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Tynedale Preview 2017
By Peter Burgon

The Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumes after a three week break
with the Tynedale fixture at the Downhills course
near Corbridge on Sunday 26th February.
It has attracted 102 entries on a seven race card starting at 12.30pm, and, as usual,
the main action will be preceded by two pony races from 11.30am.
The opening Lycetts Insurance Brokers Tynedale Hunts Club Members Riders Conditions Race has 15 entries. Dica landed the 2016 renewal first time out but faces a stiff task in his follow up bid against the likes of Auldthunder, Klepht and The Highlander (right). The latter has gone from strength to strength since getting off the mark here last February and was very impressive when taking the recent Sinnington Mixed Open. Ex-chaser, Auldthunder should be in the mix in the hands of Hexham's Conservative MP, Guy Opperman, while Klepht won a Musselburgh Hunters' Chase on his reappearance last term.

There are more letters than numbers in the recent form figures of the majority of the 20 entries for the Mick Watson Memorial Open Maiden Race for 4,5,6 & 7 year olds which is sponsored by Euro Hostels. The dark horse is the unraced Diamond Brig - his full brother, Over To Sam landed the corresponding contest on his debut last season before changing hands and going on to score at the first time of asking over hurdles at Exeter. Punch Bowl comes from a yard that has a good strike rate with their runners first time out, while Ginginny and Jupiters Way (left) are both heading in the right direction.
The meeting features the two main stamina tests of the season with both Open Races run over three miles and five furlongs. Stable companions, Pena Dorada and Wind Of Hope head the 9 entries for the Bond Dickinson Ladies Open contest. The former lost nothing in defeat when 4th to Wonderful Charm in a valuable Musselburgh Hunters' Chase earlier in the month, while Wind Of Hope (right) was only beaten a neck by Damiens Dilemma on his reappearance at Friars Haugh last month, with Oscar Stanley a further four lengths away in third that day.
The 16 entries for the Brewin Dolphin Men's Open are headed by proven stayer, One Conemara (left), who beat Shannon Silver by ten lengths in last year's renewal. Jamie Alexander can choose between Allthekingshorses and Royal Chatelier; Solid Strike, who got off the mark on last year's card and rounded off his campaign by finishing a close 4th to Lilbitluso at Cheltenham, will relish this stiffer test, while the aforementioned Pena Dorada also makes the shortlist if bypassing the Ladies equivalent.
Pyjama Game (right,white cap) is the only one of the 18 entries for the Land Factor NPPA Club Members Race with winning form this season. He jumped and travelled well when landing the Percy equivalent three weeks ago and only has to carry a 3lb penalty for that victory. Stable companions, The Ice Factor and Wayupinthesky have the ability to be in the thick of the action and the same comment applies to Royal Chatelier and Viacometti.
My Lady West posted a career-best effort when only beaten a head by Pyjama Game in the recent Percy Club Members and a reproduction of that form should see Victor Thompson's mare take the Tilney Restricted Race. Active In Milan and Roderick Random (left) opened their accounts on the same Alnwick card but recorded much slower times than My Lady West. Of the others, Asheanymoney and Sorcier were both placed last time out at Friars Haugh and Alnwick respectively.
The Volvo Open Maiden Race for 8 year olds and over (10 entries) rounds off proceedings at 3.30pm. Lord Usher (right,white sleeves) tops the ratings on the back of two 3rd place finishes at Alnwick. Kate Leckenby's mount was only beaten half a length by Active In Milan last time and, on paper, this looks a weaker affair. Clara Peggotty was placed four times over hurdles last year from Tom Gretton's yard; Charlie Snow Angel has been off the track since running twice under Rules in the first half of 2014, while Preacher's Belle has finished in the first four on four of her last six outings.

Following the disappointing news that the Braes of Derwent fixture will not be taking place in April,
Sunday's Tynedale card will be the only hunt racing action at Corbridge in 2017.

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.