Pointing in Yorkshire 2017
Hurworth at Hutton Rudby 18th March 2017

By Will Millburn & Caroline Smith

Knocklong (grey jacket, blue cap) and Catherine Walton (credit Tom Milburn)

A Donkey Derby gets under starter's orders at 12pm at the Hurworth Point-to-Point, held at Skutterskelfe, Hutton Rudby, by kind permission of Mr & Mrs Colin Tunnicliffe. Secretary Nicola Naughton, said "We have the Alwood Dokeys that raced at Beverley  Racecourse, Paddy, Guinness, Ant, Dec, Minnie and Mickey, the jockeys are Kate Lowcock,  Phillipa Atkinson, Gemma Tutty, Charlie Bedi, Phoebe Franks & Zaila Barker. The bookmakers are betting on it and they are all sponsored by local businesses. It's going to be very competitive and a great way to begin the day!"

The Hunt Race is at 1pm and as is every year is well supported by both the yards of Phil Greaves and Paul Franks. Greaves has done well this season with Neville Woods, a low grade hurdle winner who was revived at The Sinnington when romping home to victory in the Novice riders race, he was impressive that day but he must confirm that effort, Phil also has the option of Blue Bertie and Riddle Me This, with the former a maiden winner back in 2014 but has struggled since "He has done lots of hunting, he is fresh, well and seems to like it round Hutton Rudby" said Phil. Paul Franks string has yet to really fire this season, however the one showing the most is Fairy Mix but again will have to build on her efforts this year. Danny Mags broke his maiden at Easingwold last season and returned at Askham Bryan with a very creditable third. However victory could go the way of Fever Pitch, who has put up two very sound efforts either side of a disappointing run at Sheriff Hutton "He's in very good form at home and should have a good chance" stated trainer John Dawson and will no doubt be hoping to get rider Charlotte Crane off the mark for the season. Selection - Fever Pitch

The second race is the Restricted race and this is a Subaru qualifier, where the first three home qualify for the final at Stratford. Cousin Guillaume has been largely disappointing since showing early promise in his maiden career but has struggled since his maiden win, Kahn Do It is another with a similar profile whilst Premier Blanc proved little in a match race on debut but was not disgraced at the Sinnington when fifth, she is nicely bred and can improve further. Twelveoclockhigh was inconsistent as a maiden and was a no show on his return so it's hard to know what to expect from this son of Midnight Legend. Martha's Benefit made a pleasing return at Charm Park when fourth behind the useful looking Dance Of Time and Path To Freedom, however it could be between Danny Mags and Lord Usher, the latter broke his maiden at Corbridge but a recent fourth at Dalston may mean this race comes too soon and could hand the advantage to Danny Mags.
Selection - Danny Mags

The Ladies Open could be a very hot race if Palypso De Creek turns up, but he will need soft ground and his recent defeat may suggest he is vulnerable at the age of 14, Oaklands Bobby is another tal-ented veteran but will require firm conditions and an easy lead as this 15 year old loves to front run, however Knocklong was the easy winner of a Novice Hunter Chase at Catterick and continues to prove a potent force between the flags. As for the rest A Country Mile won at the Holderness recently where he beat Hand Act Or Part but will need another huge step forward, Abbey Storm was a decent recruit for Paul and Clare Rooney when trained by Micky Hammond, he is a four time winner and has a mark of 113 over fences and could be an interesting new recruit for Lynne Ward. Selection - Knocklong

The Men's Open is next and like the Ladies race looks very competitive, the one that is going from strength to strength is The Highlander, he was an easy winner last Saturday at Dalston and could be dangerous if turning out again "The Highlander should win the Men's if he runs, but we will see how he is this week" said a confident Jacqueline Coward. Dance Of Time is another on the upgrade, he was a useful bumper horse prior to his lengthy absence, where he contested the Aintree Champion Bumper, he has shown a high cruising speed and won a very hot restricted at Charm Park, this is another step up in grade but should have strong claims. Six A Side is highly consistent and went close on his return, better ground would be to his liking and tries this track for the first time "He's in great form at home, he's not got as much of a kick on soft ground so we're hoping it dries out, good ground is ideal for him!" said Will Milburn. One Conemara is entered but is likely to be saved for the Grimthorpe Gold Cup, where as Things Change and Will Easterby were well held by The Highlander at Sinnington and its hard to see him reverse that.
Selection - The Highlander

The penultimate race is the YAPPC Members Conditions race, where rider's who are not designated as a novice rider must carry a 5lb penalty. Dance Of Time will be partnered by John Dawson so he will have a penalty to burden, he is progressive and looks useful, the same can be said for Neville Woods who was impressive at Sinnington and Phil Greaves avoids a penalty "Neville Woods is going well, he has had a bit of a break, so if he takes to the course I'm fairly hopeful he can run as well as last time" said Phil who appears hopeful of a big run. Six A Side is in good form along with Things Change, however an interesting contender is Wizadora, she has course form and if partnered by Jack Andrews could be receiving 12lb from some of his rivals, however Dance Of Time was 15 lengths ahead of her at Sinnington this season and he may be the one to beat. Selection - Dance Of Time

The final race is the Open Maiden and the stand out form of the race comes from Monsun Storm, a son of September Storm put up his best effort when second last time at Charm Park, it was a decent event that day and he should take the beating here. Jack Teal's mare Cheat Fairly has shown clear promise, she has improved with each run and another good show can be expected, whilst Thats Digby showed promise in some weak maidens last term and may struggle to figure. Ghetto Blaster showed form at an earlier stage in his career when fourth in a bumper at Exeter but since joined Sam England where he showed very little and has again changed stables. Selection - Monsun Storm

Public admission is 10 per adult, under 14s are free (when accompanied by an adult). Spectators can also enjoy a shopping experience at the course, with 13 different stalls including "Mason's Gin, The Little Red Berry Company and Sophie Osborne of Frimble. The postcode for Sat Nav is TS15 0JL.