Sunday 25th February @ Higham
1.00 Hunt Members (Vet and Novice Riders) – 9 entries
Nine entries here but with three owners entering two the best we can probably hope for is six runners. Neverthe less there are three decent horses from three owners so let’s hope for an exciting race to start the day.The Owen /Gredley combination have two entered, Bivouac and Midnight Cowboy. Bivouac has had limited success so far in points, best being 3rd in a Mens Open at Cottenham in December followed by 4th in a Mixed Open at Ampton, note these were Open Races so this drop in class should open up a golden opportunity. Midnight Cowboy has been successful under rules and was in the Alan King yard won four races under rules the last being at Stratford in August, won two Chases in May at Warwick and Kempton. Which ever young Mr Gredley decides to ride would stand a very good chance here. Nightscape won the Club Members race at Dingley late last season but disappointed at this course when finishing 5th out of eight last month. The combination of horse and jockey won this race last year and also the Mens Open at High Easter, form seems to vary but would not be without a chance here. One Fine Morning was 2nd here last month to Just Cause and previously was 3rd to Blue Dust at Cottenham in December. Of the others they would have a very limited chance of success if those mentioned turn out. As a matter of interest Caulkin is now fifteen so good luck to connections if he runs again.
Selection: Bivouac Alternative: One Fine Morning.
1.35 PPORA Club Members – 18 entries
The largest entry of the day is for this contest. Just Cause sets the yardstick as he won at the previous meeting here by 20 lengths from another possible rival One Fine Morning. Just Cause was 2nd on his last appearance when going down by ¾ of a length at Horseheath three weeks ago to Bayley’s Dream. Just Cause also has to concede weight to his other rivals but is the class horse in the race. One Fine Morning has been giving newcomer Charlie Clover a great spin in two outings this season. As mentioned earlier, he was 2nd here to Just Cause at the previous meeting following up his 3rd placing at Cottenham when beaten 6 ¼ lengths behind In A Blue Dust on New Year’s Eve. The Nick Wright stable have Burtredgipandgump in this race. He was 4th here at the previous meeting when beaten 19 lengths behind Karinga Dancer. Just Cause’s race on the same card was run 5 seconds quicker. Previously Burtredgipandgump was 2nd at Cottenham on New Year’s Eve but was beaten 25 lengths by Now Ben. Buck Magic was 2nd at Cocklebarrow in his member’s race in January when beaten 5 lengths by En Passe. Limpopo Tom is a previous course winner when he beat Abbey Lane by 1 ½ lengths in April 2017 but has failed to complete on his two outings this term for his new connections. Ericht was 3rd here in January when beaten 16 lengths behind by Karinga Dancer but he was 3 lengths ahead of Burtredgipandgump that day. The Alan Hill trained Changeofluck was a three time scorer last season before finishing 19 lengths 3rd to Bay Sly in the Subaru Restricted final at Stratford in June. Penelope Pips was placed in two ladies opens last season and because of her mare’s allowance is getting a lot of weight from Just Cause. She was 2nd at Ampton in March 2017 when beaten 3 lengths by Smart Top. Galbally King is well into the veteran stage but is a six time winner at this venue. On his final run last season, he was 3rd at Bredwardine, beaten 29 lengths behind Tinker’s Hill Tommy. Alan Hill also runs Great Link in this. He is a six time winner under rules. His last win came in a Market Rasen 2 ½ mile chase in May 2015 when he beat Kitegen by 2 ½ lengths. On his last rules run in May 2017, he was 3rd at Fakenham in a 2 mile selling hurdle when beaten 10 ¼ lengths by Edward Elgar. Just Cause, granted a clear round should win this despite conceding weight to all his rivals. He is our selection ahead of seasonal debutant Changeofluck.
Selection: Just Cause Alternative: Changeofluck
2.10 Mens Open – 9 entries
Having been spoilt with the high quality of entries, it is rather disappointing that there are only nine horses entered for this week’s renewal. Course specialist Broken Eagle stands out on those that have run in points, and had a school around this course last month, when his only opponent pulled up after five fences. Trafalgar Rock, a winner on the flat for Mark Johnston, and over hurdles for Dr. Richard Newland over a variety of distances, was stepped up to 3 ¾ miles for his first venture in points, where he finished 4th, 15 ½ lengths behind Iberico. It is likely he will have benefited from the run and the shorter distance will help. Bivouac started the season with a promising 3rd place behind Bear’s Affair at Cottenham. He was running another solid race when unseating at the second last on a return trip to Cottenham, but has not progressed on his last two outings. His stable companion is the ex Alan King trained Midnight Cowboy and may have stronger credentials, having finished only once outside the first four, and won as recently as August last year.
Franks A Million pulled up on his first three starts last season, before finishing 2nd in two intermediate races behind Counting Stars and Neumond. He then showed his wellbeing by finishing the season with three consecutive victories, culminating in victory in the men’s open at Peper Harow. Galbally King has won five times around this course, but usually needs a run under his belt to produce winning form.
Selection: Broken Eagle Alternative: Midnight Cowboy
2.45 Ladies Open – 10 entries
Four top class Ladies’ pointers - all course winners - head the entries. Top Smart has a formidable record in points having won 6 of his 9 starts - only one horse (Western Diva at Garthorpe last season) has finished ahead of him in his last 7 races. He won the Ladies’ here fairly easily last month 8l ahead of Treacyswestcountry and is likely to be sent of favourite. Bound For Glory also has an excellent record in points only finishing outside the top two once in eight starts. He impressed at Cottenham on his only start this season, won here back in 2015 (Start Royal was back in 3rd), and has every chance. Karinga Dancer won the Conditions race here last month finishing 6 length clear of the highly regarded Hawkhurst. His time was 1 second faster than Top Smart’s in the Ladies’ and he was carrying 10lbs more - on that form he should be right there particularly as he doesn’t have a weight penalty. The redoubtable Start Royal has won 25 of his 41 starts in points including six wins at this track. He is now 14 so there must be some doubts about his speed but he ran well enough at Cocklebarrow last month leading for much of the race only fading late on to finish 25l behind the smart Dabinett Moon. He beat Top Smart by 12l the only time they met - back in 2015 at Brafield. These four are a long way clear of the rest but the race is likely to cut up in which case a place may be up for grabs. Penelope Pips ran well to finish only 3l behind Top Smart at Ampton last season but was carrying 19lbs less in that race (14lbs this time) and this is a very different track. Sand Blast finished 3rd 33l behind Top Smart here last month. Trafficker ran into a good second behind Broadway Symphony at Ampton early in 2017 but has drifted down the ratings and was a long way behind at Ampton last month. Pierlow was 20l 5th behind Karinga Dancer here last month whilst Bavard Court usually takes a couple of runs to get fully fit.
Selection: Top Smart Alternative: Bound For Glory
3.20 Open Maiden –12 entries
A relatively small entry but hopefully an entertaining race in prospect still, although many of these have shown very little form recently. Iwillifiwant was 3rd here at the last meeting to Kev The Car, (Winola was in 6th) at 10 years of age improvement might be unlikely but that form should be enough to get in the frame in what looks like a weaker contest. Breakdown Cover from the powerful Alan Hill yard showed promise over 2m4f to be 2nd at Kingston Blount last May (winner was a 4yo filly getting a 28lb allowance). Higham being a flat track should suit if stamina is suspect and any runner from that yard should be high on short list. Chosen Rose from the Pennock yard was 3rd in an Irish point to point in May 2016 and then beaten 77l in a bumper for Sarah Humphrey. Unseen since October 2016, Andrew Pennock might need to work his magic on her stable debut. Rollingontheriver showed great promise at Ampton in January when 4th after a long layoff but seemed to stop quickly at Horseheath, this shorter track might suit and help him finish the race better. Squeaky is a possible raider from outside of the EA area but she needs to jump better than at Cocklebarrow. Vinnie The Pooh must get a mention, even just for his name! He has been off the track since March 2014 when 5th in a bumper for Nick Gifford so is best watched here. Winola has had enough opportunities to get off the mark, her experience might help her get placed again but it might be hard to see her winning especially if she comes up against Iwillifiwant again.
Selection: Breakdown Cover Alternative: Iwillifiwant
3.55 Restricted –7 entries
A rather pathetic 7 entries and I hope some of the crowd stay on for this the final race. A 4th. run this season for Full Batten, an ex Gordon Elliott horse who had seven outings in Ireland and was 2nd twice in Hurdles then ran six times in Points was 3rd on three occasions, the last time out was in late August at Sligo – won the short Maiden at Cottenham in Dec. under Gina Andrews but did not impress at 3m. on the same track later in Dec.then 30l. 4th. on this track in Jan.under Rupert Stearn - so may struggle again at the longer distance. Lords Park Star won and 2nd. in Stradbally Maidens in 2014 then Hurdling since with no great success a weakening 17l. 3rd. in the Dec. Cottenham restricted does not inspire. Mountain Eagle 2nd. to Steeles Terrace beat Full Batten 23l. on this track in Jan. and should repeat the performance and make the frame again. Muchadoaboutnothing ran 8l. 2nd. in a 3 horse Restricted behind Beat the Index on this track on good to firm ground in April but may struggle in this company. Primary School pu on his only run this season at Ampton, he will have come on for the run, but previous 2017 3m. form does not show too much promise as his Maiden win was over the shorter distance so may struggle here. Somme Boy from the Pennock yard beat Kev the Car (Maiden winner here in Jan.) to win a Dec. 2016 Cottenham Maiden but has struggled in subsequent Restricteds.
Prolific runner 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 but was 30l. 6th. behind the progressive Welsh,s Castle at Horseheath recently – a place is an outside chance if he runs to his Ampton form.
Selection: Mountain Eagle
Alternative: The Master Remover