GRAFTON PREVIEW – PREVIEW – SUNDAY 18TH MAY 2014

 

By Andrew Norman

 

Chipping Warden trainer Pauline Harkin, who trained a double at Cheltenham’s Hunter Chase evening a fortnight ago, will give stable star Doctor Kingsley the chance to record a seventh course success at Whitfield’s Grafton Point-to-Point on Sunday.

The twelve-year-old had been given an entry in the United Hunts Champion Hunters’ Chase at Fontwell on Thursday, but Harkin’s husband Doug confirmed: “He’ll have his final run of the season in front of his fan club at Whitfield on Sunday. My heart says it’s the place to go as he loves it there.”

A win for the popular gelding in the Mens Open would take his seasonal tally to five, equalling Harkin’s fellow Cheltenham scorer Popaway, who landed the Hunter Chase at Southwell on Tuesday.

Reigning National Champion Lady Rider Jacqueline Coward, one victory behind current leader Bridget Andrews in this season’s title race, has four possible mounts for mother Cherry as the season reaches its climax. These include former Cheltenham Foxhunters victor Amicelli and previous course scorer Bitter Blue, who has strong claims in the Ladies Open. That contest includes last year’s winner Cutlass Silver, who lines up to defend her crown.

Recent Mollington scorers Darby’s Turn, trained by Towcester-based Emily Brooks, and Grand Exit, handled by Weston’s Sylvia Edmunds, look set to fight out the Hunt Members race.

Lambourn trainer Sally Randell has a strong hand across the card with Barbury winner Candide a leading contender for the Restricted. Stablemates Driftashore, an impressive Irish recruit, and dual course winner Euro Farmer can also make their presence felt.

National Leading Owner-chasing David Brace has two horses entered with Bringinthebranston engaged in the Intermediate and the once-raced Fireing Pin in the Open Maiden. The son of Needle Gun will face the Pauline Harkin-trained Whither Goest Thou, runner-up to a nice type here in March.

Pony Racing commences at 12.30pm with the first of seven Point-to-Point races due off at 2pm.

Admission is £20 per car (£10 for single occupants). Whitfield Racecourse (NN13 5TQ) is situated two miles north-east of Brackley, just off the A43.