The first fixture of the 2019 Yorkshire point-to-point season is the eagerly anticipated Yorkshire Area Point to Point Club at Sheriff Hutton on Sunday 13th January by kind permission of Mick Easterby. The YAPPC donate a proportion of their profits to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and have raised in total over £90,000 since it began 10 years ago. Alongside the seven race card, hot food will be served throughout the day including a hog roast and a licensed bar will be available onsite too. The action begins at 12:00pm and a grand total of 147 entries have been received with runners travelling far from far & wide to participate. Admission is £10 and postcode for Sat nav is YO60 7TN.
The opening race, the Conditions Club race, unlike in previous seasons this term this race incurs penalties on the horses instead of the riders. There is a flood of entries from across the country and as usual, it's been very popular resulting in two divisions. All Great N Theory is a former winner of this race, although he hasn't been in the same form since and age isn't on his side. Benefit Of Luck racked up a hat trick last season and this will be his toughest test yet, whilst Big Sound joins the pointing ranks, he's been off for a year but was highly consistent and the winner of 6 races including 5 chases. Game As A Pheasant put up a good third at Alnwick but always tends to bump into one too good, whilst General Mahler has been running consistently for Brian Ellison, he now joins Will Easterby's team and could go well although most of his form is over sub 3 mile trips. Sea Beat was a good third at Hexham behind the useful Ted Veale, but the Guy Brewer trained Ravished could be the one to take advantage of this drop into pointing, he won some decent handicaps in Ireland and has more recently been placed over fences for Charlie Longsdon.
Selection - Ravished
In Division Two, Hollow Tree is the class act on previous form - as a juvenile he won a Grade 1 hurdle at Chepstow where he beat Coutrywide Flame, he looks a glimmer of that now but could still retain enough ability to go well. Lilly's Got Wings is a Restricted winner last time out, Path To Freedom was progressive last year in points and hunter chases and can be forgiven his most recent blip in the Heart Of All England. Shimla Dawn is a useful performer but looks over burdened with 13 stone, whereas You Too Pet is also penalised by 7lb but was second in this race last year behind the useful Dance Of Time, however the likely winner could either come from Snow Castle, again trained by Guy Brewer, who progressed well last season or the Will Easterby trained Black River was formerly useful when in France and latterly with Paul Nicholls, he's put up two solid efforts at Hexham and Alnwick and could finally get his head back in front.
Selection - Black River
The Restricted has runners from afar include Robthegetaway, Dwynant and Rules Of War - the former was massively impressive when winning his maiden and has since won the Aintree point to point bumper and could be a useful contender at this level. Rules Of War won his maiden last time and when running in Ireland finished fourth behind the now useful Duhallow Tornado. Taylormade Boy is very consistent and ran another good race at Alnwick to be fourth, whilst Ardenlee Lad was returning from a break when coming to grief last time, he was fancied at the time and could have a claim. This track should suit Miss Carney and was a fortunate winner on her last run, she's better than that judged on previous form and could improve if ready. Gibbes Bay could be a more interesting contender, he's a bumper winner and reached a mark of 117 over hurdles, he has since left Paul Nicholls and could be a potent force at this level.
Selection - Robthegetaway
The Ladies Open is always a good race and hopefully this year will be no different. Western Diva has been very consistent since going pointing but may find one too strong here, Golden Tobouggan is lightly raced but continues to progress well, he was second in a competitive race last time and could figure, whilst Haymount looks the big challenger here. He was a top class recruit for Willie Mullins and his finest hour came when a staying on third to Tiger Roll in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Red Spinner is a clear talent but has seemed a bit tricky so far but would have a chance with a clear round, whilst one who should know his job is Impact Zone who may provide Cara Richardson with her first ride in public. Cork Citizen has brought his national hunt form into this sphere, Sea Beat put up a good effort last time and should be finding a race soon for Lottie Crane who also has the choice of the talented looking Ballinahow Bill, who Lottie now trains herself and no doubt she'll be keen to get him out.
Selection - Haymount
Haymount also hold an entry in the Mens Open and could contest either race along with Golden Tobouggan. Shimla Dawn looked very talented in points last season when demolishing some good rivals at Charm Park and the forecast decent ground will be in his favour. Dark Mahler is another new recruit for Guy Brewer and is relatively lightly raced when with Emma Lavelle where he won a 2 mile chase around Ludlow. One Conemara is well known on the Yorkshire circuit and is a custom to this track after winning the Grimthorpe Gold Cup at the Middleton meeting, whilst Will Easterby has the choice of Kings Lodge and Black River and the former may take his chance. Shantou Prince progressed very well last year with drying ground, he doesn't normally operate early in the season but this unusually dry spell may play in his favour, whilst Saroque's best effort could arguably be when finishing fourth in the Welsh National, he signed off last time with a win and could still be a force at the age of 12. Gunmoney has been a top class pointer for many years now, however he ended last season with a pulled up and at the age of 14 could be vulnerable to some younger rivals. My Murphy is 13yo now and has contested some top class handicaps in Ireland in his career and latterly has run well in Irish Opens, he was last seen pulling up in a Banks race and again could be vulnerable to a younger rival.
Selection - One Conemara
The Open Maiden is run over 3 miles and Erica's Dream has shown promise previously but may be better for the run, Latenightpass has been in the first four in all his starts and comes from a team in red hot form, whilst Frangeliko put up some good efforts last season including a narrow defeat at Easingwold and if on song could have a say. Glassilaun has joined the Coward team, a son of Milan who was third on its last start and earned an Irish rating of 81, Major Minus has been running well for Will Easterby despite showing very little under rules but looks as if a maiden will surely be in his grasp, Robins Legend caught the eye at Hexham where he will no doubt have come on for the run and could sneak a place. Crazy Croft was third last time at the South Durham meeting and was her first piece of form, Tonganui had shown little form until his last run where he was disputing the lead until been carried out at the last and Well Afford has ran respectably in Irish points but doesn't look a sure thing in this company. Love Around has been running well and can no doubt make the frame again, whilst Flower Ball was lightly raced last season but put up some good efforts and could go well if building on that.
Selection - Major Minus
The final race is a maiden run over 2 miles and 4 furlongs, there is a handful of debutantes starting off her one of which is Always Cloudy who's mother Bright Cloud won her Restricted at this meeting and the Gill Walford trained juveniles are worth following. Coniston Spa is a 4yo by Watar for Steph Easterby who also has Kimberley Boy who is out of Marsh Run who is three time bumper winner which included a listed mares final at Sandown. Nicky Tinkler has Hafajay who like Always Cloudy is by Haafhd, Hafajay is brother to Bramble Vodka who won on debut and could be one to note. Dressedforsuccess has shown she possesses ability when finishing third on her reappearance and can go well, whilst Eden Collonge showed plenty of potential last year but that form has tailed off and may be capable of bouncing back. Most of these have little form to boast about including Flamingo Lane who had shown very little till last time when looked booked for second and unseating two out, he set a strong pace that day and this shorter trip should suit. Dipsophobia was third on debut last year and will hope to get Pete Fahey's season under way, connections feel strongly about this son of Shirocco and could be the likely winner. Love Around could be the most reliable of these, he possibly lacks potential unlike some other contenders but has been placed on his last four runs and will likely hit the frame again.
Selection - Dipsophobia