The Easter weekend is always a busy one for point-to-point fixtures and this year is no exception. The Midlands Area has two meetings over the weekend, the first of which is the Woodland with Pytchley fixture at Dingley, just outside Market Harborough.
The Pytchley with Woodland has a seven-race card with the first race timetabled for 2pm.Gates open at 11 o’clock and visitors are encouraged to bring their own drinks and a picnic to enjoy before and during racing. There will be a good collection of trade stands and catering outlets available beside the paddock. Bookmakers will be there, happy to take your money!
The first of the seven races is a Hunt members race contested by locally-registered horses. Several horses who are entered in this race have other entries in later races so may choose to race in those instead. This race could produce a head to head between two locally-trained horses in the shape of The Unmentionable, locally trained and ridden by Dale Peters, and Volnay de Thaix, trained by Stuart Morris for Judy Wilson. However, with The Unmentionable being entered in the later, conditions, race, it is very possible that Peters will ride My Uncas instead. Trainers Elisabeth Collins (Spanish Fleet) and Lucinda Ticehurst (What A Moment) are also represented here.
A level 2 race for Novice Riders is next up, where the jockeys may not have started this season with more than five wins. The riders may not be very experienced but the horses they ride are often quite the opposite. The one to beat here will be Precious Bounty, the mount of Ellie Callwood, who is unbeaten this year thus far, her last victory being on the 20th March at Brafield. Challenging for places will be Perpignan (Emma Freeman), Groundunderrepair (C. G. Butler) and Lords Park Star for Laura Pomfret.
PPORA Club Members contest the next race, scheduled for 3.10pm. At the sharp end of this contest I expect to see The Unmentionable (Dale Peters) and Wounded Warrior (Ellie Callwood), with challenges from Clara Sorrento (Rupert Stearn) and Earlshill (L. Burton). What a Moment (L. Ticehurst) might race in this one instead of the first.
The feature race of the meeting is the the Mixed Open race which will be raced over two and a half miles rather than the usual three. The horses entered here have kept their options open with entries in other races at other course over the weekend but one we can expect to feature strongly is Peacocks Secret, trained and ridden by Dale Peters for Toby Hunt. Azzuri is a very capable first season pointer trained by Nick Pearce and they have two wins under their girth this season, as does Foreign Secretary for Luke Price.
After that we have a Restricted race for horses who have as yet only got one win in points on their record. Dale Peters has The New Kid in this one, an eight-year-old with a string of places on their record. Visiting from Yorkshire we have Cullin Hills, second last time out, and from Essex Nigel Padfield brings Man of Means. David Kemp-trained Stick With It won last time out at Fakenham,
The penultimate race is a maiden race for horses yet to win and this has the most entries of any race at this meeting but can also be the hardest to predict. Some horses will be making their racecourse debut (Vigilance) and others will have more experience. David Kemp has booked Dale Peters to ride By Appointmentonly here, looking to improve on two seconds so far this season.
Finally we have a race for the maiden mares and fillies, which is another race over the shorter two and a half mile distance. Look out for Our Nel, trained by Philip Rowley and ridden by Ben Bromley; Taita Sunrise (Charlie Marshall) for Andrew Pennock; A Midnight Kiss for Samuel Evans, and Kelly Morgan-trained Presenting Miranda ridden by Alice Stevens and owned by Johnny Weatherby.
If you have purchased e-tickets in advance please look out for the signage as you enter and have your ticket ready to scan so that we can ease any congestion at the gate.