BRIDGNORTH handler Phil Rowley will be hoping for further success at Chaddesley Corbet for next Friday’s Harkaway Point-to-Point, where a number of triumphs at 2017’s event set him on the way to the National Trainers Title.
December 28th’s meeting commences with a huge entry of 182, including 34 entries in the 2 1/2 mile and 37 for the 3 mile maiden events alone.
Rowley’s best hopes lie with Levasseur and Mr Knowitall in the 2 1/2 mile race where narrow defeats for both on their racecourse debuts last year leaves greater expectation this time around.
Elsewhere, Beat Star is tipped to go close having started favourite for a Point-to-Point flat race last week, whilst The Triple Pillar and General Arrow represent great prospects with top class yards evident from both horses at this stage of the season.
Friday’s meeting opens with the Restricted race, with Caliente fronting the hopes of Rowley’s stable, whilst fellow Bridgnorth trainer Caroline Robinson – who boasts an admirable record at the track, and Myoldman are sure to make their presence felt.
For the Ladies Open, Arthurs Secret and Abi Banks stand as favourites thanks to recent form, though Golden Tobuggan and Western Diva have good records in these types of races, Tb Broke Her comes into this one on the back of a third at Buckfastleigh and a second at Larkshill, so will be approaching full fitness coming ino this race.
Virak proves another of useful horses associated with Clive Hitchings, previously winning a Hunters Race for Paul Nicholls, whilst the interesting storyline of Josephine Banks challenging her sister emerges, Banks’ hopes lying firmly with Ckalco des Loges or Well Met.
In the Men’s Open, there seems certain to be a standoff between Bally River Boy, Bear’s Affair, Chasforgold, Hazel Hill, Premier Portrait, Robin De Boss, Rye Cross and William Money in ousting each other to the podium in what should prove to be a mouth-watering fifth race.
Bear’s Affair eased to success at Leominster a couple of weeks ago but will have his work cut out here, so Hazel Hill perhaps represents Rowley’s best chance of success.
Sam Jukes has the headache of deciding between Chasforgold or RyeCross, whilst Robin De Boss poses a key threat should he come up from the West Country to take part.
William Money had six successes last year, one of which included victory over course and distance, and Premier Portrait having won the first two outings of 2017/18 including a Taunton Hunter Chase will also lie in wait.
The Novice Riders race follows and will include Crowded Room and Ballycahane – with the former recording a faster time in this event 12 months ago and has a 3lb advantage, though Ballycahane has had two recent outings opposed to his upcoming rival.
Global Power has the unusual situation of coming into this one in the best form, but having several penalties against him that will damage his cause.
In the closing Maiden race, Abi Banks’ Round Robin could star, though usually seems to get outpaced at the finish despite five placings last season, and Chase Me could benefit from his connections that bring the best out of the other horses despite not heading into this one in any sort of form.
Sybarite returns in this race, having won a Dudley Cup a few years ago on this course, and despite initially being retired, has been brought back by his connections and it wouldn’t be difficult to see him finishing strongly.
Elsewhere, Clive Bennett’s Marcle Ridge recorded two places at Chaddesley Corbet in late 2017 and could be a good outside bet to make the step up in class.