Preview: Kimblewick Hunt Point-to-Point Meeting, Kingston Blount

VWH Point-to-point Meeting

By Russell Smith

ALAN Hill could run last year’s winner, Polydora, and Diplomate Sivola as he bids to add to his impressive record in the INEOS Grenadier Home Counties Grand National Mixed Open at the Kimblewick Hunt (February) meeting at Kingston Blount, near Chinnor, on Saturday (12pm).

Polydora, ridden by owner Guy Myddelton’s son, Harry, gave the Oxfordshire trainer his seventh success in the four-mile marathon when handing out a 25-length beating to sole rival Skipthecuddles last March.

Last time out, the 11-year-old was fourth, beaten ten lengths behind Just Your Type after helping set a searching gallop in the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup at Cocklebarrow.

With Hill driving the horsebox to Taunton on Tuesday, his son and assistant, Joe, said: “He ran a good race at Cocklebarrow where things didn’t go to plan. He is a course and distance winner and is in lovely nick. Hopefully, he will go well.”

Diplomate Sivola may also line up, although Joe said: “We will have a look if it is good safe ground, but he is seen at his best when the mud is splattered.”

Sara Bradstock is set to run Myth Buster but has yet to decide who will take over the reins with her daughter, Lily, sidelined following a heavy fall from the 10-year-old at Cocklebarrow last month.

The Letcombe Bassett trainer reported: “She is absolutely fine, but just frustrated she has not been passed fit to ride yet.

“She had a little fracture – not anything structural – to a bone in her neck and concussion. Who is going to ride him I don’t know. Everything about him screams he wants the trip.”

Polly Walker plans to send Dawson City up from her Ottery St Mary base and reported that the 14-year-old – winner of the Devon National at Exeter in 2018 and 2019 and the Somerset National at Wincanton in 2021- retains all his enthusiasm.

“Four miles is his thing,” she said. “He loves his racing and seems very well. I think he will like going up and down and around the bends. He gets to three miles and three furlongs and says, ‘the race is mine, hold on tight!’.”

Also among the 14 entries are Millbank Flyer and Gran Paradiso, first and third at Milborne St Andrew last month, prolific winner Salvatore and Grageelagh Girl, who was second to I K Brunel at Larkhill.

Jenny Gordon has entered Commanche Red and Captain Buck’s in the feature event as well as in the Philip Scouller Memorial PPORA Club Members Veteran Horse Conditions Race (Level 2).

Hill is looking for a bold show here from Mighty Stowaway, who was third in the St James’s Place Hunters’ Chase at Cheltenham for Gordon Elliott last March but has yet to shine since joining the Aston Rowant handler.

The 12-year-old was fourth to Fumet d’Oudairies at Horseheath on his reappearance, and Joe said: “He came back not quite right, but we have given him time to get over that and we are very happy with the form he is in. The course should suit him.”

Ed Walker could be double handed with Field Exhibition and Lithic.

Field Exhibition is chasing a four-timer under Ella Herbert, having signed off last season by winning at Flete Park before scoring twice this term at Wadebridge.

Walker’s wife, Polly, said: “Ella pretty much trains her on her own accord, while Ed helps her. She is in good form and likes undulating tracks.”

With clerk of the course Stewart Nash reporting that the going remained Good, the six-race card has attracted 88 entries.

Bradstock intends to run Jaisalmer in the PPORA Club Members Conditions Race (Level 3) For Novice Riders, sponsored by Field Seymour Parkes.

The 11-year-old stayed on to be a distant second to Debece at Cocklebarrow last month, and Bradstock commented: “The ground was a bit fast for him and we hope it will be a bit better at Kingston. He is a solid fellow and should have a good chance.”

Koyote bids for a hat-trick after a brace of wins at Horseheath for champion trainer Tom Ellis.

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The Marton handler said: “He had good form in Irish point-to-points and was running really well in a banks race at Punchestown on his penultimate start there. He would probably have been fourth but tipped up at the last.”

The Hills are optimistic Craigmor can bounce back after being pulled up at Horseheath.

“We really fancied him, but he pulled a muscle behind quite badly and that was why he stopped,” explained Joe. “The physio has looked at him and is in great form now.”

Monkey Puzzle should have come on for his Ampton outing, while Revesby Park winner Jonjoela also comes into the reckoning.

Ellis believes Tigerinthetail has every chance of following up his Horseheath maiden win in the Restricted over 2m 5f, sponsored by Norcal Vets.

The champion trainer said: “Hopefully, he was valued for more than the winning margin. He had good National Hunt form, and it was his first run over fences. He jumped pretty soundly, and I don’t think the drop-in trip will be any problem.”

Hill has entered Serenisa and course winner Mythical Prince with a preference to run the former.

Joe said: “Serenisa was a very impressive winner first time out at Ffos Las and the form has worked out well. Things then went wrong at Alnwick where she struggled with the big fences and didn’t like the tacky ground.”

Course winner Monmouth Hill and Wireless Operator were separated by a head when taking the minor honours behind Fairly Famous at Charing and could also feature.

Maxine Filby has given Quickly Now Please, owned by Red Bull Formula 1 supremo Christian Horner and his wife, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, two entries on the card.

The son of Mount Nelson, who was second to Lady Samson at Cocklebarrow, could tackle the opening Guy Luck Memorial Maiden for Four and Five-Year-Olds over 2m 5f or the Maiden, sponsored by Ashley Wilde Group.

Hill has Ffos Las bumper winner Ilhela d’Engilbert in the former contest, with Joe commenting: “We would like to run him, but only if the ground is safe. He is probably our best chance on the day. He really likes him and thinks he has come on a bundle.”

Of the newcomers, Phil Rowley’s pair Deerstalker and Mahland, Bradley Gibbs’s Dwight K Schrute and Francesca Poste’s Hazel Delight are all likely contenders.

Quickly Now Please’s rivals in the three-mile maiden could include Paper Mill, whose third at Chaddesley Corbett has been well advertised by the winner Tara Storm and runner-up Captain Biggles.

Michael Kehoe’s seven-year-old will have to bounce back, though, after unseating his rider at the first at Ampton last time out.

Marton Abbey, runner-up to Sir Shelby at Larkhill, and Miracle Millions, who occupied the same spot behind Walkonthewildside at Revesby Park, rate the dangers.

There will be a parade of hounds between the second and third races plus an ‘Auction of Promises’ with final bids at 2pm.

Admission is £15 per person. 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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