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Tynedale Preview 2014
By Peter Burgon

Point-to-Point enthusiasts have a feast of action in prospect in Sunday's Tynedale fixture at the Downhills course near Corbridge,
with a bumper total of 124 entries on a seven race card which starts at 12.30pm.
In addition, a record 25 entries have been received for the pony racing,
which precedes the main event at 11.30am, with the 138cm and 148 cm contests both being run in two divisions.
Last year's winner, Cast Iron Casey heads the 9 entries for the opening South Northumberland Hunts Club Members Race. Val Jackson's charge could only finish sixth in the recent Sinnington Mixed Open but is sure to improve for that run and must go close in his follow up bid. Of the others, Coastley's only appearance in the last forty months was a winning one in the 2013 Haydon Members, Border Flora (right green cap) scored at Dalston and Hexham last season, Management was not beaten far when placed in Ladies Opens at Easingwold and Witton Castle last term, while Charlotte Tailford has her first ride on Tranwell specialist, Rennington Blue.

There are 24 entries in the Open Maiden Race for 4, 5, 6 and 7 year olds. Rathsallagh (left) and Yon Dora shaped well when placed in their respective Maiden contests at Friars Haugh on January 26, while Hardy Oscar finished five lengths 3rd to Central Flame over two and a half miles at Alnwick on January 19. The unraced Tambour Major is sure to have been well schooled by Philippa Shirley-Beavan ahead of his hunt racing debut, while The Gotfor Man should also be in the mix if reproducing the form which saw him finish seven lengths 4th of 15 to the useful Minella For Value in a Bellewstown Maiden Hurdle in August.
The NPPA Club Members Race has 22 entries including 2013 winner, Cool Star. Nick Alexander's Kinneston yard is in red hot form with three winners under Rules in the last week and the hat-trick seeking Present Potential (right) looks the one to beat. Cave Hunter made virtually all when landing the West Percy Restricted and is still on the upgrade, Victor Thompson's gelding Sharivarry scored with plenty in hand at Crossford last time, Glen Lord won this race in 2012, while the Lesley Coltherd-trained Anotherbuck usually goes well fresh.
The Ladies Open Race over three miles and five furlongs is a true test of stamina and can go the way of Sea Scout for the third year in a row. After a below-par effort on his reappearance at Alnwick in January, he bounced back to form when runner-up to Elusive Swallow at Duncombe Park a fortnight ago and has 14lb less to carry here. The other 15 entries include Tipsy Dara (left), Rowan Road, Sorcier and Sacred Mountain. The former gave Gemma Cochrane an armchair ride when scoring in testing underfoot conditions at Crossford, Rowan Road won over a similar trip under Rules in December 2012, Sorcier has been lightly raced since making a winning debut at Corbridge in March 2011, while Sacred Mountain was quite impressive when landing an AGA Ladies qualifier at Alnwick in January before finishing a well beaten fifth in a Kelso Hunters' Chase next time.
The Men's Open Race for the William Bell Memorial Gold Cup is also run over the extended trip of three miles and five furlongs and looks made to measure for proven stayer, Gunner Jack. He relishes Corbridge's stiff uphill finish and is bidding for a record-breaking four-timer in the contest after landing the spoils in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Ed Wrigley's mount looked as good as ever when making a successful seasonal debut at Crossford three weeks ago. Of the others, ex-chaser, The Falklander (right) had plenty in hand when taking the West Percy Men's Open on soft going in January, while Noir Et Vert, Senor Alco and Captain Americo also merit consideration.
Four of this year's Maiden winners are listed among the 17 entries in a competitive looking Restricted Race. Splendid Blue (left, blue cap) and Kalastar both stayed on well when scoring first time out at the Jedforest fixture on January 26, Mr Shahady jumped boldly at the head of affairs when getting off the mark at Crossford, while the promising Central Flame won over a shorter trip at Alnwick. In addition, Lowanbehold's efforts in Ireland last May and June suggest that he could also be on the premises.
The concluding Open Maiden Race for 8 year olds and over has 19 entries and looks a tricky affair for punters to solve with recent form figures down the card showing more letters than numbers. My shortlist comprises Justjoe, Blue Bertie and Ballycarbery. The former caught the eye on his first start for Craig Wanless when 3rd to Burtredgipandgump at Duncombe Park having held every chance at the last. Blue Bertie also ran well for a long way when sixth in the other division of the Maiden that day, while Ballycarbery (right) finished in the first four at Alnwick and Crossford.