Sunday 28th January @ Higham near Colchester
North Norfolk Harriers
12.00 Open Maiden –14 entries
With 11 hurdle races under his belt in Ireland the 6 year old Redmond Hall will certainly not lack for racing experience. From a strong yard this is an interesting newcomer to British pointing, Andrew Pennock seems to conjure massive improvement out of his Irish pointing imports and he could do the same with Parsons Avenue who has turned out twice between the flags in Ireland, 13 months apart, and on both occasions didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Kev the Car seems to have been around forever but does run well fresh. Three times runner up last season including a close second in a 2m4f maiden at Cottenham. The short Higham track may suit this front runner but is 3m too far? If running, likely favourite will be Caryto des Brosses. On his only outing last season he came second to the far more experienced Le Fou Royale and if well should be hard to beat. Of the rest Sulamani The Late comes from a strong yard but unseated early on at Barbary, too early to make a real judgement. Sadly Come on Harriet seems to have gone backwards since last season whilst Infinityandbeyond was a difficult ride for Antonia Peck and is now back in the hands of Charles Buckle for whom he seems to run well. Overall we are excited to see the return of Caryto des Brosses which gets our vote with Kev the Car likely to cause the French import the most trouble.
Selection: Caryto des Brosses Alternative: Kev the Car
12.35 PPORA Club Members (Novice Riders) – 12 entries
A rather disappointing entry of just 12 for the novice riders contest. Just Cause ran out a wide margin winner of the novice riders race at Cottenham last month when he defeated West Lake by 40 lengths. However he unseated his rider at Ampton two weeks ago at the 7th fence. Colebroke was 5th and last in the Cottenham race. One Fine Morning was 3rd at Cottenham last month when beaten just under 5 lengths by In A Blue Dust. Just Cause’s race on the same card was run 4 seconds quicker than One Fine Morning’s. Midnight Chorister was a three time winning chaser when trained by Alex Hales however he has failed to complete in two pointing starts this season. Weather Warning won a ladies open at Fakenham last season but unseated at Cottenham last month on his first start in another ladies race. Sitting Back is a winning chaser but that win was back in 2014 and his form recently has been moderate. Nightscape was a dual winner last season, his last win coming at Dingley in May when he beat Probably George by 8 lengths. Horizontal Speed is another two-time winner last season. His final run saw him beat Walkabout Creek in a Kingston Blount men’s open in May by 8 lengths. Banksandditches won a club race at Horseheath last season when ridden by Gina Andrews when he beat Legend To Be by 6 lengths. Horizontal Speed unseated in this contest whilst leading. Hector Barr who won the novice riders race at Ampton two weeks ago rides Frankie Anson in this contest, however the horse is well into the veteran stage and would need the race to cut up badly to have a chance as would the other runners. Just Cause if completing should win this but we will take a chance with two others in the contest. Nightscape is our selection and go for Horizontal Speed as our alternative.
Selection: Nightscape Alternative: Horizontal Speed
1.10 Restricted – 12 entries
Not many positives for Clondaw Nell who won a 3 runner Maiden at Aldington in April then pu in the May Peper Harrow Restricted. Easy on Sunday pu at Chaddesley Corbett in the Dec. Restricted and may have come on for the run. Full Batten is an ex Gordon Elliott horse who had seven outings in Ireland and was 2nd twice in Hurdles then ran six times in Points and 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 so may struggle again at the longer distance. Kings Walden won the Puckeridge Maiden at Horseheath last season but was only placed 75L behind Bay Sly in the Sandon short Restricted and pu on his last run at Garthorpe – no positives here and one to just watch. Mountain Eagle won his Maiden at Lingstown in 2015 then under rules – placed in 3 hurdle races and 2l 3rd to Cold Knight giving 14lb in a 2.5ml Grade 4 Chase at Stratford in May but weakened quickly in the late Dec. Cottenham Restricted and may struggle again here. Mr Conductor pu on all runs last season except a firm ground Maiden win at Hackwood Park – unlikely to trouble the judge. Not a lot to recommend Muchadoaboutnothing from the well-known Martin Ward yard but a 7lb. allowance and will come on for the run. Skiuptothegoodbit won his Maiden staying on well at Hackwood Park in March but has struggled in subsequent Restricted races and could do here. 6yr. Somme Boy from the Pennock yard beat Kev the Car and Skiuptothegoodbit to win a Dec. 2016 Cottenham Maiden but struggled in subsequent Restricteds. The other Pennock 6yr Steeles Terrace with E.David up looks more promising –fav and a comfortable 12l. win in the recent Ampton Maiden Div.1 and will have come on for the run he will be challenged by 9yr Summer Sounds winner of Div 2 at Ampton and running 2nd when falling in the late Dec Cottenham Maiden – age, experience and jockey choice may win through here so watch the market for indicators as not much between these 2.
Selection: Steeles Terrace Alternative: Summer Sounds
1.45 Mens Open – 10 entries
Only 10 entries received for this men’s open, with the Alan Hill yard holding 2 of them. Broken Eagle has been entered in races for a few weeks, and could well appear at Higham, a course at which he has already won around on 5 previous occasions. He did not beat much whilst winning four races last season (including a walk-over), but did eventually won a hunter chase, beating Always Archie around Huntingdon. He did however fail to finish in three other contests. His stable companion Man Of Steel has achieved more in hunter chases, winning 3 last season, at Lingfield over 2 ½ miles beating Big Fella Thanks, at Fontwell over 3 miles 3 furlongs beating Lets Get Serious and at Cartmel beating Forge Valley. Possibly feeling the effects of a long season Man Of Steel was eventually pulled up in the Champion Hunter Chase at Stratford. Both Broken Eagle and Man Of Steel would be running for the first time this season. Full Trottle also did well in hunter chases last season winning at Ludlow and Cheltenham. His first outing this season, where he looked as though he would benefit from the run, saw him finish a head behind Bear’s Affair in the men’s open at Cottenham in early December. Apart from three appearances in hunter chases at Cheltenham, Brackloon High can be found around tracks such as Higham and Cottenham, winning of both occasions he has appeared at Higham. An outing a Larkhill three weeks ago where he was 4th behind Cousin Pete will have sharpened him for this race and although now 13 this strong finisher cannot be ruled out. All the above carry a 7lb penalty, whilst Porlock Bay, who won three early season points last year including a verdict over Full Trottle in a men’s open at Black Forest Lodge does not. Not seen since that victory, he will be an interesting participant should he turn up.
Selection: Full Trottle Alternative: Broken Eagle
2.20 Ladies Open – 15 entries
A strong entry dominated by four top-class pointers three of which have course form. The lightly-racedTop Smart won at Horseheath and Ampton last season before surprisingly being outpaced by Western Diva at Garthorpe in his last race. He won here in 2016 beating Sharp Suit and we’re certain connections will have him spot on. The speedy Bound For Glory finished 1st or 2nd in his 3 point starts last season and won well on his only start this season at Cottenham. He beat It Was Me here in 2015. Popaway won all four of her point starts last season. Hugely impressive when on form - especially her runaway win at Brafield last season when she left the very capable Dabinett Moon and Vedettariat trailing. She PU when last tried here but that was two years ago. Luke Harvey’s Porlock Bay progressed nicely from Intermediate to Open class last season winning three of his four starts. He hasn’t been seen since beating Full Throttle and Penmore Mill at Black Forest Lodge last January so presumably had a set-back. Should go close if back to that form but connections may prefer to run him in the Men’s. Those with place chances include Ericht who disappointed at Barbury back in November but should come on for the run; Treacyswestcountry who finished a good 3rd behind Shimla Dawn and Ivy Gate at Cottenham at the end of December. He was well beaten by Porlock Bay at Cottenham in 2016; Karinga Dancer produced some good performances last season but needs to find more to feature in this. Banksandditches won a Members at Horseheath last time out last March. A difficult one to call. If Popaway runs to her best we would fancy her to take this but her connections may prefer to run at Thorpe Lodge where she’s won the Ladies’ Open for the last two seasons. It’s a close call between Bound For Glory and Top Smart both of whom are likely to be at peak fitness.
Selection: Popaway Alternative: Bound For Glory
2.55 CA Club Members Conditions – 16 entries
This looks a very interesting race with several horses all in with a chance. Some are entered elsewhere so it is the usual situation on guessing where they are likely to run. Blue Mountain Boy is from the Tom Ellis yard and did win two Points to Points in Ireland back in April 2017. Broadway Star won at Ampton two weeks ago at 10/1, previously pulled up at Chaddesley Corbett following winning a three runner race at Barbury Racecourse, and should like this course. Brunswick Gold, now thirteen, has won three points and a Hunter Chase including two last season in the South East in Members Conditions races. Alan Hill has two entered in this race and whichever runs will likely start as favourite. Change of Luck won three times on the bounce last season and was 3rd to Bay Sly in the Subaru Restricted Final Hunter Chase at Stratford. Hawkhurst has won convincingly this season at both Cottenham and at Ampton. Counting Stars won two races last season and was placed 2nd to Neumond at Horseheath In 2016 won two points including a Maiden race here at Higham and from twelve starts in Points has been placed eight times. Ericht, a very experienced campaigner in the Henderson yard, had thirty nine outings under rules winning two Chases and two Hurdles races, placed seventeen times in total. Mr Syntax was touched off at Cottenham on New Year’s Eve by In a Blue Dust and although now fourteen still has ability and could be placed here.
Selection: Hawkhurst/ Change of Luck Alternative: Broadway Star.