GOING UPDATE: Good to firm. The equivator will be in use through the night on Saturday. Posted on Friday at 17.50.
Godstone host their second meeting of the season on Sunday with racing scheduled to start at 14:15 and includes the area’s feature race The Kent Grand National over 3miles 6 furlongs at 15:25.
Despite only attracting 9 entrants there is a wealth of experience within the entrants for the feature race. Local hopes could be on Florella trained by Cynthia Woods, who is a course winner having won at the previous Godstone meeting in March but she will not be able to hang towards the horseboxes as she did on that occasion if she is to finish first in this contest. She will need all of Charlie Marshall’s expertise to ensure she doesn’t have the opportunity of running wide on the three times they pass the horsebox park. Cloudy Bob was an unlucky faller at the penultimate fence in the Mixed Open at Godstone in March when challenging for the lead. He finished second in his last start at Penshurst two weeks ago when Phil York was in the saddle but is likely to be partnered with Tabitha Worsley on this outing. The Grissell Team at Brightling have both Arbeo and Head Spin entered. Arbeo finished 30 lengths behind Kalabaloo at the previous Godstone meeting and has subsequently finished 6th at Parham in mid-March behind Indian Chance. Head Spin had his best run at Penshurst two weeks ago finishing fifth behind Local Show. Strollawaynow owned and trained by Andrew Wates was well held when finishing fourth in the hunt members race at Parham in mid-March but should improve for the run and is a course winner from 2017.
Rigadin de Beauchene lost out in a thrilling finish at Parham to Indian Chance but would have a great chance of taking the trophy out of the area although the main danger is likely to be Alan Hill trained Man Of Steel who won a 4 mile mixed open in May 2018 and won the Kent Grand National at this course in 2018. On that occasion Farmer Matt finished a head behind Man of Steel and he once again holds an entry but has not produced that form so far this year pulling up on his only start in January.
Both the shorter run maiden for younger horses over 2miles 4furlongs and the maiden over the usual 3miles have only attracted three entries each. Of the younger horses, 5 year old Bespoke Cave from James Henderson’s yard has the best form having finished second and third in his two starts this season whereas both Tom Ellis’s Bunny Boru and Gill Drury’s Rumsden Rah Rah have pulled upon their only starts to date.
In the 3mile maiden Katie Featherstone’s Winola has been close to hitting the top spot and should make it into the winner’s enclosure. Tom Ellis’s Forgiving has yet to race over the fences but was fifth in a 2 mile bumper in March whilst Jappeloup from the Grissell’s yard unseated on his point-to-point debut at Penshurst but could prove to be a threat if his jumping holds up in a smaller field.
The meeting also hosts a conditions race over the shorter 2mile 4 furlong distance. Florella and Head Spin both have this as an option rather than the Kent Grand National but Cynthia Woods also has Lickety Split entered who finished third behind Indian Chance at Parham four weeks ago and is capable of winning in this company. The Grissell team also have De Clare Man entered who finished 14 lengths behind Streets Of London in the Intermediate at Penshurst and was sixth on his first start of this season here at Godstone in March in the novice rider’s race. De Clare Man is a course winner having won on his first start in maiden company in 2015 and is another horse who is talented enough to win here. The dangers from outside the area are likely to be Pass The Glass from Tom Ellis’s team who has won in restricted and intermediate company this year and looks the horse to beat on paper. Knockedoutloaded from Nigel Padfield’s yard in East Anglia pulled up on his solitary start of this season but should improve for that race and is not one to be discounted.
Twist On Ginge who made the journey to Penshurst to take the maiden race is one of the seven entries in the restricted race and will be looking for a quick second success on the bounce. Hannah Jones trained Stingthebookies could prove to be a menace to that desire having finished second on his most recent start in restricted company at Higham in February finishing 3 lengths behind Captiva island in a sub six minute time, a minute quicker that Twist Of Ginge’s victory at Penshurst. 5yr old Hot To Trot finished behind Captiva Island in maiden company at Cottenham in December before securing victory in maiden company at Didmarton in March so comes into the race with form of 2,2,1 so could also be heading for victory here. Desert Retreat was second on his previous start at Godstone in March finishing eleven lengths behind The Unmentionable. In the same race Dontdillydally failed to finish and has subsequently fallen in restricted company at Penshurst.
The 3 mile conditions race concludes the day’s racing and this is an option for Arbeo instead of the feature race. Cosmo Ball will be looking to get round on 13yr old Adept Approach who was challenging for the lead at the previous Godstone meeting in the novice rider’s race when falling at the penultimate fence. The duo once again parted company at Parham but this race is not outside their capability if they can maintain their partnership. In the same race at Parham Max My Boy and Hannah Jones finished a very creditable second behind the impressive Vivaldi Collonges and the pair could find this an easier race. Provincial Pride finished behind Max My Boy in that race and struggled behind Top Smart in the ladies open at Penshurst on their latest outing. Thomas Junior won the Hunt Member’s race at Parham with Phil York in the saddle but could find tougher opponents in this race. Of the entries from outside the area Latenightpass from the Ellis yard has finished in the top two on all four starts so far this season whilst Alan Hill trained Back Bar won the conditions race at High Easter three weeks ago having finished 3 lengths behind Local Show on their first start in February.
As well as the racing there is the opportunity to bring your dog along to compete in the fun dog show which starts at 2pm with classes for best puppy, best dog, best veteran, best rescue dog, young handlers and fun classes including waggiest tail and best trick. Classes cost £1:50 each or enter 6 for £5. Classes are open to all breeds or crossbreeds.
We are also delighted to welcome The Sussex Stompers Jazz band who will be playing in the Public Bar.