Saturday 2nd April (2.10)
Essex and Suffolk @ Higham nr Colchester
It took two stables situated in a little pocket of West Suffolk and no more than two miles apart, to fly the local flag for East Anglian winners at the Essex and Suffolk meeting at Higham on Saturday.
Just five miles north of Bury St. Edmunds the Turner family own and train their horses on Ampton Hall estate and they saw their horse Sa Kaldoun win the Ladies Open race under a confident ride by Rosie Turner, wife of trainer Ed and this was Rosie’s first win in a Ladies Open event.
Andrew and Ruth Pennock train their string of horses on the perimeter of the Ampton estate, in Timworth and once again they were in the Higham winner’s enclosure when Torran Na Dtonn won Division Two of the Open Maiden.
Stable jockey Richard Collinson has the ride on racedays but it’s Ruth who rides the eight year-old gelding in all his work with Andrew doing the home schooling. The gelding relished the faster going and the flat track and won comfortably by twelve lengths.
The other races went to horses qualified outside the East Anglia area. The opening Restricted race saw fifteen runners face the starter and in a fast run race the favourite Our Milly Acres, partnered by Tom Chatfield-Roberts, prevailed by a head over Hill of Gold.
Helen Connors, the winning trainer, only made the decision to travel to Higham from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, at 8am that morning as it was raining at home and she wanted to let her horse take her chance. The mare was untried on faster going but connections were delighted that she adapted well and improved on her already consistent form.
The PPORA Club Members race for novice riders was also a pacy affair and resulted in the two market leaders Superior Fire and Done A Runner jumping the last fence in unison with the latter taking the contest by a head, in the tightest of finishes.
For winning jockey, Shane O’Keefe, this was his sixth career success and although he considered the ground was quick enough for his mount he was always confident he had enough to see off his rival.
Division One of the Open Maiden saw Iskrabob and jockey Oz Wedmore secure the prize for Sussex trainer Rose Grissell whilst the concluding EA Club Members Conditions race went to Viking Ridge with Samantha Klug giving the grey gelding an enterprising ride and the pairing having ten lengths to spare at the finish, over Kriss William.
The Mens Open was won in clinical style by the very long odds-on favourite, Broken Eagle, who won unchallenged and afterwards Joe Hill, his jockey, confirmed that the two mile event at the Cheltenham Hunter ‘Chase evening would be a likely target for the eight year-old who was completing a hat-trick of wins at Higham, this season.
Many horses and trainers had been looking for these firmer underfoot conditions and resulted in over sixty horses being declared. This provided the massive crowd - comparable with any Easter fixture held at Higham - with some excellent races and close finishes, nearly all taking place in extremely favourable weather conditions.
GOING: GOOD TO FIRM (GOOD IN PLACES)
1st Our Milly Acres Tom Chatfield Roberts 3/1f
2nd Hill Of Gold Sam Davies Thomas 5/1
3rd Condorman Gina Andrews 4/1
Time 5 mins 56 secs * Dists: Hd, 2L, 15 ran
* One fence omitted, injured rider
1st Broken Eagle Joe Hill 1/8f
2nd Never Complain Charlie Marshall 3/1
3rd Protaras Rupert Stearn 6/1
Time 5-54 Dists: 20L, 15L 4 ran
1st Sa Kaldoun Rosie Turner 10/1
2nd Quinsman Louise Allan 9/1
3rd Callhimwhatyouwant Samantha Klug 10/1
Time 5-56 Dists: 3L, 4L 9 ran Conkies Lad 5/4f (5th)
1st Done A Runner Shane O'Keefe 4/6f
2nd Superior Fire Hugh Nugent 3/1
3rd El Toreros Fergus Gregory 6/1
Time 5-56 Dists: Hd, 20L 9 ran
OPEN MAIDEN Division One
1st Iskrabob Oz Wedmore 3/1
2nd Shempa's Iron Tom Chatfield Roberts 9/4
3rd Give Us Peace Sam Davies Thomas 2/1f
Time 6-11 Dists: 1 1/2L, 2L 8 ran
OPEN MAIDEN Division Two
1st Torran Na Dtonn Richard Collinson 6/4f
2nd On The Tangle Hamish Golding 3/1
3rd Future Of Milan Johnny Bailey 7/2
Time 6-05 Dists: 12L, 1L 8 ran
EA CLUB CONDITIONS
1st Viking Ridge Samantha Klug 5/1
2nd Kriss William Ed Turner 4/1
3rd Dona Johnny Bailey 12/1
Time 6-02 Dists: 10L, 15L 9 ran Court Red Handed Ev's f (7th )