5:10pm Thursday 9th January 2014
THE new purpose-built Cocklebarrow Racecourse hosts the Savills Heythrop point-to-point for the first time on Sunday.
Situated near Northleach, the much-anticipated addition to the Cotswolds — the brainchild of landowner John Wills — received rave reviews from jockeys and trainers when opened to the public last month.
Clerk of the course Nick Phillips said: “We’ve made some slight adjustments, including moving the last fence a little bit and tinkering with the bend turning into the straight — that was the point of having an open day. We’ve learnt things but overall I’m very pleased.
“The jockeys were very happy with how the ground rode, which is the main thing.”
At The Races presenter and former National Hunt jockey Luke Harvey said: “I’m really impressed — you couldn’t fail to be. The lay-out is fantastic.
“The fences are well-made and imposing enough — a lot of thought has obviously gone into the track.
“I think the best horse will win and you can’t say anything better about a track than that.”
Gold Cup-winning rider Sam Waley-Cohen could ride Rumbavu in the feature race, the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup, over three miles and six furlongs.
The Overbury gelding took his winning sequence between the flags to four at Larkhill on Sunday and could regain the trophy for the Waley-Cohen family six years after Irilut won in 2008.
Charles Bruce was no match for Penmore Mill on his seasonal debut last month but proved his stamina when scoring over four miles and one furlong at Cheltenham in May.
Minella Stars jumped and travelled impressively at Chaddesley Corbett over Christmas and should go close.
Grade One-winning hurdler Khyber Kim looked in rude health on his pointing debut at Cottenham a fortnight ago and can follow up in the PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders.
Seven races are scheduled at Cocklebarrow but, with the inevitability of divisions due to an unprecedented number of entries, the first will now be run at 11am.
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group