Milano Magic (left) is in the form of his life and bids for a five-timer in the NPPA Club Members Race. Alistair Cochrane's charge cruised home from The Gotfor Man and Probably George in the recent Haydon Intermediate and that form was franked when the third landed a Cartmel Maiden Hunters' Chase earlier this week. Of the others, The Brig At Ayr and Back On The Road filled the minor placings behind Viacometti in the Haydon equivalent, Fight Away Boys stayed on well to win last week's Cumberland Restricted, while Damiens Dilemma, who has won three of his last six starts, needs to finish first or second to clinch the Northern Area Novice Horse Championship.
Clonea Power heads the 13 entries for the Restricted Race. At his best on a sound surface, Charles Carr's mount has been campaigned in Open company since getting off the mark at Dalston two years ago and will appreciate the drop in grade. According To Dan (right) was always up with the pace in the Haydon equivalent in which he finished two lengths 2nd to Farm Pixie and has every chance of going one better here. Little But Nice finally opened her account at Aspatria, while the improving Paddy's Wish has enjoyed a four week break since finishing four lengths 2nd to Dannanceys Hill at Mosshouses.
There is plenty of quality among the 20 Ladies Open entries with the list including Cottage Oak, Oaklands Bobby (left), Ockey de Neulliac, Oscar Stanley, Rolecarr and Whiteabbey. The latter completed a hat-trick at Aspatria and is guaranteed to be in the mix again as he bids to repeat last year's success in this race. Oscar Stanley is still on the upgrade and stayed on well to beat Temple Green and Rolecarr in the Lauderdale equivalent. Ockey De Neulliac has won five of his six Pointing starts this season, the only reverse coming when headed on the run-in at Witton Castle by Oaklands Bobby. Joe O'Shea's 12 year old gelding, Cottage Oak, also entered in the Men's Open, has maintained his form remarkably well in a six-month long campaign. Most recently. he finished 2nd to Current Event at Cheltenham's Hunter Chase meeting before going one better under Jack Andrews at Tabley.
There should be plenty of runners in the Men's Open Race from a bumper entry of 27. The highest rated pair are the aforementioned Cottage Oak and stable companion, Executive Benefit. The latter has enjoyed plenty of success in a busy season, winning five of her nine starts, and also has the option of running in the concluding TBA Mares Club Members Race. Gunner Jack (right) will only run if there is a deluge of rain before Sunday. Proven stayer, Royal Chatelier is another one hoping he gets soft or heavy ground. The in-form Splendid Blue, 3 from 3 on left handed tracks in 2015, might also wait for the TBA Mares contest. The other one for the shortlist is ex-hurdler, Lucky Cody, who was allowed to dictate the pace from the off when beating Sportingfriendship and Pevensey in the Bilsdale Mixed Open earlier this month.
There are 5 Yorkshire raiders in the 6 Open Maiden Race entries. Stagecoach Jasper (left) and Chester Legend finished well behind Chaz Michaels when third and fifth respectively in the Haydon equivalent a fortnight ago, in which Lucky Sun still held every chance when unseating four out. Raasay has been in poor form this year but did finish two lengths 2nd to Ath Dara Boru over course and distance twelve months ago, while Dicky Shore and Island Punch were both pulled up at Mordon last time out.
Don't Point and Hands On Scarlet (right) finished in that order behind Kinder Scout at Aspatria last Saturday and are the only two of the 7 entries for the two and a half mile Open Maiden Race with placed form this season. Encouraging was beaten around twelve lengths when 4th to Bugler's Dream over this trip at Mordon, while Kape Rose Jipe was disputing second in a 4 runner Maiden when falling two out on her debut at Garthorpe three weeks ago.
After failing to attract many runners in recent years, the Border Members Race has been replaced by the TBA Club Members Race. The 9 entries include last time out winners, Rush House, Splendid Blue and Stand Clear, as well as the aforementioned Executive Benefit and Durban Gold (right). The latter scored over three miles and five furlongs in the Tynedale Ladies Open at Corbridge in March before striking again at Dalston.

Border Preview

Sunday 31st May 2015

By Peter Burgon
photos by www.p2pnorthernphotos.co.uk
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The Northern Area Point-to-Point season draws to a close on Sunday 31st May
with the Border fixture at Hexham Racecourse.
It has attracted 98 entries, including 43 from Yorkshire,
on a seven race card, which starts at 2pm.
Hexham Racecourse is well signposted from the A69 and the post code for SatNav users is NE46 4PF.