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West Percy By Peter Burgon, Sunday 8th January 2023
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The smallest field of the day will be in the The PJR Blewitt Ltd Restricted with only 6 entries. Oxfordshire raider Serenisa (also entered at Wadebridge on Sunday) is top-rated on the strength of her easy win on heavy ground by twenty five lengths in a 2m5f Ffos Las Maiden on November 20. Feel The Breeze (Left) is the only other previous winner entered. Jimmy Walton's promising home-bred 6-year-old mare landed the Buccleuch Mares Maiden on her debut over fences before finishing fourteen lengths 3rd to the useful Macavity at Corbridge. No Filter doesn't have many miles on the clock for an 8-year-old and shaped well when seven lengths 3rd to Sine Nomine in last season's West Percy Maiden. The Tom Ellis yard is represented by debutant Whosmydaddy (Jack Andrews) and the 5-year-old is sure to be fully tuned up.

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 8th January, the first action at this popular North Northumberland venue in more than ten months.
It has attracted 71 entries, including plenty of long distance travellers, on a six race card which starts at 12.30pm.
The ultra-consistent Go Go Geronimo heads the 11 entries for the opening Hazelrigg Racing Conditions Race. He recorded 3 wins and was placed 9 times from 12 Pointing starts between April 7, 2019 and April 9, 2022 before posting career-best efforts when runner-up (beaten a neck and three quarters of a length respectively) in Hunters' Chase Finals at Cheltenham and Stratford. The latter form is superior to anything achieved so far by his rivals.
The main danger may come from Minella Fair (3lb penalty) who ran a blinder on his seasonal debut in the 2022 renewal when two lengths 2nd to Kalabaloo. Of the others, prolific Pointing winner Path To Freedom (6lb penalty) finished 2nd on both previous visits to Alnwick in December 2016 and February 2020, Ryans Fancy (8lb penalty) finished eleven lengths 3rd to Oscar Wilde in the Border Ladies Open on his reappearance, while Robin Tate's progressive stayer Sine Nomine (Left,Grey)initiated a four-timer in last year's West Percy Maiden Race. Path To Freedom and Sine Nomine are also entered in the Men's Open.
The Carrs Billington NPPA Conditions Race has 12 entries and could feature a repeat of the Border equivalent in which Ballydonagh Boy (Rosie Howarth, Right) beat Coole Hall (Will Ramsay) by a length. Ramsay's mount re-opposes here on 6lb better terms. The useful Write It Down (10lb penalty) would have 24lb less to carry if he runs instead in the Ladies Open. Immy Robinson's mount was in good form after joining Ray Owen's Denbigh yard last January and ended the campaign by being promoted to first place in a Cartmel Hunters' Chase on June 1 after the winner Grageelagh Girl lost her weight cloth two furlongs from home. The Jimmy Walton-trained West Lawn is an interesting recruit to the Pointing ranks. This home-bred half sister to proven stayer Garden Feature was a dual 3m Hurdles winner at Hexham last season. Cool Desire was runner-up to Cimetta here in December 2021 and subsequently landed a Berwickshire Restricted in February on heavy ground.
There is plenty of quality in the Oates Rural Ladies Open with 11 of the 15 entries rated 101 and above. The Tom Ellis yard has hit a purple patch with 6 winners from 7 runners at Horseheath last Saturday and course specialist Kalabaloo can keep the bandwagon rolling. Shona Westrope's mare has won on all 5 previous visits to Alnwick, including first time out at this fixture in 2019, 2020 and 2022, and receives weight from all of her rivals.
Oscar Wilde (Left) beat Billy Bronco by a comfortable five lengths in the Border equivalent and has a 3lb penalty to carry for that success. Oxfordshire raider Back Bar, who scored on his reappearance at Charing last season, is also entered in the Wadebridge Mixed Open on Sunday. Torygraph and Supremely Lucky were beaten more than twenty lengths when 4th and 6th respectively behind Oscar Wilde at Hexham, while the aforementioned Ballydonagh Boy has the scope to make his mark in Open company. The dark horse is Chahuteur who recorded the last of his 5 wins in France at Auteuil in November 2018 where he beat Porlock Bay by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

The Red Lion Men's Open is another quality affair with all 10 entries rated in excess of 100. The one that takes my eye is 123-rated hurdler Jetaway Joey, formerly trained by Olly Murphy, who posted a career-best effort off top weight of 12st when two lengths 2nd to Half Shot in a 2m4f contest at the Perth Festival last April. Now with Tom Ellis, a reproduction of that form must see him go close on his first start over fences under Jack Andrews.
The main danger is last season's dual Alnwick scorer Overworkdunderpaid who subsequently finished two lengths 3rd to Cousin Pacal in a Haydock Park Hunters' Chase and seems to relish soft ground. Exod'ela (Right) stayed on well to beat Diable De Sivola by nine lengths in the Border equivalent and can confirm that form on 3lb worse terms. Global Racing is quite capable of being in the mix under Nick Orpwood, The Whistle Blower won 3 times in a lower grade in a five week spell last season, while Gloucestershire raider Wagner landed 2m4f Hunters' Chases at Hereford and Wincanton last term.

There are 17 entries for the concluding Geoff Allan Catering Maiden Race including the aforementioned Whosmydaddy. Malton-based Tony Ross can choose between his unraced duo Buy Some Time and Keep The Cool who were both entered at last month's abandoned Alnwick meeting and should be primed for action. Crobally Boy has changed hands since being narrowly beaten in 3m Handicap Chases at Roscommon and Kilbeggan in August. Dave The Russian finished 6th in a high class Knockmullen House Maiden in November behind Flash In The Park and is an interesting recruit for the Victor Thompson yard. The well related debutant Latenightrumble, a half brother to Latenightfumble and Latenightpass, merits respect although it's worth noting that neither of his illustrious relatives struck gold first time out. The former Nicky Henderson-trained Moonlight Flit has been lightly raced since finishing runner-up over hurdles at Warwick in May 2021 and should appreciate the drop in class, while Paris Cercy (Right) showed plenty of promise when runner-up at Sheriff Hutton and Corbridge last season.

In line with all the Northern Area fixtures this season, admission is £15 per person including a racecard with under 16's free.

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