Saturday 25th February @ Horseheath near Haverhill - Thurlow

1.10 EA Club Members Conditions – 23 entries

A healthy entry of 23 for this opening contest on the card. The Stuart Morris trained Neumond was very impressive when scoring here at the previous meeting when slamming Mazurati by 20 lengths in the restricted and is unbeaten in two pointing starts. Oh Toodles was 3rd in the ladies at the previous meeting here when beaten a length behind Top Smart. He’s posted plenty of placed efforts but hasn’t won a race since March 2014 when he beat Paddycards at Brampton Bryan by 8 lengths. Mr Raj won at Higham in January when beating Mister Bricolage by 2 lengths and won his maiden here in March 2015 when beating Beat The Index by 8 lengths. Ballalough won a division of the restricted at Thorpe last month when beating Brake Hill by 7 lengths and could be improving. Love Manhattan was 2nd beaten 2 lengths by Total Compliance at the previous meeting here. Denali Highway was 2nd at Thorpe last month, beaten a head by L’Eldorado. My Dad’s Horse was 26 ¼ lengths adrift in 4th in this race. The Andrew Pennock trained Counting Stars has failed to complete in two outings this season and fell here when in 2nd place in the race won by Total Compliance. Curraghbower fell early in the men’s open here earlier this month, previously he won on his final outing last season when scoring by 6 lengths from Excitable Island at Penshurst last March. Dido was 2nd at Thorpe last month, beaten 6 lengths by Golden Tobouggan with Love Manhattan a further 17 lengths behind in 4th. Tulsa pulled up at Thorpe in the novice riders race but is a three time point winner and should come on for that run. Virgo The First won two races last season, then ran creditably in a Huntingdon Hunter chase in May when beaten 5 ¼ lengths behind Hill Of Gold. Breaking The Bank is a six time winner under rules but hasn’t run over a trip longer than 2 miles 7 furlongs and his last NH win was in June 2014 in a 2 mile Worcester novices hurdle. The veteran Helpston hasn’t run since June 2013 but may have the assistance of Gina Andrews in the saddle on this four-time winner under rules. Dream Doc is a two-time winner in Ireland. Her final win gained at Dromahane was by 10 lengths from Scamaill Liath in May 2016. It’s very difficult to look away from Neumond in this after his win here previously and he is our selection. Mr Raj won well at Higham last month and although a totally different track is a previous course winner and he is our alternative just ahead of Dido.

Selection: Neumond                           Alternative: Mr Raj

 

1.45 PPORA Club Members (Novice Riders) – 15 entries

At the last meeting here for the corresponding race the horses finished in the following order, Roberto Pegasus, Susquehanna River, Bincombe and 4th was Done a Runner. The distances were ¾ lengths, ½ l, and 1 length. Prices at the off were 6/1, 4/1, 7/1 and 2/1 favourite.  It was a tremendous race and a wonderful finish with Roberto Pegasus getting up at the very last. It would be wonderful to see a repeat of that race and would they all finish in the same order?. Prior to this race Roberto Pegasus had been second in the Ladies Open at Cottenham and the Tom Ellis yard has been in outstanding form this season. Susquehanna River did win the Novice Riders race at Fakenham last season and has been 2nd four times in this class of race. Bincombe has been giving his jockey great experience this year and will surely give him a winner in the very near future. Done a Runner has been an incredible horse in that has had 32 outings winning 11 of those and been 2nd nine on nine occasions. Of the other entries the Crows have Irish Anthem entered, also entered at Garthorpe, another horse with much experience, has had seventeen outings in Points winning six and also been 2nd on six occasions.  On the meeting overall the number of entries at 82 is disappointing. The last meeting here was probably the best we have seen in East Anglia for many yearsand I doubt nationally there has been better racing in terms of numbers and finishes. The course is also in immaculate condition, little more can be done so let’s hope this week’s racing will also give great entertainment, should at least be warmer.  We will go on the same result as previously.

Selection: Roberto Pegasus               Alternative: Susquehanna River

               

2.20 Ladies Open – 9 entries

A decent entry in terms of quality and this promises’ to be an interesting race with Top Smart and Popaway likely to be vying for favouritism. Top Smart has won his last four starts in points including at the last Cambridgeshire meeting here when finishing just 1/2 length ahead of Vedettariat with Oh Toodles a further 1/2 length back in 3rd. Popaway has had a couple of uncharacteristic unseats in Hunter Chases this year but otherwise has an admirable record in points having won 11 of 29 starts. She’s a classy mare on her day and has course form having won at the Puckeridge meeting here last season beating Sa Kaldoun by 10 lengths. Karinga Dancer won 4 hurdles and 2 chases whilst with Harry Fry and is still rated 140+ under rules.  He had a good start to his pointing career winning Novice Riders races at Barbury and Wadebridge and was going well in a decent Ladies’ field at Black Forest Lodge when ducking out.  He clearly has plenty of ability and it will be interesting to see whether he can up his game again here.  Oh Toodles has won only 3 times in 21 pointing starts but showed improved form when 3rd behind Top Smart in the race mentioned above and would have chances if he could repeat that form. Celtic Star has had three runs at Cottenham this season winning a small field Restricted impressively back in November, finishing well-beaten in a Members’ in December and then a respectable 10l behind Lough Inch earlier this month. He finished ahead of a couple of decent horses in his last race and is probably ahead of his Pointer rating. Bavard Court showed some good form last season but has a terrible recent record at this track PUPPFP and can’t be backed with any confidence. New recruit Breezy Kin was a modest chaser with Sally Randall whilst Houseparty and Joe The Trucker would have to show a lot more to feature in this.

Selection: Top Smart                         Alternative: Popaway

 

2.55 Mens Open – 9 entries

A disappointing entry of nine when compared with the number entered for Horseheath’s last meeting.  Following a successful season last year, Curraigflemens made a pleasing return to action at that Horseheath meeting with a second place, behind Empire Builder in the men’s open, with last week’s hunter chase winner Premier Portrait behind in third.  Whether he turns out here or waits for a more competitive race at Leicester next week could be dependent upon the going.  Thetalkinghorse, representing the same yard as Empire Builder, had six runs last season.  He unseated his rider on his debut at Higham, then won a club member’s race at Thorpe Lodge, and then he finished 2nd to Man Of Steel in a hunter chase at Leicester. A hunter chase win at Wetherby where he beat Railway Dillon, was followed by two victories around Garthorpe.  Thetalkinghorse was made an odds-on favourite for his first start of the season at Thorpe Lodge, but was well beaten by Warden Hill.   Full Trottle has bounced back to form this season with two victories and a second from his three outings.  Full Trottle won on the opening day of the season at Black Forest Lodge, beating Grove Pride in a mixed open.  A victory over Little Cornham and Premier Portrait at Wadebridge followed in early January, before succumbing to Porlock Bay back at Black Forest Lodge two weeks later.  Legal Legend had a progressive profile in 2015, with two point and one hunter chase victory, beating the likes of Mr Mercurial and handicap chase winner Gonalston Cloud.  His season was curtailed last year with only two appearances, winning on his debut at Thorpe Lodge on the same card as Thetalkinghorse, but in a time 8 seconds slower, and then he finished 4th behind Pearlysteps in a hunter chase at Towcester.  Legal Legend made a promising start to this season, finishing 3rd behind Ceasar Milan and Brackloon High at Larkhill at the end of January.

Selection: Curraigflemens                  Alternative: Legal Legend

 

3.30 Restricted – 16 entries

A respectable 16 entries for what should be competitive racing on good ground. Avidius Cassius with Joe Hill up should give a good account of himself although the form is not that impressive but a 6th in the Cheltenham Intermediate final in 2016 shows he is no slouch. Billy Biscuit ran 5th in the Chipley Park restricted in Jan following a long layoff and will have come on for the run. Brianogue ran 9 times last season and placed in 3 and was 8L 2nd to Bingo Star in the Dec Chaddesley Corbett Restricted followed up by a distant 5th at Ampton in Jan and is unlikely to trouble the judge. Cresta One won the Mares Maiden at Dingley last May and has been placed in her 2 runs this season but was outclassed by Neumond here at the last meeting - with Gina up another place possibly beckons.  Hi Lucy Lou from the in form Pennock yard with a 7lb allowance won her Maiden at Godstone in March and was 8L 2nd to Sava Bridge at Dingley in May but was pu in the Restricted at Kingston Blount later in the month – a place is possible. Mazurati was 20L 2nd here to Neumond at the last meeting beating Cresta One by 1/2L so place prospects – a challenge renewed. Robin des Boss 2nd on 2 restricted runs this season the 4L to Whaley-Cohen’s Facile Bien at Thorpe Lodge and then by a nk at Alnwick both on softish ground – should go well here. Teeton Power has yet to take on Restricted company but won her MaresMaiden at Barbury comfortably – will she struggle in this company. Urban Storm ran well to run 2nd in Nov at Black Forest Lodge but struggled on soft ground in 2 subsequent runs and so this ground may suit. 11yr Violet Crack was 2nd to 129 rated Moroman in a 2013 Fakenham Maiden but is unlikely to repeat this feat and is best watched.

Selection:   Robin des Boss                Alternative: Mazurati

 

4.05 Open Maiden – 13 entries

No one who was at Horseheath three weeks ago couldn’t have failed to notice the fast finishing, third placed, Age of Heroes owned by Malcolm and David Kemp. Had the race been a little further we are sure this one would have taken the spoils. The Kemp yard has got off to a great start and this one will surely keep the ball rolling.  Pettistree and Poetry Emotion were in the same race, second and fourth respectively. We see no reason why Dale Peters mount Poetry Emotion will come on sufficiently to get the better of Age of Heroes whilst we feel Pettistree will have his work cut out to keep Age of Heroes at bay.  A couple of newcomers catch the eye. Blue Prairie had a brief hurdling career under Rules when in the hands of Dan Skelton. The furthest distance travelled was just under two and a half miles so we feel there are more questions than answers to persuade us to get behind this one. On the other hand Lively Article had some useful Irish p-to-p form, last time out coming 2nd (of two finishers) in a Maiden Race at Bauta. With Johnny Bailey in the saddle this one could provide the biggest threat to Age of Heroes.  Finally Gillian Town which has run well at Larkhill on two occasions before a heavy fall there last time out. Horse and rider will probably need a clear round to restore confidence and we are not sure that the Cambridgeshire track will suit that purpose.  On balance we will side with Age of Heroes whilst expecting Lively Article to provide the greatest threat. Le Fou Royal is a late addition to the entries for this race and whilst we will not change our selection we are sure this one will be in the mix after a number of eye catching runs so far this season

Selection:  Age of Heroes                   Alternative: Lively Article