Point to Point racing returns to the South East area on Sunday when Charing hosts the first of the area’s fixtures for 2023, where the going is currently good.
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 fifteen entries. Local trainer David Phelan has two entries here, Hermes Roque and Panorama Ridge. Hermes Roque ran at Ampton over three miles on January 15th and pulled up having been prominent for much of the race, so he may enjoy the shorter trip. Panorama Ridge also ran at Ampton on January 15th and finished fourth in the second division of the maiden, and again he was prominent til the closing stages of the race, so it would not be a surprise to see him make it into the winner’s enclosure here. Steve Spice who also trains locally has Jasmin des Bordes entered, he was a close second in his last race at Parham in March 2022 when falling at the final fence, he clearly has the ability and he would not be a shock winner here. Hannah Grissell based in East Sussex has three entries; Gold Bandit, Robin Is Ready and Westtara. Gold Bandit has not run since February 2022 where he pulled up at Charing over this distance, Robin Is Ready pulled up in the same race as Hermes Roque at Ampton and much like Hermes Roque was prominent til the final stages of the race so he may well be involved in the finish if he lines up here. Westtara came close to losing his maiden status last season so he is also one to watch if he lines up here.
Other local entries include Ker Melba for Fiona Dennington who was third over this distance at Barbury Racecourse in December 2021 and then pulled up at High Easter over three miles in March 2022 and Why Didn’t Ya for owner, trainer, jockey William Rekert who was sixth in an Irish point-to-point at Lingstown in November 2022.
Warwickshire based trainer Tom Ellis often leaves Charing with a hoard of trophies and he has two entries, Bank On Frank and Tigerbythetail. Bank On Frank will be making his racecourse debut whilst Tigerbythetail has had five runs over hurdles between November 2021 and April 2022 and was
Oxfordshire based Alan Hill also regularly collects trophies within the South East area and he has Purple Empora entered with James King booked for the ride. Purple Empora has had two starts over this distance finishing second at Mollington in April 2022 and fourth at Chaddesley Corbett in December, and he could be the bookies favourite if he lines up here.
Essex based Nigel Padfield is also a frequent visitor to the winner’s enclosure and he also has two entries, Penniless and Super Dawn. Penniless finished fifth in an Irish point-to-point at Stowlin in May 2022 whilst Super Dawn also showed ability in Ireland finishing second in a point-to-point at Rathcommon. The final two entries are Nicola Kappler trained Red Diamond who was fifth in a three mile maiden at Dingley in April 2022 before pulling up in his subsequent start at Garthorpe in April 2022 and Hannah Clarke trained Right Hand of God who was a last fence faller at Aldington on Easter Monday 2022 when beaten but was third over three miles at Wadebridge in January finishing no more than a length behind the winner so he too could find the winners enclosure if he makes the journey to Charing on Sunday.
The second race of the day is the RoR and Jockey Club Veteran Horse Level 2 Conditions race for horses aged nine years or older and has attracted eleven entries. Rob Varnham was the South East Area leading trainer in 2022 and he has Trappist Monk entered. Trappist Monk was sixth in a hunter chase at Cheltenham in April and has subsequently win a level 3 conditions race at Badbury Rings in November before finishing ninth in a mixed open at Chaddesley Corbett in December. David Phelan has Fox Valley entered who was previously trained by Tom Ellis. He pulled up in his first start for his new trainer at Ampton in January but should come on for that run. Scooby is another entry who has changed stable, moving from Rob Varnham to Ryan Botley. Scooby was regularly placed throughout 2022 although he failed to reach the winners spot but this is not outside his scope. Hannah Grissell trained Ballintara dead-heated in the mixed open at Aldington and is more than capable of claiming the victory here. Hannah Hickman- Jones trained Buffalo Sabre has been inconsistent but won the Intermediate at Aldington on Easter Monday and was then second at Parham at the end of April but pulled up in a level 2 conditions race at Peper Harow on his last start in May. He may find this a tough task but has the ability to get back into the winner’s enclosure. John Ayton owned and trained Doldido had decent form in 2022 including a second at Parham in March. He was second on his seasonal reappearance at Larkhill in November but then pulled up in the novice riders race at Larkhill in January. Doldido finished behind Jenny Gordon trained Commanche Red at Cothelstone in May 2022 who also holds an entry in this race and could be the bookies favourite for this race if he lines up. However, Alan Hill trained Hawkhurst will be aiming to take the trophy home. He was third in a mixed open in November but pulled up on his latest start in the ladies open at Chaddesley Corbett in December. Tom Malone trained Poli Roi could make the long journey from Cornwall and would come here following victory in the hunt members race at Wadebridge in January. Zamparelli trained by Victoria Collins in the Cotswolds has won a hunter chase but last ran in April at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase meeting finishing fifth ahead of Trappist Monk. The other entry here is Rob Cundy trained Myplaceatmidnight who won a level 3 veteran horse race at Ampton in March 2022 and was fourth in his latest start in a similar race at Ampton in January.
The Men’s Open is an option for Zamparelli, Ballintara, Trappist Monk and Doldido. If they were to choose this option, they could come up against Fran Poste trained Kaproyale or Largy Mountain. Kaproyale boast impressive form figures for the 2022 season with six victories to his credit. Largy Mountain has also picked up victories over the past year but was third in a level 2 conditions race at Paper Harow in May and finished fourth on his seasonal reappearance at Larkhill on New Year’s Day. Rob Cundy has Castle Trump entered here who is also a threat in this company. He won five of his six starts in point-to-points last season before pulling up in a hunter chase at Cheltenham in April. He has however got this season off to a flying start with victory in Intermediate company at Revesby Park. Tom Ellis could bring Jetaway Joey who was beaten by a length in a Men’s open at Alnwick in January and is another threat in this race. Hannah Grissell has Just A Sting as well as Ballintara entered here. Just A Sting was previously with Tom George and should enjoy the drop in class here.
The ladies open follows with eight entries and is an option for Zamparelli, Jetaway Joey, and Fox Valley. Alan Hill has Back Bar entered who is a course winner having beaten Cousin Pascal here in December 2021. Tom Ellis has both Latenightfumble and Precious Bounty entered. Latenightfumble won the Intermediate final at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase meeting in April but then pulled up when favourite at the Stratford hunter chase meeting in May. She won on her seasonal reappearance at Horseheath in December and is likely to start the favourite if she lines up here. Precious Bounty also has impressive form with six victories from eight starts and is another course winner having won the restricted here in December 2021. He made all when winning at Ampton in January and if allowed to get his way here could be the one that crosses the winning line in front. Jenny Gordon trained Highway One O One relished the drop from National Hunt to point-to-points last season and is another course winner having won the veteran horse race at the corresponding meeting last season before picking up four further victories. He won a mixed open at Badbury Rings on his reappearance in November and finished a neck second to Cousin Pascal at Chaddesley Corbett in December and is not outclassed here. The final entry here is Katie Featherstone’s Imperial Acolyte who was second behind Blazing Tom in a ladies open at Charing in December 2021 but then struggled to make an impact in his remaining races last season.
The level 3 conditions race has eight entries including Buffalo Sabre and Scooby, and this looks like the most open race on the card. David Phelan trained Buachaill Dana has won four of his six starts in point-to-points and was victorious on his most recent start at Ampton in January so may hold the advantage if he takes his place here. Sarah Ashby trained Whatsinthecorner finished second at Peper Harow in May but then ran out in his last start of the 2022 season at Kingston Blount. Rob Varnham has Count Simon entered who won is first two starts in 2022 in conditions races before pulling up in mixed open company at Badbury Rings and then finishing seventh over 2miles 4 furlongs at Chaddesley Corbett in a level 2 conditions race. Jenny Gordon’s Thegallantway could be the one who prevents the trophy staying in the area. Having been with Fergal O’Brien previously he was placed and won over hurdles in 2019 and 2020 before failing to reach the winners enclosure over chase fences. However, he has returned to point-to-pointing having won in this sphere in 2018 and returned with a victory in a novice riders race at Larkhill on New Year’s Day and will be looking for a further victory to his name here. Tom Ellis trained Master Templar is another multiple point-to-point winner who similarly to Buachaill Dana has won four of his six starts to date so isn’t without a chance in this company. Hannah Clarke trained Shanoule Wood is the other entry here. He finished second behind Count Simon in March 2022 and was second behind Buffalo Sabre at Aldington in April 2022 and he may find this a challenge but is not without the potential to take the victory.
The meeting ends with the restricted race which has eleven entries. Panorama Ridge, Red Diamond and Why Didn’t Ya all have this as an option however both Tom Ellis trained Fairly Famous, and Alan Hill trained Goleirihem have the advantage of having recorded a victory in maiden company this season and would be likely to start as the favourite if they line up. Fairly Famous won the maiden at Horseheath in December whilst Goleirihem won the maiden at Chaddesley Corbett in December and was narrowly beaten in the restricted at Horseheath on New Year’s Eve. Nigel Padfield’s entry Hipop dead-heated in an Irish point-to-point maiden at Ballyknock in April and could easily pick up a restricted win here. Luke Price has two entries, Whiskey For Jack and Vermilion Cliffs. Whiskey For Jack pulled up on his first start this season in November but then finished seventh in restricted at Chaddesley Corbett in December whilst Vermilion Cliffs has yet to run in a point-to-point but won on the flat in Ireland and was eleventh in an Irish hurdle race in September 2022. West Kent based Andrew Coveney has Wireless Operator entered who was previously with Tom Ellis for whom he won a maiden at Lockinge in April 2022 having previously finished second in four starts. He finished third in the short maiden at Charing in December 2021 so could run well here.
Hannah Clarke’s Monmouth Hill finished second in his first race in restricted company at Badbury Rings in November 2022 having won a maiden at Kingstone Blount in May 2022 whilst Victoria Collins trained Duntish won a maiden at Siddington in March 2022 and was second in a restricted at Barbury Racecourse in April 2022 but may benefit from a run.
Admission is £15 per person (cash only) with under 16’s admitted for free. Dogs are welcome on leads. Wrap up and come and enjoy a day at the races. First race starts at 12pm. The postcode for the course is TN27 0JD. Charing railway station is a 10-15 minute walk from the course.