Saturday 8th April @ High Easter - Essex
1.00 Restricted – 8 entries
A rather paltry 8 entries on what will be watered and possibly fast ground. Not much luck this season for Beat the Index who ran prominently but refused at the last when well behind at Ampton in March, but he ran 12L 3rd to Scorpion Star at Higham in Feb. Haut Bages from the Turner yard has been 2m. hurdling under rules in 2016 with a 2nd at Aintree on his last hurdle run, his first run this season was 5L. 3rd on this track in March and the yard will be looking for a place finish here. It Just Aint Right was 26L back in 3rd in the March Garthorpe Restricted on sticky ground following a pu in Dec. at Chaddesley Corbett nothing to inspire confidence. The mare Marble Moll from the Kemp yard pu at Horseheath in the Feb. Restricted won by Neumond in a very fast time so this easier race may suit. Poyntzpass from the inform Pennock yard will take some beating here with an unchallenged win in the March Penshurst Maiden although his Irish form last season was rather unimpressive. The Ward’s yard Shamat took the short Maiden at Garthorpe in March with only 3 finishers out of 8 runners and could make the frame here if he can handle the longer distance. 8th run of the season for The Master Remover who won his Maiden at Ampton back in 2015 but has had mixed fortunes in Restricted races sinceand was well outclassed in the Ladies Open at the Dec. Cottenham meeting and a series of 3 x 4th placings including the Restricted on this track in March beaten 1L by Haut Bages probably sees another run out of the frame. In the same race The Taylor Quigley from the Bloom yard pu. havingrun last in 2015 and progressed to win as fav. in a 13 runner Stradbally Maiden- one to just watch here.
Selection: Poyntzpass Alternative: Haut Bages
1.40 CA Club Members (3m 6f) – 10 entries
This race is over the longer distance of 3m 6f so stamina will be of great importance. As I write this on Tuesday morning there has been no rain in the area and none forecast for the rest of the week. The Gredley’s have two entered in this race Bincombe and Silvergrove. Bincombe has been placed four times this season, possibly the best performance was back in February when finished 3rd to Roberto Pegasus at Horseheath. Last time out was 2nd to Citizens Arrest at Ampton. Counting Stars, from the Andrew Pennock yard has progressed this season, was 2nd to Neumond at Horseheath in February and won at Ampton from Franks a Million. Won twice in 2016 at Higham and Fakenham, still to be really tested this year. Court Red Handed has won four points from twenty three races. Last time out won a four runner Hunt race at Whitfield. Been 2nd on five occasions, probably best season was 2014 when won a ten runner race at Brocklesbury Park. Curraghbower from the Turner yard won the Hunt race at Ampton, only three runners and was 2nd out of four twenty lengths behind the winner at Penshurst, time of the year though when the Turner horses begin to show their colours. Pinerolo is also entered in the Ladies Open and we would expect it to run in that race. Sandpiper’s rated at 84 has competed in thirty five points winning nine and been 2nd eight times Last won in 2015 but was 2nd last time out at Garthorpe and over this greater distance would not be without a chance.(if only all horses could be so consistent). Silvergrove ran under rules and won in Handicap Chases at Exeter and Kempton, was 3rd in the Kim Muir chase at Cheltenham in 2016. Has competed twice this season in points and won both, here at High Easter and last week at Fakenham. With this in mind would expect the Gredley’s to run Bincombe this week.
Selection: Counting Stars Alternative: Bincombe.
2.15 PPORA Club Members (2m 4f) – 9 entries
A rather disappointing entry of just 9 for this contest to be run over 2 ½ miles. This could have turned out to be a match between the Morgan siblings with Kelly Morgan training Decade Player and brother Tom training Lough Inch, however Decade Player has a date at Aintree on Thursday in the Foxhunters so is highly unlikely to turn up here today. Lough Inch was 2nd last week at Fakenham beaten a length by Weather Warning in the ladies. He’s won 14 of his 19 starts and will be a warm order here if turning out. Quick Oats was 3rd on his last outing when finishing 8 lengths adrift of Carry On Asian at Penshurst last month. Previously he had won his last three starts in the previous season and with that run under his belt is capable of reversing places with Carry On Asian here today but he holds two other engagements on the card. Carry On Asian prior to winning at Penshurst was 2nd at Higham, beaten 30 lengths in a novice riders race by Abbey Lane in February. The Andrew Pennock trained Scorpion Star was 3rd on his last appearance when beaten 7 lengths behind the very progressive Neumond at Horseheath last month. Previously he had beaten Carlanstown by 6 lengths at Ampton early last month. The Gerald Bailey trained Ignite A Light has been steadily improving with each run this season and on his most recent start was 2nd at Garthorpe last month beaten a length by Nelson’s Legend in an intermediate. The other three runners, Houseparty, Kriss William and Mr Syntax only have a chance if the race cuts up badly. Lough Inch if turning out quickly would have strong claims here and is our selection. Given this is his only entry on the card we will go with Scorpion Star as our alternative selection ahead of Quick Oats.
Selection: Lough Inch Alternative: Scorpion Star
2.50 Ladies Open – 5 entries
This is the weakest entry for a Ladies’ Open that we can remember seeing for many years both in terms of numbers and quality. Most of the horses have performance question marks against them and picking a winner is something of a lottery. Bavard Court has the best course form having won the corresponding race here last season staying on well to finish just ahead of Berties Dream but he’s had a tough time of it this year failing to finish three of his five starts and finishing well-beaten in the other two races. If he could regain the form he showed last season then he should take this but he remains a risky betting proposition. The other Turner entry, Kriss William is a generally consistent performer but has been well-beaten on both his two starts this season. Pinerolo was only beaten 8l by Silvergrove in the PPORA Novice Riders here last month and is probably the one to go for. Remarkable Man has had plenty of training problems and disappointed when PU here last month. His next run in the Members at Horseheath was more encouraging and he can’t be ruled out. Houseparty ran well for much of the Thurlow Ladies’ Open race at Horseheath back in February but weakened quickly 3 out which doesn’t bode well for this chances here.
Selection: Pinerolo Alternative: Bavard Court (with fingers crossed)
3.25 Intermediate – 8 entries
Excitable Island, winner of the member’s race at this meeting last year got his campaign for this season off to the best possible start with victory over Ballalough at Godstone last month. Following his win here last year he ran his best race in the intermediate final at Cheltenham, finishing a close third to Lilbitluso. Stable companion Quick Oats failed to finish on his first three starts last season, but then notched up a hat-trick of victories at Garthorpe; He started this season at the end of March with a third place behind Carry On Asian in an intermediate race at Penshurst. Ignite A Light has not set the world on fire so far this season. He too won around this course last season, beating Ballalough in a restricted race, as well as winning at Horseheath and Dingley. So far this season he has run three times, being placed on each of them, getting closer to the top rung of the ladder, having finished second of his most recent outing at Garthorpe behind Nelson’s Legend. Master Ally led from flagfall around this course three weeks ago to win the restricted race by a head from Mr Maclennan. Master Tim won a restricted race at Black Forest Lodge in January, but was then pulled up in an intermediate race at Whitfield. He finished third in a hunt race at the end of March and has since changed hands.
Virgo The First ran last week at Fakenham, finishing 10 lengths behind easy winner Mahlers Spirit. This followed a third place at Ampton to Counting Stars, a race in which Franks A Million finished second and Tulsa finished 3 lengths further back in fourth. Franks A Million has since run well behind Neumond at Horseheath, staying on strongly to finish 4 lengths behind in second.
Selection: Excitable Island Alternative: Ignite A Light
4.00 Open Maiden – 5 entries
With only 5 to choose from this looks like a pretty poor race. At Garthorpe in their Maiden last month IwillifIwant showed prominently up to the 13th fence when fading and eventually pulling up. In the same race Infinityandbeyond also pulled up and despite four tries at winning a maiden has as his best place a poor 3rd at Higham back in February. Clerk of the Course, Simon Marriage, has entered his own horse Sandygate, a 4 length runner up to Toosey in the maiden at High Easter two weeks ago. Woodstyle showed promise in his first season between the flags when in the hands of Sheila Crow but he has failed to go on. In some respects we wonder why the Turner family have retained this 8 year old – perhaps they’ve seen something “at home” which augurs well for the future. This leaves the Andrew Pennock charge, Easy on Sunday, and in this case it is certainly a case of leaving the best till last. Out of the same sire as the all conquering Mahlers Spirit the horse has had four runs between the flags in Ireland placing second on two occasions. This one looks to be where the money will go and will be our selection.
Selection: Easy on Sunday Alternative: Sandygate
4.35 Hunts Members – 8 entries
Jack Andrews is down to ride four, all of which are entered by keen hunt supporter Nigel Padfield. Unless Andrews performs miracles and rides all four our choice will be whichever horse Padfield and Andrews select. Excitable Island has had one outing this season and this was a winning one at Godstone in the Members Conditions Race. This one is probably best of the Padfield quartet. Quick Oats won three on the bounce last season and in his sole outing this season came third in an Intermediate Race at Penshurst last month. Normally ridden by Jack’s sister Gina if selected we wonder if Jack will conjure up the same magic as his big sister. King Willie ran well first time out this season when comfortably winning the Restricted at Godstone but was disappointing in the hands of Kate Gowing, when fourth in the Novice Riders at High Easter a fortnight ago. The final one of the “Fab Four” is Knockedoutloaded still to win a Restricted. This would be the weakest of the Padfield team but still ahead of the rest. Regrettably for the Padfield team there have been upsets in this race in the past when the “hot shot” is turned over. This accolade could fall on the shoulders of Marble Moll, an Irish Maiden winner who pulled up on her UK debut behind the very hot Neumond. Our selection will be the Andrews/Padfield choice with the reserve being Marble Moll.
Selection: Andrews/Padfield Choice Alternative: Marble Moll