Yorkshire Area Point to Point Club Preview
Sunday the 15th of January see’s the return of point to pointing in Yorkshire, as the Yorkshire Area point to point is held at Sheriff Hutton by kind permission of Mick Easterby. A seven-race card is on offer with the first race starting at 11-45am with the Conditions race which after receiving 24 entries has been divided before the day. Always a well-supported meeting, with betting, beer tent and hot food served throughout the day and all in aid of raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. There will also be American jockey and Maryland Hunt Cup winning rider Teddy Davies in action as he takes part with potentially two rides.
The opening race is division 1 of the Conditions race and with 12 entries there are a couple of horses making their point debut, one of which is Ecco, formerly a useful recruit when with Paul Nichols he was last seen finishing a distant third at Aintree and with all his form over 2m-2m4f he may be vulnerable on this demanding track. Mount Mews will not lack ability as he won a Grade 2 at Kelso and then finished runner up in a Grade 1 when in his prime, however his form has tailed off since then and has been absent from the track since May 2021 so has questions to answer. Path To Freedom was consistent last season, however failed to land a blow on his most recent effort last Sunday at Alnwick. Rocket Lad had some good form in Ireland but was only seen once last year when pulling up at Hexham, providing he is in good health he could be worth another chance. The Dubai Way was a very capable hurdler and chaser when with Charlie Man and latterly Alex Hales and could be a strong player on his point debut, whilst Nortonthorpe Legend was a very easy winner of an Open at Charm Park last season, he has reportedly returned in good health this season and could be another to figure at the finish.
Selection – The Dubai Way
Division 2 is another competitive race and could see Thomas Easterby make his point-to-point debut aboard Crossgalesfamegame, a hurdle and chase winner this useful mare was runner up in a Listed chase back in December 2021 when with Sandy Thompson and could be a useful recruit to this field. Golden Tobouggan has held his form well and was placed at this track back in 2019, Mammoth is a lightly raced 9yo but was in good form last season but will need to take another step forward here, whilst Tom Cody strung together four easy victories last season before finishing third in the Heart Of All England and could continue to progress. The New Kid was an impressive winner of his Restricted last season but is another who will have to improve on his return to action. Minella Fair was disappointing on his return to action on Sunday at Alnwick finishing a well held fourth, however the Kelly Morgan at Chatfield Roberts team can continue their good run of form with course winner Smoke Man, he progressed well last season ending in a very creditable fourth at Cheltenham.
Selection – Smoke Man
In the Restricted the southern raiders look to have the upper hand as recent winners Tara Storm and Ipsos Des Bordes could be the ones to fight out the finish, the latter made a winning debut at Knightwick in a two runner Maiden so it is hard to know what he achieved that day, however Tara Storm made a winning start at Chaddesley Corbett recently beating the odds on favorite who was a 118 performer under rules and looks strong form. Cullin Hills was an easy winner at Charm Park last season, she looks a thorough stayer and this track and ground should play to her strengths, whilst the say could be said for Red Opium on pedigree been out of Poppy Day but will need a step forward on form. Fascinating Rhythm was an easy winner of a weak Maiden at Dalton Park and subsequently was well tailed off in an Aintree bumper, his form prior to this suggests he could be worth a second chance. Caballo Diablo has struggled since entering Restricted company, whilst Lifeisahighway has joined the Bella Sowray team, previously trained by Ben Pauling he was narrowly beaten at Southwell over 2m 4f and could be one to figure if taking to the testing conditions.
Selection – Tara Storm
The Ladies Open comes next and looks to hold a quality field, former Grade 3 winner Ballymoy has made a low key start to pointing after a couple of well held placed efforts, whilst the progressive Dubai Quest was last seen finishing fourth behind Billaway in the Cheltenham Foxhunters. Dundrum Wood is a useful recruit and has won several low key events, however may be vulnerable against the more classy types, whereas Homme d’Un Soir was an easy winner of a 2 mile chase in Ireland and although may possess the ability has to prove he will see out this longer trip. As for the Yorkshire contingent, Matts Commission could be partnered by Lois Teal and strung some good efforts together last season, however Vent d’Automne looked a force to be reckoned with from the front last season and will likely be forcing the pace. High Sparrow was a thorough stayer for Joseph O’brien including when finishing third in the Cork Grand National and could be one to note if on song for his return to action.
Selection – Dubai Quest
The Men’s Open could see the return of potential Cheltenham Foxhunters contender Black Op, a massively impressive winner of his Opens last season it will take a decent performer to beat him here. Crossgalesfamegame was Listed placed when with Sandy Thompson and could be a decent recruit to this field, whilst Vent d’Automne could take his chance here and is likely to force the pace, along with The Unmentionable who made it three on the bounce last season. Wagner was a dual Hunter Chase winner last season, Smoke Man was a creditable fourth in a Cheltenham Hunter Chase and wont lack for stamina, whilst Salvatore is more than capable if on a going day.
Selection – Black Op
The Open Maiden has attracted 23 entries and no doubt Steph Easterby will be keen to get a winner on the boards and could do so with Boreas Duke who was narrowly beaten on debut over hurdles at Hexham back in June 2019, they also have the option of Sheriff Hutton who is sister to point winner Yoohoof and multiple flat winner Where’s Jeff. Hollington has joined the Will Easterby team and was a £12,000 purchase out of the Crawford yard in Ireland, the team could also run Trap For Fools who was runner up here in 2021, whilst Roan was placed under rules for Ian Jardine and has an official rating of 95. Torngat and Scottish King could hold chances with the latter showing clear promise on his debut. Impression Chic and Iskander Pecos are both debutants to note, whilst Irish recruits Fortunes Hill and Loughrask Poet should be on the shortlist, with the latter a £16,000 purchase by Leading Light with the form of most recent run working out well. Paris Cercy was runner up twice last season and was well regarded and could be the one to take the beating.
Selection – Paris Cercy
The final race is a Maiden for 4, 5 and 6yo’s run over 2m 4f, City Storm finished just ahead of Big City Roller on his most recent run at Larkhill, Fortunes Hill was narrowly beaten in an Irish Maiden where he finished fourth, whilst Doctor Tom held every chance when falling two out last time, however his previous form may not be strong enough. As for the debutants, Iskander Pecos from the Tom Ellis yard was a 33,000 euro purchase and is brother to French Grade 3 winner Balkan Du Pecos, whilst Subtle Power is a daughter of the up and coming Soldier Of Fortune and is from the respected Philip Rowley yard.
Selection – Iskander Pecos