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Pete Mansell previews Sunday's racing

31-March-2022 20:12
in General
by Pete Mansell

A packed programme built around the Robert Hitchins Group Andoversford Grand Annual Chase, with £1,000 prizemoney for the Men’s Open and total prize money in excess of £4,000.

The local company has been the sponsor of the event for nearly 30 years and welcomes friends and guests to enjoy the racing.

This year they will be joined by Cheltenham College and its alumni society, retailers Martin and Co and Dubarry, automotive firm GX Landrovers and auctioneers and valuers Tayler and Fletcher, alongside Innsworth Technology Park who are underwriting the Pony Racing.

The 3-mile start has been moved and is now based on the Kennels bend, while the 2-1/2 mile start is in the home straight.

With the Point-to-Point season now is full swing, the demand for the services of senior jockeys is increasing, but this provides winning opportunities for less experienced pilots who have to make the most of these chances. Two races restricted to women riders hope to capitalize on the cadre of women who make up 50% of those riding in Point-to-Point races.

Fergal O’Brien made his name on the Point-to-Point circuit and trained over 100 winners under Rules in his first year at Ravenswell Farm which is less than a mile from the Point-to-Point venue.

Although it does not meet with universal approval several N.H. Trainers qualify some of their older horses for Point-to-Points. This provides winning chances for horses who have become less competitive under Rules. At the same time, they provide excellent schoolmasters enabling staff to gain valuable race riding experience and that can only be beneficial for them in the future.

Island Master represents the Withington trainer in the Conditions where he faces 8 possible rivals. He has had plenty of experience under Rules in Ireland and is due to be partnered by Louise Chance. Monsieur Gibraltar will be hampered by a 10 lb penalty and Knockaderry Flyer by a 6 lb penalty, but the latter is sure to appreciate the uphill finish.

Harry Greasby and Gold Mountain have made the frame in a couple of races and that has to give them a chance in this event while Aunty Joan could cause a surprise if she is given an easy lead.

O’Brien has entered Lip Service in the Ladies Conditions for Novice Riders where he is due to team up with Kayla Ruddy and the horse is sure to appreciate the sounder surface, while Lord Scoundrel should give his pilot Macy Genco a chance to make a name for herself in either the Ladies Open or the Ladies Conditions for Novice Riders. Bentons Lad teams up with Megan Fox in the latter and this looks a booking that could pay dividends.

Just two entries have been received for the Restricted but as both horses have the same rating, it comes down to who performs best on the day, with Cashmoll getting the nod over Clever Des Assence.

Tommie O’Brien holds the key to the Mens Open as he has teamed up with Chase Me, Green Winter and Miss Seagreen in the past. The Ridley pairing of Chase Me and Green Winter are formidable opponents but Miss Seagreen is a progressive type who won on her first outing in Open company at Shelfield Park.

Nothing stands out in the final Maiden but another O’Brien entry Twasn’t the Plan is expected to beat some moderate rivals.

Dog agility classes start at 0830, and continue all day, there is a parade of the Cotswold hounds, and a tent-pegging display to showcase another equestrian discipline. There'll be a public bar with reasonable prices, and loads of shops.

Event details








4m SE Cheltenham, nr junction of A40 and A436 (Exit 11A, M5)


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