A RECORD number of entries will take part in Bank Holiday Monday’s Albrighton and Woodland Point-to-Point at Chaddesley Corbett.
The final meeting of the Worcestershire calendar has welcomed 160 entrants which is the largest received for any fixture over the holiday weekend.
Alex Edwards and Sam Jukes have been battling it out for Riders Title for the past six months but the former delivered a hammer blow to his rival by riding four winners at the Wheatland meeting in mid-May.
Edwards must have a soft spot for Chaddesley Corbett because with the help of Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley he has ridden ten winners at four meetings so far this season, and they will be hoping to extend their winning run on Monday.
Rowley and Edwards have a strong hand in the Men’s Open where Temple Grandin or One More Tune hold entries.
The form book suggests Temple Grandin is the one they all have to beat but he holds a Hunter Chase entry at Worcester on Friday evening, and that leaves the way open for stablemate One More Tune.
The latter dealt a crushing defeat to the previously unbeatable Arthurs Secret at the last meeting and it is difficult seeing his rivals getting near him if he repeats that performance and would allow him to record a second successive win in this event.
Sam Jukes winning run has exceeded all expectations this season and he was seen at his best when steering Stone to an impressive victory over Universal Solider at Woodford.
Having seen off one Micky Bowen runner they face another serious challenge from Flying Eagle and it will take a good one to lower his colours.
Sacre Toi gave David Redvers a long awaited first win at Cothelstone.
The jockey is becoming more tactically astute and that will hold them in good stead in this contest.
The Conditions race has attracted 33 entries including Namako and Mac’s Gift from the Rowley yard.
Both horses have shown a consistent level of form but would not be amongst the stables first echelon and may struggle as a consequence.
With six wins Lough Inch is vying to become the Leading Horse in the country but may have to put in his best performance to record win number seven.
He is perfectly capable of doing so but faces stiff competition from the likes of Breaking the Bank, Easythingsarebest and Knockoutloaded, while local hopes rest with Cab on Times, In The Dock and Passage East.
Temple Grandin holds an entry in the Ladies Open and this is bound to be run at a fast and furious pace.
Patricktom Boru seems to come good at this stage of the season, but form students will recall he was beaten in this race 12 months ago and on that evidence will finish behind Start Royal.
Aikideau chances have to be respected if he makes the journey up from the West Country, while Spencer Moon has been on top form in recent weeks and is another added to the short list.
It is difficult to make a case for the Martin Weston trained Cut the Corner who has been a major disappointment this season, whereas stablemate Awesome George has done little wrong although he was nabbed on the post at Whitfield.
Awesome George’s connections could take up the option to run in the Novice Riders, where potential opponents include Temple Grandin who has a choice of engagements throughout the afternoon, although it is not immediately obvious who would come in for the ride.
A placing for Allerton would help secure a second Ladies Title for Lilly Pinchin while others to note include American Legend, Balkinstown, Ice Cool Benny and El Lobo, but the one they all have to fear is Tinkers Hill Tommy.
With Ed Bailey side-lined with a collar bone injury Charlie Davies will be hoping to eat into his lead in the Men’s Novice Riders Award.
Davies starts the day seven points behind his rival so anything that American Legend achieves would help his cause.
Davies is based with Jonjo O’Neill at Jackdaws Castle and he recently teamed up with Wild Ginger to win for the trainer’s wife at Whitfield.
Despite the step up in class they stand a good chance of supplementing that success in the Restricted against Golanzine who ran well at Cothelstone last week.
Sam Jukes will be hoping to end the season on a high note but there are doubts about The Well Road who will need to put past performances behind him if he is to succeed, while Massini’s Dream was impressive when winning at Machen recently.
That was over two-and-a-half miles so this course should not stretch him stamina.
Axelle Wall’s Ask Connie catches the eye in the Mares Maiden, but she has the choice of engagements over the weekend and this race would be one of the more difficult options.
Bignose Kate has struggled in her previous races but looked as though she would open her account after leading into the home straight at Bredwardine.
She faded out of contention on that occasion but has to have a chance if she can survive the climb into the home straight.
Dorset trainer Jack Barber will be keen to go out with a winner now he has decided to ply his trade under National Hunt Rules and that could come about with Now Voyager in the Mares Race.
As a four-year-old she will be receiving weight from her rivals and as most of them are of equal ability that can make a big difference, so take note if she travels up from the trainers West Country yard.
Barber has the un-raced Hugo’s Horse in the Open Maiden, the final race of the season in the West Midlands.
Mark Wilesmith’s Jacks Ranger has been knocking at the door in recent weeks and the same remark applies to Jane Allfrey’s Master Hide.
The latter finished like the proverbial train at the Golden Valley so James Jeavons will need to ensure he is in touch with his rivals as they straighten up for home.
Dramatic Pause was going well in the voided race at Garthorpe and had obviously learnt from his experience at Eyton earlier in the season.
He could end a tremendous season for Rowley’s Bridgnorth stable with yet another winner.