley Restricted Race won by Central Flame in March 2014.
The 5 entries for the Members Race are headed by the progressive Dun Faw Good, who opened his account here last March and made a pleasing seasonal debut over course and distance in December when only beaten a couple of lengths by Knocklong. Bella Grappa scored first time out at Alnwick in December 2013 but has only completed once in four starts since then. Beggar's Velvet, who won three times last year, including a Hexham Hunters' Chase, and stable companion, Klepht, along with the Susan Grant-trained Summoned complete the quintet. Klepht is a new recruit from Ireland for Drew Holmes and one of his best runs came at last year's Cheltenham Festival, where he finished thirteen lengths 12th of 23 to Darna. Summoned (right) fulfilled the promise shown in three Pointing starts in Ireland in October by winning on his first run in George White's colours over a shorter trip here in December.
There are 12 entries for the NPPA Club Members Race, including 2015 winner, Senor Alco, who chased home Crazy Diamond (left,wht cap) on his reappearance here last month. Durban Gold scored twice in Open company last year; the consistent Ballyvesey has never won first time out; stable companions, Royal Chatelier and Wicklow Lad have shown their best form on soft/heavy going, while the diminutive Sea Scout also likes plenty of cut and shaped well when seven lengths 4th to Knocklong last time out.
The 4 entries for the two and a half mile Open Maiden Race include the unraced duo, Nobuttaboy and Matthew Man. The latter is a 5 year old son of proven stayer, Garden Feature, who won 7 Points in the Walton colours. Ballybough Best showed promise when fifteen lengths 4th of 8 in a Dungarvan Maiden last January but was then pulled up twice, while the former David Pipe-trained 105-rated hurdler, Northern Bay is now with Paul Collins.
Nick Orpwood holds all the aces in the Men's Open Race with a choice of rides on stable companions, Crazy Diamond (5 from 5 in Points) and The Falklander (left) (3 from 4 in Points). Both geldings have yet to taste defeat at Alnwick. The aforementioned Ballyvesey, Royal Chatelier and Sea Scout are also listed. Rossini's Dancer represents Nick Alexander's in-form Kinneston yard which has sent out 18 winners in the current National Hunt season, with more than half of these coming since the end of November. December winner, Knocklong also holds an entry in the Ladies Open, while the useful stayer, Wayupinthesky won 3 of his 5 starts last year from Gavin Hamilton's yard, including Hunter Chases at Kelso and Perth.
Nowurhurlin (right) had plenty in hand when scoring on his reappearance here in December under Emma Todd and the partnership is the one they all have to beat in the Ladies Open Race. The other 10 entries include Beggar's Velvet, Oscar Stanley and Young Hurricane. The latter may pose the main threat if reproducing the form which saw him win Ladies Opens at Charm Park, Askham Bryan and Hornby Castle last term.
Catchamat (left) and Summoned landed their respective Maiden contests on the Ratcheugh Racing Club card in December and are poised to clash in the Restricted Race. Catchamat beat Greensalt by a head that day and the form was given a boost when the runner-up went one better at Sheriff Hutton last Sunday. Summoned stayed on well to score over a shorter trip and the additional half mile should not pose any problems. Cheshire raider, Drivehomeregardles has been placed in 12 of 14 starts over the last two seasons, while Bravehearted Harry, According To Dan, Hardy Oscar and Mickey Miller finished in that order behind Lilbitluso in the Ratcheugh Racing Club Restricted Race.
The course is located 3 miles NE of Alnwick, easily accessible from the A1 and signposted from there. For those using a SatNav, the post code is NE66 3AE.