POINT-TO-POINT PRESS RELEASE
Issued on behalf of the West Midland Area Point-to-Point Secretaries Association
PREVIEW OF GLOUCESTER RACES AND COUNTRY FAIR
MAISEMORE PARK, NEAR GLOUCESTER (GL2 8XH)
SUNDAY 31ST MARCH
FIRST POINT-TO-POINT RACE: - 2 PM (GATES OPEN 10 A.M.)
Gloucester Races promises to build on last years success and there is plenty on offer for those thinking of attending Sunday’s meeting at Maisemore Park.
Gates open at 10 am and there is a full programme of events leading up to the first Point-to-Point race 4 hours later. This includes a ferreting demonstration at 10-30, followed by a Gun Dog display 30 minutes later and then Falconry and terrier racing. The first of three Pony Races commences at 12-15 and local trainer Matt Sheppard and jockey Dave Mansell will provide an introduction to racing at 1-30.
In addition, visitors can also enjoy browsing over 40 stalls in the tented shopping pavilion, showcasing local and artisan food and drink plus a range of gifts, handmade crafts and clothing, along with trade stands, food outlets, licensed bar and bookmakers.
The meeting finishes with a new “After Party” from 5-45 pm in the Clavell & Hind Beer Tent which will feature live music from The Shadow Monkeys.
This is Clive Bennett’s home meeting and the Dymock based owner nominated the Mixed Open immediately after Marcle Ridge had won at Chaddesley Corbett earlier in the season. The youngster has run up a four-race winning sequence but this is by far his stiffest task to date with 14 of the 20 entries all rated over 100.
He does have one thing in his favour as he gets weight from more experienced rivals but it remains to be seen if that proves the deciding factor.
Marcle Ridge likes to front run as does Don Bersy who has won his last two races but has to carry an 8lb penalty as a result of those successes. The Ross on Wye trained gelding appears to have an easier option at Monmouth the day before, while Facile Ben, Premier Portrait, Salvatore and Warden Hill have the same rating so it depends who performs best on the day.
Templebraden ran last week so his connections are likely to rely on stablemate Green Winter although a return visit to Larkhill, the scene of a triumph earlier in the season could be rewarding.
It has all the makings of an intriguing contest and much will depend on who runs where at the weekend.
Woolhope based Sophie Lacey and her husband Tom have often used the short Maiden at this meeting as a stepping stone for their racecourse debutants and this fact will ensure the bookmakers do not take any chances with newcomer Neville’s Cross, an expensive purchase from Ireland last summer.
The template of sourcing un-raced horses at the Sales and producing them to win their Maidens is a model that is gaining momentum in some quarters. Lacey and Phil Rowley are two exponents of this strategy and the latter could confront his rival with The Grey Scholar.
Breaking the Ice is the one with racecourse experience having finished runner up at Charlton Horthorne so it will be surprising if the winner does not come from these three.
The Conditions is also run over 2 miles and 5 furlongs and with the Rowley stable in such fine form Undisputed is bound to be well supported, although it is not difficult to find holes in his form.
Joey Kangaroo and Uppertown Hawk have shown good form when conditions firm up but both are making their seasonal debuts and the latter has to carry a 10 lb penalty which looks sure to scupper his chances.
The one to keep an eye on is Gabrial the Great who ran well for a long way at the Ross Harriers. His rivals will need to keep their wits about them because if they give him too much rope, they may live to regret it.
There are no outstanding candidates for the Club Members Maiden, as most of them have already spurned chances to open their accounts. You Know the Story and Albert Cutler have both been placed recently, while Loodeen finished a good second to Interconnected last year but a couple of falls have affected his confidence.
Magheral Express scored a surprise win for Hasfield based trainer Julie Mansell and owner Keith Bayliss at Monmouth Showground a month ago and connections seem to have found another winning opportunity in the Intermediate.
Bleu et Or and Captain McGinley may give him most to do, while Gadrose is better than the third place she recorded at Kingston Blount recently. R Bren beat one of Phil Rowley’s runners The Odissey at the same meeting and was due to go to Ascot Sales but has subsequently joined Sam Jukes stables.
Grove Castle and Stay Out of Court look the main dangers, but on form Monbeg Oscar looks sure to prevail, although there has to be a slight doubt about the Rucker runner who has so many placed efforts to his credit.
Ballybroker Breeze is the highest rated horse in the Members, but that is based on his National Hunt form which does not always translate to Point-to-Points and a watching brief is suggested until he has shown what he is capable of.
There are question marks over most of the runners including Rye Cross who has yet to meet his previous high standards. He seems to be coming back to his best based on his recent run at Siddington so it may be worth taking a chance.
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