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BLACKMORE AND SPARKFORD VALE POINT TO POINT PREVIEW

2nd March 2022 Wincanton

After an absence of two years racegoers will be able to enjoy a return to Charlton Horethorne where the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hold their point-to-point. Always a very popular and competitive meeting this year’s renewal looks to be one not to miss with six races scheduled. Prior to the first race at 1.00pm there will be two pony races at 12.00 and 12.25 which are the first Wessex pony races of the season. During the afternoon after the Hunt race there will be a parade of the Hounds and Ryan Bliss will discuss in the paddock the stables’ hopes with leading National Hunt trainers Colin Tizzard and Paul Nicholls as a prelude to the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival. The Clerk of the Course Joe Tizzard has reported that the course is in excellent condition and with some rain forecast this week he expects that the going will be good to soft on raceday. There will be a big screen to watch the action and plenty of trade stands including hot and cold food and a licensed bar plus bookmakers. Tickets available at an early bird price of £10 per person or £12.50 on the gate – please see Pointing Wessex website for more information – www.pointingwessex.co.uk

The feature race, the INEOS Grenadier Mixed Open with a total prize money of £1000, looks likely to be a high-class affair. Famous Clermont has swerved an engagement at Badbury Rings and this highly progressive seven-year-old may be good enough to record his first Open success. Paul Nicholls has entered three possible rides for his daughter Olive to ride with Rhythm is a Dancer the best of these following his second behind Maitree Express in the Coronation Gold Cup at Larkhill. Colin Tizzard has entered both Rose of Arcadia an easy winner at Badbury Rings and Lillington a former useful handicap chaser for his grandson Freddie Gingell. Rose of Arcadia holds an entry in the Hunt race so may rely on Lillington in this race. Silsol has been placed in two Ladies Open races this season and on his best form would come into consideration. Famous Clermont is the selection.

The Hunt race sponsored by Longman Cheese Sales contains entries for Rose of Arcadia, Silsol, Virak, Rhythm is a Dancer and Caid Du Berlais who all hold entries in the Mixed Open. Caid Du Berlais proved he was no back number when winning for Natalie Parker at Badbury Rings and he may be the one to give Rose of Arcadia the most to do. Monsieur Gibraltar only ran at Larkhill last weekend so this race may come too soon. Hotel du Nord was placed in a Hunter Chase at Leicester last month and if he were to triumph this would be a popular victory for the Sprake family.

The Conditions race for riders who have not ridden more than 15 winners sponsored by the Bishop family has attracted an entry of thirteen horses and Molineaux may be the answer. Already the winner of two races this season he found the progressive Twig too good at Badbury Rings but should return to winning ways here. Monsieur Gibraltar and Old Guard are potential rides for Olive Nicholls but a greater danger might be The Big Sting who was narrowly beaten at Badbury Rings. Majestic Touch won 2 Hurdle races for Philip Hobbs and could be an interesting recruit to pointing for Ben Sutton. Golden Poet has been running well for Alice Procter but may find some of these difficult to beat.

The meeting opens with the Tattersalls Cheltenham Maiden race over 2 and a half miles. Between You and Me was third at Badbury and brings the best racecourse form of the 10 entries. However, this race may well be won by one of the newcomers with the powerful stables of Fran Poste represented by her choice of Mount Nonete or Salt Rock, Chris Barber with Inebranlable and Ed Walker with G A Henty owned by Mr and Mrs Richard Kelvin-Hughes.

The second Maiden sponsored by Manor Farm Partnership may provide Nowo with a winning opportunity. The runner up to Victory Club at Badbury Rings this ex French gelding is clearly on the upgrade and can break his Maiden status . Knockmoylan brings form from Ireland and could be in the mix but has not run this season. Roc the Boat was fourth at Chipley and should progress from that run. Party Town did not show much on debut at Milborne but it would be no surprise if an improved performance was seen here. Gunner Vic was second at Milborne but was only fifth on his last appearance at Badbury.

The meeting concludes with the Church House Investments Restricted race. Cuzziconbe and Nuova Vita represent Ed Walker’s stable and his chosen runner could be the answer. Both have won their Maiden races this season at Badbury and Larkhill respectively and both are on the upgrade. Southfield Megan won at Chipley after being given a great ride by Will Biddick and a case can be made for this mare to follow up. Whatya On About won at Cocklebarrow and is another to consider. Rose Iland won for the late Jason Warner last season but is yet to run in the current one.

First Race 1.00pm with pony racing at 12.00pm Charlton Horethorne off B3145 3 miles NE of Sherborne Postcode DT9 4LJ.

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