POINT-TO-POINT: Cotswold stables 2014 preview

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: (3151339) (3151339)

THE new point-to-point season started on December, but the first West Midlands meeting takies place at Chaddesley Corbett on Friday (December 27), writes Peter Mansell.

Here is a guide to some local Cotswold stables that are expected to do well over the next six months.

ANDREW CAMPBELL – CONDICOTE

CHARLES BRUCE’S win in the four-mile hunter chase at Cheltenham’s evening meeting last May has set a very high bar for the Campbell’s to follow. His previous form had been uninspiring, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on his seasonal debut at Black Forest Lodge.

Campbell’s wife Alice is busy qualifying Jack The Lad who is also heading to Devon where the opposition will need to be aware of his front running tactics that proved so successful in a Whitfield Restricted.

The Campbells invested in extra boxes and facilities over the summer to cope with the extra demand on their services.

With Charlie Deutsch now a conditional jockey, Jamie Bargary or Freddie Tett is likely to pick up most of the rides.

JELLY O’BRIEN – FOSSEBRIDGE

WITH the National Hunt side of their business expanding, the O’Brien’s point-to-point activities are diminishing. Jelly reported: “We will only have a few pointers this season as the yard is full of racehorses which is great for the N.H. side of things, but a little sad for us as it feels like the end of an era.”

That means the stable is unlikely to have the ammunition to make any significant impact on the area awards.

Well Mett will be aimed at ladies' races with Ally Stirling as pilot and with three wins and seven places from 22 runs under Rules, it should not take the six-year-old long to make an impression. Stirling will also be reunited with Caroline Beresford-Wylie’s Irish Raptor who won at Bredwardine last spring.

Accordion Exhibit carries Fergal’s colours and will be ridden by either Robert Hogg or Harry Beswick. The seven-year-old has won once from six outings in a Hereford bumper in 2011, but was an odds-on favourite for a selling hurdle when last seen out.

MARK WALL – COLN ST. ROGERS

REIGNING Area Champion Mark Wall has a stable packed with talent.

Theatre Queen won three from three last year and connections are hoping that she will carry on in the same vein. At this stage of her career further improvement is expected and that has to have to her rivals quaking in their boots.

Flying Gnu came back to form last year and if she continues that progression she is capable of adding to her winning tally.

Nobby Kivambo always comes to hand early and his success over Rumbavu at Chaddesley two years ago remains his benchmark.

Flick Knife’s owners are unsure whether to continue pointing or try for a bumper which indicates the esteem that he is held in.

Maldino is unraced but is a strong mare who will need some give in the ground.

The ex-Jonjo O’Neill trained Cardinal Rose completes the team as it was thought he would benefit from a change of scenery. His grand-dam is the Cheltenham Festival winner Rose Ravine that means he is related to Alvino and Ring of Roses. Most of the family need firmer conditions so don’t expect him to make an appearance until later in the season.

RICHARD BEVIS – NAUNTON

WILD TONTO is for sale after three runs under rules over the summer. It is difficult to know what to make of Sands Of Fortune. Formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute he had one run back in August, 2012 so its anyone's guess what level of ability he has.

Corredor Sun provided young Brad Catton with an ideal start to his race riding career 12 months ago and on those performances could be one to keep an eye on during the opening weeks of the campaign.

Ringaround was bred by Bevis but has had just one run during his career, so it would be a feather in Bevis’s cap if she makes it to the racecourse.

NICK SUTTON – CIRENCESTER

SUTTON was recently elected on to the P.P.A. Board and has three horses to carry his colours during 2013/14 including the ultra consistent Offshore Account who will be contesting Hunter Chases.

The Gunner Brady was purchased last May following a third place finish at Toomebridge a few weeks earlier. That was not a bad effort for a four-year-old who appears to progress with each run.

Marufo on the other hand has much more experience and could go to Barbury. Having won five races for trainer Phillip Hobbs it would not be surprising to see him make a winning debut.

JAMES RICHARDSON – CONDICOTE

JAMES has a host of unnamed youngsters some of them could make their debuts between the flags while others are destined to run under rules. Time will tell their future paths.

The Snickett will definitely run in point-to-points and could be seen out at one of the early fixtures.

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