Cottenham, the traditional East Anglian season opener, will again hold the first meeting of our 2018-19 season, along with the ever popular second meeting between Christmas and New Year. With the near certainty of decent going these two fixtures have historically proven to be two excellent days of racing with large and competitive fields so it will be interesting to see if this trend continues with the influx of new nationwide November and December fixtures.
One East Anglian trainer who is likely to have horses fit and raring to go at Cottenham will be Andrew Pennock. The last few years have seen Pennock’s training career take a steep upward trajectory. His winners to runners’ percentages in recent seasons are enough to make most professional trainers green. His undoubtable skill is bringing maidens up through the grades and as usual he has some new maidens for this season, but it would be great to see him with a good open horse and Steele’s Terrace who was impressive last season will start in that grade. It will be interesting to see how he fairs.
East Anglia’s leading gentleman rider of last season, Archie Wright, will also hope to get his season underway at Cottenham and a new unraced recruit to his father Nick Wright’s yard, Durban Thunder, could be a horse to follow. In A Blue Dust is another to keep an eye on from the Wright yard as they don’t think they have seen the best of him yet. That’s despite his impressive win in a Conditions race at Cottenham last year which was arguably the training performance of the season, the horse not having been seen on the track since November 2014.
Looking further ahead into the season trainer James Owen will be another name to keep note of. The last couple of seasons have seen Owen do well with a small group of horses for owner riders Tim Gredley and Rupert Stearn. Net D’Ecosse, a recent Goffs purchase for Gredley, who was formerly trained by Noel Meade for Gigginstown, looks to be a good buy and should be a horse to keep track of through the season.
Here’s hoping for a successful season and favourable weather conditions all round. Roll on December!