Under starter's orders for point-to-point action
By David Wood
Where: Didmarton, near Tetbury, Glos GL9 1EA
When: Saturday, March 2, first race 12.30pm
Horse racing fans could be in for a treat this weekend when the Duke of Beaufort's Point-to-Point takes place at Didmarton, near Tetbury, on Saturday afternoon (March 2).
It is difficult to believe that 12 months ago this meeting was cancelled due to the "Beast from the East" while this week has seen the highest February temperatures recorded in England.
The meeting at Didmarton literally has the field to itself, as it is the only Point-to-Point meeting in the country on Saturday afternoon, so the crowd should be swelled by enthusiasts who travel long distances to participate, but also by people who fit this event into part of their social calendar.
The first race at 12.30pm, the Hunt Members race, is dominated by entries from three stables which account for a majority of the potential runners. Little Sodbury based Charlie Dando and partner Brooke Gardener-Wollen have a total of four horses entered including Brass in Pocket, Carrig Dubh, Everybody's Talkin and Kit Barry.
Everbody's Talkin won on his seasonal debut last week, while stablemate Carrig Dubh has a course success to his credit (having won last year's Intermediate) so the stable selection is sure to give a good account of themselves.
Ed Walker is also multi-handed and probably holds the key to this contest with the highly rated Fly West, Mothers Rest, The Flying Doc and Vinc's Vinnie. The Ottery St Mary trainer was successful for the Francombes with Punter Friendly last year and will be keen to repeat that feat with Mothers Rest 12 months later.
Robert Harraway always has a runner in the Members but it seems a placed effort is the best Brandy and Red or Too Scoops can hope for. A few years ago, any runners carrying the Bush families black and white colours were a standing dish in this contest but their star has waned recently and it would be a major surprise if Double Cool were to win.
Walker teams up with owner Richard Kelvin Hughes in the 4-5-6 and 7 year old Maiden. Santini made his debut at this meeting in 2017 and is now one of the favourites for one of the major races at the Cheltenham Festival.
There is now way of knowing if St Barts is worthy of being mentioned in the same breath but at this stage of his career, he has more in his favour than most.
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