Penshurst hosts its first point-to-point of the 2022 season on Sunday 20th March, where the going was soft as of Monday morning and two pony races will precede the main racing starting at 12pm. The course is an undulating left handed rectangular course with an uphill finish.
The first race of the day is at 13:30pm and is The Montreal Estate Restricted race to be raced over the shorter distance of two miles four furlongs and has attracted four entries. Alan Hill trained Whatya On About looks the one to beat if he lines up as he won his maiden race on his pointing debut at Cocklebarrow on January 23rd.
Man of Means from Nigel Padfield’s stable finished second in restricted company in 2021 after winning his maiden on debut at Ampton in March 2020, before pulling up on his latest outing at Chaddesley Corbett in May 2021 and is not without a chance here. Hannah Clarke trained Schiap Hill has been placed in the top three eleven times out of his fifteen point-to-point starts and has been second on three of his four starts this season in restricted company before finishing fourth on his latest start at Badbury Rings on February 20th. He could benefit from having his regular jockey Charlie Marshall back in the saddle on Sunday. The other entry is Amber Jackson-Fennell’s Grenadine Save who has had two point-to-point starts in maiden company finishing third at Milborne St Andrew in January and second at Brocklesby Park on March 5th where the going was heavy so she will not mind the softer conditions.
Alan Hill may well also saddle the favourite in the second race the Fiona Coveney Memorial South East Area Conditions Race (Level Two) as he has Getting Closer entered. Getting Closer won on his seasonal reappearance at Charing in December and was then second in a level three conditions race at Horseheath in December. Back in a level two conditions race at Milborne St Andrew in January he was back in the winners enclosure and if he faces the starter this race could be his third victory of the season. Rob Varnham trained Scooby has been unlucky so far this season finding one of two better on each of his starts including Getting Closer at Charing in December. This could be an interesting rematch between the pair as Scooby has subsequently been third at Badbury Racecourse in December and has been second on both recent starts in level three conditions races at Charing in and Kingston Blount in February.
Sarah Ashby has both Monkey Puzzle and Whatsinthecorner entered with daughter Mary Ashby taking the ride on the preferred runner. Whatsinthecorner has pulled up in both starts in level three conditions races at Charing and Kingston Blount in February whilst Monkey Puzzle was fourth at Horseheath in February and won a level two novice riders race at Ampton on March 5th and could be a danger here.
Other entries in the race include Cooladerry King from Hannah Grissell’s team who pulled up on his seasonal reappearance at Charing in February and Steve Spice owned and trained Jasmin des Bordes and Nigel Benstead owned and trained Thomas Junior who both ran in the level three conditions race at Kingston Blount in which Jasmin des Bordes pulled up and Thomas Junior finished sixth but well behind the winner. The other entry is Elizabeth Feakes Oscar O’Scar who was fourth on his latest start at Charlton Horethorne but again was over a fence behind the winner on that day.
Alan Hill also has the pick of the entries for the John Coldman ladies open race in which he has both Hawkhurst and Normofthenorth entered. Hawkhurst has won sixteen of his thirty five starts in point-to-points and has four successes to his name from six starts this season. He finished second on his latest starts at Ampton beaten four lengths by Blazing Tom from Tom Ellis’s yard but prior to that he won at Horseheath on 19th February beating Sara Bradstock trained Myth Buster by seven lengths. Normofthenorth has been placed on all ten of his point-to-point starts and was third on his seasonal reappearance at Larkhill in December and was second on his latest start at Horseheath in January finishing two lengths behind Fumet d’Oudairies who holds an entry in the Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.
Elizabeth Feakes has this race as an option for Oscar O’Scar and Sarah Ashby also has both Monkey Puzzle and Whatsinthecorner entered in this as well as the conditions race, and again it is not outside the realm of Monkey Puzzle to spring a surprise here. Ed Turner is a regular visitor to Penshurst from his Suffolk base and he has No Hassle Hoff entered who pulled up in the race won by Hawkhurst at Horseheath in February and finished third, six lengths behind Hawkhurst in his latest start at Ampton two weeks ago. The other entry in the race is Jackfield who has pulled up on his two starts this season, both at Charing.
Former area Champion lady jockey Jenny Gordon has both Captain Buck’s and Highway One O One entered in the RH & RW Clutton – Country Proprty & Land Agents men’s open with son Freddie taking the ride on the chosen declared runner. Highway One O One gave Freddie his first point-to-point victory at Charing in February and this was followed up with further victories for the pairing at Larkhill on February 27th and at High Easter on March 12th. Freddie has also recorded a victory on Captain Buck’s at Larkhill beating Monsieur Gibraltar by a neck. Whichever lines up in this race looks likely to be the won to beat although James Owen trained Just Cause looks the most likely challenger. Just Cause has yet to race this season but finished fourth in a hunter chase at Cheltenham in April 2021 and was second on his last point-to-point start at Garthorpe in May 2021. Hannah Grissell trained Ballintara looks the best choice of the locally trained horses, he was second on his latest start at Charing in February finishing strongly to be three lengths behind the winner Desire de Joie and should benefit from having had that run.
Rob Varnham’s Trappist Monk has had two starts in point-to-points, he pulled up on his debut in a novice rider’s race at Barbury Racecourse and finished third on his latest start at Badbury Rings four weeks ago, but on that occasion finished fifteen lengths behind Highway One O One. Hannah Clarke trained Who’s My Jockey has had three starts in point-to-points and has only completed in his latest start at Badbury Rings in February finishing fifth. The other entry is from Alan Hill’s yard and is yet to race in a point-to-point. Tidal Flow has moved to Alan Hill from Philip Hobbs in recent weeks. This ex national hunt racehorse last was in the winner’s enclosure at Stratford two years ago, on his latest start under rules in December 2021 he pulled up and prior to that he finished sixth of six runners at Ascot. However he cannot be discounted as much like Highway One O One he may well enjoy and benefit from the drop in class.
The Warner Soclitors Intermediate race has only attracted five entries. James Owen trained Fiddler of Dooney has had five starts this season and has recorded a win, a second and three thirds in those five races, so he looks the like he is the one to beat here if he travels from Suffolk to Kent. He finished second on his latest start at Ampton finishing behind Precious Bounty from Tom Ellis’s yard. Alan Hill trained Voie Dans Voie could be a danger to Fiddler of Dooney, he won an Intermediate race at Wadebridge in December 2021 and has subsequently finished fourth at Horseheath and fifth at Kingston Blount. Hannah Clarke owned and trained Shanoule Wood has finished second at Penshurst on two previous starts (2018 and 2019) and would like to go one better on this occasion. He was third in a level three conditions race at Badbury Rings in November but pulled up in the race won by Voie Dans Voie at Wadebridge. He may benefit from regular jockey Charlie Marshall being back in the saddle this weekend. The other two entries in this race are the Stearn Family’s Broadwater who has not raced since 2019 and Steven Allen’s Nothing Personal who pulled up on his last start in June 2021 at Kingston Blount.
The meeting finishes with the Geoff Boorman Fuels open maiden race which has attracted the most entries on the card. Hannah Clarke trained Right Hand Of God has had three starts in point-to-points. He finished second on his debut at Barbury Racecourse but has subsequently pulled up and fallen but he is not without a chance here. Hannah also has Monmouth Hill entered who finished fourth in a recent maiden start at Kingston Blount, sixteen lengths behind the winner. Alan Hill also has a chance of taking the trophy with Calvic who was second when fallen at the last fence at Barbury Racecourse in December. Tim Underwood is another owner / trainer who frequently takes trophies out of the area and he has Bolamore Bridge entered. This is an ex Irish point-to-pointer who was third in a maiden in March 2020 and is likely to have Phil York in the saddle.
Local trainer Hannah Grissell has both Robin Is Ready and Westtara entered. Robin Is Ready has finished fifth in a point-to-point at Horseheath in December but pulled up in a Hunter Chase at Fontwell four weeks ago. Westtara has finished third at Higham in January and again at Charing in February but fell at the fourth fence on his latest start at Badbury Rings but either of these horses, if declared have a strong chance of keeping the trophy in the area. Steve Spice has this race as an option for Jasmin des Bordes and this may be an easier option than the conditions race.
Other entries in the race include Albert Huckleback for Jenny Gordon. He has finished seventh on two earlier starts this season at Chipley Park and Badbury Rings and he pulled up in his latest race at Charlton Horethorne. Amber Jackson-Fennell’s Bennaway is another first season point-to-pointer who finished fifth in the maiden at Chipley Park ahead of Albert Huckleback but he pulled up last time out on heavy ground at Bangor-On-Dee. The other three entries in this race are Edward Turner trained Graveside Lad who should benefit from his previous start at Ampton, Aimee Rowe’s Nicklass who finished fifth in the two mile four furlong maiden at Charing in February but had previously failed to finish and Regal Amba for Max Young who is making her racecourse debut.
The course is 3 miles south west of Penshurst and is well signposted from exit five of the M25 (which is approximately 12 miles away).
The postcode for the course is TN8 7DD, entry is £30 per car or £10 for pedestrians. There will be trade stands, food stalls, a bar and bookies to take your bets.