Ampton looking good for resumption of point-to-point racing
- Credit: Archant
Prospects look good for the East Anglian Point-To-Point season to get back under way after a five-week hiatus with the running of the seven-race Suffolk fixture at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday.
Frost and snow has meant the loss of three consecutive meetings, but the weather forecast for the coming weekend, although promising some rain, looks highly likely to allow an overdue resumption.
A total of 68 entries have been received for an event which gets under way at 1.30pm with a 15-entry Conditions Race and concludes at 5pm when there are five possible starters for the Hunt Race. The steeplechasing will be preceded by children's pony races, which kick off proceedings at 12.30pm.
One theme that could run virtually throughout the afternoon is a battle between two of the nation's top Pointing stables – the Alan Hill yard, which is situated at Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire, and that of Andrew Pennock, at Timworth, within walking distance of the Ampton course.
Their respective representatives in the curtain-raising Conditions Race are Hawkhurst, twice an easy winner – including at this venue – prior to a surprise reverse at Higham in Janauary, and Steeles Terrace, unbeaten in two starts since coming under Pennock's care.
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Another Hill-trained course winner, Allie Beag, looks the pick of nine candidates for the Intermediate Race ahead of Pennock's Mahlers Spirit while the 15-entry Maiden Race sees Pennock with the upper hand as he has four potential competitors, most notably Staple Head, compared to Hill, who must rely upon the recent Charing runner-up, Desert Retreat.
The veteran Consigliere could roll back the years to give Hill another winner in the six-entry Men's Open, but Pennock's supporters should go home happy as Galros Lady, a six-time scorer in 2016 and now back with the stable after a largely unsuccessful stint under rules, looks capable of shrugging off a big weight penalty to land the closing Hunt Race.
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Reigning National Champion Lady Rider Gina Andrews could be the jockey to follow in the other two races as she has solid claims with Blue Mountain Boy in the Skinner's Ladies Open Race and Kalabaloo in the Restricted Race.
Ampton is four miles north of Bury St Edmunds just off the main road to Thetford, the A134, post code IP31 1NS. Admission is £10 per head with under 17s free and racecards £2.50.