Jason Warner presided over the Cotswold Vale Farmers meeting after taking over as Secretary in 1992 and was always looking for different ways of attracting more visitors and generally succeeded in doing so. The sport, his family and this meeting in particular miss his wise counsel since he passed away in November but his daughter Marita Warner-King has stepped in to take over the running of this year’s fixture which takes place at Andoversford on Sunday afternoon.
Warner enjoyed great success with his runners in recent years so it has been heart-warming to see the family continue Jason’s legacy with his colours carried to success on a number of occasions already this season.
This is the only meeting on the Point-to-Point calendar where a majority of the races are restricted to Veteran and Novice Riders, so it is good to see a healthy entry and winning opportunities for anyone who harbours aspirations of becoming a jockey.
The Zijlmans sponsored Members has three entries, with Blairs Cove and Mister Dick carrying the Warner hopes. Those with long memories will recall Donald Smith winning the Members race on numerous occasions back in the 1960s and 1970s and the family colours could make a re-appearance as Stay out of Court is owned by his son Julian. Stay Out of Court finished second in a Ladies Open at Kingston Blount recently, while Mister Dick provided Geoff Barfoot-Saunt with a long-awaited victory at Chard. It may be a small field but the contestants look evenly matched so it could be close.
The Warners could have a runner in the GX Landrovers Maiden although Fubar's recent form is not encouraging as he has had a habit of getting rid of his jockeys. His second run was more encouraging than the first as he was disputing the lead when parting company with his rider at the final obstacle and must have a chance if the partnership remains intact.
Red Opium has a long journey down from Yorkshire and must have a chance if doing so, while Bellamys Brother does not appear that often but puts in a good performance when doing so. Hung Jury has the best form but connections have other options over the weekend.
Monsieur Gibraltar was favourite for a race at last weekend's meeting at Andoversford but departed at halfway so connections may be reluctant to take their chance in the Cornbury Festival sponsored Conditions. Amber Jackson-Fennell is due to partner Heaven Scent and she would be one of the more experienced jockeys in this race.
Doldido has a high rating but is required to carry a 10 lb penalty as a result, while long distance traveller Rossderrin will do well to defy his penalty. Local hopes rest with Ellipsism who ran well behind Ballyboker Breeze at Maisemore and there is nothing of that quality in this race so he may regain the winning thread.
Last week's meeting proved front runners do well on this course, so although Mr Love’s best performances have been over flatter tracks, he has a chance if lining up in the Moat Contractors Mens Open. He finished 12-lengths clear of Chase Me at Shelfield Park and that is a big deficit to turn round, but James Ridley’s runner is capable of doing so. Minella Friend runs consistently and looks a certainty for a place while Kelvingrove and the remainder will be there to pick up the pieces.
O’Brien/McPherson Racing have provided the prize money for the Ladies Open and this is likely to prove a dilemma for Katie Sinclair. She has partnered Tb Broke Her on numerous occasions this year and they finished third in a similar race over course and distance last weekend. However, she is also pencilled in for the ride on Matt and Sally Burford’s Cheltenham de Vaige who finished second in the Robert Hitchins Grand Annual at the Cotswold meeting and may go one better with less weight on his back.
The Yorkshire challenger Royal Chant has a chance, while Dandy Dan won a similar event at Howick recently but it is difficult seeing anything else getting a look in.
Twasn’t the Plan finally opened his account with a front running performance 7 days ago, but in all honesty that race did not take a great deal of winning and he might have stumbled across another easy task in the Black Horse Syndicate Conditions which closes the meeting at 5-05 p.m.
Robin Why Not is always prominent in his races and could give Fergal O’Briens runner a target to aim at, while Nickie Sheppards Evron has been running consistently without too much success. This could be the day when connections are rewarded for their patience.