SATURDAY'S Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett has attracted the biggest prize fund ever offered at a point-to-point meeting.
The prize money has been put forward by Bromsgrove-based estate agent, chartered surveyors and commercial property consultants, Fisher German.
The Worcestershire meeting (first race 2pm) always takes place on the third Saturday in April, which this year happens to fall on the Easter weekend, so a large crowd is expected for one of the highlights on the point-to-point calendar.
What the Dudley Cup lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality and the 17 entries include the Welsh challenger Rosies Peacock who won the race in 2012.
Rumbavu won the seasons opening classic the four-mile Lord Ashton of Hyde Cup but the task he faces is put into perspective by the fact that this prestigious double has not been achieved since Snowdra Queen way back in 1965.
Cottage Oak is a worthy representative from the North West Area, while Findlays Find has struggled this year, but a return to form cannot be ruled out.
Silver Token has a course success to his credit but conditions are unlikely to be testing on Saturday afternoon. Jetnova is an interesting entry. The ex-Alan King inmate was purchased by the Smith Maxwell family in January and the three mile two furlong trip is likely to play to his strengths.
The names of either Fruit Fayre and Following Dreams would not look out of place on the cup's role of honour. The former has won his last five races, while Following Dreams is unbeaten in three races so far this season.
Alastair Ralph’s charge has to be delivered as late as possible, but if something can get to the front and kick on over the final three fences that will be no easy task.
Hall Kelly, My Lord Oscar, Backfromthecongo and Light Touch finished first, second, fourth and fifth in last years Members Race and it is difficult seeing the placed horses reversing the form with the winner.
As normal a plethora of runners will be carrying royal blue and cerise hoop colours. William and Angela Rucker have Beneficial Reform, while Mrs Rucker’s mother Pat Tollit has entered Calusa Caldera.
The mother and daughter partnership also has Nikos Extra, while Mrs Tollit’s other daughter Katherine Smith Maxwell has to decide whether to saddle Piment D’Estruval or new acquisition Jetnova.
It must be odds on a winner for this family although Tom Weston will have something to say is Cold Knight or Star of Massini line up.
Palypso de Creek and Gwanako dominate the Ladies Open where Claire Hart’s experience is likely to prove crucial in the closing stages. It the big two fail to turn up that increases the chances of the Rucker pairing of Sagalyrique or Stonemaster.
The 3 mile 2 furlong Maiden looks tailor made for Tom Westons mount Soutine. The James Richardson trained The Snickett is always well supported in the market and must repay his supporters shortly, although the stable might choose this race as an option for the un-raced Ferriby.
Jane Williams does not get the rides her talents deserve but when she teams up with runners from her mothers Enville stable they are an almost unbeatable force.
What a Bluff does not have that much to beat in the Restricted and the Williams could be back in the winners enclosure later in the afternoon with newcomer Twilight Fox, although the Tom Lacey trained Robbie Rabbit will probably start favourite.