POINT-TO-POINT: Whittington hands Venant debut at Lockinge

Runners, headed by Lough Derg (left), jump a fence in front of packed crowds during last year’s meeting at Lockinge

Runners, headed by Lough Derg (left), jump a fence in front of packed crowds during last year’s meeting at Lockinge

First published in Sport The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in horse racing. Call me on 01865 425453

Sparsholt trainer Joanna Whittington is set to provide Jordon Venant with his first ride in public when she runs Cuban Piece at the Old Berks Hunt meeting at Lockinge, near Wantage, on Easter Monday.

Whittington was master of the Old Berks hounds for 15 years, and the six-year-old gelding, owned by her son, Harry, is among seven entries in the opening members’ race.

Venant, 21, said: “It’s been the plan all season to run at Lockinge and its always been my aspiration to be a jockey and on Monday I am looking forward to taking the first steps toward this.

“The horse is in great form and has blossomed this season.”

His rivals could include Candide, a winner at Barbury last time out for Sally Randell’s Hatford stables, near Stanford in the Vale.

Artic Fire, who gave owner-trainer Craig Pilgrim, from Longcot, near Faringdon, his first winner when taking this contest in 2010 is also entered.

Himalayan Express, last seen finishing eighth to Warne in the Fox Hunters’ Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree for Celia Plunkett’s Wigginton yard, near Chipping Norton, steps down markedly in class for the mixed open.

The ten-year-old is a previous course winner, having won the restricted two years ago in the hands of Hook Norton rider James Martin, who also partnered the gelding to a shock 50-1 success at Cheltenham’s hunter chase meeting last May.

He is among a ten-strong entry, which also features prolific winner John Daniell.

Presentandcorrect is set to bid to repeat last year’s win in the Point-to-Point Owners & Riders’ Association Club Members’ race for veteran and novice riders.

The 13-year-old, trained by Tim Page, provided James King, from Stroud, with his first winner at the age of 17 when successful 12 months ago.

Moorland Sunset, trained by Elizabeth Brown, is on course to chase a hat-trick in the confined with Nick Phillips on board.

The first race is 2pm, preceded by two pony races, starting at 12.30pm.

Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill could run Harbour Court in the men’s open at the Kimblewick Hunt meeting at Kimble, near Aylesbury, tomorrow (1.30).

The eight-year-old, who finished a creditable fifth in the CGA Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham last time out, is among ten entries in the men’s open.

The meeting was abandoned in 2013 due to bad weather.

But Hill landed trebles in the previous two years, and he is set to strongly represented again.

Sharp Suit is unbeaten in four starts between the flags, and could run in the confined or the members’ race where Hill has 11 of the 13 entries.

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