The joint meeting of the Fernie and Fitzwilliam (Milton) takes place this Sunday, 2nd May.
Watering of the course has commenced and will continue as necessary to produce a good and safe racing surface. The course has been filled and rolled since the last meeting. Our generous land owner has requested that nobody walks the course until 4pm on Friday at the earlier, please.
Sadly this meeting is taking place behind closed doors and is not open to the general public, but will be viewable via a live stream on the day (and for a week afterwards). Owners will be invited to register for tickets for the Amber zone, which will be available until Friday lunchtime. Two bookmakers will be in attendance.
Although a printed racecard will not be available a digital version will be published in the run-up to the meeting and links to it will be shared widely.
The meeting is scheduled for six races but the card has attracted 138 entries including 39 for the Maiden race which will be split accordingly.
The feature race for the Midlands Area season is the Mixed Open at this fixture, The Fernie Four-Miler. Top-rated horse here is Philip Rowley-trained Vivaldi Collonges who beat King of The Clothe and Popelys Gull, also entered here, at Edgcote over 3m 5f a fortnight ago. Competition could come from Ramble On, second last time over this distance; Hawkhurst, a capable pointer who is yet to be tested beyond three miles; or Chase me, an experienced hunter chaser
A number of the open horses are also entered for the first, the PPORA Club Members Conditions, for which twenty horses are entered. Arthur’s Secret, winner of eight point-to-points and four hunter chases, will catch the eye but lacks form recently. Alan Hill has Hawkhurst entered here, while Gerard Bailey sends Early Retirement, a winner over 2m 4f last time out. Tom Ellis has Free of Charge and Indirocco, one of which Gina Andrews will ride, while Jack has Proximo, in the famous colours of Judy Wilson. Billy Chatterton has the ride on his family’s Inchcolm, while Silvergrove has not won recently but has done so at this track. Dale Peters will be getting local support on multiple Dingley winner, The Unmentionable.
This is followed by a race for Novice Riders where Diplomate Sivola, winner of their last two, most recently here at Dingley, will no doubt be a strong contender. Summer Sounds, may be one to challenge, having won twice in the month of April with Alice Stevens on board. Team Ellis sends the impressive and appropriately-named Blazing Tom for the Irvine family, mixed open winner at Mollington.
After the four-miler we look to the Restricted Race, with a possible sixteen to choose from. Interesting here is a pair from Steve Wynne. Global Anchor and No Cruise Yet are both first season pointers, previously under rules, and both won last time out, to provide the owner/trainer with a double at Sheriff Hutton. The former won over 2m 4f and the latter over three miles. David Kemp’s Red Dawn Rising looks to go one better than their second place in the Restricted at Garthorpe last weekend, as does Man of Means who was beaten by a length at Aldington.
Conditions races for older horses are popular, and the on which follows is no exception, with a potential 22 starters. A number of these are also entered in other races so do check declared runners on the day. Pillowman is the horse with form here, having won the Restricted at Sheriff Hutton a fortnight ago. Alson worthy of note here are Behind Time for Joe O’Shea; Kelvingrove for Andrew Leyshon; Lisheen Prince for Alan Hill, and Wounded Warrior for Tom Ellis.
The Maiden will split which hopefully allows connections with multiple horses to run them both and not against each other. The age of the maidens ranges from ten years old down to Tom Weston’s four-year-old Heron Creek. Tom hit a good run of form last weekend and this one has the weight advantage over others. A number of these entries have been second last time out, including Nigel Padfield’s Howitsdone (three times); Bradley Gibbs-trained Fier Jaguen; For You My Dear, trained by Rhiannon Lewis; Mountain Assault for Dale Peters; The Grissell’s Robin is Ready; The jolly Pot and Wideopenspaces. The New Kid was second here at Dingley and looks to go one better.
Among those coming to us from National Hunt racing, we have Everything Now trained by Station Yard Racing, and Festival Dawn and Le Grand Fromage for Alan Hill.
As has become the norm, declarations should be made by midday on Thursday, while tickets must be registered by midday on Friday.