Point-to-point racing at Charing, near Ashford, Kent is hopefully resuming on Monday 29th March, with Charing Races making a third attempt to run having been thwarted by Government restrictions on two previous occasions.
The meeting will be taking place under strict guidelines with regards to following the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic regulations. Trainers, jockeys and officials will not be allowed on the course unless they have pre-booked their ticket. Social distancing will need to be maintained and face masks will have to be worn whilst at the racecourse. Sadly the meeting is going ahead without spectators however, live streaming will be available and more information about this will be available on the South East Racing social media pages.
79 entries has been received and with the current going report (16th March) as good to soft, the course has a good covering of grass and does drain well and the fixture organisers hope to attract a wealth of runners from outside the area.
The first race of the day due to go off at 2pm, is the maiden race for 4 and 5 year olds which has six entries five of whom will be making their racecourse debut if they line up for the starter. The only entrant to have raced before is Alan Hill trained Craven Bay who was behind when refusing at the penultimate fence at Chaddesley Corbett in December 2020, but should have learnt from that experience. Both Tom Ellis and Francesca Nimmo have great success with young maidens and Ellis has Nothin But Thieves and Time Please entered whilst Nimmo has Rhetoric entered and they should not be ignored due to their lack of experience. The other two entries come from Christopher Barber’s stable and also should not be discounted due to their lack of racing experience.
This will be followed by the maiden for six year olds and over in which there is a healthy entry of eighteen. Included in the entries are Fiona Dennington’s This Might Work who fell on his last run at Charing in February 2020 when third behind Kenyan Cowboy. Also in that race was Andrew Leyshon’s Cydercourt who finished third but this was over 2 miles 4 furlongs rather than 3 miles. Local trainer David Phelan also has two entries, No Peace From Him finished fourth in a Point-to-Point bumper at Larkhill in January 2020 whilst Ivebeentold hasn’t run since April 2019 when he finished third, fifteen lengths behind the winner. Both Tom Ellis and Francesca Nimmo also have entries here, Nimmo trained Vamanos finished twenty five lengths behind the winner in his last start at Barbury in December whilst Ellis has this race as an option for both Young Rich and Millstone. Young Rich was ninth in his last outing, an Irish Point-to-Point in December 2020 whilst Millstone was last seen in a National Hunt Bumper at Lingfield in December 2019 when he was trained by Alan King. In this outing he finished seventh beaten by thirteen lengths. Another regular visitor to the South East is Alan Hill who has Hop ‘ n Skip who was prominent for much of his last start at Wadebridge in December 2020 before finishing fifth, so could have a chance in this company.
The next race on the card is a level two conditions race has attracted eighteen entries, Charlie Marshall is also booked to ride local trainer David Phelan’s Generous Ransom who is a course winner on more than one occasion. Generous Ransom won at the SEHC fixture in February 2020 beating Kelvingrove by a head however the horse who beat Generous Ransom at the 2019 SEHC Fixture at Charing also holds an entry. Stuart Robinson’s Mr Mix missed 2020 and ran in two hunter chases after his victory at Charing in 2019 unseating in the Aintree Foxhunters and then finishing third at Fakenham, however if he makes a seasonal reappearance he could have a chance of being back in the winner’s enclosure in this company. Stuart also has Djin Conti entered who was eighth in his last point-to-point at Larkhill in December 2019 and has subsequently pulled up in two recent hunter chase appearances but should appreciate the drop in class. Alan Hill has Sparkleandshine entered who was an impressive twenty five length victor of a level three conditions race at Bishops Court, Devon in October and it would not be a huge shock if the trophy was heading back with Alan. Suffolk based trainer James Owen has this as an option for Midnight Cowboy who was second in the hunt member’s race at Ampton in March 2020 and Tom Ellis has Earlshill entered who won the conditions race here at Charing in February 2020 and then finished second in the Novice Rider’s conditions race at High Easter in March 2020 beaten by four lengths. The biggest threat could however be Ange des Malberaux from Francesca Nimmo’s yard as he has the advantage that he has been hunter chasing over recent weeks, unseating at Ludlow before finishing sixth behind Latenightpass in his latest start at Warwick on February 3rd this year. He finished fourth in his latest point-to-point start in December 2020 at Barbury.
The level three Oriental Club Owner-Trainer conditions race has an entry of thirteen. Sarah Ashby has veteran hunter Double Whammy entered who was second behind Mr Mercurial at Perth in 2019 he unseated at the final fence at Charing in February 2020 with Sarah’s daughter Mary in the saddle when beaten but isn’t without a chance here. Andrew Coveney has acquired Dragon de la Tour from Neil McLean’s yard who won a Restricted and Conditions race in 2019 and was second in his last outing, an Intermediate race at Wadebridge in February 2020 and could be the best chance of a south east area winner. Matorico is an interesting entry, previously with Jonjo O’Neill he is now with Simon Crosse in West Sussex. He had not been seen on a racecourse since March 2018 until running in a hunter chase at Leicester on March 12th 2021 finishing fourth, sixteen lengths behind the winner. Nigel Padfield who is another regular visitor to the area who often leaves with silverware has Quick Oats entered who missed 2020 but was consistently placed in previous seasons. A former member of Padfield’s yard, Orchard Hill is now with Katie Featherstone, he finished fifth in his last start which was at Charing in February 2020 and he too is not without a chance here.
The Men’s Open is an alternative option for Djin Conti, Matorico and Dragon de la Tour but also sees Tom Ellis trained King Of The Clothe entered who was beaten by twelve lengths in his latest point-to-point start, a 3 mile 6 furlong race at High Easter in March 2020. He has subsequently been hunter chasing and finished second in his latest outing at Catterick Bridge on March 10th, with Harry Skelton in the saddle on that occasion. James King trained Thumb Stone Blues finished fifth in the Men’s Open at Bishops Court in October 2020 and will improve for that run. Phil York trained Spiritofchartwell ran under rules in 2018 and 2019 but was relatively consistent in point-to-points prior to this but age may be a factor for him if he lines up here.
King Of the Clothe has the option of running in the ladies open, however Alan Hill has both Laurium and Changeofluck entered. Laurium is a previous course winner from 2019 whilst Changeofluck finished third behind Ravished at Kimble in November 2020. Despite only 6 entries this could prove to be one of the races of the day if King Of The Clothe faces either of the Hill pair.
The restricted race concludes the meeting and has attracted ten entries of which three come from Tom Ellis’s yard. He has Bawnmore, Black Jasper and Oscars Fame entered. Bawnmore lost his maiden status at Horseheath in February 2020 and later that month was placed second in restricted company at Horseheath again. Black Jasper won his maiden at his first attempt at Alnwick in February 2020 but then pulled up in restricted company at Dalton Park in March 2020 and Oscars Fame was another to lose his maiden status at the first attempt at Cottenham in December 2019 and then finished fourth in a restricted at Horseheath in February 2020 and then second by two lengths in the restricted at Higham in February 2020. However Winter Holiday owned and trained by Charlotte Fuller may provide a challenge to the Ellis team. She won her maiden by fifteen lengths at Maisemore Park in October 2020 but was then an early casualty in a restricted at Chaddesley Corbett in December 2020. Another mare in the entries is Katie Featherstone’s Winola who finished fourth behind Generous Ransom in a conditions race at Charing in February 2020 but unseated last time out in restricted company at Larkhill in December 2020. An unknown quantity in this race is another mare, For Rita from Francesca Nimmo’s yard, she finished second in a Mixed Open point-to-point race in Ireland in November 2019 but has subsequently fallen but comes from a yard that produces young horses for National Hunt racing.
Numbers may not be as plentiful as those made for the original rearranged fixture in December but organisers hope for seven competitive races and that some of the silverware remains within the area.