POINT TO POINT: Barbury meeting set for Sunday

This Is Wiltshire: Wickdown Stables trainer Marcus Foley is eyeing another win in the Jockey Club Fillies and Mares Maiden Wickdown Stables trainer Marcus Foley is eyeing another win in the Jockey Club Fillies and Mares Maiden

The Point-To-Point Owners’ and Riders' Club (PPORC) meeting at Barbury Racecourse, near Marlborough, has developed a reputation as one of the most competitive meetings in the calendar – and that looks set to continue with a star-studded entry of 140 horses for Sunday’s six-race card, writes ANDREW NORMAN.

Contenders for the some of the season’s Championship races are likely to be unveiled in the Open races.

AGA final winner That’s Rhythm will bid to remain unbeaten under Page Fuller in the John Toomer & Sons Ladies Open.

The 13-year-old, a course winner in 2012, faces competition from several high-class performers including Cottage Oak, a winner on this card 12 months ago, who subsequently won two hunters’ chases before finishing third in the CGA Foxhunter Chase.

Two others to contest races at this year’s Cheltenham Festival – Berties Dream and Khyber Kim – are interesting recruits to this sphere with hunters’ chase winners Martys Mission, Rebel Du Maquis and Tricky Trickster also entered.

National champion Will Biddick has three possible mounts in the Jockey Club Estates Men’s Open, with multiple Point scorers Bellsinni Ron and Certain Flight entered in addition to ex-Colin Tizzard inmate Song Sung Blue, now stationed with Charlotte Davis.

Lorikarad looked useful when winning two hunters’ chases in 2012 but missed last season through injury and may find it difficult to carry a weight penalty for his successes after a long absence.

The nap of the day looks to be Mark Wall’s Theatre Queen.

The Bibury trainer/rider has had the opening Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Qualifier in mind for his unbeaten six-year-old mare for several months in the hope of qualifying for the final at Cheltenham in the New Year.

Marcus Foley, who trains a stone’s throw from the course at Wickdown Stables, is double-handed for the Jockey Club Fillies and Mares Maiden – a race he won two years ago with Kahlua Cove.

The closing Alan King-sponsored four and five-year-olds Maiden is one of the most hotly-contested races of the season and some future stars are likely to be on show with no fewer than 14 subsequent winners being yielded from the last two renewals.

It is worth taking note of any representative from Tom Lacey’s stable – a trainer who is flying the flag nationally in terms of selling young British pointers.

The Chipping Norton handler sold three of last year’s draft, all one-time winners between the flags, for an aggregate figure of £310,000 at Brightwells’ auctions last spring.

Admission is £10 for adults, U16s free, with the first race scheduled for noon. See pointingsm.co.uk

NEXT WEEK: Meeting report & pictures

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