Point-to-point: Opio shapes like a radio star
Saturday 23 February 2008
The Burton stage their final meeting on Market Rasen racecourse tomorrow, but the fixture will survive as next year the hunt move to a new venue on the 205-acre Lincolnshire Showground at Grange de Lings, about three miles north of Lincoln on the A15 to Hull.
Point-to-points on NH courses do not provide the true atmosphere of the sport and have never proved popular, with the possible exception of Bangor and Fakenham. This is a welcome initiative by the Burton, who held their meeting at the defunct Lincoln racecourse on the Carholme from 1967 until 1992 when they transferred to Market Rasen, where they race over portable fences on the inside of the course.
Opio (4.05) could go into the record books as the last winner at the course in the final maiden as he was still in touch when he fell at the 12th at Friars Haugh three weeks ago. That race has turned out to be just about the best maiden run in the north so far, as the third and fourth have won since. Opio, owned by the Radio Five racing correspondent, Cornelius Lysaght, was placed in three NH Flat races in 2006 when trained by Mick Easterby and, still only six, should find pointing much easier.
Narciso (1.10) also caught the eye on his reappearance at Friars Haugh three weeks ago when second to Minouchka and that outing should have put him spot on for the ladies' open.
The Sussex farmer David Robinson, inevitably dubbed the "galloping grandad" when he made a successful comeback at the age of 66 in the hunt race at Godstone a fortnight ago on Bee And Bee (2.50), can follow up on the same horse in the club members' conditions event at Charing tomorrow.
TODAY: Thurlow at Horseheath. (First race: 1.0). 4m W of Haverhill on A1307; Exits 9 or 10, M11).
TOMORROW: Burton at Market Rasen. (12.0). On NH course; 1m E of town on S side of A631. Entrance is off Legsby Road. Countryside Alliance Club (Wessex) at Badbury Rings. (12.0).4m NW of Wimbourne on B3082. Dumfriesshire & Stewartry at Netherby Park. (12.03). 4m N of Longtown, off A7. East Cornwall at Great Trethew. (12.0). 1m S of A38; 3m SE of Liskeard. South-East Hunts Club at Charing. (12.30).12m E of Maidstone; nr A20 and M20. Junction 8 and join A20. About 10min walk from Charing station (18min past hr from London Victoria, journey takes 1hr 27min). Tanatside at Eyton-on-Severn. (12.0). 7m SE of Shrewsbury, nr B4380 via A5 and M54, Exit 7.
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