Alterations to South East meetings
The new planner has finally arrived after a month or two's delay, and we can now see how the races have been altered from last season. As we already know there are two extra meetings this season, with both the Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent and the Southdown & Eridge hosting their usual two meetings each. We have also lost a Charing meeting as the East Sussex & Romney Marsh now go to Aldington in May in an effort to boost crowd numbers.
In terms of the races it seems some notable changes have been made to some of the meetings. The South East Hunts Club now hosts the Kent Grand National in February, however it is now a Mens Open, meaning that girls will have to look elsewhere with their stayers. The sensible change is that there is now a Ladies and Mens on the card so the Conditions race has no gender restrictions, while prize money has increased for all races.
The second Southdown & Eridge meeting provides a staying race for everyone, as they host the inaugural running of the South East Grand National, the new feature race of the area to be run over 3m 6f with £500 to the winner. They are also reintroducing a 2m 4f maiden, a race that had been missing from the venue for several seasons now.
What is Godstones gain is Charings loss, as their 2m 4f maiden has been replaced by a Novice & Veteran Riders race. This means that their will no longer be three maidens over the Easter weekend, which should boost numbers in those races, while the Novice Riders race should attract a large field.
The Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent have made a minor change to their cards, swapping the Restricted to their April meeting and bringing their Conolly's Red Mills Intermediate forward to the March meeting.
The East Sussex & Romney Marsh meeting provide a first for the area as they are set to hold a Mares & Fillies Condition race, perhaps in a hope to attract runners from outside the area.