The Southdown and Eridge Hunt point-to-point is the next meeting for the 2020 South East Area Point-to-Point season on Sunday being held at Godstone.
The opening race of the day is the 3 mile maiden which has attracted 20 entries. Included in these is Nigel Padfield’s Howitsdone who finished seven lengths second at Charing on Saturday in the 2 mile 4 furlong maiden behind Kenyan Cowboy. Although now faced with the full distance of 3 miles Howitsdone should not be discounted following his debut race last weekend in which he was in contention until the final fence. James Henderson owned and trained Bespoke Cave finished fourth in a 2 mile 4 furlong maiden at Cocklebarrow at the end of January and would also be looking to improve on that placing if he makes the journey to Surrey. Make A Deal is another who could travel to Godstone who would be looking to improve for his previous start this season which was at the beginning of February at Horseheath where he finished fifth but some forty-one lengths behind the winner. The Tom Ellis trained pair of Mammoth and Man Of Means also should not be discounted should either line up. Mammoth finished four lengths second behind Minella Wizard at Thorpe Lodge in January but could struggle with the Godstone layout having been difficult to steer round the sharp bends at Thorpe Lodge. Man Of Means is an ex Irish point-to-pointer and finished fourth on his last start at Boulta in November 2019. Francesca Nimmo produces great young horses and having taken the 2-mile 4 furlong maiden at Charing on Saturday with Kenyan Cowboy could steal a second successive maiden victory in the South East at Godstone with On Parole who was second at Ampton in January in maiden company but was pulled up on his last start with a burst blood vessel. He is sure to win a maiden soon and could be the one to beat. Kate Bandey’s Thanks A Million showed promise at Millborne St Andrew at the beginning of February and should improve for that run, however in finishing fourth he was 30 plus lengths behind the winner and still may find one or two slightly better on this occasion. Local hopes of a winner fall on Hannah Grissell trained Gold Bandit who is another ex-Irish point-to-pointer whose best effort was a third to Vinnie Dev at Monksgrange in March 2019. His only start of 2020 saw him pull up three fences out having been prominent for the early stages of the race and he should improve for that run.
The second race of the day is the Oriental Club sponsored owner/trainer conditions race which has attracted an entry of seventeen. Sarah Ashby’s Double Whammy ran well at Charing on Saturday in similar company and looked set to pick up third place before blundering at the final fence and unseating Sarah’s daughter Mary from the saddle. The pair are more than capable of improving and as long as Mary can stay in the saddle could be involved in the closing stages of this race if he lines up here. The Hannah Jones trained duo of Cada Club and Max My Boy both also have the potential to provide a South East trained winner of the race. Cada Club was pulled up at Charing on Saturday after making a couple of jumping errors whilst Max My Boy finished fifth behind Generous Ransom in the Veteran Conditions race at Charing and is sure to improve for the run. Douglas Gittens-Wood trained Cadeau George finished second in the hunt member’s race at Cocklebarrow on Jan 26th and had fellow entrant Heaven Scent from Amber Jackson-Fennell’s yard behind him in fourth on that occasion. Norfolk trained Multimedia by a head from Julie Whales yard finished second by a head behind Newsworthy at Revesby Park in the conditions race in January but has subsequently unseated his owner jockey but it would not be a surprise if he is involved in the finish here as long as his jumping also stands up to the test. Never Complain has left the yard of Charlotte Marshall and is now with George Edgedale in Berkshire. He finished fourth in a novice riders race at Cocklebarrow in January and should not be discounted from this contest.
The men’s open race is an option for Cynthia Woods trained Florella who is a course winner, however she only managed fifth on her latest start at Larkhill in January and will need to improve on that effort if she lines up in this race. Ardkilly Witness is a veteran point-to-pointer and was regularly placed in 2019. His last start at Paxford in a Mixed Open saw him finish second to Green Winter and if he is back in this sort of form he could be the one that everyone chases home. Fixe Le Kap from James Henderson’s team finished third in his latest start in a three mile six furlong open race at Cocklebarrow in January but James Henderson also has Newsworthy entered (trained by Dale Peters) who beat Multimedia in a conditions race at Revesby Park on January 19th so he may have a better chance of taking the trophy once again. Dale Peters also trains Rocklander who finished second behind Hazel Hill in open company at Sheriff Hutton in mid-January. If he makes it to the start based on this performance he is likely to be sent off the favourite by the bookmakers but it will be interesting to see if his start this season gives him an advantage over many of his rivals. Sam Jukes trained and ridden Shometheway has already won in restricted and intermediate company this season. She may struggle with the undulations of Godstone but it will be interesting to see how the bookies place her in the betting if she takes her chance in open company. Alan Hill trained Hawkhurst for The Glebe House Racing Club is also more than capable of winning in open company but failed to finish on his first three starts of the season but did finish second behind Net d’Ecosse in a conditions race at Higham at the end of January.
The ladies open has only attracted eleven entries but they include Darius des Bois who won at Charing on Saturday for trainer Jennifer Owen beating Don’t Do Mondays. Tom Ellis trained Haymount has finished second on both starts to date this season including behind Shantou Flyer in a hunter chase at Fakenham last time out two weeks ago and could pose a threat to Darius des Bois if he lines up this week. Tom also has Latenightpass entered who has already won two ladies open this year most recently at Horseheath four weeks ago, and is likely to be a greater threat to Darius des Bois. Alan Hill trained Back Bar was narrowly beaten by Summer Sounds in a novice rider’s race at Horseheath but could be ridden by Izzie Marshall on this occasion. Sam Jukes trained Tb Broke Her was two lengths second behind Hidden Charmer in the ladies open at Chaddesley Corbett three weeks ago so even though the race could lack numbers there could be a thrilling race in prospect here.
The restricted race could also go to Tom Ellis. He has Bawnmore and Black Jasper entered who have both been successful in maiden company in 2020. Bawnmore won at Horseheath on February 1st whilst Black Jasper won at Alnwick on February 2nd. Gottagottagetaway from Sam Jukes yard has also tasted victory this year losing his maiden status at Buckfastleigh on January 19th and will be looking to follow up on that success. Max Young owned and trained Taboo also won a maiden earlier this season at Ffos Las in December and was then second in restricted company at Ampton in January. He finished third last time out in restricted company at Chaddesley Corbett so might have the advantage over his rivals of having competed and being placed in restricted company. Christine Banks owned and trained Round Robin has also been placed in restricted company in 2020 but was some twenty five lengths behind Mr Snuffles at Bangor-On-Dee in January but should improve for that run. Cynthia Woods will be hoping that Uknowwhatimean can improve on his second place in the Higham restricted on Jan 26th behind Normofthenorth to provide a South East area trained winner.
The concluding race of the day is the confined conditions race and has only attracted five entries. Florella has this as an option and may find this easier that the men’s open race. Tim Underwood owned and trained Cheltenham Mati won three times in 2019 and was third in a novice rider’s race at Cocklebarrow in January but will benefit from having Phil York in the saddle if she lines up here. David Phelan trained West Lake was also consistently placed in 2019 and the yard had two winners at Charing last weekend so victory here wouldn’t be a big surprise. Nicola Aspell trained Oscar O’Scar completed on his last start at Badbury Rings last weekend but was some way behind his rivals and had pulled up on two previous starts. The other entrant Libby Lawson trained Curragh Hall pulled up at the thirteenth in the Veteran Conditions race at Charing on Saturday.
Pony Racing precedes the Point-to-Point races at 11:45am whilst the main racing starts at 1pm. The going is currently Soft, Good to Soft in places.