IT WILL be a busy weekend for local trainer Kim Bailey with The Rainbow Hunter due to run in the Crabbie's Grand National on Saturday afternoon, while the following day he will be acting as Clerk of the Course at his local Cotswold point-to-point at Andoversford – first race 2pm.
With 13 fixtures scheduled over the weekend, entries are disappointing but a competitive turn-out is expected for the Ladies' Open, which should be the highlight of the meeting.
Andy Stewart’s colours normally feature prominently at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals but recently they have been carried to success in more modest surroundings by Gwanako, partnered by Megan Nicholls (daughter of NH trainer Paul).
The horse has plenty of experience and that will be useful at Andoversford where undulations and a stiff uphill finish test the ability of both horse and rider.
The opposition includes previous course winners History Master, Skyhawk and Lion On The Prowl, who won over the course last year after being brought out of Kim Bailey's yard at nearby Thorndale Farm.
Brize Norton is scheduled to have his first outing for Bourton-on-the-Water trainer Tash Seely, while El Lobo is the mount of Sophie Gray, the daughter of football pundit Andy.
Jumping is always at a premium around Andoversford and that is a major asset in Noakarad De Verzee’s favour in the Men's Open.
A stalwart of Kim Smyly’s yard at Stanton the horse showed the benefit of a recent breathing operation when winning at Brafield a couple of weeks ago.
Numbercruncher finished second at Siddington recently and must go close with Mark Wall's presence in the saddle, while Schindlers Prince runs well whatever company he keeps and this looks a winning opportunity for the Redmarley-trained gelding.
Stanton-based Smyly has cause for optimism in the Intermediate with Scenic Route whose first-fence fall at last year's meeting sidelined Wall for several weeks.
The partnership were disappointing at the VWH but he should be more suited by this course and that will allow him to get the better of Freedom Of Choice.
The Restricted looks tailor made for Big Georgie if he makes a quick reappearance after his run at Maisemore last week, but in his absence In The Dock could provide the answer.
Just two horses have been entered for the Member's. Classic Fly was a lucky winner of this event last year when departures by his more fancied rivals left him with an easy task. It will be interesting to see how Sarah Stafford’s Guiting Power-trained gelding fares against Powers Cross.
Seanin McPherson’s The Winking Prawn went into many people’s notebooks at Siddington. Compensation should not be long coming based on that performance with the Theresa Morris newcomer Enigmatic Stranger looking the best of the rest in the Maiden.