The Cazenove Capital Point-to-Point and Country Day at Lockinge
- Easter Monday 17th April 2017
Preview by Andrew Norman
The Cazenove Capital Point-to-Point and Country Day on Easter Bank Holiday Monday 17 April is a social and sporting highlight of the Oxfordshire Easter calendar and it returns to Lockinge this Monday.
Hosted by the Old Berks Hunt, pre-racing activities start from 11.15am including two pony races, with the first race at 2pm.
Three-time Gold Cup-winning trainer Henrietta Knight holds a leading chance in the first, the OKA Hunt Members race. Her eleven-year-old Ballypatrick has only won one of his 21 career starts but sets the standard after a narrow defeat in a higher grade at Hackwood Park last month. James Henderson’s Oliver James, who won the race in 2015 before being turned over at short odds last year, looks the obvious danger.
Barbury Castle trainer Laura Thomas has course winner Swingbridge engaged in the Arkells (The Bear at Wantage) Conditions race. Placed on his last two starts, the Milan gelding is earmarked for Monday’s fixture. If regaining the form that saw him win three in 2015, including the Mixed Open on this card, Otto The Great could also be a major player, while seasonal debutant Rossmore Lad also appears to have the class to feature.
Laura Thomas also has a strong hand in the Cazenove Capital Mixed Open. Stable star Full Trottle is a rapidly improving horse who won nicely at Ludlow last week and the trainer may use this as a stepping stone for some major end of season targets. Stablemate Karinga Dancer – a three-time winner this term – relishes quick ground and is also entered.
Last year’s winner Thanks For Coming looks vulnerable but the Henderson team could retain their trophy courtesy of former Paul Nicholls inmate Saint Roque. Boardwalk Empire, Man Of Steel and Squirrel Esquire need to bounce back from disappointments while Robert Waley-Cohen’s Anquetta has stamina concerns over three miles. The returning Little Chip, three from six for Richard Bandey, is another who could feature in what looks a tricky contest should both of Thomas’s candidates fail to take up their engagements.
Sixteen-year-old veteran Presentandcorrect may bid to win the Cornbury Festival race for Veteran and Novice Riders for a third time. Successful in 2013 and 2014 under recent Aintree Foxhunters-winning jockey James King, Tim Sage’s chestnut made a fine comeback when second at the Heythrop earlier this month. Chief threat could be the consistent Roberto Pegasus with Done A Runner, Golden Crisp and Urban Storm completing the shortlist.
An intriguing Bentley Berkshire Restricted race, over a reduced distance of 2m 6f, sees six of the sixteen entries arriving on the back of victories. Pip Hooley’s five-year-old Tick Tock Ten made a taking British debut when scoring at Hackwood Park last month while Peter Mason’s Too Much Too Soon did nothing wrong on fast terrain at Cocklebarrow. Richard Pringuer’s Aunty Joan is also going the right way, having prevailed at Clifton a fortnight ago, with the trainer’s Demood another possible. Laura Thomas saddles Very Intense – a runner-up in this grade in each of this last three outings – but Tim Underwood’s Ballyfore Cross may have more to offer back in trip and should go close.
The card closes with the ProCam Open Maiden race. David Dando’s Kit Barry is a likely favourite having found one too good at Ston Easton last month and looks certain to make another bold bid.
Clerk of the course Paul Caudwell describes the going as “Good to Firm with an excellent covering of grass retaining its moisture.” Due to the recent dry weather, a programme of watering commenced on 6th April with over 50,000 gallons planned to be irrigated onto the course on Sunday.
Easter Monday at Lockinge is more than a Point-to-Point. It is a Country Day, with two pony races (sponsored by Pinewood School) from 12.30 and plenty of Easter family entertainment off the track, including a Hound Parade after the pony racing, Farmers Market, Dog Show (sponsored by Pilgrim Bond and Brewer) and Terrier Racing.
General admission is £25 per car (single occupancy £10) and pedestrians are £5 per person. Gates are open from 10am. Excellent viewing available from the hillside.
Special reserved parking can be purchased online in advance at www.oldberkshunt.co.uk/point-to-point priced at £35 per car for ‘Forward Parking’ and £50 per car for ‘Premier Viewing’. All occupants are included in this price.
Caps On Cancer
Caps On Cancer – www.capsoncancer.co.uk – will be exhibiting at Lockinge. In February 2016 Dorset-based tailor, Jeremy Gower, was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, a year on, he has all but recovered – and to mark the anniversary of being given his grim news, he decided to offer a few tweed flat caps for sale via his Facebook page. Within three days, Thomas Crown, Jeremy’s tailoring label, was taking orders from customers around the world. Today, the offer of putting Caps on Cancer still stands. For every one of the distinctive tweed flat caps that is sold, a donation of £10 is made to Cancer Research UK.