The Fitzwilliam Point-to-point meeting at Dingley on Saturday 27th May and marks the third and final race meeting of 2017 at Dingley. The meeting has attracted 88 entries for a seven-race card which kicks off at 2pm. Gates open 11:30. The organisers recommend visitors get to Dingley as early as possible to secure a good parking spot with good viewing of the venue’s natural amphitheatre and enjoy all the pre-race entertainment.
The opening race of this fixture is the Hunt Members race, which has seven entries. Done A Runner, returning to pointing after a third in a Hunter Chase at Towcester is probably the market leader here, though the could face a challenge from Dido, trained and ridden by Dale Peters who will be looking to seal the Dingley Leading Rider title at this meeting. Both of these have other entries on this card and if they choose not to run in this then we might look to Max O, looking to show what he can do under jockey Philip Armson.
The second race is the Club Members Conditions race which is for horses of eight-years and over who have not won a race since December 2015. Top-rated is Helpston, the mount of Gina Andrews, which will be looking to win for the first time. Gina also has the ride on Can Mestret, if they choose this race over the Ladies Open later in the afternoon, or Kingston Blount the following day. Lovcen should also run well and should challenge. Other possible contenders include Redpender (also entered in the Ladies Open), Return Spring, Rossmore Lad and Milled, among a varied field.
The Mens Open which follows could be a contest between Green Winter and Conkies Lad, though both have entries at Kingston Blount the following day as well. Green Winter has two wins already this season, Conkies Lad just the one. Chasing these will be Tajseer, who is new to pointing but has had a career over hurdles and chase fences, as has Ibn Hiyyan too. Experience pointers Dido, Festival Bound and In The Dock are others to watch. Tom Strawson will be looking to challenge the Leading Rider title with Panama Canal in this one, as will Rory Bevin who has the ride on Festival Bound.
The Ladies Open has entries from three horses who won their races last time out. Always A Chance won at Whitfield this month and a fortnight before that took the Club Members prize at Mollington. Never Complain has very strong form having just won a Hunter Chase at Fontwell Park and a Mens Open at Mollington prior to that, albeit both over shorter distances. Oh Toodles also has two wins this season and is the ride of Immy Robinson. Redpender is also entered in this one, as is Bavard Court, Can Mestret, Done A Runner and Letbeso, making this a good race on paper at least.
The Restricted Race, supported by Volvo, will give the winning horse qualification for the Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series Final, Stratford-on-Avon, Friday 9th June. Restricted races, by their very nature, are often fought out by similarly rated horses and the fifth race here at Dingley is no exception, with ten of the 14 runners rated in the 80s. Tigeralley is the most recent winner and will be carrying half a stone less than some of the other runners. Others to keep an eye on include Cobajay Away, Cornerman, Escapefromthedark, Florella, Kabanga Bay, Loveyoutothemoon, The Drone and Wonderful Present.
The last two races of the day are both maiden races – for horses who have not yet won. The first of these is over three miles, while the last race is over 2m4f. Horses with second place finished to their names include Big Man Doe, Free Scorpion, Master Hide and Max O but perhaps the most interesting to watch will be Colt Lightning, a four-year-old which will have a stone and a half advantage over most of the horses in this race.
The shorter maiden race includes a number of the same entries from the previous race so we won’t know who runs in either until the declarations close on the day but Ka Maresco is the best rated horse in this last race.
Dingley offers some of the best viewing of any venue in the country and will also have a good selection of trade stands and caterers. There will be a licensed bar and entertainment for the children too. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the Midlands Pointing website – www.midlandspointing.com/shop – and include a free racecard which is normally £3. On the day admission for Adults is £10 per person, with all children under 16 gaining entry free of charge. There is no additional charge for cars. Dogs on leads welcome.
The racecourse is on the A427, East of Market Harborough. Satnav postcode: LE16 8PJ.