PREVIEW  BICESTER WITH WHADDON CHASE – WHITFIELD – SATURDAY 28TH MARCH 2014

 

By Andrew Norman

 

Five-time course winner Doctor Kingsley could return to his favourite venue, Whitfield Racecourse, for the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Point-to-Point on Saturday.

The popular twelve-year-old, beaten just 16 lengths in the Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase earlier this month, is engaged in the Mens Open but may have to overcome one of two in-form rivals from the Shelia Crow yard. The Shropshire trainer can choose from Mallard Pawnbrokers winner Current Exchange and prolific mare Fruit Fayre – the pair boasting 15 Point scores between them.

Course winner Start Royal, a winner of 15 Points himself, won nicely at Kingston Blount last time and is a likely favourite for the Ladies Open. Opposition includes fellow course victors Cutlass Silver and Major Decision, both top-of-the-ground performers, and dual Garthorpe scorer Hey Porter.

Mr Mercurial, unbeaten in both starts for Sheila Crow, is the selection for the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate. The six-year-old looks a progressive type and was better than the bare result when just hanging on in his Restricted at Larkhill. Illicit Illusion will be suited by the track and ground after disappointing at the same venue and should be on the premises while another player is consistent course winner As It Is - another who should relish conditions. Durban Gold, a runner-up on this card two years ago, upgrades after winning at Barbury Restricted while Hudson Gunner ran with credit before unseating his rider in a Newbury Hunters’ Chase last week.

The unraced Susie Sheep is reported to have been schooling well at Tom Lacey’s Cottage Field Stables and is the selection for the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden. Midnight Hop showed improved form at Larkhill when second there a fortnight ago but faces an entirely different test here.

Sally Randell’s horses are in fine form and fourteen-year-old Euro Farmer, who won at this meeting last term, can prove age is no barrier in the Hunt Members. The fragile Bit Of A Barney, who knows his way home at Whitfield, could give him most to think about. Chris Loggin’s charge also has the option of contesting the Restricted. Opposition in that event includes Kingston Blount maiden scorers Lotta Scares and Triggers Ginger. Nightcap Jack also has the form to figure but Amithereyet has won solidly twice in this grade since arriving from Ireland and is given the vote.

The card is concluded with an Open Maiden. The first of seven races is due off at 12.30pm.

The going on Tuesday evening was described as “good to soft, soft in places.”

Admission is £20 per car (£10 for single occupants). The course is situated two miles north-east of Brackley, just off the A43. Postcode code for Sat Nav: NN13 5TQ.