GOING REPORT; Following the official course inspection on Wednesday 20th March the course is considered good to soft, soft through the dip.
Penshurst hosts the first of its point-to-point meetings of the 2019 season on Sunday where once again pony racing will precede the main racing which kicks off at 13:30 with the hunt members’ race. Although it has only attracted four runners they include 14year old See You Jack for Maggie Howie and Beth Mellish and 13year old Glint Of Steel from Cynthia Woods yard with Charlie Marshall in the saddle. The pair finished second behind Excitable Island three weeks ago and will be looking to go one better this time out. It could be the baby of the entrant’s Cheltenham Mati from Tim Underwood’s yard that proves the challenger to Glint Of Steel although her two previous starts at Penshurst have seen her only finish in the runner’s up spot. Gersjoeycasey trained by Karen York is the other contender and is likely to find the other three contenders a challenge if all four face the starter’s flag.
The restricted race has attracted entries from far and wide and local hopes may be pinned onto Stingthebookies for Hannah Jones who finished second in his last start at Higham at the end of February. Essex based Nigel Padfield has Platinum Ben entered who has been second on both starts this season at Charing in February and at Ampton two weeks ago and could make it into the winner’s enclosure on this occasion. Bluebell Sally for Tim Underwood was a winner last weekend as was Shanoule Wood for Hannah Clarke and either one is capable of following up with another quick win if they line up. Alan Hill has The Tailor Quigley entered who was fourth on his last start at Kingston Blount two weeks ago and is bound to improve for that run and has jack Andrews booked for the ride.
Top Smart trained by Jenny Pidgeon will be the one to beat in the ladies open race if he makes the journey to Penshurst. He was a comfortable winner of his only start this season at Higham four weeks ago and won both starts in 2018. Izzie Marshall was in the saddle last time and could take the ride again, although she also has the option of riding For ’n’ Against from Alan Hill’s Oxfordshire yard who has finished third on both starts this season but is capable of much better. Nigel Padfield’s Quick Oats was third behind Laurium in his previous start at Charing in February and is likely to improve on the flatter track at Penshurst. Queen Olivia from Victoria Collins yard was disappointing at Parham last weekend but could also play a part in this race if she is declared to run. Cloudy Bob also pulled up at Parham last weekend nonetheless he too could reach the winners enclosure.
Cloudy Bob also has the option of running in the men’s open where he could be partnered by Pete Bull. Ashanti Moon from the Grissell’s yard at Brightling hasn’t been seen since winning a hunter chase at Fontwell in 2014 but also has the option of running in either of the open races. The men’s open has only attracted twelve entrants but they include Conkies Lad who was second in a hunter chase at Lingfield in February behind Full Throttle and finished third at Parham last weekend behind Excitable Island and Generous Ransom. Sentimentaljourney from Robert Varnham’s yard won at Penshurst last season and was a creditable fifth in the Military Gold Cup at Sandown two weeks ago. In A Blue Dust could provide an out of area challenge if making the journey from East Anglia having finished third in his last start at Garthorpe in February.
The intermediate has a small but select entry including Florella who did herself no favours when winning at Godstone at the beginning of March by hanging left towards the horseboxes on both occasions she needed to pass them. The Grissell team have De Clare Man entered who should improve for his run at Godstone where he was sixth in the novice rider’s race. Alan Hill trained Stage One won the hunt members’ race at Ampton two weeks ago in which Haut Bages from Ed Turner’s yard was third. Both hold entries in the race and will provide Florella with a challenge. 5 year old Streets Of London from Tim Underwood’s yard has progressed quickly through the ranks this season winning a maiden in February and a restricted race last weekend having had an unlucky incident on the flat at Kingston Blount the previous weekend which resulted in the jockey being unseated and he could be the one to find himself in the winners enclosure once again.
The concluding maiden race has eleven entered many of whom have yet to complete in a point-to-point. Of those that have Quietly from Ed Turner’s yard was third in his only start at Ampton two weeks ago whilst Twist On Ginge for Kate Bandey’s team has finished third on two of his previous starts this season. Winola owned, trained and ridden by Katie Featherstone has been banging on the door but has yet to get her head in front in her four starts with two seconds, a third and a fourth so far this season. She always seems to come up against one that is just too good on the day but must make the winner’s enclosure soon. Charlie Marshall and Hannah Clarke will be looking to repeat their maiden success by Shanoule Wood at Parham with Monmouth Hill at Penshurst.