There will be a new name on the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup at Sunday’s Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point meeting at Cocklebarrow.
The Men’s Open, run over the marathon distance of 3m 7f, has long been one of the highlights and, with no entries from the Robert Waley-Cohen stable, the form horses are Sir du Bearn and Perfectly Willing, who was a close second to Benedictus in a quality Men’s Open at Larkhill earlier this month.
The quirky Golan Way represents high-class National Hunt form, having run in last season’s Grand National.
However, he refused to race in his last two Hunter Chases and was well-beaten on his reappearance.
Ice Cool Benny won three times last year but also has a mind of his own while De Forgotten Man netted two Men’s Opens in 2014 but has disappointed since. James Henderson has two entered, the improving Say No in addition to Thanks For Coming.
Top-rated in the 3m 4f Ladies’ Open Race is last year’s winner Moscow Blaze.
He has yet to run to his best this season but will be ridden by the in-form Page Fuller, who won on the evergreen That’s Rhythm at Larkhill on Saturday.
Tinelyra has been placed for Fergal O’Brien in two Ladies’ Opens this season while course winner Oh Toodles is consistent and goes well fresh. Ballyjames and Ben’s Folly are other consistent types who cannot be ruled out.
In the Restricted Race, which is the first Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series qualifier of the year, the trainer of last year’s winner Oh Toodles, Caroline Robinson, is represented by ex-Irish pointer Abhainn Dubh.
Opposition includes several promising types who won their Maidens last time out.
Love Manhattan has been sold out of the Tom Lacey stable since winning at Paxford last year, Midnight Harry won at Maisemore in the Spring, and Tom Weston, whose horses are in excellent form, will be hoping Mr Jalfrazy can follow-up his recent win at Chaddesley Corbett.
Others to watch include Phil York’s Green Winter, who also ran well at Chaddesley and the Claire Hart-trained Gift of Dreams, who finished close behind the impressive Storm Lantern at Larkhill before Christmas.
The Hunt Members Race has only six entrants but looks likely to be a competitive contest.
Moorland Sunset would be a popular winner for clerk of the course Nick Phillips. Another popular winner would be Dabinett Moon, owned by Christopher Marriott and the latest home-bred from the Apples’ dynasty who have been running for the Marriotts for more than 40 years.
Be Definite ran a cracking race on his debut in points at Chaddesley last month and will be bidding to give Gus Levinson a first winner on only his second ride.
Cocklebarrow is located at Cocklebarrow Farm, Aldsworth GL54 3PP. Entry is £20 per car and £10 for single occupancy.