The Jackson-Stops and Staff Countryside Alliance Club (Wessex) Point to Point at Badbury Rings, Sunday 24th February
AFTER last year's record attendance, the Jackson-Stops and Staff Countryside Alliance Point to Point at Badbury Rings, promises to be bigger and better than ever for 2013.
The meeting provides some of the most exciting horse racing of the season and consistently attracts record entries. But the huge success of the event is also based on its family appeal with countryside activities, have-a-go areas for children, country crafts, local food stalls, parade of the Portman Hounds, Junior Countryside Apprenticeship Silent Auction and a shopping village.
Barney White-Spunner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, says: "This has become an exciting and important event for the Alliance where those of all ages with an interest in the countryside will be welcomed and entertained."
Julian Bunkall and James Wilson, directors of Jackson-Stops and Staff, the major sponsor, agree: "This is a unique day out in a glorious rural setting and the many friends and clients we invite enjoy themselves immensely. We are especially proud to be sponsoring this point to point for the sixth year as it epitomises everything that is good about our countryside."
For details of VIP Patrons' Packages, including premier parking, two entry tickets, use of patrons tent with food and refreshments all day and a champagne reception before racing, please phone 01752 830430.
The 2013 charity is Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, which offers care for patients with cancer and other progressive conditions requiring specialist help across south and west Dorset either in their own homes or as in patients at Joseph Weld Hospice.
And the runners ...
Certain Flight and Divine Intavention can fight out the Bonhams Men's Open at Badbury Rings on Sunday. The former, who seems a stronger horse this season, is on a hat-trick after easy wins at Larkhill and Milborne St Andrew. Divine Intavention has won 12 races including the 2012 Coronation Cup, and showed himself as good as ever when just failing to give 7lbs to Mendip Express at Larkhill a fortnight ago. Chipley Park winner Bleuvito, Wincanton Hunter Chase standing dish Jayne's Crusader and North Carlton winner Midnight King are three more for the short list. Certain Flight and Divine Intavention will both be suited by the Badbury Rings course but Certain Flight is fancied to quicken away from his rival after the last.
Master Medic, the winner of the Men's Open at last season's corresponding meeting, looks the one for the Ladies' Open. The 12-year-old put in a tremendous finish to score at Larkhill in January before staying on dourly to win at the South Dorset. Alex Dunn has a strong hand with prolific winners Rainbow Tree and Double Mead, while Sericina and former Cheltenham Foxhunter runner-up Turthen, who ran twice at Buckfastleigh on Sunday, would be major contenders if at their brilliant best. Jayo, the winner of seven races in Ireland and a good second – ahead of Rainbow Tree – at Black Forest Lodge, and Restezen D'Armor, a three-time chase winner for Charlie Longsdon, are candidates, but Master Medic should complete his seasonal hat-trick.
Jayo and 2012 winner Pastek are among the 31 entries for the opening Conditions race. Tenawa, I'm The Article and Delta Borget are three others to consider. Nicky Henderson's 2010 Grand Military Gold Cup winner Scots Dragoon may be a popular choice, but Audrey Kley's progressive Parstara has won her last three races and can take the step up in class in her stride.
Little Cornham, who found conditions too testing at Milborne St Andrew, Ashton Magic and Larkhill winner Boardwalk Empire can contest the finish of the Restricted contest.
The 20 entries for the Novice Riders' contest include 2012 winner Woodbridge Quest and Parstara, who will be an automatic selection if connections take this option. In her absence, the inconsistent Timeshift and Harriet Besent's Larkhill winner Deimne are the two suggestions.
Bold Commander has shown little to date but is a sporting selection for the closing Maiden.
The course is between Wimborne and Blandford, on the B3082 (DT11 9JL). Gates open at 9am for a variety of entertainment including beagle and terrier racing at 10am followed by a hound parade, children's activities and a large shopping village with varied food outlets, plus a chance to bid for one of 60 lots donated for this year's silent auction. First race noon.