Sunday 28th January @Higham near Colchester
North Norfolk Harriers
Report by Lauren Braithwaite
The closest and most exciting finish of the day at Higham came in the first race, the only maiden race on the card, when Kev The Car got back up in the dying strides to win by a head for jockey Rupert Stearn and trainer James Owen.
13 of the 14 entries went to post and it was a tightly packed field for much of the race. Stearn rode a great race on the 8 year old gelding who is owned by his mother, Penny. Sitting mid div and having jumped the last with a circuit to go he made a decisive move up the inner to take the lead coming out of the bend and into the back straight.
He got some fantastic jumps out of the horse down the back and it looked as though he was home and hosed but the Francesca Nimmo trained Redmond Hall had other ideas and came to join him down the home straight and jumped the last in front. Kev The Car however battled back gamely to get back up in the shadow of the post.
There was a noisy reception for the Stearn family as they came in to the winner’s enclosure and they were all clearly thrilled for the horse who was having his first run this season. Rupert’s father, Simon, joked that it was the most expensive winner he had ever had as when he purchased the gelding from trainer James Owen last season it was on the condition of paying “a bit more” if the horse went on to win.
James, who trains in Newmarket, said that “Kev The Car had done a lot of growing up since last season and he was a lot more amenable to ride today” and he is hopeful that he can go on from this run.
It was a quick fire double for James as the Novice Riders Race was taken in impressive style by the Tim Gredley owned and ridden Just Cause. Tim, who is better known as a world class show jumper, was pleased to be making up for an unseat on the horse at Ampton last time out and he certainly did that as he cruised to the lead and went on to win by a distance in the fastest time of the day.
One of Tim’s aims for the season is to win the East Anglian Novice Championship for a second year running and with that in mind this horse will be sticking to point to points for the time being, although James hinted that a tilt at the Queen’s Cup Hunter Chase at Fakenham at the end of the season could be on the agenda.
Not even a juddering error at the last in the Restricted race could stop the Andrew Pennock trained Steeles Terrace who had travelled and jumped beautifully up until that point for jockey Shane Roche.
A winner last time out in a maiden at Ampton, you wouldn’t bet against him picking up three in a row when he next turns out in an Intermediate. It was only Shane’s second ride for Pennock (he was deputising for the injured Evan David), the last being in this same race last year which he also won!
On entry what looked as though it could have been the race of the day, the Men’s Open, ended up being a match between the highly rated Broken Eagle and Probably George. Broken Eagle went off at long odds on and when Probably George was sadly injured before even completing a circuit it turned into a procession for the Alan Hill trained gelding.
Nevertheless, Broken Eagle showed his class jumping round under Alan’s son Joe in a fast time. Alan was full of praise for the course at Higham and said he had never seen the ground and fences in better condition.
Another to be impressed by the course at the Suffolk track was ITV Racing’s Luke Harvey who had come to Higham to give Porlock Bay his first outing of the year in the Ladies Open.
Ridden by Page Fuller, Porlock Bay went off as favourite and made a bold show upfront alongside Brodie Hampson on Traceyswestcounty but having had a long time off the track he was unable to keep up the pace and it was Top Smart who, having been ridden patiently by reigning Ladies’ Champion Gina Andrews, came to take the lead down the home straight and went on to win by six lengths from the game Traceyswescounty.
The second Alan Hill trained horse to go off at odds on, Hawkhurst, couldn’t bring up the double on the day in the closing Club Members Conditions Race and it was the Laura Thomas trained and ridden Karinga Dancer who took the spoils. Having dropped in to get the trip Laura was beautifully poised behind two front runners when coming to the cross fence for the last time.
When the front two made mistakes at this fence Laura ended up in front sooner than intended but the 12 year old Karinga Dancer ran on well to win by 3 lengths from Hawkhurst and the staying on Ericht.
Laura was clearly thrilled with her first visit to Higham and is hoping this is the turning point after what she described as a “quiet start to the season” for the yard. She said “Karinga Dancer has been ready to run since the beginning of the season but he needs top of the ground and we were told we would get it here at Higham. We were delighted when we arrived and walked the track. The long journey home to Barbury will seem a lot shorter now, especially with the bottle of bubbles!”
GOING: GOOD (GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES)
1st KEV THE CAR ( Rupert Stearn ) 6/1
2nd Redmond Hall ( Jordan Nailor ) 6/1
3rd Iwillifiwant ( Archie Wright) 12/1
Caryto Des Brosses 7/4 Fav (4th)
Time: 6 mins 06 secs Distances: Head, 4L 13 ran
PPORA Club Members Conditions ( Novice Riders )
1st JUST CAUSE ( Tim Gredley ) 4/7 Fav
2nd One Fine Morning ( Charlie Clover ) 5/1
3rd Banksandditches ( Charlotte Wyatt ) 7/2
Time: 6-01 Dists: Distance, 10L 8 ran
1st STEELES TERRACE (Shane Roche) 4/7 Fav
2nd Mountain Eagle ( Richard Collinson ) 8/1
3rd King’s Walden ( Gina Andrews ) 4/1
Time: 6-04 Dists: 5L, Distance 7 ran
1st BROKEN EAGLE ( Joe Hill ) 1/10 Fav
Time: 6-02 2 ran
1st TOP SMART ( Gina Andrews ) 6/4
2nd Treacywestcounty ( Brodie Hampson ) 6/1
3rd Sand Blast ( Carey Williamson ) 25/1
Porlock Bay 4/5 Fav (4th)
Time: 6-06 Dists: 6L, 15L 7 ran
Countryside Alliance Club Members Conditions
1st KARINGA DANCER( Laura Thomas) 8/1
2nd Hawkhurst ( Joe Hill ) 1/2 Fav
3rd Ericht ( Camilla Henderson ) 14/1
Time: 6-05 Dists: 3L, 2L 8 ran
One fence omitted, injured horse.