Point to Point Steeplechases
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Braes of Derwent Point to Point 2012 - Preview By Peter Burgon









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The Northern Area point-to-point season resumes after a two week break with the Braes of Derwent fixture at the Downhills course near Corbridge on Sunday. It has attracted 135 entries on a seven race card, with a record total of 2850 prize money on offer.
The action gets under way at 1.30pm with the Members Race, in which Iveston farrier, Russell Ross has every chance of sending out the winner for the fourth year in a row, following Boher Storm's victories in 2009 & 2010, and Hubble Bubble (right) in 2011. That duo make up 50% of this year's entry list, with the latter having a distinct fitness advantage. The other 2 entries are Classic Contours, who has failed to finish in three starts this season, and Loaded Dice, who dead-heated in the Zetland Members Race in May 2009.
The hat-trick seeking Rakavilee heads the 15 entries for the Intermediate Race, on the back of impressive wins at Alnwick and Corbridge earlier in the campaign. His main rivals are likely to be Glen Lord, who was only headed close home by Temple Green (left) at Tranwell last time, and Rapidolyte De Ladalka.
Dual Alnwick scorer, Buckstruther extended his unbeaten run in great style at Dalston on Easter Monday and a four-timer is on the cards in the Men's Open Race. The battle for the minor placings may chiefly concern Dix Villez (right), Gunner Jack and ex-chaser, See You There.
Sea Scout has won 3 of his 4 starts this season and tops the 20 entries for the Ladies Open Race, however his participation probably hinges on the going turning soft by Sunday. The list also includes Tiger Billy (left), Qollioure and Putitawayforayear, all successful in this grade in 2012.
Cool Star could not have been more impressive when leading from start to finish on his hunt racing debut at Dalston, and David Carr's charge looks the one to beat in the Restricted Race. In a competitive-looking contest, other recent maiden winners to note are Merry Minster (right), Tommysteel and Yorkshire raider, Tegenaria Atrica. The form of the latter's win at Charm Park on Easter Monday was given a boost when the third, Indalo Return got off the mark at Mordon six days later.
After being placed on both starts this year at Crossford and Tranwell, Trianconi can make it a case of third time lucky in the Open Maiden Race as he will be ideally suited by Corbridge's stiff uphill finish. The majority of the other 21 entries have more letters than numbers in their form figures, with the exception of Skybull, Harbour Way and Exciting Car (left).
The concluding Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds has 32 entries, and will be divided on the day if more than 18 horses are declared. Nickwillis found only Mandarin Sunset and Morello Mist too good at Corbridge and Dalston respectively, and a repeat of those efforts should be enough for him to go one better here. The main dangers are the improving Clonea Power (right), in the frame at Friars Haugh and Dalston on his most recent starts, and Nalim, who finished a neck 2nd to the aforementioned Tegenaria Atrica at Charm Park.