Horse racing returns to Brafield-on-the-Green this Sunday with a bumper eight-race card at The Oakley Point-to-Point.
Cheltenham fever has gripped the nation this week and a former festival winner - Diamond King - may debut between the flags in the Fisher German Ladies Open. The eleven-year-old, now in the care of Worcester-based Martin Weston, landed in Coral Cup in 2016 and looks an interesting recruit.
Julie Wadland's Golden Tobouggan was well supported to land a Stratford hunter chase on Monday before refusing to race and could line up again here.
Regular rider Claire Hardwick - bidding for her sixth win in this race - also has stablemate Midnight King, Woodfleet or her own Western Diva as candidates. Last year's runner-up Storm Lantern and useful mare Teeton Power are sure to be on the premises but lightly-raced veteran Top Smart could be the answer. Rider Gina Andrews has already ridden an extraordinary 22 winners this season and has a typically good book of rides for the afternoon.
Andrews is set to partner Samarnni, who returned from a two-year absence with victory at Garthorpe last month, in the Dodson & Horrell Confined race. However, stiff opposition includes Gunmoney, a winner at this meeting in three of the past four seasons including this race last year. Owner Richard Russell looks determined to retain the trophy having also entered the promising - but long absent - Easythingsarebest. The respective winners of the 2016 and 2017 renewals - Denys Moylan's Flicka's Witness and Robert Waley Cohen's Facile Bien - also hold entries in what looks a competitive contest.
Remarkably, another previous winner of the Confined is also engaged on the card. 2015 victor Thetalkinghorse - a winner of 14 of his 28 career starts - is the likely favourite for the Brian Currie Milton Keynes Mens Open. Gerald Bailey's charge impressed when accounting for Now Ben in last year's renewal and having kicked off his campaign with a victory at Horseheath last month, a third course win looks on the cards. The talented Neumond, who is still young enough to progress after a frustrating 2018, may give the selection most to think about under Jack Andrews.
Angela Rucker's Monbeg Oscar could prove a class apart from his rivals in the Landscope Land & Property Restricted. The seven-year-old showed plenty of ability over hurdles after an impressive Irish Point victory and connections won with a similar type at Chaddesley recently. Inmyday just failed in this contest 12 months ago but may fall short again with Law of Gold, Lucarno Express and unexposed Brocklesby winner King of The Clothe all holding strong claims. Harmoney Row is another intriguing contender.
The Michael Jones Open Maiden has been divided. David Kemp's How To Get Away made an encouraging debut when runner-up at Charing but Gerald Bailey's The Triple Pillar finished second in a deeper race at Garthorpe, pulling well clear of the remainder. Tom Ellis saddles Gitris, who showed ability before falling on debut. Ericsbar and Destination Gold, who reoppose after finishing third and fourth in the same maiden last month, complete the shortlist in the first division.
Division two includes Eeze A Saint, who fell when prominent at Kingston Blount on Saturday and has shown enough to suggest he will be winning a maiden at some stage. £3,500 Doncaster purchase Multitalented showed a glimmer of ability in bumpers, but Irish recruits Occupied and Rebel Dawn Rising could prove more interesting. Teeton Surprise, a full brother to Teeton Power, makes his racecourse debut in the care of Stuart Morris.
The hat-trick seeking Fran Nimmo-trained Summer Sounds was visually impressive at Chaddesley last time and can score again for rookie Luke Scott in the Bells Motor Group Novice Riders race.
The first event, the George Weaving Memorial Hunt Members, Graham Tawell's Hellorboston will attempt a repeat of last year's success, is due off at 1pm. Pony Racing is scheduled prior to the Point-to-Point action from 11.30am.
Admission is £10 per person on the day. Under 16s free. Forward car passes (including all occupants) are available for £50, promising the best view.
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The site includes a big screen for full course viewing, beer tent, cocktail bar, catering facilities, trade stand village shopping in addition to a family fun area with lots of activities for children. The racecourse is located one mile south of Brafield-on-the-Green, adjacent to Horton Road on the A428 (six miles south-east of Northampton). Postcode for Sat Nav: NN7 2BA.