The first race of the day, the maiden race over 2 miles 4 furlongs is at 12pm and has attracted the largest entry of the fixture with fourteen entries, all of whom would have a chance. Of the fourteen entries, three are based with local trainer David Phelan. Hermes Roque ran at Ampton over three miles on January 15th 2023 and pulled up having been prominent for much of the race, he wasn’t seen again until running in the 3 mile maiden at Horseheath on December 31st where he once again pulled up having been in touch until the thirteenth fence, so he could enjoy this shorter trip if he starts here. Stable mate Durty Harry also pulled up on his debut, in the 3 mile maiden at Horseheath on December 31st again having been prominent in the early stages of the race, and unseated at the sixteenth fence at Ampton on January 14th. Phelan’s final entry is Jus de raisin, a five year old who had two starts in Irish Point-to-Points in April 2023. He also pulled up in both of those races but might find the shorter trip a better option. Two further entrants have been running in Irish Point-to-Points, Rob Cundy trained Driveondonn finished second on his latest attempt in Ireland in May 2023, whilst Martin Wanless trained A Quick Risk most recently competed in a 3 mile Point-to-Point in Ireland in October 2023 where he finished sixth. Tim Underwood owned and trained Echo Gate has also been competing in National Hunt Hurdle races in Ireland but to date has not finished any better than fourth in eight starts in this sphere. He pulled up in his only start in a point-to-point at Larkhill on December 31st, but was in touch until the thirteenth fence so is another who should appreciate the shorter distance of this race.
William Rekert trained The Red Fella ran well on his debut at Larkhill in November 2023 and finished second in his recent start at Ampton on January 14th, beaten by a length in the closing stages of the race, so he could be the one to beat here. Tin Vaughan trained mare, Designer Destiny finished fourth in her latest start at Chaddesley Corbett on December 3rd over the longer three mile distance, and was in contention until approaching the penultimate fence when she started to weaken. Fellow mare, Kilfords Queen unseated early on in this race at Chaddesley Corbett on her first start. She unseated at the final fence at Larkhill on December 10th when beaten and pulled up on her only other start at Larkhill on December 31st, so she may still struggle here.
Tom Ellis trained Rushmount Boys finished seventh in his only start to date at Sheriff Hutton over this distance on January 14th whilst Nigel Padfield’s Vango Vick was placed in three of his five starts last season all over three miles. Hannah Clarke trained Royal Buck’s was sixth in a maiden race at Wadebridge in January 2023 but pulled up on two subsequent starts at Buckfastleigh and Cotley in 2023. Andrew Pennock trained The Orchard Boy and Francesca Poste trained Kykorock have yet to race, however that does not rule them out from winning if they face the starter here.
The maiden race is followed by the level two conditions race for Veteran Horses and has twelve entries. Oxfordshire based trainer Alan Hill has Back Bar and Hawkhurst entered, who between them have notched up twenty four victories in Point-to-Points. Hawkhurst finished second in a ladies open race at Wadebridge in December and was fourth more recently at Wadebridge on January 7th in a mixed open whilst Back Bar finished second in the ladies open at Horseheath on December 31st to Tigerbythetail. Rob Varnham trained Trappist Monk won the corresponding race at this fixture in 2023 and followed up this victory by defeating Back Bar in a Hunter Chase at Fontwell in February 2023 before he went on to win two point-to-points in April 2023. He was sixth in the mixed open at Horseheath on December 31st but should also be involved if he starts.
Hannah Hickman-Jones trained Buffalo Sabre finished fifth behind Trappist Monk in this race in 2023. He was placed in two starts at Parham in March and April 2023 but has pulled up in his last three starts most recently in a level two conditions race at Larkhill in December. Katie Featherstone’s Imperial Acolyte was also beaten by Trappist Monk in a men’s open race at Parham in April 2023 and finished behind Sarah Ashby owned and trained Monkey Puzzle who also has an entry here, when he won a level one conditions race at Godstone in May 2023. Monkey Puzzle has been placed in nine of his eleven starts, and was third more recently at Ampton in a Novice Riders Race three weeks ago.
Nigel Benstead owned and trained Thomas Junior missed 2023 but he was also beaten by Trappist Monk at Aldington in April 2022, but he may need this run having missed the 2023 season. Rob Cundy trained Myplaceatmidnight was fourth in this race last year behind Trappist Monk but he finished ahead of Buffalo Sabre. Myplaceatmidnight finished ten lengths fourth in his latest start in a level two conditions race at Ampton on January 14th.
William Rekert trained Why Didn’t Ya won a maiden race at Penshurst in March 2023, but the failed to complete in two starts in restricted company before finishing third at Parham in April 2023. He has pulled up on both starts to date this season at Larkhill and Ampton and he may find one or two too good if he starts here. Hannah Grissell trained Ballintara was placed in ladies open company in 2023 but pulled up in a level two conditions race for veteran horses three weeks ago at Ampton. Francesca Poste trained Russian Diamond was third in a men’s open at Alnwick on December 17th. He pulled up in the men’s open race won by Premier Magic at Sheriff Hutton on January 14th but then finished fifth in a Hunter Chase won by D’Jango at Warwick a week later. The other entry here is Tim Vaughan’s Tight Call who had not been seen on a racecourse since November 2021 until he made his first start in a point-to-point at Wadebridge in December in a level two veteran and novice riders race where he finished sixth having been prominent until the third fence from the finish.
The men’s open follows and could be the race of the day if entrants are declared to race. This is an option for Trappist Monk and Ballintara, however this could be a tougher task as Francesca Poste has her multiple winner Kaproyale entered. Kaproyale has won eight of his eleven starts in point-to-points and has won two of the four Hunter Chases he has run in and has been placed second in the other two. Andrew Pennock trained Raleagh Flora also has impressive form with two victories from four starts in point-to-points. He has also run in two hunter chases in May and June 2023, finishing first and second respectively.
Anthony Ward-Thomas owned and trained Viva Lavilla was previously with Dan Skelton and was placed in National Hunt Handicap Chases in 2023. He made his point-to-point debut at Larkhill in December and finished third in a ladies open race so it would not be a surprise if he also plays a part if he starts here. Nicholas Wright trained Red Maple has already been in the winner’s enclosure this season having won the novice riders race at Ampton three weeks ago finishing ahead of Jonjoela and Monkey Puzzle. Rob Cundy trained Castle Trump also found the winner’s enclosure at Ampton three weeks ago when he won the men’s open defeating Go Go Geronimo by a length and will be looking to follow up with a further victory here if he starts.
The other two entries for this race cannot be discounted either. Buachaill Dana trained by David Phelan was impressive in 2022 winning three of his five starts including the Southern Novice Championship Race. He did not show the same level of form in 2023 despite winning on his first start of the season in a novice rider’s race. He ran in the ladies open at Ampton in January and finished fifth, seventeen lengths behind the victor, Captain Biggles. Millbank Flyer has been placed in the top two places on nine of his eleven starts in point-to-points. He was second in a mixed open at Great Trethew in November 2023 but has pulled up in two subsequent starts at Chaddesley Corbett and Larkhill.
The ladies open is an option for Buachaill Dana, Red Maple, Viva Lavilla, Back Bar, Hawkhurst and Monkey Puzzle. Rob Varnham is likely to have Count Simon line up here, he won four of his ten starts in 2023 including the ladies open at Parham and Peper Harow where he beat Monkey Puzzle and Solomon Grey respectively. He was fourth in a ladies open at Larkhill in November 2023 and was fifth more recently in the men’s open won by Castle Trump at Ampton having weakened in the final stages of the race. He should benefit from that run and could get involved here.
Tom Ellis trained Loughan won the level three conditions race at Parham in March 2023 and was then victorious in a ladies conditions race at Godstone in May 2023. He also ran in the men’s open at Ampton finishing third behind Castle Trump but was ahead of Count Simon on that occasion, so a big run should be expected from him. Lusitanien was previously with Fergal O’Brien, he won a two mile national hunt chase in September 2023 and was then placed second in two further national hunt chases in October 2023. He is now trained by Edward Rees and could appreciate the drop to point-to-pointing although he is yet to have raced in this sphere. The final entry for the ladies open is Cooldine Bog. He was third in a level two conditions race at Mosshouses in April 2023, but the pulled up in his next two starts which included a hunter chase. He is now trained by Amber Jackson-Fennell and this could be his first start since moving stables.
Cooldine Bog also has the option of running in the level three conditions race which is also an option for Imperial Acolyte, Myplaceatmidnight and Buffalo Sabre. Rob Varnham trained Ripper Roo is entered here, previously with Olly Murphy he ran in national hunt chases in early 2023. He ran well in the novice rider’s race at Cocklebarrow in January 2024 on his first start for Rob, finishing third and should be a danger here. Wireless Operator found the winner’s enclosure on both of his starts at Parham in 2023 but is another who has moved stable for this season. Now trained by Hannah Clarke he unseated on two starts at Larkhill in December 2023 but was five lengths second on his most recent start at Wadebridge on January 7th in a novice rider’s race. He has ability and could also be involved if he lines up for the starter. Streets Of London owned and trained by Nigel Benstead has been placed in the top three in fourteen of his eighteen starts. He missed 2023 but if showing any of his old form will also be one to get involved here.
Alan Hill trained Urban Grit finished second on his seasonal reappearance in a restricted race at Badbury Rings in November 2023, he was sixth on his most recent start, again in restricted company at Ampton but he should not be discounted here. Sum it Up has moved from Andrew Pennock’s yard to Anthony Humphrey. He won a level two conditions race for novice riders at Garthorpe in April 2022 but pulled up on his first start since changing stable in the novice riders race at Ampton won by Red Maple and this might also be a struggle. Tim Underwood’s Cusp Of Carabelli was previously running under rules in Ireland where he recorded three victories but the most recent was in February 2021. He has had one start in point-to-points since joining Tim Underwood where he pulled up in a level two conditions race at Larkhill on New Year’s Eve. Hannah Grissell trains Just A Sting who is the other entry here. He last raced in December 2021 finishing eighth in a national hunt chase at Wincanton and he may also benefit from the drop to point-to-pointing.
Racing concludes with the restricted race which is an option for the William Rekert trained duo of Why Didn’t Ya and The Red Fella. Hannah Grissell trained Westtara won the maiden at Aldington in April 2023 and was then placed in two further starts last season in restricted races. He finished third in the restricted at Ampton on January 14th which should stand him in good stead if he starts here. His challenge could come from Alan Hill trained Our Brother John who won the restricted by six lengths at Larkhill on December 10th and will be looking for another victory if he makes the journey to Charing. Tim Vaughan trained Mary’s Fortune will also be a threat, she was a comfortable winner of the maiden race at Great Trethew in November 2023 and was challenging for the lead when falling in the closing stages of the restricted race at Wadebridge in December 2023.
Nigel Padfield owned and trained Penniless is a course winner having won the two mile four furlong maiden at this fixture in 2023. He then won the restricted race at Parham in March 2023 but pulled up in his only other start in 2023 in the hunt member’s race at High Easter but that does not exclude him here. Right Hand Of God trained by Hannah Clarke also should not be discounted, he finished behind Penniless in the maiden at Charing in February 2023 but then won the maiden at Parham in April 2023 and finished second in two starts in restricted company, both at Kingston Blount in May 2023. He finished fourth in his first start of this season in the restricted at Badbury Rings in November.
Shropshire based Laura Richardson trains Jeux D’Eau who is also entered for this race, he won the maiden at Tabley in May 2023 and has since run in a restricted race at Sheriff Hutton on January 14th and finished third. Miss Carli Fay trained by Mark Grant makes up the entries for this race. She won an Irish point-to-point at Belclare in March 2023, she was then fifth in a mare’s only point-to-point before running in national hunt hurdle races in Ireland. She then returned to Irish point-to-points at the end of 2023 finishing fourth in a mare’s only race and then pulling up in her next start. In her first start for Mark Grant, she ran in the restricted at Chipley Park two weeks ago and was in contention until mid-way through the race and pulled up at the penultimate fence. She may find one or two tough to beat here too.
Racing starts at 12pm with gates open from 10am. Admission is £15 per person (cash only) with under 16’s admitted for free, and race cards at £3 (cash only). There will be food outlets and a bar and dogs are welcome on short leads. Wrap up and come and enjoy a day at the races.
The postcode for the course is TN27 0JD and What3words is rejoins.freshest.rudder. Charing railway station is a 10-15 minute walk from the course.