MONDAY will see the long anticipated return of point to pointing across the country, with Hurworth holding a meeting behind closed doors at Hutton Rudby.

Although racing under rules has continued, point to pointing is classed as an amateur sport, therefore due to government regulations has been sidelined for the last three months. Hurworth will stage its meeting on Monday evening behind closed doors in line with the easing of the national lockdown, therefore no public will be permitted and the meeting will be subject to strict Covid-19 regulations.

It will be the first of several meetings to be staged in Yorkshire and the North.

The opening race will be the Hunt Members race, which has seven of the 78 entries on the card. Usually runners would declare on the day, however now horses will need to be declared before the meeting, to help abide to social distancing rules and reduce contact between people. Champagne To Go hasn’t shown much in her one run at Alnwick for Kate Lowcock, Phil Greaves will be hoping Neville Woods can land a blow on home turf albeit with a 10lb penalty on his back, whilst Stevie Cook could be the main danger with last year’s winner Sartorial Elegance. Paul Frank has long been a supporter of pointing in Yorkshire and now he has passed the reigns over to his son Archie Frank, who had a handful of rides last year. His new recruit Vent d’automne was a bumper winner in 2018 for Willie Mullins before showing some decent form in Irish hurdles.

The second race is a Conditions race, African Belle was a ready winner at Alnwick early in the year and has since been a distant third in a Kelso hunter chase. Hunter Chases have been ridden by professional jockeys during this most recent lockdown due to the suspension of all grassroots sports. Ask The Question was a Holderness maiden winner and has had a short stint over hurdles but has taken advantage of the qualification rules and returns to pointing. Merrion Avenue, Monsun Storm and Mr Pepperpot have all been trying their hands in hunter chases of late mainly due to the lack of opportunities and this looks much more within their grade. Hawkhurst took full advantage of the early start to the season in November and December where he won twice and looks the stand out performer here.

The Ladies Open could see the return of the top class Seefood, one of his finest hours came under rider/trainer Lottie Crane at Stratford when he finished third in the Ladies final, however he has been off the track a long time and may be vulnerable to a horse like Son Of Suzie.

The Men’s Open has received nine entries and the one who will take some beating if on song is Matts Commission

The penultimate race is a veterans’ race for horses nine years old and up. One who is very much a veteran is Dartford Warbler, who had one run at Alnwick earlier in the season where he finished fourth in the Ladies Open behind the useful Red Indian. Fivecardstud makes his British debut after some good efforts in Ireland.

The final race is the Maiden race and there are several in here that have shown promise including Article Of War, Fire Rock and Euro Fou – the latter was a close third on debut back in 2019 and has failed to set the world alight under rules since. He makes this quick switch back to pointing and may be seen to better effect. Right To Reason has shown only a moderate level of form under both codes, whilst an interesting newcomer could be the four-year-old debutant of Will Easterbys Lie ‘n’ Length, by Getaway out of an unraced mare, this gelding is brother to the useful The Great Getaway who himself was a point and hurdle winner. Will Easterby’s other runner Trap For Fools has also shown promise.

lRiding schools to return – Page 95