Sunday 4th February @ Horseheath near Haverill
Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace
12.00 Intermediate – 20 entries
We start the day’s racing with a competitive race with 20 entries and many of the horses having similar racing form. We can vouch for the fact that the course is in excellent condition following a wet January and on which there is a very good covering of grass. Allie Beag won the Restricted at Ampton two weeks ago at 8/1. Had run in six previous Restricteds so limited form previously, will be interesting to note how competes in this higher class. Chipmonk won a Maiden and Restricted in succession but pulled up last time out at Bishop’s Court in November four out and on soft ground, good ground here may help. Ginuwinefizz won a Maiden and a Restricted in successive races last spring but had five races before that, was 5th at Ampton two weeks ago to Hawkhurst. Is from the Ellis/Andrews yard so they will be looking for improvement here and Gina has had much success at this course. Ignite the Light won an Intermediate at Northaw in May 2016, was placed three times last season but maybe will struggle to produce the form. Irish Legionnaire has won a Maiden and Restricted this season both at Larkhill, took six races to break a Maiden but suddenly made big strides, maybe asking a lot to now progress at this higher level. Lickety Split won first time out at Penhurst in March 2016, 3rd next outing in a Restricted in April 16. Won only race, a Restricted in 2017 and at Ampton two weeks ago was in with an even chance when fell at the sixteen. This horse has obviously had a few problems but could be in with a good chance here. Mr Maclennane disappointed last time out as finished 6th to Hawkhurst at Ampton. However did win first time out this season at Cottenham on New Year’s Eve, maybe a slight dip in the form of Nick Wright’s yard who started the season with a bang. It is very difficult to select the winner here.
Selection: Lickety Split Alternative: Chipmunk
12.35 Open Maiden (4, 5 & 6yo) – 14 entries
Tricky Silence came from some way back passing tired horses when claiming second place in the Open Maiden at Cottenham on New Year’s Eve. This was a major improvement on his previous outings and if progress is maintained could feature in the finish. An unusual upbringing for a potential pointing star is two ignominious runs on the flat in France but that is the background to The Jaffna Queen – top class connections – this could be anything. Staple Head ran out of puff on the uphill finish at Ampton this season but should have come on for the race and should be in contention at the finish. Benefit of Luck ran 7 times under rules getting a rating of 104 but last time out pulled up in a 3m Novice Chase at Market Rasen. This one possibly may need good ground or better. Doolin was 2nd in a June Maiden P to P in Ireland – flattered briefly in an Ascot Bumper but seemed not to take to hurdling – not a strong candidate. Age of Heroes had two sparkling runs at Horseheath last season when 3rd and 2nd in hot Maidens but disappeared at the end of February. Something must have gone amiss however, if the problem has been resolved, and knowing connections they wouldn’t run unless they were 100% happy, a strong showing is expected. Finally Salvatore, who was 12l second in an Open Maiden at Sherriff Hutton earlier this season. This one is from a top yard is bound to have come on for the race and will get our vote. This is a wide-open event but overall, if running, Salvatore is our selection although we would recommend close inspection of The Jaffna Queen, this could just be the unearthing of a super star.
Selection: Salvatore Alternative: The Jaffna Queen
1.10 Club Members (Novice Riders) – 22 entries
Just Cause and Tim Gredley have already won two Novice Riders races this season at courses very different to the stamina-testing course that is Horseheath. Things did not go to plan at Ampton but if turning out again after a bloodless victory at Higham last week he is sure to go close again and confirm the form when beating West Lake at Cottenham. Namako could be next best, from the powerful Philip Rowley yard this 8yo could come on for his seasonal debut when 4th at Barbury, although horses from that yard should be fit first time out. Pantxoa was not out of it when unseating at Cottenham in December and if having a clear round and returning to the form that saw him win a Hunter Chase at Newton Abbot from previous high-class chaser Colbert Station, he could go close. Amigo is a local raider and although his seasonal debut at Cottenham was disappointing this course should suit better. Perfectly Willing has to be mentioned, he showed good form last season although his last victory was a 3-runner affair but the time was the quickest of the day. Tim Gredley will have a good handle on another possible rival, Arkose, as the 14 years old was second to him on another ride, Silvergrove, last season. Finnegan’s Hollow won the Novice Riders race at Ampton at 20-1 but this could be a hotter event so more would be needed. So much in these races depends on jockey experience but his race could be a very competitive and hopefully will produce a good race.
Selection: Just Cause Alternative: Pantxoa
1.45 Mens Open – 23 entries
A fascinating race in on the cards for this year’s renewal of the men’s open even though many will be re-routed elsewhere.
Several have already tasted victory this season, including Bear’s Affair, who defeated Full Trottle by a head at Cottenham’s opening fixture, and then followed that with a third place in a hunter chase at Taunton behind Premier Portrait. Ardkilly Witness, previously in the care of Jamie Snowden under rules, won a men’s open at Alnwick in December, and on his third and most recent outing finished second to William Money at Barbury. Facile Bien stepped up in class throughout last season, winning four consecutive races, and made an encouraging start to this season, finishing third behind Cousin Pete at Larkhill.
Hazel Hill, a stable companion of Bear’sAffair, has won all nine points in UK, and beat Thetalkinghorse by 12 lengths at Garthorpe on his final outing in May. Thetalkinghorse was not quite as prolific as the season before, but did win two points last season, one of which was around this course, when he finished ahead of Curraigflemens. Curraigflemens was placed in all three men’s open races contested around this course last season, but ended the season in much better form, winning hunter chases at Fontwell and Stratford. The likeable Gunmoney, hailing from the same yard as Thetalkinghorse has not been seen on the track since winning at Dingley in May 2016, was rarely outside the places when running and if fit and well would go close. Glint Of Steel is another who has not run since 2016, following victory in a hunter chase at Newbury. His only defeat in 10 outings was on his only other run in 2016, when he finished second to Mr Mercurial around this course. Mr Mercurial only ran in hunter chases last season, winning one at Ludlow ahead of Mendip Express.
Selection: Gunmoney Alternative: Facile Bien
2.20 Ladies Open – 12 entries
Sa Kaldoun won opens at Higham and Northaw last season and was never out of the places when completing. Finished 2nd on his last two starts at this course and has a good chance to go one better. Finished 3l ahead of Oh Toodles when they met here last year and is now on slightly better terms (3lbs). He’s better on faster ground and may need a run. Oh Toodles won 4 opens last season including 3 of his last 4 starts. Raced here three times last year with good results - close third behind Top Smart and Vedettariat (carrying 7lb less), won modest Ladies when odds-on fav, then 3rd of three behind Sharp Suit and Sa Kaldoun. Has a great chance. Goodnight Vienna has won two of his three starts here and finished only 3l behind Berties Dream on other one. Distant 2nd to Warden Hill at Ampton last month. Should go close. Amigo won Conditions races at Brocklesby and High Easter last season against modest opposition. Ran well for much of the race at Cottenham in December but weakened quickly. Should come on for that run and has place chances. Kimora was last of 7 behind Top Smart first time out here last season but put in some good runs later in the season including when beaten a head by Always a Chance at Whitfield. Carries 14lbs less than the top weights but may need the run. Interesting new recruit Blue Mountain Boy won two of his four starts in Irish Points and was going well when brought down at Higham last weekend. 2014 Betfred Bowl 3rd Argocat was going well before unseating at Thorpe last weekend after a two year break. Monetaire ran in the Topham and Paddy Power Gold Cup for David Pipe in 2015. He PU on his first pointing start in the same Thorpe race. Its always tricky when several horses are having their first runs of the season and may not be at peak fitness. If the ground dries then Sa Kaldoun has a great chance otherwise Oh Toodles with Goodnight Vienna not far away.
Selection: Sa Kaldoun Alternative: Oh Toodles
2.55 Restricted – 16 entries
An excellent 16 runner entry on what should be good ground on a testing track. Baxxos p.u. when t.o. on his only run in 2017 and will be best watched here. The 7yr. mare Cobajay Away with a 7lb. allowance and a 2nd. place restricted run at Mollington in May was then pu when well behind in the early Dec. Cottenham Maiden on good ground and p.u. again at Ampton recently another to just watch. Cresta Run ran 20L 3rd. in this race last season but was t.o. and p.u.in the Restricted at Ampton but may perform to a place here. Earl the Pearl took 14 runs and 2 seasons to win his Maiden and may struggle in this company. Florella ur at the first in the Larkhill Restricted and was placed on her only 2 Restricted runs in 2017 following a 3yr lay off. Fountains Cider was placed in 2 Restricted races last season following a Maiden win in 2016 but no real positives here. Hurricane Vic 2l. behind View the Dance in the Garthorpe March Restricted but no run since so could need the run here. 6yr. Kalabaloo from the Ellis yard won his Maiden in Ireland last season by 6l. but ran 16l. 5th and was never near at Chaddesley Corbett in Dec. but could have come on for the run so watch the market for indicators. 27 runs for 9yr. Katesoneoneeight and has struggled in Restricted company since his Maiden win in 2016 and may well here. Pettistree won his Maiden on this track last season but is another to struggle in Restricted company since but with Jack Andrews up a place is possible. The Master Remover won his Maiden at Ampton 3yr. ago but struggled in his 10 runs last season and then came 20l.2nd. to Hill’s Allie Beag at Ampton recently beating Cobajay Away, Pettistree and Cresta Run – can he repeat this and run to a place.The 2015 maiden Irish point winner This Breac from the Pennock yard has had 3 runs this season with a win in the early Cottenham 3m Maiden and finally 3rd. to Allie Beag and a nk behind The Master Remover at Ampton and could improve here. Titan’s Approach won a strong Maiden at Larkhill in Dec. 2016 but struggled in subsequent Restricteds including the early Dec. Restricted at Cottenham so just watch. Welsh’s Castle took the Maiden at Brocklesby in Feb. the 6l. 2nd to King Willie in the March Godstone Restricted – one to note.
Selection: This Breac Alternative: The Master Remover
3.30 Open Maiden (7yr & up) – 11 entries
Keel Over ran on 7th January when a 5 length second of 8 to Emerald Chieftain at Aghabullogue. After a slow start seems to have steadily improved and could be spot on for this modest race. Desert Retreat ran on last time out at Cottenham but does not seem the safest of conveyances for a relative novice rider. Likewise Master Jeweller has potential but his poor Irish form and erratic jumping make him one to be wary of despite the likely pilot. Rollingontheriver ran most creditably at Ampton after a long lay off – if coming on for the race this course may well suit this Scorpion 8 year old. Unik de Nougi will be ridden by the accomplished Charlie Marshall – however a ten year old Maiden is surely not to be trusted. Lady of the Rea ran well behind the impressive Steeles Terrace which has gone on to frank the form at Higham – if improving for her outing must surely come close. Over the years the Kehoe’s have been associated with some good horses and if running Keel Over will probably be hard to beat although Lady of the Rea could prove a handful
Selection: Keel Over Alternative: Lady Of The Rea