A Donkey Derby gets under starter's orders at 12pm at the Hurworth Point-to-Point on Saturday 16th March held at Skutterskelfe, Hutton Rudby, by kind permission of Mr & Mrs Powell. The Alwood Donkeys are back again, represented by Shrek, Mickey, Betty, Dolly, Paddy and Stacey and their riders have been kindly sponsored by Rosedene Nurseries. Public admission is £10 per adult, under 16s are free (when accompanied by an adult). Spectators can also enjoy a shopping experience at the course, with 10 different stalls including "Vale Amore Jewels, Damson Tree and La Fille Rouge. A variety of catering options will be available; Bar, hot food /tea tent, Highland Confectionery and the ever popular Brymor Ice Cream. There will be children's entertainment with inflatables. The postcode for Sat Nav is TS15 0JL, 89 Entries have been received, the Hunt Members race starts the day at 1pm.
The opening Hunt Members race is a hot contest for the type of race, Neville Woods narrowly beat Big Sound at Duncombe Park and that runner up has come out since and franked the form by winning at the Holderness meeting, a reproduction of Neville Woods victory here two years ago would see him hard to beat, however Iron Chancellor is a very stout stayer and is likely to have conditions to suit but both will find life tough with a 10lb penalty to shoulder. Harris stayed on well behind Kings Lodge last time to suggest there is still life in him, whilst Buck Dancing was an impressive winner of the Restricted at Corbridge. As for the rest there is very little form to go on but Oscar O'scar looked set for second when unseating two out at Charm Park behind Kings Lodge.
Selection – Iron Chancellor
The second race is the Restricted and there are a handful of stand out performers, one is Shepherds Cave who stayed on strongly to win his maiden at Askham Bryan and looks as if he will stay well so further cut in the ground should not be an issue, whilst Mr Muldoon travelled up to Charm Park from Cheshire to readily take a two runner maiden, the form of the race is poor but he did it impressively and the reputation that follows him is high. Princess Scorpion is a recent winner, whilst Eden Collonges was impressive at Sheriff Hutton but has since been well held. Monsun Storm and Templepoint are both consistent performers but are likely to hit the crossbar once more.
Selection – Mr Muldoon
The Ladies Open is another option for Iron Chancellor, but it could be the turn for Ballinahow Bill to bounce back to form, his well held second at Brocklesby has been franked since with the winner bolting up in a hunter chase ad the fourth scoring in a hunter at Carlisle. Six A Side could have a switch into Ladies company and is very consistent, Wizadora loves soft ground but looks held on form with Iron Chancellor, whilst Dee Bee Keeper and Lord Usher look set for minor roles. Meldrum Lad was a multiple winner for Seamus Durack and was last seen finishing down the field in a grade 3 at Ascot, he has joined a leading yard and will no doubt be ready to go after a long absence.
Selection – Meldrum Lad
The Mens Open looks most competitive with recent Charm Park winner Petrou possibly making the line up, he was an easy winner of the Open there and it is likely he will take all the beating here. Young Hurricane could give the favourite a run for his money but his best form is on firm ground and has failed to shine on his reappearance the last couple of seasons, Slim Pickens was a useful recruit under rules for Richard Newland and made an encouraging return when fourth at Friars Haugh, whilst Rattle The Cage showed he has plenty to offer when taking the Confined at Duncombe Park, he has to step up in class now but should be on thereabouts. Kings Lodge is a strong stayer, whilst it looks like Ravished could be set for a win at some point after a narrow second to Black River. Neville Woods won this two years ago and would have leading claims but may have easier assignments.
Selection – Petrou
The Confined looks the easiest task for Neville Woods out of his three entries with only a 3lb penalty, Rattle The Cage and Ravished look the main threat to him, whilst Ravished's stable-mate Snow Castle looked rather one paced at Askham Bryan when finishing runner up and may have to settle for second place again. The Coward team have the choice of Game As A Pheasant and Wizadora, the latter has won at this track before and both would have leading claims in this company, but the former looks held on form with Rattle The Cage.
Selection – Neville Woods
The final race is an Open Maiden which has received 26 entries, Alamgiyr was unfortunate to take the wrong course last time, Caviar d'Allen looks to have settled better since his fourth at Sheriff Hutton and is progressing, whilst East Wing is another that was fourth at Sheriff Hutton and is likely to do better. Flamingos Lane needs to learn to settle better after tearing off in his races so far, Glassilaun was second in a three runner maiden, its hard to assess that although the winner looks as if he could be decent. Clashganny has been knocking on the door for some time but this looks a winnable race, the same can be said for Raleagh Mountain who has been placed numerous times in points and under rules and looks set to have every chance of breaking his duck. Solitary Shore and Quizzacle High are potential improvers after encouraging efforts last time, the former looked out paced and ran on well at the end at Charm Park. The unraced Very Patient is from the same connections as Waiting Patiently, he is out of a Presenting mare from the family of Celtic Shot and Final Nudge.
Selection – Caviar d'Allen