Pytchley with Woodland point-to-point 2024 – Preview

The Pytchley at Guilsborough

After a frustrating few weeks for the sport of pointing, The Pytchley with Woodland point-to-point will take place on Sunday 10th of March with the gates opening at 10am and the first race at 1pm. At the time of writing, the latest going report describes the course as soft, heavy in places, but the forecast for the week ahead is dry and we expect the ground to quicken nearer the weekend.

The course at Guilsborough is accessed from the A5199, 10m NW of Northampton (Exit 18 M1, or via A5199 from A14). The postcode is NN6 8SR, What3words whips.flopped.polka.

The day's racing begins at 12pm with three pony races. The first of these is a race for ponies of 148cm and under who have yet to win a pony race. The second is an open race for ponies of the same size. The third is for smaller ponies of 138cms and under with novice riders. After these only races, they will be a short presentation for the pony races before we move on to the horse racing.

This year, the Pytchley with Woodland card contains six horse races, including two Maiden races, a Restricted, two Conditions and a Mixed Open race. There are 66 entries across the card, although some of these will inevitably be horses which are entered into more than one race.

We start at 1pm with two Maiden races, the first of which is part of the National series for four and five year old horses sponsored by Goffs UK and will be run over two and a half miles rather than the usual three. Three of the five entries are four-year-olds and therefore receive 10lb weight allowances, Damekap is a five-year-old mare and receives a 7lb allowance. A Law To Himself is one of two horses trained by Tom Ellis and is the only one to have run before, having finished 3rd on two occasions, at Cocklebarrow and Badbury Rings.

The three-mile Maiden which follows is kindly sponsored by Billing Finance and this time there are no allowances for age, only for the one mare entered Look At Mee (Gina Andrews) which receives 7lbs. There are 14 horses entered for this one, including some which have had good results in their previous runs. Jepsone and Kinalearty are aiming to complete a point-to-point for the first time having had careers under rules.

12 horses may come forward for the Restricted race, sponsored by Mr and Mrs Christopher Latilla-Campbell, which follows this. Some, like the Tom Ellis-trained Artiste d'Alnay, Burtown trained by Max Colney and Tim Vaughan's Mary's Fortune have all won this season, while others have been restricted horses for longer. The seven-year-old Money Spinner, ridden by previous Pytchley Huntsman Daniel Cherriman, would be a popular winner. George Edgedale's Kilpin has won here previously.

The feature race of the afternoon is the Berrys Mixed Open race, next on the card, where we will see the highest-rated horses of the day. Ragnar Lodbrook has won twice this season for trainer Jennifer Owen and the Whiskey & Water Partnership, most recently at Horseheath in February, but he will be challenged by Dundrum Wood, trained by Tom Ellis for Shona Westrope, which won at Alnwick on his only outing this season. The Ellis team also have Bawnmore entered, second to No Hassle Hoff last time out.

The last two races of the afternoon are both conditions races which have 27 entries between them.

The first, sponsored by The Hawthorns in Northampton, is for members of the Point-to-point Owners and Riders Association (PPORA) and horses carry extra weight for wins in certain types of races. Leicestershire trainer Kelly Morgan has several runners entered for this race, one of which, Bothwell Bridge, has only raced once in point-to-points where he finished second to Espoir de Teillee at Garthorpe in early February but is well-rated. Ellis Callwood rides. Kelly's other rides are Overworkedandunderpaid - second at Ampton last time out - and Runwiththetide who won the Alnwick intermediate in January. Francesca Poste brings another useful horse in Muckamore, a winner last time out at Horseheath for the Arkwright family. Local interest will probably be looking to Champagne Glory, trained by Stuart Morris and ridden by Jack Andrews, who has never been out of top three in restricted company. Fred Hutsby's Saltby Boy is another horse with a single second-placed finish on their point-to-point record, to Premier Magic in the Mixed Open at Brocklesby - no disgrace there. Dale Peters trains and rides The Unmentionable for Freda and Neville Clarke, third behind Ragnar Lodbrok at Horseheath on New Year's Eve.

Our final race is for horses of eight-years-old and over and is kindly sponsored by Sibbertoft Manor. Gina Andrews rides Tiger's Song for husband Tom after a year off and gets a 7lb mare's allowance. Ellis also has Killinkere entered – second last time out at Higham – which Jack Andrews is booked to ride. Andrews is also down to ride the 13-year-old Neumond. Youngest in the field at eight is the Francesca Poste-trained grey In Our Dreams, who was fifth at Horseheath on their last outing. At the other end of the scale we have the Thirlby's veteran 14-year-old Get On The Yager. Philippa Taylor's Elmdale will be better for their only run of the season at Garthorpe, where they led the field for much of the race. Dale Peters-trained Port of Mars was fourth behind Muckamore at Horseheath in February.

As usual, the Pytchley with Woodland point-to-point will have an array of trade stands and places to eat, a licensed bar, hospitality, bookmakers, and numerous other forms of entertainment for all the family.

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