The annual South Wold Point-to-Point races at Revesby Park kickstart the season in the Midlands Area on Sunday. A total of 67 entries have been taken for the seven-race card, which gets underway at 11am.
The course is now left-handed, with the start and finish in front of the crowd, and there are 18 fences to jump. A plan of the course can be viewed on www.midlandspointing.com, where there is also the opportunity to buy e-tickets in advance of the meeting.
The opening Pedersen Contracting Ltd PPORA Club Members Conditions race has attracted seven entries. Big Georgie could be the pick here and likely to take this option rather than the later Men's Open. He has a 5lb penalty to carry, but has form on soft going in his favour. Newsworthy, on the other hand, has no penalty to carry and his rider/trainer Dale Peters was on the scoreboard at Sheriff Hutton last week. Teeton Turnip, the mount of Jack Andrews, would be a popular visitor to the winner's enclosure for Mark and Pat Barthorpe, who do so much to help in the organisation of the meeting.
Thirteen entries have been taken for the Melvyn Leach Memorial Open Maiden sponsored by Ian Watson. Jack Andrews could hold the ace cards here; he has the choice of the Stuart Morris runners, Minella Wizard and Orpen Wells, both of whom have finished in second place and must be winners waiting to happen.
Skinner's are sponsoring the Ladies' Open, where a maximum of nine horses will line up, and Latenightpass could be the pick. He is only seven, still on the upgrade, top-rated, and will be ridden by leading rider Gina Andrews. Braavos is trained locally by Mike Dawson at Grainthorpe and is worth noting on his pointing debut. Others for the shortlist are Ange des Malberaux and Mercers Court, who have both been placed already this season.
The Men's Open is kindly sponsored by Asher Swimming Pools, and eight entries have been made. Inchcolm will be ridden by George Chatterton, the leading Midlands area novice rider of last season. This 10-year-old was beaten just three lengths by The Dellercheckout at Barbury Castle in December, and this form stands up, as the winner has subsequently gone in at Sheriff Hutton. Others to consider are Thyne For Gold, who reverts to the amateur sphere, and Waterloo Warrior, who may make the journey from Jake Slatter's Cotswold stables.
Nine entries have been taken for the Spilsby NFU (Philip Odling) Restricted. Martin and Jane Wanless, who are keen supporters of Revesby races, may bring Aclassagold from their Warwickshire base to make his pointing debut. Buzzkillbob was runner-up at Alnwick in December and may be able to go one better.
Buzzkillbob also has the option of lining up in the following race, the 12-entry Jockey Club and Retraining of Racehorses Veteran Horse Conditions race. Distime could go well for the Chatterton family; he has to carry a penalty but soft going won't be a problem and he stays well. Others for the shortlist are Vedettariat and Lotus Pond.
The final race on the card is a two-mile Point-to-Point Flat Race for four- and five-year-olds, sponsored by Crossley Thompson Wealth Management. It will be interesting to watch these young horses, who could be stars of the future, making their racecourse debuts. In terms of having a bet, it may be best to watch where the market support is going. However, the stable of Francesca Nimmo and Charlie Poste have the five-year-old One Punch entered, and they are well known for introducing young horses to racing before selling them on. Another to note is Tom Ellis' entry Annie Flower; she is by Shirocco, the sire of prolific winning race mare Annie Power.
Revesby Park is a superb setting for a family day out, and there will be a good range of trade stands including refreshments as well as laser shooting and a dog show alongside the racing. A £25 cash prize kindly donated by Mr and Mrs S. Alcock will go to the groom of the best-turned-out horse, which will be judged by Martin Leach. Each winning owner will receive a DVD of the race produced by David Jones Media.
Gates open at 10am and admission is £10 per person (under-16s free, YPC members £8).