THE Northern Area season resumes tomorrow after a six-week break with the West Percy fixture at Ratcheugh Farm near Alnwick.
It has attracted 128 entries on a seven-race card, which starts at noon.
Former Carlisle specialist See You There relishes a test of stamina with plenty of cut and so, with everything in his favour, is expected to repeat last month’s success in the Men’s Open Race. Dan Ockenden’s mount led a mile from home that day and stayed on well to beat Winterwood by three lengths.
The runner-up is unlikely to reverse placings on the same terms, while Shropshire raider Von Origny returned to winning form at Whitfield recently and won’t be heading north just for a change of scenery.
Sea Scout achieved a career-high mark when making virtually all under a positive ride from Claire Metcalfe at Alnwick last time and the partnership can come up trumps again in the Ladies’ Open Race. The main dangers are Sacred Mountain and Master Sebastian, who finished first and second in the Ratcheugh Club Members in a good time and have 20lbs and 14lbs respectively less to carry here.
The two-and-a-half-mile Open Maiden Race has 28 entries and will be divided on the day if more than 16 horses are declared.
Ancient Times landed a big gamble in Philip Kirby’s colours at the December meeting and it would not surprise me if stable companion, Earl Grez had the bookies running for cover this time.
He was beaten under five lengths when twice placed in handicap chases last January and this represents a significant drop in class.
Of the others, Coquet Head caught the eye when chasing home subsequent hunter chase scorer, Miss Vivian at Tranwell last April, while Gin Cobbler and Northern Flame are both open to improvement after promising placed efforts over course and distance on their seasonal debuts.
Monogram is the first of a possible seven rides for reigning men’s champion jockey, Tristan Davidson, in the Members’ Race. The eight-year-old only weakened from two out when a close third to the aforementioned Sacred Mountain on his first start for Victor Thompson’s yard last month, and this 109-rated chaser is a confident choice to make amends by accounting for Highland Cathedral and Rakerin Lad.
Commonburn comes into his own when stamina is at a premium and is worth an interest in the NPPA Club Members Race. He ran a blinder here 12 months ago when finishing two lengths second to the talented Hold On Julio, and a repetition of that form should be enough to land the spoils from Farriers Flight and Native Coll.
Recent maiden winners, The Rustlin Rhino and Tinkwood, are among the 21 entries for a competitive-looking Restricted Race. Of the remainder, Drew Holmes has a potentially smart recruit to hunt racing in the shape of Silent Cliche, who was placed in six of his ten starts under Rules when trained by Howard Johnson.
The concluding three-mile Open Maiden Race has 31 entries and also looks like being divided on the day.
Senor Alco created a favourable impression when finding only Highland Cathedral too good last time and has the scope to go one better, while stablemate, Tommysteel was not beaten far when placed in three of his five starts between the flags in Ireland.