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Preview: Barbury International Racing Club's point-to-point takes on its new pre-Christmas & post Cheltenham date

Barbury International in January 2018 - when the clouds came downBarbury International in January 2018 - when the clouds came downThe Barbury International Racing Club's point-to-point on Sunday (December 16) is its second 2018 appearance.  This is because it has moved the fixture from a January to December - to follow on from Cheltenham's two-day International Meeting.

International entries for the Barbury International have been invited to stay overnight at Cheltenham Racecourse. Stabling will be available for runners from within the UK and from abroad at a cost of £35 per loose box, with accommodation in Hunter’s Lodge from £20 per person per night.

 

Nigel Bunter at the January 2018 Barbury InternationalNigel Bunter at the January 2018 Barbury InternationalNigel Bunter, Chairman of the Race Committee, emphasises how the Barbury International has gown in stature since began in 2017: "The overall quality of the event was amply demonstrated last season, when we scheduled no less than 10 races."

 

"Several of our young horse winners have gone on to win under Rules, demonstrating British Pointing’s ability to produce top quality youngsters – equine and human - as well as a continuing role for older horses. We have every confidence that our new December slot, coinciding with Cheltenham, will enhance that quality still further and provide a showcase for the sport.”

 

Sunday's racing should be well up to standard with some outstanding horses entered. Russell Smith reports on the horses to watch:

 

Bibury trainer Dibby Brown has issued a clean bill of health for Cousin Pete.  The ten-year-old will be having his first start since suffering a series of problems after outrunning odds of 66-1 to dead-heat for third behind Pacha Du Polder in the St James's Foxhunter Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

 

Brown, whose stable star is entered in the Weatherbys Hamilton Mixed Open, had planned to return to Prestbury Park with the son of Kayf Tara for the hunter chase meeting in May: "He came out of the Foxhunter really well, but then had three completely different issues - including a freak thing with colic."

 

"His intestines shifted back. There is a gap between the intestines and the hip and his intestines moved into that space. When they were put back he was fine.  He seems fit and well and looks well. I can't do any more than I have done. We are hoping they don't have any more rain. Hopefully he will get good ground and have a good run."

 

Cousin Pete's rivals could include the dual Cheltenham Festival runner-up Southfield Theatre, who made a winning debut between the flags at Larkhill two weeks ago for the trainer-and-daughter team of Sara and Lily Bradstock.

 

Trained by Paul Nicholls under rules, the ten-year-old was beaten a nose by Fingal Bay in the 2014 Pertemps Network Final before finishing second to Don Poli in the RSA Chase a year later.

 

Sonneofpresenting, a five-time winner under rules for Kim Bailey, has joined owner-trainer-rider Sarah Rippon and features among a 16-strong entry.

 

There could also be a pointing debut for Tambura, now in the care of Paul Thompson - previouslytrained to win five hurdles by Godfrey Maundrell at Ogbourne St Andrew before he died last month at the age of 70.

 

Sam Jukes, who has the choice of riding the Emma Alvis-trained pair Chasforgold and Rye Cross in the mixed open, is confident of a bold show from Iberico, from his own Dymock yard, in the Carter Jonas Ten-Year-Olds And Over Conditions Race.  The 12-year-old won the 3m 6f contest two seasons ago, and then showed his edge when a fast-finishing second to Shotavodka at Barbury last month.

 

Jukes said: "I think his jumping let him down that day. The pace was a bit too quick for him, and I think with this extra six furlongs they will be going that bit slower and that should help his jumping.

He loves the course and always goes well there. I am hoping for a bit more rain."

 

The line-up could include two former Eider Chase winners in Portrait King and Milborough, who landed the 2012 and 2015 renewals of the Newcastle four-mile marathon respectively.

 

Formerly trained by Patrick Griffin in Ireland, Portrait King also finished third in last season's race, but will have to improve on being pulled up on his debut at Buckfastleigh for Johnny Farrelly's Twinhoe yard to feature here.   Milborough, meanwhile, lost his way under rules last term and is now with Victoria Collins.

 

Shropshire trainer Heidi Brookshaw could saddle the useful Global Power, while last year's third, The Dapper Fox, may have another crack for owner-trainer-rider Jack Veysey.

 

Tim Underwood will weigh up the opposition before deciding whether to let Tempelpirate bid to add to his 22 career wins in the Highflyer Bloodstock PPORA Club Members Conditions Race for Novice Riders.  The owner-trainer said: "Pirate runs if I think he has a squeak, but it could be very competitive."

 

His potential rivals include Sarah Humphrey's Local Show, who was chasing Karinga Dancer when unseating his rider at the second-last at Cottenham two weeks ago, and the Francesca Nimmo-trained Derksen, who ran out at the fourth in the same race.

 

With prize-money of £6,500, it's the richest raceday in the British calendar. In addition the winners of the Tattersalls Ireland and Albert Bartlett-sponsored open maidens will receive a voucher worth £500 each to be spent at any Irish sale thanks to a new initiative between Barbury and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.

 

Champion duo Phil Rowley and Alex Edwards have a leading fancy for the Tattersalls Ireland Four And Five-Year-Olds Open Maiden over 2m 4f in Levasseur, a half-length runner-up to Cawthorne at Tabley last term.

 

Nimmo will be hoping for better luck with Courtandbould, who was carried out at Larkhill two weeks ago when sent off joint favourite.  She has also entered Saintbury Lady, although the unraced daughter of Kayf Tara could instead tackle the Goffs UK Four, Five And Six-Year-Olds Jockey Club Open Maiden for Mares and Fillies over 2m4f.

 

Caroline Keevil's A Tipple Or Two, who was second to Limoncello at Cothelstone in May, also has both options.

 

From Ireland: 'Shark' Hanlon & team (January 2018)From Ireland: 'Shark' Hanlon & team (January 2018)Dibby Brown will assess ground conditions before making a decision on Mankala's participation in the Albert Bartlett Six-Year-Olds And Over Open Maiden.  The eight-year-old showed promise under rules: "He is going well and definitely wants good ground. It worries me that this is the last race. If it's chewed up he will probably head to Larkhill."

 

Twist On Ginge, another to display ability under rules, could bid to make a winning debut between the flags for rookie trainer Kate Bandey.

 

With the opening JRL Group Four, Five And Six-Year-Olds Point-to-Point Flat Race being divided, the meeting will now start at 11am.  Alex Edwards is an eye-catching jockey booking for Beat Star, from Diana Ralph's yard, in the first bumper.

 

Schiap Hill, runner-up to Strike Hollow at this meeting last January for Hannah Clarke, could bid to go one better in division two where Irish raider Be One, who also holds an entry in the following maiden, looks a likely candidate from John Joseph 'Shark' Hanlon's yard.

 

Clerk of the course John White reported on Monday that the going was good, with the bumpers to be run on the outside racing line.

 

Making it even more of an 'International' event will be the final leg of the Fegentri Gentlemen’s League. The League revisits Barbury for the last of a 10 race challenge across seven European countries, with legs in Ireland (Cork), France (Chateau Gontier, Le Lion d’Angers, Auteuil, Craon, & Compiegne), Belgium (Waregem), Italy (Merano), Czech Republic (Pardubice). Frenchman Guillaume Viel heads the leaderboard, pursued by Irishman Raymond Barron and  Noel George for Britain. These young riders are all products of the Point-to-Point and amateur circuit.

First race 11am.  Admission is £12 on the day or £10 in advance.  For more information & tickets visit www.barburyraces.co.uk.

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