PREVIEW – VWH – SIDDINGTON – SATURDAY 22ND MARCH 2014

 

By Andrew Norman

 

The prospect of perfect jumping ground ensures that the VWH, Siddington’s atmospheric annual Point-to-Point meeting, will see competitive action on Saturday.

Owner Scilla Phillips will bid to retain her trophy in the opening Hunt Members race, due off at 1.30pm. She is represented by Moorland Sunset, an ex-Caroline Keevil inmate making his debut between the flags for Elizabeth Brown.

Local trainer Pete Mason can choose from either Time For Spring and Pretty Penny in opposition. Mason guided the popular Shy John to fine eighth place finish in the Cheltenham Foxhunter on Friday, two years after the gelding was third in the Open Maiden at this meeting.

Lake Legend, unbeaten between the flags, is the standout selection in the Confined Conditions race. The gelding is well-treated as three of his four Point scores coming before July 2012 and he showed a determined attitude when winning at Garthorpe earlier this month.

Silver By Design - Leading player in the Restricted on Saturday (www.graftonwood.co.uk)

 

Forget Bob, the winner of the Restricted on this card two years ago, was travelling well at Didmarton before unseating his rider three out and should go close while Sizing America was caught close home at Bangor a fortnight ago but a hefty weight penalty could halt his bid for compensation. Bon Accord won this race for Alan Hill in 2007 and the Oxfordshire handler has the top-rated Dante's Storm as a possible. However, the 12-year-old would carry a 10lb penalty here and his trainer may instead opt for his engagement in the Mixed Open.

The Glacial Storm gelding would have to bring his A-game to successfully defeat Fruit Fayre however. The Sheila Crow yard has been flying this season her prolific hat-trick seeking mare is on the upgrade. Didmarton runner-up Woodlark Island may be next best.

The race of the day looks to be the Restricted. Celia Plunkett’s Squirrel Esquire looked a useful prospect when obliging on his second career start at Dingley last May. Described by rider James Martin as “a bit special,” the son of Kayf Tara showed the ability to quicken that day but may have to give best here with several race-fit rivals bringing solid Maiden form to the party.

Silver By Design put 14 lengths between himself and two next-time-out winners at Barbury last month and must play a leading role here if none the worse for his recent tumble at Didmarton. Useful bumper performer Soixante Six scored on the same card as that rival at Barbury over 2m4f. The six-year-old caught the eye by cosily conceding 21lbs to a well-regarded rival that day and, although being brought down early at Howick on Sunday, is open to further progress.

Irish Maiden scorer Abbeyview defeated three subsequent winners at Lisronagh in December and is an interesting recruit to Shelia Crow’s Hardwicke Stables. Cock And Hen split a pair of very useful rivals in a novice chase at Worcester last summer while last-time-out winners Kazuri Kate and Cool Klan (one from one in this sphere) are also entitled to respect.

15-year-old James Pine may return to defend his title for owner/trainer Annabel Brook in the Pegasus Club Members race, while there is a possibility of a division in the closing Open Maiden with 29 horses entered.

A total of 102 entries have been received for the six-race card, with the first race at the Gloucestershire venue due off at 1.30pm. In addition to the races, there is a licensed bar, trade stands, refreshments, bookmakers and the tote.

Admission is £10 per car and driver with an additional £5 for each extra passenger.

Siddington Racecourse can be found two miles south of Cirencester, near A419 (20 miles from Exit 13 of M5 & Exit 15 of M4). Postcode code for Sat Nav: GL7 6HL.