Friars Haugh saddles up for Point-to-Point opener

SAMMY SPIDERMAN and Ewan Whillans wins at Ayr 30/1/12'Photograph by John Grossick
SAMMY SPIDERMAN and Ewan Whillans wins at Ayr 30/1/12'Photograph by John Grossick

Point-to-point racing in the Borders comes under orders on Sunday when the Jedforest stages the first Scottish fixture of the season.

Course manager Jamie Innes has Kelso’s Friars Haugh course in great order for the popular sporting event, which has attracted 93 entries.

The first of seven races is off at 12.30pm with a five-strong members’ race, kindly sponsored by Storage Express and Border Berries. The potential line-up includes Silk and Roses from Wendy Hamilton’s Hawick stable and Rowan Road, a runner under Rules for Iain Jardine at Bonchester Bridge.

The Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club members race for novice riders is at 1pm and promises to be an interesting contest, despite just four entries. Galashiels handler Katie Scott already has a winner to her credit this term and bids to add to her tally with Raid Stane, while Sammy Spiderman – formerly trained under Rules by Alistair Whillans – could also be worth watching.

Sixteen entries have been received for the Aga ladies’ open race at 1.30pm – a qualifier for the championship final at Stratford in May. Douglas Julian started favourite at Alnwick last weekend and is joined in the possible line-up by last year’s runner-up Cast Iron Casey, who bids to go one better for Val Jackson from Morpeth. Former Irish chaser Page One Two Nine – a winner at Alnwick’s opening fixture – carries the hopes of Melrose owner Jo Luton.

The first three horses past the post in the Bonhams Men’s open at 2pm, will be eligible for the £7,500 final at the Hunter Chase Evening at Cheltenham on April 30. Prolific winner Gunner Jack, trained at Yetholm by Clive Storey, is one of 16 entries, which also includes course victor Glen Lord, owned by Nicola Neill.

There are 15 entries in the Norvite restricted race at 2.30pm, including Sugar Sensation from Alan Brown’s Hawick stable.

The Jockey Club/Brewin Dolphin mares maiden race, at 3pm, has 14 entries. Polobury bids to improve on last year’s performance, having finished runner-up for Kelso owner Emma Dunkley.

The concluding Billy Stenhouse Memorial open maiden race at 3.30pm has the largest entry of 23 including Bucko, Captain John, Flaming Thistle and Port Echo.

Race-goers can view televised live racing while enjoying a sit-down lunch in a heated tent by booking tickets from Kirsty Brown (kirsty@itfitzmarketing.co.uk).

Regular going reports, prospects, and updates, can be found at www.friarshaughraces.co.uk