PREVIEW: Tedworth Point-to-Point at Barbury Racecourse - a full card expected with ninety-three entries
The endless rain and the snow have led to so many cancellations and abandonments this year - the Tedworth Point-to-Point on Sunday (April 8) and on the fast-draining chalk terrain of the Marlborough Downs expects to beat the odds.
The six races at Barbury Racecourse have attracted 93 entries, with clerk of the course John White describing the going on Monday (April 2) as Good to Soft. Fresh ground is to be used following the last meeting and the fences are being moved.
There is a competitive entry for the JM Finn & Co Mixed Open for the Tedworth Gold Cup. Lotus Pond, from Mickey Bowen's Haverfordwest yard, won a veterans' race over this course and distance in January, beating Templebraden by six lengths. The pair could renew their rivalry in this feature 3m 6f contest.
Vasco Du Mee, from Martin Weston's Hindlip stables in Worcestershire, is another dour stayer, having won over four miles at Cheltenham's hunter chase meeting two years ago. The nine-year-old was a fair third to Battle Dust at Chepstow last month when Fourovakind, trained by Mat Hazell, from Grove, near Wantage, pulled up, but could figure here if sharpening his jumping.
Dual Grimthorpe Gold Cup winner One Conemara is an intriguing entryas Yorkshire trainer Cherry Coward admits: "It is just a wild card really. He is in good form and if everything else is off we will be coming to see you."
Premier Portrait would also be a live contender should Andoversford owner-trainer Charles Levinson and his jockey son, Gus, opt for Barbury rather than their local Andoversford Races. The 11-year-old won his first two starts of the season at Wadebridge and a Taunton hunters' chase where he pipped the smart Unioniste by a nose. But then he unseated his rider at Fakenham, before being pulled up in the St James's Place Foxhunters' Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
The card opens at 1.15 with the Simpsons Subaru Restricted Race in which Bowen looks to have a likely candidate in Ston Easton maiden winner Arthur's Sixpence. Toby Maguire also took his maiden at Charlton Horethorne in good style for the Levinsons, and would be of interest if coming here.
Dan's Wee Man, who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when jinking and unseating Guy Disney in the closing stages at Kimble last Saturday, would be another to consider should Peter Mason turn him out quickly from his Ablington stables, near Bibury.
Lockinge winner Tempelpirate could make a quick reappearance in the Pheasant Inn At Lambourn Six-Year-Olds And Over PPORA Club Members' Race for Veteran & Novice Riders. The 11-year-old beat Cadeau George by a length in a similar contest on Easter Monday.
His owner-trainer is Tim Underwood, who is based at Beedon, near Newbury: "Hopefully if he comes out of it okay he will have another run next weekend. He takes his races really well." Underwood, 70, has also entered course winner Golden Crisp, and he added: "I might ride him if I get my ticket. I am waiting on the final all-clear."
Rivals could include Bangor-on-Dee winner Open Hearted, from Ed Glassonbury's Oldcastle yard, near Malpas, while Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill may let Hawkhurst attempt to add to his tally of three wins from four starts.
William Money has won twice here this season for David Brace's Pyle yard, near Bridgend, and is also responsible for Pink Eyed Pedro, who was a head behind Templepirate here in February, and Didmarton runner-up Mitebeall Forluck.
Brace and his jockey-grandson, Connor, may also be represented in the 2m 4f Ramsbury Vodka Open Maiden For Four, Five And Six-Year-Olds by Paint The Dream, who was second to Arthur's Sixpence on his debut.
Dissertation has been placed here twice this term for Andrew Quick's St George's-Super-Ely stables, near Cardiff, but will have to bounce back after being pulled up at Hackwood Park last time. A qualifier for the Goffs Spring Sales P2P Bumper, the race has attracted a number of likely unraced types including the Bowen pair of Equus Dancer and Equus Pandora.
Dissertation has the option of going for the 2m 4f Jockey Club & the Epicurean Open Maiden For Mares And Fillies. The six-year-old is among 11 entries, which also include Tom Weston's Dina Maker, who was third to the well-regarded pair Bene Regina and Hattie Hopkinson at Brocklesby Park in February.
Barbury Castle trainer Laura Thomas has an interesting debutant in Night At Tara, who was placed in both her starts under rules for Dan Skelton. Glimpse of Gladys, a promising third on her debut in a Great Trethew bumper, also comes into the reckoning, while Underwood is hoping for an improved showing from Thirdtimeben.
Alfstar, from Joanne Priest's Abberley stables, near Worcester, should appreciate a drop in grade for the Prestat Chocolates and the Richard James Estate Agency Confined Conditions Race. The ten-year-old was pulled up in a hunters' chase at Newbury last time out after previously finishing third to Barrakilla in a similar contest at Bangor-on-Dee.
Fly West and Willem, who filled the places behind Moscow Prices at Milborne St Andrew, could meet again. While Shrivenham trainer Craig Pilgrim may give a seasonal debut to Peeping Thom, who beat Pride Of Parish at Kingston Blount on his reappearance last term. Sarazen Bridge, a winner at Larkhill last Saturday for Bibury trainer Dibby Brown, would be a leading fancy if making a swift return.