Following a four week break, the Northern Area Point-to-Point season resumes on Sunday
with the popular Tynedale fixture at the Downhills course near Corbridge.
It has attracted 98 entries on a seven race card starting at 12.30pm and,
as usual, the main action is preceded by two pony races from 11.30am.
The majority of the 16 horses listed for the opening Riders Conditions Race are also entered in another race on the card. Winged Crusader has won his last two starts in Ladies Open company at Alnwick and is better off at the weights than he would be taking up his other option in the Ladies Open under an 8lb penalty. Shantou Magic (right) was quite impressive when landing the Border Men's Open on his reappearance in early December and can be excused his last run when 8th to Purcell's Bridge at Friars Haugh returning from an eight week break. Lord Usher kept on well in the closing stages when ten lengths 4th to the useful Path To Freedom at Sheriff Hutton and should again be in the mix. Exit Ten won first time out here in Maiden company last season, while Alright Marlene changed hands at Doncaster Sales last May following her Mares Maiden victory at Bellurgan Park the previous month.ion.
There are 21 entries in the Open Maiden Race for four, five, six and seven-year-olds. The one that stands out is Chris Pimlott's ex-Irish recruit, Classical Daytime, who finished runner-up on good ground at Ballinaboola and Lingstown in November. He was sent off favourite at Lingstown under Jamie Codd and the fifteen lengths winner that day, Minella Royale sold for £100,000 at Cheltenham in December. Just Don't Know (left,8) made a promising debut when two lengths 2nd to Costly Dream at Friars Haugh, Hooligan Jack probably needs more cut in the ground, while Just Jerry, Princess Scorpion and The Silver Prince all have scope for improvement. The dark horses are Peter Fahey's unraced four-year-olds, One For Dunstan and Tom O'Roughley, who were both five figure purchases at the Goffs Landrover National Hunt Sale last June.
The Ladies Open Race could see the first three home in last month's Jedforest equivalent meeting again. Nicki's Nipper (Amie Waugh) beat Rossini's Dancer (Mhairi Ogilvie) by seven lengths that day with Abbeyview (Laura Fenwick) a further two lengths away in third, and only has a 4lb penalty for that success. This stayers track should suit the ultra consistent Iron Chancellor (right), while Charlotte Crane can choose between Knocklong and ex-chaser, Seefood, who has an official rating of 125.
Feature event on the card is the 3m5f Men's Open Race for the William Bell Memorial Gold Cup. The North's top stayer, One Conemara looked as good as ever when beating Wither Or Not at Sheriff Hutton and is bidding for a fourth consecutive win in this contest. Wayupinthesky took the 2015 renewal and also landed a Club Members here in 2017. Streets Of Milan (left) won last year's Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase at Hexham but finished a remote 6th on his reappearance at Alnwick. West Percy Open scorer, Gran Paradiso and Worcester Pearmain, who has tasted defeat only once in four outings below Open company this term, have yet to win over this extended trip.
The 18 entries for the NPPA Conditions Race include the aforementioned Lord Usher, Wayupinthesky and Worcester Pearmain. Sorcier scored on his debut here in March 2011 as a five-year-old and made it two wins from his last three starts when beating Myoldman by six lengths on his recent seasonal debut in the Jedforest Intermediate. Cave Hunter (5lb penalty) has won two of his three starts at Corbridge in the last five years, while Roderick Random (right) shaped well last time out when ten lengths 4th to Kalabaloo at Alnwick. Meldrum Lad's best form under Rules in his previous yard was over two and a half miles and he has been off the track for almost sixteen months. The latter's stable companion, Monte Alban is on a hat-trick following Maiden and Restricted victories at Alnwick.
The Cherry Coward-trained mare, Alright Marlene also features among the 9 entries for the Restricted Race. Jess Bedi's new recruit, Buck Dancing was placed in 4 of his 18 starts under Rules in Ireland after landing a Lisronagh Maiden in May 2013. The likely favourite is Hardrock Davis (left), who stayed on well to beat African Belle by four lengths in the 2m4f Jedforest Maiden and that form was franked when the runner-up went one better at Brocklesby Park last Saturday. Costly Dream made all when getting off the mark at Friars Haugh having previously finished a close third to Donnie Brasco at Alnwick. Rushour Ryan has changed hands since winning a Courtown Maiden in April 2018 and is now with Laura Fenwick.
The concluding Open Maiden Race for eight-year-olds and over has 8 entries. Oakham raider, Raleagh Mountain has been placed in 5 of his 9 starts in this grade in the last thirteen months. Steel's Cotton finished seven lengths 5th to Fair Exchange in the 2018 renewal and was twelve lengths 3rd to Costly Dream at Friars Haugh last month. About Time might need the run after being off the track for twenty two months,
while Emory (right) rarely finishes out of the first four and returned from an eight months break when 4th to Sommervieu at Duncombe Park last Sunday.
The course is situated 3 miles north of Corbridge, with access off the B6318 and a separate exit road to the A68.