After finishing 3rd to Loughan in a 2m4f Hexham Maiden in November, The Great Phoenix (Left,Jack Teal) appreciated the step up in trip when getting off the mark here next time out and, with further improvement on the cards, the partnership appearsto hold all the aces in the Restricted Race (8 entries).
Okey Dokey has been placed in 7 of his 16 starts between the flags and showed his liking for Alnwick
when 7 lengths 2nd of 13 to For Fitz Sake on his seasonal debut in December 2020.
Diana Prince landed a Tinahely Maiden in October but ran out here last month on his first start for new connections; first-time blinkers seemed to galvanise Cool Desire in last month's corresponding contest at Alnwick where he finished
two and a half lengths 2nd to the promising Cimetta, while Buzzkillbob was beaten a maximum
of 6 lengths when placed here twice in this grade in the 2019/20 season.
The Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumes after a four week break with the West Percy fixture at Alnwick on Sunday 9th January. It has attracted 62 entries on a six race card which starts at 12.30pm.
Frankies Fire (Left) can get back on the winning trail in the Members Race (4 entries). Jimmy Walton's 9-year-old mare stayed on well to beat Takethepunishment by 2 lengths on her reappearance at Hexham in November and lost nothing in defeat when
runner-up to the useful Senor Lombardy at Alnwick a fortnight later.
Former 135-rated hurdler, Coole Hall (Will Ramsay) has a tough task at the weights trying to concede a minimum of 11lb to his rivals. On his first outing for twelve months at Alnwick in December, he came from well off the pace to finish
a half length 2nd to Vinnie Lewis and is entitled to improve again for the run. Dream Over should appreciate the drop in class after finishing 30 lengths 4th to Latenightpass in a Ladies Open last time, while 3-time Alnwick scorer,
Worcester Pearmain (LucyBaker-Cresswell) completes the quartet.
A double at Horseheath on New Year's Eve made Gina Andrews the most successful lady rider in point-to-point history with 305 career winners to date and she will looking to enhance an already impressive strike rate of 80% at Alnwick on Kalabaloo,
Dundrum Wood and Pedley Wood.
The talented Kalabaloo (Right) heads the 16 entries for the Conditions Race. Successful on all 3 previous visits to the Ratcheugh Farm course, Shona Westrope's mare has fully recovered from an injury picked up on her sole outing last term in aKelso Hunters' Chase in February.
Senor Lombardy looked as good as ever when scoring first time out for the second season in a row at Alnwick in December under the in-form Lyall Hodgins but will need to step up again in either this contest or the Men's Open.
Of the others, Cooking Fat has finished 3rd on all 3 starts this term in this grade and may prefer better ground, while Exit Ten returns to Pointing after finishing 11 lengths 3rd of 8 in a Hexham Chase in October.
136-rated chaser, Minella Fair, formerly with Noel Meade, has been off the track since February 2020 and is likely to need the run but worth noting that all 4 Rules wins up to 2m6f came on Soft/Heavy.
Another proven soft ground performer, Billy Bronco, who recorded his last win at Sedgefield in November 2019, is set to be a first ride for Emily Grice.
In contrast, Drumlee Sunset's last 5 Rules wins up to 3m2f came on Good ground, including a Warwick success off a mark of 135 in February 2019.
Dundrum Wood (Gina Andrews) is the one they all have to beat in the Ladies Open Race (10 entries). Successful over fences at Newcastle in December 2020 when trained by Olly Murphy, he subsequently joined the Tom Ellis yard in March. Aftercomfortably beating
Royal Chant in a 2-runner Sedgefield Hunters' Chase the following month, he finished 9 lengths 3rd to Law Of Gold at Fontwell on May 13 and that form was franked when the winner followed up in Stratford's Champion Hunters' Chase.
The veteran Son Of Suzie (Left) is a dual course winner; Ballinahow Bill has been lightly raced since landing an Easingwold Ladies Open in April 2019; Racing Pulse showed he still retains plenty of ability when winning a Class 5 Hexham HandicapChase in June, while proven stayer,
Looking Well might need the run on his first start for Charlotte Tailford.
The Kelly Morgan-trained ex-chaser, Overworkdunderpaid (George Chatterton) was quite impressive when beating Game As A Pheasant by 12 lengths in a good time here last month and can defy a 7lb penalty by striking again in the Men's Open (11 entries).
In addition to the aforementioned Senor Lombardy and Game As A Pheasant (Right), the other main dangers are Matts Commission and Point The Way. Dual Alnwick scorer,
Matts Commission (Jack Teal), who usually goes well fresh, has won his last 4 Pointing
starts, while Point The Way was in great form at the end of last season with
Hunters' Chase victories at Perth and Kelso.
The pick of the remaining 6 entries is former 137-rated hurdler, Cuneo, who finished a close 4th in the 2019 Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. He shaped well when 3rd in a 3m3f Sedgefield Handicap Chase in November after leading to three out.
The concluding Maiden Race has 13 entries and may chiefly concern Pedley Wood, Sine Nomine, Ballydonagh Boy and No Filter (Right).
The unraced 5-year-old Westerner gelding, Pedley Wood represents the in-form Tom Ellis yard, which had 6 winners and 7 placed from 17 runners in December.
The more experienced Sine Nomine has found only one too good on her last 3 Pointing starts and does have the benefit of a recent outing in her locker when 7 lengths 2nd to Deafening Silence over course and distance four weeks ago.
In the latter contest, Ballydonagh Boy was headed approaching three out before finishing 25 lengths 3rd but hinted that day there is more to come,
while the lightly raced No Filter caught the eye on his sole outing last season when 7 lengths3rd to The Wise Traveller at Alnwick.
The post code for SatNav users is NE66 3AE and the course is well signposted from the A1.