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Braes of Derwent Preview 2015
By Peter Burgon

The Northern Area point-to-point season continues with the
Braes of Derwent fixture at the Downhills course near Corbridge on Sunday 19th April.

The opening Members Race at 1.30pm has only received one entry, resulting in a walk-over for Kate Leckenby's mount, Hardy Oscar.

The 10 entries for the Intermediate Race include last month's Tynedale winners, Shannon Silver (left), Boy In Bangkok and The Gotfor Man. The former is still on the upgrade and followed up his Corbridge success in the Holderness Restricted two weeks later. The Gotfor Man also scored next time out at Friars Haugh before finding only Splendid Blue too good in the Duke of Buccleuch's Men's Open. Dun Faw Good is unbeaten this term following wins at Alnwick and Friars Haugh, while the consistent Master Butcher, two wins and two second places from four starts, will appreciate a sounder surface.
The Gotfor Man is also listed in the 12 entries for the Men's Open Race along with Splendid Blue (right), Cave Hunter, Clonea Power and Ballyvesey. Cave Hunter was the Northern Area's top performer last season with five wins from seven starts but has been restricted to a couple of outings in 2015 and fell on his last appearance in a Catterick Hunters' Chase on March 4. Clonea Power and Ballyvesey are more effective on good ground, while Joanna Boswell's progressive mare, Splendid Blue extended her unbeaten sequence at Friars Haugh to five with two wins there in March.
Durban Gold (left)  landed the 3m5f Tynedale Ladies Open seven weeks ago and edged out Rolecarr in a thrilling finish at Dalston on Easter Monday. The duo are expected to meet again in Sunday's equivalent, in which the other 8 entries include Temple Green, Drill Sergeant and Fozy Moss.
Last month's Crossford scorer, Afterclass has also finished in the first four on his other five starts and is guaranteed to figure prominently in the Restricted Race. Of the other 10 entries, Beau D'Argent recorded her first win for three years in the Hurworth Members on March 21, Blue Bertie got off the mark here in March 2014, Farm Pixie (right) was quite impressive when losing his maiden tag under Charlotte Dun at Friars Haugh, while Hardy Oscar, Paddy's Wish and Oscar Stanley also enter calculations in a competitive-looking affair.
There are only 6 entries for the Open Maiden Race. Awman (left), Hawk Azira and Kildare Blowin were all pulled up last time out, while Blue Lodge was beaten more than twenty five lengths when 4th at Hornby Castle last Sunday. The 2 top-rated horses, Mister Kit and Whatsthestoryman are also entered in the other Open Maiden contest. Mister Kit only weakened after the last when finishing a close 3rd behind Pharawaydante and Scuderia on her reappearance at Dalston on Easter Monday, while Whatsthestoryman has finished runner-up in four of his five starts in 2015 and deserves to get his head in front.
The concluding Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds has 7 entries. Bollin Buster, Don't Point, Hawk Azira and Just A Gin were all pulled up on their most recent outings. The aforementioned Mister Kit (right) and Whatsthestoryman may well avoid each other, while the other one to consider is Tulliroad, who only weakened after three out when sixth to Lady's Favourite on her seasonal debut at Friars Haugh five weeks ago. That form has subsequently been boosted by the placed horses, Nelly La Rue and The Toft, who have both won since.

The course is situated 3 miles north of Corbridge,
with access off the B6318 and a separate exit road to the A68.
For SatNav users, the post code is NE45 5QD.