VWH Point-to-Point Preview Siddington

VWH Point-to-Point Preview Siddington

VWH Point-to-Point Preview Siddington

Key details: Saturday 26th March 2022 | First Race 1.30pm

Written by Jake Exelby

Siddington, near Cirencester, is one of the longest standing point-to-point courses in the country, having first raced in 1909. The VWH meeting has been run on the course since 1934 and this year’s renewal on Saturday 26th March kicks off at 1.30. Six races are scheduled and 41 entries have been received. I spoke to Clerk of the Course Peter Mason on Monday and he said, “The going is now Good to Soft, Good in places. A dry, warm week is forecast and a further update will follow on Thursday.”

This historic course hosts one of the sport’s most venerable races too, in the form of the Pegasus Club Members Race. The Pegasus Club, the oldest saddle club in the country, is restricted to horses the property of qualified barristers or family members – I remember the likes of Richard Scott (of the Arms to Iraq Enquiry) and Guy Opperman (the last sitting MP to win a race) riding in it at Kingston Blount not too long ago – and while this restriction also applied to riders until fairly recently, the event is now open to all jockeys.

This year’s edition has attracted a small – but quality – entry of four, all of whom are Open class. Sumkindofking has been knocking on the door all season and his efforts include a runner-up spot in the first point-to-point “classic” of the season, the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup at Cocklebarrow, where useful ex-chaser Lord Scoundrel was second in the Members race. Mr Snuffles has been placed twice this campaign, including at Hutton Rudby last weekend, while veteran Sir Mangan – last year’s leading horse – won at Ampton in January. The latter’s trainer Alan Hill told me, “His owner Nick Sutton is always keen to support this race and he gets in without a penalty. There’s a good chance he’ll run here rather than in the four-miler at Kingston Blount.”

Centrepiece of the meeting is the Arkell’s Brewery Mixed Open Race, which has seven entries, two of which – James Henderson’s useful ex-French chaser Epi Sacre, who made his pointing debut in the Coronation Cup last month and Didmarton second Fil D’Ariane – are also entered in the Members race. Storm Lantern looks on the downgrade and would find matters easier in the preceding Conditions race, Bandsman has been out of form this season and, although Ennistown ran well when third at Didmarton last time, this looks between Sara Bradstock’s popular front-running veteran Southfield Theatre and Tom Ellis’ Dundrum Wood, who walked over at Brafield-on-the-Green on Sunday.


Tom Ellis said earlier, “Dundrum Wood is a probable runner – I’d imagine we’ll run all four we’ve entered – although he wouldn’t want it the fast side of good,” while James Henderson confirmed this as the most likely target on the day for Epi Sacre saying, “He’s a nice horse at home and showed class when he was younger but was suspiciously cheap at the sales! He broke a blood vessel on his first run for us at Larkhill. I plan to run all my three horses – they’re not engaged anywhere else this weekend – and my son Fred will ride.”

Six entries have been received for the Strutt & Parker Conditions Race, which is restricted to horses qualified in the South Midlands and Sandhurst Areas. Two are the aforementioned Epi Sacre and Storm Lantern, while James Henderson’s Fixe Le Kap is more likely to run in the opening Members race. Of the others, useful ex-chaser Tidal Flow also walked over at Brafield-on-the-Green, Largy Mountain won impressively at Didmarton, and Tom Ellis’ Latenightfumble – a half-sister to his Aintree Foxhunters hope Latenightpass and home-bred by his mother Pippa – is improving and scored convincingly at Kingston Blount.

Alan Hill was non-committal about plans for Tidal Flow, saying, “He’s also entered at Ascot and Kingston Blount this weekend as we want to get a run into him before the Aintree Foxhunters. I need to speak to his owner Nick Sutton about where we go.” Tom was bullish about Latenightfumble, telling me, “She’s massively on the upgrade and couldn’t have won any easier last time, where she never came off the bridle. Like Latenightpass, she’s a slow burner.”

The Sewell Mullings & Logie Restricted Race has eight entries, several of whom are progressive types. Three – Tom Ellis’ Arctic Oscar, James Henderson’s Frisson Collonges and Alan Hill’s Highland Glory – won their Maiden last time and are all probable runners. Midnight Jitterbug and Olly Norse are also winners this season, but have struggled to find their best form recently, while ex-rules Call His Bluff, maiden Duntish and Persistantprincess look to have something to find on form.

Alan Hill intends to run Highland Glory, telling me, “She was impressive at Ampton, where she quickened clear. I spoke to owner Guy Myddleton earlier and he’s planning on coming down for the weekend. We’re running his other horse at Kingston Blount on Sunday, so there’s a good chance the mare will run here too, although she won’t go if it’s faster than good.” James Henderson said of Frisson Collonges, “He definitely runs – he’s a big horse and has taken time to get fit, but he’s really well. I’ve been cantering him and the other two myself – working from home is great!” Arctic Oscar is another intended runner and Tom noted, “The form from her Alnwick win has worked out well – the second and third have both won – and she’s improved after a wind operation following her Horseheath debut.”


The opening contest is the Bathurst Estates Members Race and five have been entered, four of whom hold engagements elsewhere on the card. Three have been noted above and Peter Mason’s Barley Hill is more likely to run in the Maiden. The fifth, Plus One, has not shown his best form for some time and this race looks at the mercy of James Henderson’s probable representative Fixe Le Kap – who, according to his trainer, “Has had a few little problems since his Cheltenham second last season,” unless Fil D’Ariane can better his Didmarton performance – the seven-year-old will come on for the race and is a potential improver.

The card closes with the Maiden Race, which has the highest entry of the day, 11, including Barley Hill – of whom trainer-rider Peter Mason said, “This looks the easier of the two races in theory and he ran really well at Didmarton” – and Duntish, who would have a chance in this company on his Larkhill third. Phil Rowley could hold the key here with three entries, top-rated No Authority, the experienced Forest Chimes and Epitafio. Tom Ellis’ Wireless Operator – “He’s likely to run and seems in good form at home – I don’t think he wants the ground too soft,” according to his trainer is hoping for a change of luck after three seconds in a row, including when pipped on the post at Guilsborough last time. Frankie Faulkner and Pretty Fantasy need to improve on what they have shown so far, Mighty Monarch is making his debut over fences and Spivey Cove’s figures look uninspiring but his Cothelstone second last season is the best form in the race and he could spring a surprise if repeating that effort. Some Boy McCoy is an unlikely runner unless the going is on the fast side of good.

There will again be a big screen for excellent viewing as well as numerous trade stands, catering facilities and a bar. Gates open at 11.30am and the first race is at 1.30pm.

Entry is £15 per person – either by cash or card on the day – or in advance online here. Reserved parking at £50 per car is also available in advance here.

The course is located two miles south of Cirencester, near the A419 (20m from Exit 13, M5 & Exit 15, M4) and is signposted from the village of Siddington. GL7 6BD

For more information, visit www.vwh-hunt.co.uk/point-to-point


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