The Easter weekend is the busiest time in the Point-to-Point calendar, with a total of 22 meetings scheduled around the country. As a result there are difficult decisions for owners to make and multiple entries are often the result. The ground and going will often be the deciding factor on which horses are to run.
This being said, the Woodland Pytchley has attracted a very pleasing 114 entries over a six-race card. The first race goes off at 2pm and the last is due to set off and 4.55pm. There are two national qualifiers on the card, the Subaru Restricted and the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders.
The afternoon begins, though, with a joint (with Fernie) Hunt Members race. Eight are entered and, of these, Arkose is top-rated. He was pulled up at the Garthorpe meeting last weekend and may see this as a good opportunity. Nightcap Jack is another which may feature, Dale Peters riding this one for James Hunt. Lucy Wheeler has the ride on Bay To Go, which has been placed before but comes to Dingley for the first time. Pytchley Huntsman Daniel Cherriman rides his own Martin Cash in this one and is sure to have lots of local support, despite being unseated at Bangor-on-Dee on his debut.
The second race is a 2 mile and 4 furlong maiden race for 4, 5, and 6 year-old horses and 17 are entered. By the very nature of this race many of these horses are unproven in Point-to-Points but Multimedia was second last time out, over the longer 3 mile course and may suit this distance but has multiple entries and may not declare. Militarian was third of ten runners in a 3-miler at Horseheath last time out. James Hunt’s Why Lie is also a likely contender. He was third over this distance on soft ground at Charing so it will be interesting to see whether quicker ground suits him. Brice Canyon has multiple entries so may not come but would be one to watch if he does.
Third race on the card is the mixed open race and is run here over the 2 mile 4 furlong distance. These races have proved popular around the country this season and we can expect to see more of them in the future. Here it has an impressive 30 entries so don’t completely rule out a split race. Top rated entry is Ivan Crane and Jimmy King’s Qoubilai which has never lost a Point-to-Point race, but this horse is also entered in a later race on this card and for two different meetings on Easter Monday. Mr Madeit has already had two impressive wins at Midlands courses this season but is also entered for Thorpe Lodge on the 28th so may not declare. Robert Waley-Cohen has Warne entered. This horse has won a Fox Hunters’ in the past but was pulled up on its first time out in a Point-to-Point. Clare Hart could ride His Excellency but this has multiple entries, as has the Gerald Bailey-trained Thetalkinghorse which would be a very strong contender if he chooses this race. This could be a very competitive race if all the many possible contenders declare.
The first three horses and riders past the post in the fourth race, the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders, will qualify for the £1,000 Series Final, at Garthorpe on 8th May. Alan Hill’s Man Of Steel is difficult to see past for this race. He is only entered here and beat good opposition last time out in a hunter chase at Leicester. This ground should be similar and he has multiple wins over this distance. Qoubilai is also entered here and would be a strong contender if declared as is Done A Runner but both have other entries elsewhere.
The winner of the Restricted race, at 4.20pm, will qualify for the Series Final at Stratford-on-Avon on 20th May. 14 horses are entered and several of those are previous winners. Ypsilanti is top-rated of these but has other entries on the day. Bengo may represent Nick Wright’s yard for owner John Ferguson. He won a maiden last time out and should feature. Another to win last time out is In The Gate, from Caroline Fryer’s yard. Both should find this going to their liking. Others to watch could include Ignite A Light, Treacyswestcounty and Velvet Royale.
We will finish the day with the Open Maiden Race. As many as 26 could come forward for this one and of those perhaps Multimedia and Harodale are the ones to watch.
As usual there will be an extensive array of trade stands, caterers, and a licensed bar at the racecourse, which is on the A427 Harborough Road, just outside Market Harborough. Entry on the day is £10 per person but e-tickets can be purchased in advance from www.midlandspointing.com.