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2023 Race Preview

Written by Peter Burgon

All roads lead to Hexham Racecourse on Saturday 20th May for the Haydon fixture, the grand finale of the Northern Area Point-to-Point season, which has attracted 75 entries on a seven race card starting at 2.00pm.

Cuneo did little wrong when finishing runner-up at Friars Haugh and Corbridge before deservedly getting his head in front at Mosshouses. A reproduction of those efforts should see him go close in the opening Lycetts Insurance and Financial Services Conditions Race in which the pick of the other 9 entries are course winners Ridelonglivelong and Ryans Fancy.

Whateveryousay heads the 12 entries for the Shotton Waste Services Maiden Race. Robert Wilkinson's charge has been running in a higher grade this season and produced a career-best when finishing third to Matts Commission in the Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase last Saturday. This represents a significant drop in class and he can get off the mark at the main expense of High On The Hill and Direct Drilling.

The 2m4f Jacksons of Hexham Maiden Race has 13 entries including Easter Glory, Hawkseye View, Lord Pethers, Loughrask Poet and Tokyo Calling. The latter trio have all finished in the first four on at least one occasion this season, the lightly raced Easter Glory caught the eye when 5th at Mosshouses, while Hawkseye View might well have won on debut at Overton had he not been brought down on the flat after three out.

Warwickshire-based champion trainer Tom Ellis has already sent out 67 Pointing winners in another record-breaking season and will be represented by General Arrow or Loughan in the 2m4f Graham Reader Motor Engineer Ladies Open, the first time a Ladies Open has been run at this shorter trip in the North.His selected runner will be partnered by wife Gina Andrews who is guaranteed to win the National Ladies Championship for a tenth time. General Arrow prefers a sound surface and has a 44% strike rate for the yard over the last few seasons, including wins at Didmarton and Askham Bryan this term, while Loughan opened his account at Hexham in November 2021 and has recorded 4 of his 5 Pointing wins at this trip. The main danger is the locally trained Fightfortheroses who has been running consistently well all year and is only 1pt behind Glory in the Northern Area Champion Horse standings, while dual Overton scorer Vivas should also be in the mix.

The 10 entries for the featured JS Hubbuck Ltd Men's Open Race included the highly rated trio of Takethepunishment, Salvatore and Cullin Hills. The ultra consistent Takethepunishment hasn't finished out of the first two on his last 9 Pointing starts and his last outing over an inadequate trip at Cheltenham on May 5 can be ignored. Shropshire raider Salvatore has won 11 of 21 Pointing starts since February 2018 and landed a Musselburgh Hunters' Chase when he ventured north earlier this year, while this season's prolific Pointing winner Cullin Hills has shown her best form on a softer surface.

 

Proven stayer Queen Kalamba won't be making the 10-hour round trip from Oxfordshire just for a change of scenery and can provide Amber Jackson-Fennell with a 12th winner of the season in the Insync Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic to maintain her slender lead over Molly Landau in the National Ladies Novice Championship. The main dangers are Carriglux who won on heavy ground at Sheriff Hutton seven weeks ago and the lightly raced Black Aphrodisiac who was narrowly beaten at Witton Castle on his first outing for thirteen months.

Recent winners Ask Cory, Darius Des Sources, Pillowman and Wishfull Dreaming should all figure prominently in the concluding High Plains Conditions Race for 8-year-olds and over. Slight preference is for ex-chaser Ask Cory who stayed on strongly in the closing stages when giving Chloe McHattie a memorable debut winner at Corbridge on Easter Monday. The other one to note is Nick Orpwood's mount Watch Law who will win the Northern Area Novice Horse Championship if he finishes in the first two.

The main action is preceded at 1.00pm by 3 pony races sponsored by Bespoke Financial Wellbeing. They have attracted a total of 18 entries including Judge Fox who is seeking an 8th win of the season in the 148cm Open contest.

Admission is £15 per person including a racecard, with under 16's free. (Cash only on the gate and bar)

The post code for SatNav users is NE46 2JP and the course is well signposted off the A69.

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Edward Dungait

National Young Farmers Chairman

With a personal riding career of 2 Falls and 0 Wins, I may not have the expertise you need.

But here’s my picks for the punters. 

 

Looking at the Maiden Conditions, I’m not a fan of DIRECT DRILLING myself, it still has a lot to prove. A more conventional choice is a safer option. But I’m still undecided so I’d go with WHATEVERYOUSAY.

 

The Card for the Ladies brings back memories I’d rather forget. Last valentine’s I got in a FIGHTFORTHEROSES with SOME BLOKE at Hexham garage, and I lost out badly. So I’d say both will have a decent chance. 

I was just trying to find a way to finally woo Gina Tailford, the Haydon Hunt Secretary. She used to be a close friend always calling round, and I just MISSTHECUDDLES – got a chance in the 2nd. 

I thought a nice gift may get her GAME AS A PHEASANT – it’s worth a punt. 

Same old story for me though I suppose, WISHFUL DREAMING – got no chance. 

I guess she’ll say we’re just friends. OKEY DOKEY – unsure how this’ll run but always worth a go. 

 

It’s been said that MATTHEWMAN best years are behind him. A long way past his peak, too old, needs to give up the game and retire. Sounds familiar, I feel for you mate. 

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