Saturday 10th February @ Cottenham
Cambridge University Draghounds
12.00 Hunt Members – 10 entries
A decent entry for a Members race of 10 and this looks like a match between the Nick Wright and Andrew Pennock runners. Burtredgipandgump represents the Wright yard and he was 16 lengths 4th to Karinga Dancer at Higham two weeks ago in a conditions race. Prior to this he finished 2nd in the men’s open here on New Year’s Eve when going down by 25 lengths to Now Ben. The Pennock runner is Mahler’s Spirit. He was 3rd on his seasonal debut at Ampton when going down by just over 15 lengths to Hawkhurst in the Intermediate. Burtredgipandgump finished 13 lengths behind Hawkhurst in his Higham race so should on principle still beat Mahler’s Spirit. Kings Walden represents the Tom and Gina Ellis stable and he was 3rd at Higham on his seasonal debut when beaten 23 lengths by Steeles Terrace in the restricted two weeks ago. Virgo The First was placed on all 3 completed starts last season but was beaten 10 lengths by Mahler’s Spirit when 2nd at Fakenham in a conditions race in April 2017. It’s difficult to envisage any of the other runners scoring unless the race cuts up very badly. Given that the Wright yard are in such good form we will take Burtredgipandgump as our selection with Mahler’s Spirit as our alternative.
Selection: Burtredgipandgump Alternative: Mahler’s Spirit
12.35 Intermediate – 6 entries
A rather disappointing entry of just 6 for this race where the winner and runner up will be eligible for a valuable hunter chase run at Cheltenham in early May. In A Blue Dust defied a long layoff when scoring here at the previous meeting and with the Wright stable going so well must be on the short list. He beat Dr Syntax by 2 ¼ lengths that day. Previously he had won his maiden here in November 2014 by 32 lengths from Amron Kris. Fortune Bound won at Larkhill in December when defeating Princely Player by ½ a length, however he was never travelling on his next outing at the same venue when he pulled up two weeks ago. The Well Road won a restricted at Larkhill in early January by 10 lengths from Call Me Ben. He was 3rd on his latest outing again at Larkhill two weeks ago when beaten 16 lengths by Sarazen Bridge. Fortune Bound was pulled up in this race. The Andrew Pennock trained Steeles Terrace has won both his starts this season and landed the restricted at Higham by 8 lengths from Mountain Eagle two weeks ago. Subtitle is a 3 time winner in Ireland but his last win was back in November 2014. On his latest run in May 2017 he was 4th at Mollington beaten 47 lengths behind Always A Chance. Haut Bages represents the Turner stable, he was a winner on his final run last season when scoring at High Easter in the Restricted by 7 lengths from Shamat. Given the good form of the Wright stable, In A Blue Dust is our selection. Fortune Bound and The Well Road also hold engagements elsewhere over the weekend so we will go with Steeles Terrace as our alternative.
Selection: In A Blue Dust Alternative: Steeles Terrace
1.10 Mens Open – 17 entries
Another strong entry for a men’s open in East Anglia, with three of the leading contenders having already tasted victory this season.
Brackloon High benefited from his initial outing to win the men’s open at Larkhill two weeks ago, beating Bistouri d’Honore by eight lengths. On both his two previous visits to this course, Brackloon High has been successful. Another to have won on all starts around Cottenham is Broken Eagle, winning three times. He too has won this season, but his only opponent at Higham pulled up after five fences, so a brisk schooling session ensued. Now Ben, successful in this race last season won one of the “Championship” hunter chases at Stratford at the end of last season, in which Broken Eagle pulled up. On his second start of the season Now Ben returned to Cottenham on New Year’s Eve and duly won the men’s open, beating Burtredgipandgump, with For “N’ Against a long way back in 4th, Bivouac unseating his rider at the second last when a clear second. Lough Inch, the winningmost pointer of last season, gaining eight victories, which included one at each of the fixtures held at Cottenham. Lack of an outing will not be a hindrance, having won first time out in the last two seasons. Stone who won two points last season, finished a close to 2nd Brackloon High at Siddington. His season started with a 5th place in the mixed open at Barbury, one place ahead of Ivy Gate, who had previously finished strongly when 2nd to Shimla Dawn in the ladies open on New Year’s Eve. Never Complain, although victorious in a point and a hunter chase last season, is held on previous outings behind both Brackloon High and Broken Eagle. Gowanauthat failed to finish in his last three starts under rules, but could be a danger if recapturing the form shown during the summer of 2016 when he was victorious in five consecutive races between 2 ½ miles and 2 ¾ miles. The ex Alan King trained Midnight Cowboy has stronger credentials, having finished only once outside the first four, and won as recently as August last year.
Selection: Now Ben Alternative: Broken Eagle
1.45 Ladies Open – 22 entries
A strong entry including several course winners and new recruits from NH. Arthur’s Secret was a modest hurdler/chaser for Nigel Twiston-Davies but flourished when switching codes last season winning 5 of 6 six point starts (Novice Riders, Opens) plus a Novice Hunter Chase (beating Olofi). He was surprisingly beaten by One More Tune when 1/4Fav at Chaddesley late last season and hasn’t been seen since but is likely to be spot on and has every chance. Bound For Glory won here impressively at the start of the season and should be right there as should Shimla Dawn who won well at the last meeting here finishing 4l ahead of Ivy Gate with Treacyswestcountry 5l behind in 3rd and Western Diva a distant 4th. Treacyswestcountry followed up with a decent 2nd 8l behind Top Smart at Higham. Golden Tobouggan progressed nicely from Restricted to Opens last season winning four of his five starts. He’s only 7, is open to improvement and has place chances. Can Mestret has impressed here in the past but was surprisingly beaten in a Members’ by Torran Na Dtonn last year. He regained form to win two Opens at the end of season against decent opposition and if back to form has place chances. Lough Inch has been well-placed to win 7 of his 8 starts at this track. He has an entry for the Men’s but if connections go for this then it will be interesting to see how he performs against some top-level Ladies’ Horses. Ericht has had a disappointing start to his pointing career and now has something to prove. Of the new recruits: Midnight Cowboy won 3 of his last 5 starts for Alan King under rules last year (all around 2m 4f) and runs off an official rating of 137. He struggles to stay 3m but should appreciate the sharp course and on recent form is the best horse in the race. Degooch won a chase for Johnny Farrelly last summer and has an OR of 127 and clearly has chances. Court Dismissed won two chases for Donald McCain last summer has an OR of 105 and is another who should go well.
Selection: Arthur’s Secret Alternative: Midnight Cowboy
2.20 Restricted – 14 entries
A heathly number of entries here. Blackwood Rover had his first run back in the pointing sphere at Cottenham in December and was back with a bang just finding Mr Macalennane too good with Mountain Eagle and Lords Park Star behind. The winner that day franked the form when winning again at Horseheath last weekend. Blackwood Rover had been running under Rules for John Jenkins and was consistent so maybe found life hard in the grip of the Handicapper. Castle Cheetah is another recruit to pointing after a stint under Rules, he has not been since 2016 so may need the run. Max O was very consistent last season and deserved to get his head in front when winning at Garthorpe in June on quick ground, he is sure to go close if not needing the run. Mountain Eagle had Kings Walden behind when 2nd to impressive Higham scorer Steele’s Terrace. If that horse wins the Intermediate here earlier on the card be sure to check the odds of Mountain Eagle. Pique Rock gets a useful mare’s allowance and is from the powerful Phil Rowley yard, however after a win in a Mares Maiden at Barbury she was well beaten in a 2m4f Restricted. A return to 3 miles may help. Urban Storm is the last to get a mention; he showed a liking for Cottenham when 2nd at the first meeting here to Hawkhurst. This horse had run a few times outside this grade and on Intermediate and Novice riders form last season he should pick up a Restriced win.
Selection: Blackwood Rover Alternative: Max O
2.55 Open Maiden – 18 entries
Many of these horses have been “round the block” but have still not managed to get their heads in front so we plan to concentrate on those who are less exposed who perhaps have more potential. Squeaky flattered somewhat in a couple of Bumpers particularly when 6th of 16 in the capable hands of no less than Sam Twiston-Davies but her subsequent forays into hurdling were less eye catching and she was soon sold out of the Twiston-Davies yard. Her one run between the flags was encouraging although she clearly was still trying to hurdle her fences – she fell 6 out at Cocklebarrow when in with a shout and if she has learnt from the experience may be around at the finish. Pougne Helio’s only run last season was, when as a four year old, he unseated 3 out when in second place at Hackwood Park. Still only 5 this was an encouraging start and mindful he is from the powerful Tom Weston yard warrants close inspection in the parade ring. Indian Chance has already had one eye catching run this season when a staying on 3 lengths second to Summer Sounds at Ampton. Likely to be ridden by the very capable Shane Roche this one is sure to be a major player. With 11 hurdle races under his belt in Ireland Redmond Hall looked an interesting newcomer at Higham a fortnight ago. He proved us right by coming a close second to Kev the Car in the Open Maiden. This was a hard race and it may take him a little while to be fully back on song but if he has recovered he should be around at the finish. Finally of those we wish to mention Will Biddick’s likely mount The Late Legend deserves comment. Ran out of steam last time out in a 2m 4f maiden despite the urgings of Champion jockey Biddick. We feel this one is likely to do better if running in the short maiden as the flat Cottenham track may be more to his liking. If running we feel the Tom Weston trained Pougne Helio will be hard to beat whilst Redmond Hall could come closest.
Selection: Pougne Helio Alternative: Redmond Hall
3.30 Open Maiden (2m4f) – 17 entries
Five of the entries in this race are also entered in the previous Maiden race so it is difficult to determine in which race they may run. Pougne Helio, Redmond Hall and The Late Legend have been commented on in both races and would all stand a very good chance of winning this race. The remainder of the entries here have all been very moderate in the past as there form indicates little. Jethro ran fifteen times under rules, was 2nd twice and 3rd in the Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle at Fakenham, still a Maiden says it all. How’s Johnny has run twice at this course this season and fell on both times 3 out and 2 out so may stand a chance if managing to stand up. Parsons Avenue from the Andrew Pennock yard pulled up at Higham when Kev the Car won. Started at 11/4 so was quite fancied by the bookies, showed nothing on two runs in Ireland but Andrew Pennock has a knack of turning horses with poor form into decent performers. Sulamani the Late was placed when in the Skelton yard in Hurdle races but has shown nothing in Points as yet may hopefully improve for connections. All depends here on which race the entries decide to compete. Any of the first three mentioned are likely to win but assuming they all run in the first race then the choices would be:-
Selection: Parsons Avenue Alternative: How’s Johnny