Kimblewick Hunt Point-to-Point Preview
Key details: Sunday, March 27, 2022
Written by Russell Smith
ALAN Hill is hoping better ground will see Polydora provide him with a seventh success in the Ineos Grenadier Home Counties Grand National Mixed Open at the Kimblewick Hunt meeting at Kingston Blount, near Chinnor, on Sunday.
The Oxfordshire trainer has landed the four-mile marathon previously with Mysaynoway (2010 and 2011), Ocean Du Moulin (2013) and Supreme Danehill (2016, 2017, 2018).
He is set to run Polydora with his other entry, Sir Mangan, bound for Siddington on Saturday.
Formerly trained by Tom Lacey, the 10-year-old dead-heated for second behind Fifty Shades in the Lord Ashton of Hydes Cup at Cocklebarrow on his debut for the Aston Rowant handler before being pulled up on heavy ground at Bangor-on-Dee.
With the going on Monday reported to be Good to Soft, Good in patches and a dry week forecast, he should find conditions more to his liking.
Hill commented: “We had a 7lb penalty and the ground was horrendous, and the little horse never went on it. We brought him home and we have freshened him up. I said to the owner, Guy Myddelton, let’s go back to the longer trip and better ground.”
The Sandhurst Area feature race has attracted six entries, with Tim Underwood turning to blinkers to help Skipthecuddles concentrate.
The 12-year-old finished a five-lengths second to King Of The Clothe at High Easter, but Underwood, who trains at Beedon, near Newbury, felt it was a race the gelding could have won.
“He is a thinker,” he said. “The last fence is right by the paddock, and he has seen the paddock and backpedalled. Otherwise, I think he would have been knocking on the door.
“He has the ability, but it’s just whether he puts it in or not. I will be putting blinkers on him and not cheekpieces.”
Board Of Trade, from Ed Walker’s Ottery St Mary yard, comes into the reckoning on his third to Sykes at Great Trethew. Peeping Thom, who was a distant second to Latenightfumble here for Shrivenham trainer Craig Pilgrim, and Hannah McMahon’s Shantou Tiger complete the line-up.
Hill believes Normofthenorth is his best chance of the day in the Guy Luck Memorial Conditions Race (Level 2), which opens the six-race card at 2pm.
Reflecting on the eight-year-old’s two starts this term, he said: “I ran him at Larkhill and it was very puggy ground and he ran well. We then took on Fumet d’Oudairies at Horseheath, and I thought he ran a cracker there to be only beaten two lengths.
“He definitely needs top of the ground, and I think come the weekend it will be on the quick side of good.”
The Aston Rowant trainer also has Tidal Flow – who has engagements at Siddington and in an Ascot hunter chase – and Frank And Honest among the seven entries.
Tom Ellis will decide later this week whether Killinkere or Latenightfumble will represent his Marton yard, near Rugby.
The champion trainer said: “I don’t want it too quick. I would imagine Killinkere is our more likely runner.
“He looked like winning jumping the second-last at Guilsborough, but Volnay de Thaix’s class kicked in. We have Normofthenorth to take on this time. We have been beaten by him before. Do I think we can turn the tables? We will give it a go.”
Hill is hoping a sounder surface could see Knight Bachelor give his Ampton conqueror Myplaceatmidnight something to think about in the Philip Scouller Memorial PPORA Club Members Veteran Horse Conditions Race (Level 2) 9yo plus.
The 12-year-old finished 11½ lengths adrift of Charles Buckle’s charge, and now meets him on 3lb better terms.
Hill said: “I think he needs a little bit better ground. He looked like winning last time out, but Myplaceatmidnight beat us. Hopefully we will see a better performance.”
Raven’s Tower, fourth to Castle Trump here last month for Bourton on the Water trainer Ben Pauling, is another leading player.
Like Myplaceatmidnight, the 12-year-old has the option of running in the Conditions Race (Level 3) for Novice Riders, sponsored by Field Seymour Parkes.
This contest has also attracted seven entries, including Groundunderrepair, who was third to Highway One O One at High Easter for Emily Peck.
Underwood feels the fire is still burning bright in Tempelpirate despite the veteran’s advancing years and being pulled up on his reappearance here last month.
He said of the 15-year-old: “He had been working well at home. I can’t get over why he didn’t want to know. He would be in the mix in that race. I don’t know whether he can win it, but he could be second or third.”
Ellis is looking for a bold show from Arctic Oscar in the Restricted over 2m 5f, sponsored by Ashley Wilde Group.
“He has good form from his win at Alnwick,” he said. “Courting Flow, who finished second, has won twice since. We gave him a wind operation after Horseheath and it definitely worked.”
High Easter winner Allo Allo, from Michael Kehoe’s Stewkley stables, near Leighton Buzzard, looks the main danger.
Hill is set to run Bucaneros with his other entry, Tres Francais, likely to wait for Kimble.
Bucaneros was pulled up at High Easter, and the trainer reported: “He never went on the sticky ground.”
Fifty-one entries have been received for the first Sandhurst Area meeting since 2019 with the largest number of 16 in the Maiden over 2m 5f, sponsored by Norcal Vets of Thame.
Diamon des Flos, trained by Brian Dowling, is top rated after finishing third to Allo Allo, while One More Life occupied the same position behind Buachaill Dana at the last meeting here for Great Missenden handler Karen Lawther.
Hill plans to run two of his three contenders with Da Boy Charlie set to be joined by Some Boy McCoy or Mythical Prince.
Da Boy Charlie was sixth to Master Templar at Ampton last time, and the trainer said: “He ran quite nicely without not quite getting home. I want to drop him to a shorter trip.”
He reported that Some Boy McCoy “hated the ground” when seventh to Buachaill Dana, while he added of Mythical Prince: “He will need his first run.”
Ellis is keen to run Elevenrife, who was sixth in Buachaill Dana’s race, saying: “I believe he needs decent ground and he will get it for the first time. I think dropping back in trip has to be a positive.”
Irish import Carry On Buddy, who showed some promise under Rules for Jeremiah Baragry, represents Underwood, who said: “He finished sixth of 17 over hurdles in Ireland and fourth in a bumper, which has produced plenty of winners.”
There will be a parade of hounds between the second and third races plus an ‘Auction of Promises’ with around 30 items featuring mornings on the gallops with trainers including leading dual purpose handler Alan King and Lawney Hill.
Admission is £15 per person, with payment by either cash or card. The course is approximately two miles from Junction 6 of the M40 in the direction of Chinnor. There will be black and gold signs to the course from the M40 and in Kingston Blount village. For SatNav, use postcode OX39 4SG. It’s not recommended to leave the motorway at Junction 5, as the route down Kingston Hill is narrow and steep.
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