Sunday 27 November 2016
Cambridge University United Hunts Club – Cottenham
12.00 PPORA Club Members Conditions – 10 entries
A very modest entry of just 10 for this opening contest of the East Anglian season. Lough Inch won this race last year and has an excellent record at this venue having won here 4 times including 2 opening day wins. He has to enter calculations here and he won his final start last season at Garthorpe when beating Templepirate by 3 lengths in June. Only Time‘ll Tell was 2nd on his final start last season in a Fontwell hunter chase when going down by 26 lengths to Maxi Chop. He did win a club members at Penshurst in March by 5 lengths from The Crafty Butcher and could certainly get a placing here. Anquetta is in the veteran stage now and fell at Kempton in a hunter chase on his only start last season. He’s a 7-time winner under rules and his last win came in a 2 mile 3f chase at Market Rasen when beating Cedre Bleu by 1¼ lengths in May 2014. Gift Of Dgab is another in the veteran stage but he won on his final appearance last season at Kingston Blount when beating View The Dance by 10 lengths having previously been 2nd at Siddington, beaten ¾ of a length by Moorland Sunset. Abbey Lane, if he runs here will renew the successful partnership of trainer Andrew Pennock andcoming out of retirement jockey Ben Rivett. Abbey Lane was a 3-time winner under rules when trained in Ireland. His last win came in a Leopardstown 2 mile hurdle in January 2013 when he beat Rocky Wednesday by 2½ lengths. On his final outing in June this year he pulled up in a Perth handicap hurdle. As De Ferbet won an Auteuil hurdle in September 2013 by 3 lengths from Alcala and is still a relative youngster at 6 years old. He has 4 2nd placings to his name in Ireland when trained by Gordon Elliot and can’t be ruled out here. The ex-Charlie Longsden trained Green Bank is a 3 time rules winner with his last win coming at Plumpton in September 2014 when he beat Orfeo Conti by 7 lengths in a 3 mile 2f chase. He finished 2nd at Plumpton in September 2015 on his final start when beaten 7 lengths by King Fontaine in another 3 mile 2f chase and does hail from a very shrewd yard. Rumble Of Thunder is an 8 time winner under rules, his final win coming in a 2 ½ mile handicap hurdle at Aintree when beating Henryville by ½ a length in May 2014. He pulled up on his final rules start at Market Rasen in January this year. Prolific rules winner Billie Magern looks a light of former days and even though he’s trained by Alan Hill who boasts a terrific record at this venue, others are preferred. Given his great record at this course we will side with Lough Inch to win this. If Anquetta’s fall at Kempton hasn’t left a mark he must go close but we will go with Gift Of Dgab as our alternative choice.
Selection: Lough Inch Alternative: Gift Of Dgab
12.35 Mens Open – 11 entries
The 11 entries include last season’s victor Consigliere, who beat Executive Benefit by 10 lengths. Two return visits to Cottenham saw him finish 2nd to Now Ben and then 3rd to Brackloon High and Never Complain. Three further victories and a 2nd ensued, before a final win by 6 lengths over Broughtons Bandit at Kingston Blount in May. Never Complain’s promising effort at Cottenham was not replicated on his next three runs, but his final outing in a 2 ½ mile hunter chase behind Mr. Satco was not too bad. Mr Moss ran in hunter chases last season without any success, and ended with a 3rd place behind Penmore Mill at Uttoxeter in May. Transferred to Dan Skelton for ended summer jumping, Mr Moss won a 2 ½ mile chase at Southwell on his 2nd start. A return to the same course saw him finish 2nd to Letbeso over 3 miles. Bincombe, a former Philip Hobbs inmate won a 2m 7f handicap chase at Worcester in July beating Velator by 1 ¼ lengths, but was pulled up over the same course and distance the following month. Dont Do Mondays also won on his penultimate start, for David Bridgewater, beating Howlongisafoot by 13 lengths in a 2m 5f chase at Fontwell in April, whilst on his final start at Newton Abbot he was well beaten by Shuil Royale over 3 ¼ miles. Anquetta has not shown any form since 2014, and fell 3 out in a hunter chase at Kempton on his only appearance last season. Full Trottle did not have the same success last season compared to a year earlier but he came good on his final outing, beating Swansbrook by 2 lengths at Holnicote in May. Numbercruncher had just one run last season when easily winning a novice rider’s race at Garthorpe in March. In 2015 he had won a couple of novice rider’s races at Tabley, having been runner-up in two other races, one of which was a 4 length defeat my Moroman. BedrockFred was tried under rules last season without any success. He won a 3 runner open at Larkhill in 2015, his 4th win around that course.
Selection: Dont Do Mondays Alternative: Mr Moss
1.10 Ladies Open – 6 entries
A small entry with just two proven pointers and four new recruits from National Hunt but the quality is decent enough and with some top jockeys booked this should be an intriguing race. Bound For Glory showed he handles this course when 2nd to the classy Khyber Kim here in January. Campaigned mainly in Hunter Chases last season with modest success, he finished with a win in a moderate Ladies’ at Umberleigh in June and is clearly well above average. That said, he’s a suspect stayer and vulnerable to horses with a stronger finish. Sharp Suit showed plenty of promise as a youngster back in 2014 winning the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Final at Cheltenham but didn’t progress as hoped and, although running consistently, went for a year without success. He did pick up wins at Peper Harow and Whitfield at the end of last season and shouldn’t be far away. Dont Do Mondays joined Nick Pearce’s yard after winning four chases and a hurdle whilst with David Bridgewater. He’s currently rated 131 under rules and should make a nice hunter chaser if connections want to go in that direction. He’s performed well at a higher level than the rest of these and has every chance. Santa’s Secret was a middle-distance chaser with Oliver Sherwood and won a 2 mile Class 4 chase at Southwell in February. There are clearly doubts about his ability to stay 3 miles but he is rated 118 and is now based with Lauren Braithwaite who will no doubt get the best out of him. Green Bank was a consistent staying chaser with Charlie Longsdon. He hasn’t won for two years and hasn’t been seen since Sept 2015 and is best watched. Houseparty was a modest 2 1/2 mile chaser with Diana Grissell. He’s pulled up on 3 of last 4 starts under rules and is unlikely to make much of an impression in this.
Selection: Dont Do Mondays Alternative: Sharp Suit
1.45 Restricted – 6 entries
A rather pitiful 6 entries for what could be a fairly competitive race with 5 runners rated in the 80’s – the highest at 86 is Barrafohona who ran 7 times in 2016 and looked to have won his Restricted ( 2ml.5fl )at Whitfield in May but was placed 2n. – is he up to 3ml.? The ex –Pennock Wonderful Present should run close winning the Dingle Maiden in May by 1+L. from Max O and was placed in 3 of his 6 runs last season. 8yr Minellaforlunch from the O’Shea yard won his Maiden at Tabley in April in a fairly slow time and maybe one to just watch this time. Scorpion Star from the Pennock yard with the revitalised Ben Rivett up p.u. on his last run in the Restricted at Kingston Blount in May but then this Trainer/Jockey/Track have history and will be in contention with a place finish possible. The Tom Ellis/ Gina Andrews are another strong combination and Celtic Silver could run well but his April Maiden win at Garthorpe was followed by a 20l weakening run in the Restricted at Dingley in May and u.r at the 2nd at Garthorpe in June, both runs with cp. and tt. – form does not add confidence or recommend him. Urban Storm won the Kinston Blount Maiden in April by 15l. and then failed in both his subsequent 2 Restricted runs pu at Mollington and Whitfield in May so may find this company too strong.
Selection: Scorpion Star Alternative: Barrafohona
2.20 Open Maiden – 11 entries
At this time of the season it pays to follow horses that are associated with full time yards and this has led us to Extreme Appeal trained by Kelly Morgan who cut her teeth working for David Wachman and Warren Greatrex. Although no world beater he has ten runs under his belt, including two “between the flags” and should give a good account of himself. Formerly owned by JP McManus All the Sevens looks an interesting acquisition for the Dale Peter’s yard. However despite help from AP McCoy and Niall Madden, amongst many, still a maiden over hurdles and chases on the Irish NH circuit but if fit, should feature in the finish. Ex Bielby trained Holy Dancer knows her way round a race course. Likely to be ridden by Fred Henderson, who caught the eye on many occasions last season, this one could arrive fit as a flea and, despite finishing a distance behind Extreme Appeal, last season is expected to go very well. Railway Rule represents the Pennock/Rivett combination and is dismissed at one’s peril. Irish Form over the last two years is nothing special the question is can Pennock work the oracle? Skipping On has weak Irish Form in both points and hurdles but is nicely bred and trainer Tommy Morgan has a reputation for getting his fit early on and could surprise- Verdasco tried hard last season but remains a Maiden and seems likely to continue in that vein although with the benefit of Caroline Fryer’s input will be fit. Despite the able support of Shane Roche West Lake’s performance last season seems to suggest a struggle going forward. Very Intense, previously with Tom Lacey, has far and away the best NH form but trainer Laura Thomas struggled to get off the mark last season and this one may require a run or two to show his real potential.
On balance our Selection is Holy Dancer but we also expect a good showing from Extreme Appeal.
2.55 Open Maiden (4, 5 &6 yo) – 10 entries
There are a few in this race that have some reasonable form but questions arise on whether many of them will stay the distance on the day. Four horses are also entered in the Open Maiden so it is difficult to know in which race they will run but these are, Captain Cook, Extreme Appeal, Holy Dancer and Very Intense. Mister Murch was 2nd last year at Mollington in a decent race and would be looking for one better here may depend on the ground. Somme Boy is from the Andrew Pennock yard and Andrew’s horse are always fit early season, was 3rd here last year and followed up with a 3rd again at Godstone in April. The Western Force was with Dan Skelton, had six outings under rules and followed with four outings in Points, one of which was here last season, looks pretty moderate. Alan Hill is always very successful at this course and his entry Breakdown Cover has competed three times in National Hunt flat races, best finish was 3rd at Hexham back in March.
Selection: Mister Murce Alternative: Somme Boy