Sunday 12th March @ Ampton near Bury St Edmunds - Suffolk

1.30 Club Members Conditions – 12 entries

Only a modest entry of 12 for the opening contest on the card but declarations usually hold up well against entries for this fixture. Susquehana River was a popular winner at Horseheath last month when he landed the novice rider’s race by 2 lengths from Roberto Pegasus and he is one for the shortlist here. Previously he was 2nd to the same horse at Horseheath earlier last month when going down by ¾ of a length and this course should suit him. The Turner stable have Curraghbower entered here. He won on his final start at Penshurst last season when accounting for last week’s Godstone winner Excitable Island by 6 lengths last March in an intermediate but fell early on at Horseheath on his seasonal debut last month. He also holds two further engagements on the card. Tulsa pulled up at Thorpe in January in the novice riders race but is a three time point winner, his last win coming at Garthorpe in February 2016 when he scored in a hunt race by 3 ¼ lengths from For A Change. Virgo The First is a two time winner last season and then ran creditably in a Huntingdon Hunter chase in May when beaten 5 ¼ lengths behind Hill Of Gold,  however he pulled up on his seasonal debut at Garthorpe last month when well tailed off. Caulkin is well in to the veteran stage now at 14 years old but ran creditably at Higham last month when beaten 12 lengths behind Quinsman in the ladies race and could again run in to a place here. Scorpion Star represents Andrew Pennock’s Timworth yard and he won on his last outing when landing the restricted at Higham last month by 6 lengths from Condorman.  The Turner yard also have Kriss William entered here. He was 2nd on his seasonal debut but finished 30 lengths adrift of Broken Eagle last month at Higham in the men’s open. It’s hard to envisage the 5 other runners figuring unless the race cut up very badly. We will side with Susquehana River as our selection following two good runs so far this season and with the Pennock yard in good form, we will go with Scorpion Star as our alternative choice.

Selection: Susquehana River                                            Alternative: Scorpion Star

 

2.05 Intermediate – 8 entries

Although there are only eight entries in this race if they all turned out it would be a pretty decent race. Five of the entries deserve a mention the other three will struggle against the rest. Always a Chance won a three-runner race at Godstone last weekend and on heavy going, it is questionable whether it will appear here after only a week. Its previous race to this was at Horseheath when finished 3rd to Total Compliance, was a very credible performance. Back in 2015 won two races on the bounce it’s Maiden and Restricted. Would suggest from results quite likes the softer going. Counting Stars has had three outings this season, did not complete its first two but then finished 2nd to Neumond at Horseheath two weeks ago with Mr Raj a further three lengths back in 3rd. Franks a Million has pulled up three times so far this year and is also entered in the Hunt race but the Turners will want a win on their home track. Last season put in a decent performance later in the season when winning at Peper Harow. Tulsa has had seven races in its career winning three, 2nd twice and 3rd once. Last win was at Garthorpe last season and only appearance this season was pulled up at Thorpe Lodge in late January. The ground that day was soft turning to holding so maybe that had an influence, am expecting a return to its previous successes here. Virgo the First is another with decent form winning two from six outings in points. Was 3rd in a Hunter Chase at Huntingdon to Hill of Gold. Going back further in its life did put in good performances; only outing this season was pulled up at Garthorpe

Selection: Tulsa                                   Alternative: Counting Stars.

 

2.40 Ladies Open – 15 entries

A pretty good entry for the Ladies - there’s not much to choose between the top three and it wouldn’t be a surprise if any of them won.  The lightly raced Top Smart is unbeaten in his last 4 point starts and is a versatile horse having won both at Higham and Horseheath this season. Vedettariat and Oh Toodles were only 1/2l and 1l behind him in the Horseheath race but he’s a classy horse and he gives the impression he can find more when asked.  Lough Inch has an excellent record in points having won 14 races from 18 starts. He’s been in top form this season having won all 3 of his starts at Cottenham but has only been tried once in Open company when pulling up back in 2014. Despite this we can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be right there.  Sharp Suit  won this race back in 2015 but could only manage 3rd behind Berties Dream and The Rodeo Clown here last season. He’s a consistent performer who always finishes in the places but does seem to lack pace and has been beaten twice by good horses this season Bound For Glory and Vesperal Dream and may find it tough to stay with Top Smart and Lough Inch. Amusingly, Gina Andrews is listed as the jockey for all three of the top-rated horses.  One thing’s certain - she can’t ride them all.  Next best are probably Hill of Gold who could only finish 15l behind Sharp Suit at Cottenham and has plenty to find; and the classy Berties Dream who has won all four of this starts at this track but hasn’t shown anything like that level of ability on either of his runs this season. He’s now 14 and it may be that time has caught up with him.  It’s difficult to fancy the others for anything other than minor places.Sa Kaldoun was beaten by the consistent but well-exposed Quinsman at Higham last month and on that form has plenty to find. Kimora put in some good performances in 2016 but has been disappointing this season. After his win at Higham in January Green Bank disappointed when only 4th at the same track last month. Bavard Court has PU on both his starts this season whilst Citizens Arrest won the Novice Riders at the Dunston Harriers meeting here but has at least a stone to find.

Selection: Top Smart                         Alternative: Lough Inch

 

3.15 Mens Open – 11 entries

Broken Eagle, Lough Inch and Abbey Lane, on this season’s form standout amongst the entries for the men’s open race. 

Broken Eagle has won both his points emphatically this season, the most recent at Higham last month where Kriss William, Nightscape and Protaras were well behind.  Following this success, connections suggested that Broken Eagle was likely to contest the hunter chase at Stratford on Monday of next week.  Lough Inch has won on all his three starts this season, commencing with a 12 length victory over Abbey Lane in a 2m 4f club member’s race at Cottenham.  A return to Cottenham at the end of December followed, and once again he led throughout to take the novice rider’s race by 15 lengths ahead of Vesperal Dream.  His third victory of the season was in the intermediate race at Cottenham’s third fixture, and on this occasion he beat Celtic Silver by 10 lengths.  It is interesting to note that Lough Inch also holds an entry in the ladies open race.  Whilst both Broken Eagle and Lough Inch have shown their best form on flat tracks, those who race prominently often do well around this sharp, undulating course.  If they meet, Broken Eagle will have to concede a 7lb penalty.  Since being beaten by Lough Inch on their seasonal debuts, Abbey Lane has finished 3rd behind Porlock Bay at Cottenham, but well ahead of Celtic SilverAbbey Lane then ran at Ampton in a club member’s race for 9 year-olds and over, and duly beat Niki Royal by 2 ½ lengths, with Carlanstown back in 5th.   Victories at both Higham meetings followed, the first of which saw him victorious in a hunt member’s race, beating Drumshambo by 11 lengths, with Carlanstown a further 10 lengths behind in 3rd and Nightscape back in 4th.  A solo romp on the final circuit at Higham for his third victory of the season was achieved in a time 3 seconds slower than that of Broken Eagle (carried 5lb more) on the same day.  If Broken Eagle were to take part he would be the selection, but the choice must fall between Lough Inch and Abbey Lane, with the preference for Abbey Lane over this longer trip.

Selection: Abbey Lane                       Alternative: Lough Inch

 

3.50 Restricted –11 entries

An average 11 entries for what looks a competitive race. Rated 80 is Barrafohona who rnan 7 times in 2016 and looked to have won his Restricted(2ml.5fl) at Whitfield in May but was placed 2nd and pu on his 2 runs to date - is he up to 3m.  Beat the Index was 3rd 12L behind Scorpion Star and 6l behind Condorman at Higham in Feb. but beat Master Ally 4L. this followed 2 pu this season and he should have come on from this Feb. run and this placing could be repeated here. 7yr. Chipmunk won her Maiden at Alnwick in Dec. and could run well here. Knockoutloaded with Gina Andrews up should make the frame as the yard is in form and he was progressing well at the end of last season and he could well fight out the finish with Mahlers Spirit from the Pennock yard who won the Higham Maiden in Jan following indifferent runs under rules in 2015/16 but a frame place is possible.  More Tricks with 2 pu so far this season is unlikely to trouble the judge. 13yr Mister Meister not seen since 2013 is another to just watch. Muchadoboutnothing was the only finisher in the short Maiden at Cottenham following a pu. In the Open Maiden at Higham – may struggle in this company. Front running Teeton Power has his 4th run with a win in the Mares Maiden at Barbury and 2 places but beaten in May last season by Knockoutloaded but is another with place aspirations. 

Selection: Knockoutloaded                               Alternative: Mahlers Spirit

 

4.25 Open Maiden – 15 entries

Aunty Joan seems one paced but fell last time out at Thorpe Lodge when in the lead only three out. This warrants respect as she had run well in her previous two outings and is very lightly raced.  Royal Chieftain was well in touch when falling 4 out at Higham back in February and has some reasonable Irish pointing form. In the same race Toosey claimed the runner’s up berth and had a number of his likely protagonists, On the Tangle, Shamat, Unseen and InfinityandBeyond either in arrears or failing to finish. Our belief is that had Royal Chieftain stood up he would have claimed the race.  Kev the Car has run encouragingly on all three outings this season, falling last time out when a close 2nd three from home. The one question mark is that all his running has been at Cottenham, a sharp flat track, it remains to be seen if Ampton will suit.  This is a modest maiden and we feel that if Royal Chieftain stands up he will prove too good for the rest, with Aunty Jane likely to be the most competitive.

Selection: Royal Chieftain                                Alternative: Aunty Jane

 

5.00 Hunt Members – 7 entries

There often are not many runners in this race but it is very often a good finish and the Turner yard will be very keen to secure a win on their home track so a lot will depend on which Turner horse(s) run.  Curraghbower fell early on in a very high class Mens open at Horseheath, his form does contain a few too many letters but his win at Penshurst last year would mean he goes close here.  The Andrew Pennock yard are having a fine season and have Black Glen Boy entered here.  He faded quickly when beaten into second at Higham, he has course form at Ampton when second in the Intermediate at last year’s fixture.   Desertmore Valley seems to run well on undulating courses like Ampton, he will surely come on for his run at Horseheath.  James Owen has two entered and both have winning form around Ampton, Autumn Haze has run this season and was beaten when falling last weekend, Remarkable Man has not run since January 2016 so might need the run.  Kriss William is very consistent and won this race last year, he faced a mountain of a challenge on his seasonal debut in Broken Eagle.  He certainly seems like one that should be at the top of the list. 

Selection: Kriss William                      Alternative: Black Glen Boy