SCOTLAND’S first point-to-point of the season comes under orders on Sunday when the Jedforest Hunt stages its 2013 meeting at Kelso’s Friars Haugh course.
With a frozen track at Alnwick forcing the cancellation of the West Percy fixture – now rescheduled for Sunday, February 3 – the Jedforest meeting marks the beginning of the Northern Area’s current campaign.
The first of seven races is off at 12.30pm with an eight-strong members’ race, kindly sponsored by Storage Express and Border Berries.
Di Walton from Hawick trains Beverley Beck for Northumberland sheep farmer Barrie Wharf, while Waterford carries the hopes of Wendy and Michael Hamilton, who farm at Birnieknowe.
What A Night has won three points for Alison and Gavin Hamilton, now based near Denholm, while Buckstruther has proved a prolific winner for Alistair and Rachel Bell from Kirkton, with seven point-to-point wins and two hurdle race victories to his credit.
The Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club members race for novice riders is at 1pm, and has attracted 14 entries.
An interesting contender is the former Ferdy Murphy-trained Naiad Du Misselot, winner of the 2008 Coral Cup at Cheltenham, as is Ngong Hills, which won four races under Rules for Chris Grant.
Twelve entries have been received for the Brewin Dolphin ladies’ open race at 1.30pm.
Rose Dobbin plans to send dual chase victor Banoge from her Alnwick base, while Nelson Du Ronceray, formerly with Iain Jardine, represents Fife-based Amy McGregor.
Qolliore, a winner of two point-to-points, is owned and trained by Phillipa Shirley-Beavan, whose husband Simon is point-to-point chairman.
The Jedforest is one of only two meetings in the north to be allocated a qualifier for a new mini men’s open race series.
The first three horses past the post in the Bonhams Men’s open will be eligible for the final at the Hunter Chase Evening on Wednesday, May 1 at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Any winner of a men’s open race throughout the season will also qualify.
Eighteen entries include Jamie Alexander’s Back on the Road, a winner of two chases; the useful Hennessy, a winner five times for Ferdy Murphy; and the Victor Thompson-trained Tommysteel, the winner of two points and two chases.
There are just six entries in the David Merry Farrier restricted race at 2.30pm, including Drumgray, already a winner for Robert Bewley from Jedburgh.
The Jockey Club/Yvette Jelfs PPORA mares maiden race, at 3pm, has nine entries.
The former Sue Smith-trained Heather Glen is a possible contender in this race, along with Polobury from Katie Scott’s Galashiels stable.
The concluding Billy Stenhouse Memorial open maiden race at 3.30pm, is for sponsored horses this year.
It has attracted seven entries, including Tomzatackman, placed twice over hurdles for Jedburgh’s Raymond Shiels.
Danebrook Lad is trained at Galashiels by Katie Scott, while Ruberslaw represents Ronan’s and Kirsty Brown’s Hawick yard.
A welcome and popular innovation is the carvery lunch tent, where you can view televised live racing while enjoying lunch, and also benefit from hot tips from racing tipster Myles McNulty.
Tickets for Sunday can be purchased from Kate Reddihough (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Regular going reports, prospects, and updates, can be found on a new course website, www.friarshaughraces.co.uk, as well as on the Northern Area website, www.northernp2p.co.uk, or from Talking Point.