Conditions will dictate if 2017 winner defends title

Supreme Danehill and Joe Hill winning the Lord Ashton of Hyde's Cup Mens Open at the Heythrop meeting in 2017. Photo: Neale Blackburn
Supreme Danehill and Joe Hill winning the Lord Ashton of Hyde's Cup Mens Open at the Heythrop meeting in 2017. Photo: Neale Blackburn

Conditions across the country are set to determine whether Supreme Danehill defends his crown in the Lord Ashton Of Hyde’s Cup at the Savills Heythrop point-to-point meeting at Cocklebarrow on Sunday.

The ten-year-old, from Alan Hill’s Aston Rowant stables, landed the first of the sport’s four ‘classics’ last season when bounding home by ten lengths from Thanks For Coming under the trainer’s jockey-son, Joe.

And he showed his current well-being when making a winning reappearance with a three-lengths verdict over Before The War at Wadebridge earlier this month.

The likely conditions should suit Supreme Danehill but his repeat bid in the Smith & Williamson Men’s Open hinges on whether stablemate Broken Eagle, who prefers a sound surface, lines up at Higham on the same afternoon.

Sixteen entries for the Skinner’s Pet Food Ladies’ Open over 3m 4f are headed by Dabinett Moon.

She was the winner of the series final at Stratford last season for Chipping Norton trainer Fran Marriott, who owns the ten-year-old mare with her husband, Christopher, the meeting secretary.

He reported: “I rode Dabinett Moon on Monday morning and she felt very well.

“I suspect she will not particularly like the ground because it will be a bit softer than she likes but I think she will stay the extra half-mile.

“She has been amazing. She is tiny, but she really tries.”

Dabinett Moon finished a four-lengths second to 2014 Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Caid Du Berlais on her reappearance at Larkhill three weeks ago.

Carruthers, winner of the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup, could be in opposition.

Now 15, the popular gelding retains all his enthusiasm, according to trainer Sara Bradstock, from Letcombe Bassett, near Wantage.

Start Royal, the winner of 25 point-to-points and two hunter chases for Hill’s yard, is another veteran set to run.

The Knight Frank Hunt Members race opens proceedings at 12 noon.

En Passe, who won the intermediate race at Cocklebarrow 12 months ago for Howard Pauling’s Chadlington stables and Buck Magic, winner of this contest for owner-trainer-rider John Smith-Maxwell in 2016, are potential runners.