Saturday 7th April @ Higham -

Essex & Suffolk

2.10 Restricted – 21 entries

Highest number of entries all season – fantastic and hope a good % declare. Baxxos p.u. when t.o. on his only run in 2017 and will be best watched here. 9yr Blackwood Rover missed 2016 but has been running under rules in 2017 placed twice in Class 5 chases under Leighton Aspell but what can he do over a longer 3m trip and 12st instead of 10.5st ran 15l 2nd to Mr Maclennane in the Dec Cottenham Restricted on softish ground but ur at High Easter when chasing leaders. Call me Ben placed twice this season but pu on his last run in a short Restricted in Feb – may need this run to get confidence back. Chosen Rose, with a 7lb allowance, from the Pennock yard won the Ampton Maiden in March staying on well and will have come on from that, so watch the market and a place finish very possible. Cool Valley won the short Maiden at Larkhill in Feb well having been off for a year – up a grade and 3m so a question mark. First run this season for 5yr Gadrose with a 11lb allowance but will maybe need the run in this higher grade. Hurricane Vic 2l. behind View the Dance in the Garthorpe March Restricted and dropped to 4th. in 2 subsequent runs so may struggle in this company. The gelding Lala’s Sister pu when to on only run this season so just watch. Another to just watch is Le Fou Royal won the Fakenham Maiden at the end of last season but has not performed for his new yard in 2 runs this season. Lords Park Star won and 2nd in Stradbally Maidens in 2014 then Hurdling since with no great success, ran 3rd when weakening at Cottenham in late Dec –and may struggle here. Mountain Eagle 2nd on this track at the earlier meeting behind Steeles Terrace and may repeat a place finish if the softer ground suits but pu twice on softer ground so does not instil confidence. Somme Boy from the Pennock yard beat Kev the Car (Maiden winner at Higham in Jan) to win a Dec 2016 Cottenham short Maiden on good/firm ground but has struggled in subsequent Restricteds - this track and ground may not suit. Ex. Skelton trained Stage One now in the Hill yard looked a promising addition to the PtP tracks, last ran 11l 4th in a Class 4 Handicap Chase at Ffos Las in April 2017 and placed 3rd in 5 previous rules races but all at shorter than 3m – placed at Ampton but 30L back in 4th at Penshurst will have to improve to trouble the judge here. The Master Remover won his Maiden at Ampton 3yr ago but struggled since and then came 20l 2nd at Ampton in Jan then 28L behind Caryto Des Brosses in the recent Penshurst Restricted so will have to improve to score here.

Selection:  Chosen Rose                     Alternative: Blackwood Rover

 

2.45 Mixed Open – 18 entries

A good entry though several also have entries for the Conditions race which connections may prefer. Broken Eagle has won 13 of his 16 starts in points and is well clear of the rest in terms of ratings. He’s won all 6 of his starts at this course and assuming he gets his preferred fast ground will be very difficult to beat. Midnight Cowboy won three chases for Alan King, the most recent last August and has an official rating of 137. He beat Consigliere easily at Ampton in March on his only point start and followed up with a distant 3rd after jumping poorly when well fancied in a hunter chase at  Ascot on soft ground.  He has a chance if he can sort his jumping out though connections may prefer the Novice Riders. Jimmy The Jetplane also had a good record under rules (OR 131) but slightly disappointed on his two point starts this season. He returned to form when winning a Hunter Chase on heavy ground at Carlisle but could only place a distant 4th at Newbury last month.  He’s better on softer ground and may find the pace too hot if the ground dries. Mr Madeit won at Garthorpe in February and carries nice light weight - 12lb less than Broken Eagle.  He hasn’t been tried here before but has performed well on sharp left-handed tracks in the past and should go well. Karinga Dancer won a Conditions race here in January beating fancied Hawkhurst convincingly by 6l. He has place chances. Brackloon High won his last two starts in points - both at Larkhill. He has also won both his starts here but carries equal top weight which may limit him to a place.  The others only realistically have chances if the race cuts up and connections may find the Conditions race more attractive.  Can Mestret disappointed at Charing but should improve for the run. Kriss William was beaten a distance here by Broken Eagle last season but did follow up with a win in a Conditions race; Franks A Million ran up a hat-trick last season but  this probably isn’t his sort of track and he’s likely to find the pace too hot; Master Workman won two hunter chases at Fakenham last year but has pulled up on both starts this season and now has something to prove; Woodfleet won the Intermediate P-t-P Championship race at Cheltenham last season but has disappointed on his two starts this year.

Selection: Broken Eagle                    Alternative: Midnight Cowboy

 

3.20 PPORA Club Members (Novice Riders) – 27 entries

A big entry and with a safety factor of 18 there is a good chance the race will be divided. Tim Gredley has two runners entered and Midnight Cowboy would look to be the first string. He won the men’s open at Ampton last month by 2 lengths from Consigliere. His next run was at Ascot in a hunter chase where he finished 3rd, beaten 28 ½ lengths behind Marinero after making a bad blunder before staying on again. If granted an error free round he should be too good for his opponents today but his rider usually makes at least one bad blunder on his way round. The other Gredley runner is Bivouac. He has yet to get to get his head in front after 5 point and hunter chase starts. He was 2nd on his last outing at High Easter when beaten 4 lengths by a possible rival today, One Fine Morning. One Fine Morning has done very well for his rider Charlie Clover who looks a notch above your usual novice rider. He was placed in his two previous outings, and again he should give another good account if running here. L’Eldorado has won two novice riders contests this season under Meisha Micklewright before finishing 2nd on his latest outing in a ladies open at Garthorpe to Golden Tobouggan. See You Jack is well into the veteran stage now but was 2nd on his seasonal debut when going down to Degooch in a ladies open at Charing in February. Kashmir Peak won the novice riders race at Horseheath last Saturday under Nikki Stubbs when beating Finnegans Hollow by 25 lengths. If turning out so soon this will be the horse’s third outing in two weeks. Penelope Pips pulled up in this race, connections stating the soft going was against her. She was placed twice last season in ladies opens and was going well until unseating three out at Ampton last month in another ladies open but this is a stronger race than Horseheath.  Nightscape was 5th on his seasonal debut here when going down by 38 lengths behind Just Cause in January, One Fine Morning was 2nd in this race, 18 lengths ahead of Nightscape. Nightscape pulled up at Penshurst last month in a men’s open on his next appearance. Kilmacallogue Bay was 2nd on his seasonal debut at Hackwood Park when going down by 30 lengths to Templebraden last month. Ballybough Gorta has been placed 3rd on both his starts this season on his most recent outing he finished 57 lengths behind Just Cause in late December at Cottenham. Galbally King was 3rd on his seasonal debut in his hunt member’s race at Sandon last Saturday beaten 30 lengths behind Salvatore. He has won six times at this course though when trained by Andrew Pennock. Clenagh Castle makes his seasonal debut for new connections. He was a two time scorer last season in the West Country, when ridden by Will Biddick and is due to be ridden by Henrietta Cranfield who has had one previous ride. This was at this meeting last season. Limpopo Tom won at this meeting last year but has failed to get round in four starts for his new jockey.  The ex-Dan Skelton trained Bellenos is a four time rules winner, two of those wins coming in his native France at Vichy and Bordeaux. He has yet to race beyond 2 miles 5 furlongs. His last run was in a listed chase at Ascot in October 2015 when he pulled up and may be best watched on his pointing debut. Midnight Cowboy is the class horse in the race and will be a warm order if he turns out L’Eldorado has gone well for Meisha Micklewright and he is our alternative choice.

Selection: Midnight Cowboy                             Alternative: L’Eldorado   

 

3.55 Open Maiden – 25 entries

With 25 entered from all over the country it seems more than likely that the race will be split. As ever we prefer to look at the younger horses hopefully on the way up and one such animal is Dale Peter’s own horse, Minesapint, which led for most of the race when coming home a modest third in a 2m 4f maiden race at Hackwood Park last month. This one is bound to have come on for the race and is a lively contender.  Perhaps of even more interest is Heated Debate who is no stranger to racing. His jockeys have been a positive who’s who of racing having been ridden by Dickie Johnson, Brian Hughes, Davy Russell, Aiden Coleman and in Irish Bumpers no less than Nina Carberry. None of these super stars managed to conjure up a victory so it remains to be seen if his new yard of Francesa Nimmo can find the key – the rider’s names must surely be a pointer in themselves and we expect a very strong showing. High Hopper is another who has experience under rules when with Malcolm Jefferson. Recently sold out of the yard a watching brief is recommended. Local horse Infinityandbeyond finished very strongly behind the ever-consistent Midnight Bliss – this was in the hands of Antonia Peck and if the partnership continues we would expect another strong showing.  Ex Skelton 7 year old, Night of Tara was sold out of the yard after only two runs – a 3rd place on both occasions. Now in a good pointing yard this one needs to be studied in the paddock.   There are horses from far and wide entered for the race none of which stand out although the 5 year old Smoke Man has had one run last season when in the hands of Sarah Lacey coming a well beaten runner up in a short Maiden at Woodford. It remains to be seen if present connections can wrest further improvement. Local horse, Age of Heroes, to quote owner Malcolm Kemp, “has been disappointing this season” after a couple of most encouraging runs last term. Third at Horseheath on Saturday probably means it won’t run at Higham but if showing connections will not be there to make up the numbers.  Finally there are two others that catch the eye more for what they haven’t done – New Tarabella from the top yard of Andrew Pennock has form under rules but has so far not impressed pointing with two “ps” against her name so far this season and Mackie Dee will be having her first run for connections after a fairly lack lustre career under rules.  Much depends who turns up on the day but our two selections will be Heated Debate and Minesapint who we both think will give us a good run for our money with slight preference going to Heated Debate.

Selection: Heated Debate                  Alternative: Minesapint

 

4.30 Conditions  – 34 entries

The stable of Alan Hill has three entered, Changeofluck, For ‘n’ Against and Start RoyalChangeofluck progressed through the ranks last season, with consecutive victories in a maiden, restricted and intermediate and then finishing third in the “Restricted Final” hunter chase at Stratford behind Bay Sly.  On his only outing so far this season he finished 4th to Western Diva at Kingston Blount possibly on ground softer than wanted. For ‘n’ Against ran a better race last time to finish 2nd behind Sentimentaljourney at Penshurst.  The admirable Start Royal, now in his 10th consecutive season of pointing has a liking for Higham having won six times around this track.  On his sole start this season, back in January, he finished 3rd to Dabinett Moon over 3 ½ miles at Cocklebarrow.  Mahlers Spirit got back to winning ways at Horseheath last week with a facile victory in the intermediate race, and has winning form around this track having won a maiden last season.  Karinga Dancer is another to have won around Higham, when inflicting the only defeat to Hawkhurst back in January.  Mr Madeit was declared for the hunter chase at Fakenham on Monday was the winner of a conditions race at Garthorpe in February and most of his runs have been on a more galloping track. Can Mestret was made favourite to make a winning start to his season at Charing in February in the ladies open, but could do no better than finishing 5th behind DegoochKriss William made a pleasing reappearance at High Easter, leading them a merry dance until collared at the second last, but stayed on well enough to finish only five lengths behind Excitable Island. At that same meeting it appeared the Bivouac had an unassailable lead at the 2nd last, only to blunder, lose momentum and then get collared by One Fine Morning.  This easier track and a faultless round could see him go close.  With so many entered a quick mention of two others to lookout for, are Extreme Appeal who won a maiden and restricted at Cottenham last season and then was not seen out until reappearing in a conditions race at Garthorpe.  Fortune Bound tends to run at Larkhill, finishing 5th last time to Alternatif, but did win there on his seasonal debut in a conditions race.

Selection: Extreme Appeal                                Alternative: Changeofluck

 

5.05 Hunt Members (Vet and Nov Riders) – 11 entries

Many of these are mentioned in previous races, One Fine Morning gave Charlie Clover his first winner at High Easter (beating odds on Bivouac) after a fine run here at the previous meeting to be 2nd to Just CauseGalros Lady returned to pointing with a win at Ampton in a very slowly run Members race at Ampton.  She is a very game mare and Andrew Pennock (trainer and jockey) has vastly more experience than many jockeys in this race.  The Rob Cundy yard have multiple entries here but given jockey bookings they could run more than one.  Clenagh Castle seems to act on a firmer surface and will be interesting to see if his inexperienced jockey can get him into the race.  Weather Warning doesn’t seem in same form as when he beat mighty Lough Inch last season but a repeat of that would see him go close.

Selection: Galros Lady                       Alternative: One Fine Morning