The Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumes after a four week break with the West Percy
fixture at the Ratcheugh Farm course near Alnwick on Sunday 7th January.
There is plenty of quality among the 68 entries, which include the likes of Abbeyview, Ardea, Cave Hunter,
Knocklong, Scarlet Fire, Weston Flame and Winged Commander, on a six race card starting at 12.30pm.
The 9 entries for the opening Carrs Billington NPPA Club Members Race are headed by Weston Flame (right), who receives a minimum of 7lb from her rivals. Justin Landy's mare was quite impressive when scoring at the first two Alnwick meetings last season but has been off the track since being pulled up injured in the Percy Club Members eleven months ago. Of the others, Scarlet Fire won five in a row between the flags in 2014 under Joey Richards before landing Class 4 Handicap Chases at Carlisle and Hexham the following year but has been lightly raced since then. The ultra-consistent Pyjama Game finished in the first four on all seven starts last term, while stable companion, Shantou Magic is better than last year's form figures of 24542 might suggest. Royal Chatelier should come on for last month's reappearance in the Ratcheugh Racing Club Men's Open, while course winner, Summoned is more likely to run in the concluding Hunt Members Race.
The 9 entries for the Sintons Law Men's Open Race are dominated by Ardea and Cave Hunter, two of the highest rated horses in the Northern Area. The former has won 8 of his 11 starts in the last two seasons since joining Justin Landy's yard and rounded off his 2017 campaign with hunter chase victories at Wetherby and Hexham, beating Young Hurricane by a neck in the latter contest. Niel Manning's charge, Cave Hunter (left) hasn't finished out of the first two in 15 starts between the flags in the last four seasons. 131-rated chaser, Relax, formerly with Venetia Williams, has joined Will Ramsay but may need the run as he hasn't been seen on the track since March 2016.
There are 12 entries for the J H Greenwood & Company Ladies Open Race and the one they all have to beat is Knocklong. He has won all five completed starts at Alnwick and would be unbeaten here had he not fallen three out in the 2017 equivalent when fifteen lengths clear. In addition , he landed hunter chases at Catterick and Southwell last term. The former Sheila Crow-trained gelding, Abbeyview, who won hunter chases at Cartmel in May 2016 and Towcester in May 2017, is a new recruit for for last season's NPPA Champion novice rider, Laura Fenwick. Winged Crusader (right) jumped and travelled well under Amie Waugh to land last month's Ladies Open at the track, where he was followed home by Hand Act Or Part, Clues And Arrows and Fever Pitch, and should confirm that form on the same terms. Denbigh raider, Indigo Island rarely finishes out of the frame and was set to run here last month had his trainer, Ray Owen not been snowed in.
Chanceiton (left) left his rivals toiling down the home straight when landing last month's Ratcheugh Racing Club Maiden Race by a dozen lengths from ex-hurdler, Pads in the best time of the day and a follow is on the cards in the Hazelrigg Racing Restricted Race. Of the others, Great Anticipation and course winner, Active In Milan finished 4th and 6th respectively behind Wayupinthebox here last month. Diamond Brig hasn't been seen since making a winning debut at Corbridge last February but should have scope for further improvement. Court Painter posted a career-best effort when eight lengths 2nd to Cultram Abbey here last month and a repeat would see him in the shake-up but Victor Thompson's charge might wait for the Hunt Members.
A case can be made for many of the 24 entries in the B A Electrical Contractors Northern Ltd Open Maiden Race. The aforementioned Pads (right), (0-20 under Rules), is now trained by ex-National Hunt jockey, Daragh Bourke and will be looking to recoup losses. Worcester Pearmain was just touched off by Wayupinthebox in a higher grade here last month but that contest was around twenty seconds slower than the Maiden Race won by Chanceiton. The well related Westend Leader should come on for last month's debut outing at the track; Sir Lonica, placed twice in this grade in Ireland in December 2016, has joined Justin Landy's team and so further improvement is guaranteed; George White's recent acquisition, Pieceoftheaction was placed at Lingstown in November before being pulled up when sent off favourite under Jamie Codd at Borris House last month; Glittering Love, Koala Keel and Left Back finished 3rd, 4th and 7th here last month; Emory slowed plenty of promise when finishing in the first four on all 3 starts in 2017 and has subsequently joined the Russell Ross yard, while Coomacarrea is an unraced daughter of the talented Coomakista, who won 8 of her 17 career starts, including the 2006 John Corbet Cup.
The Joiners Arms Hunt Members Race has 5 entries, Beyond The Glen, Pieceoftheaction and Summoned (all owned by George White), the aforementioned Court Painter and Treliver Manor (left). The latter, placed on 4 of his 12 starts under Rules for Rose Dobbin, was not disgraced when 5th behind Chanceiton on his comeback outing considering that he had been off the track for twenty months.
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.