At the time of writing this (Friday morning), the going is good to soft, but with more rain forecast it could be pretty testing ground.

At the Higham meeting 2 weeks ago we gave you three winners. Last week we went one better and gave you four! The prices were 4/1, 6/1, 6/4 and Evens. Let’s hope that we can maintain this form.

It must be said that the entries this week are somewhat disappointing. However, entries last Sunday were not great and it was probably one of the best meetings ever at Ampton. Let us hope for the same at Marks Tey this Sunday.

12.00 noon Hunt Members Race – 6 entries

George Cooper has 3 runners, Fair and Fancy, Imperial Mist and Rip Kirby, therefore you have to say that this is a pretty meaningless race. Skirmishing was 4th in this race two years ago, hasn’t run since. Glad All Over was 2nd two years ago.

12.35pm Confined – 13 entries

The Rural Dean won at Ampton last Sunday and therefore will carry a further 3lb penalty. Village Copper, without a penalty, must be considered, but we doubt that this will have much bearing on the race. Cormeen Lord was going well at Cottenham when he fell 2 out and is an each way consideration. Tartooth would not be without a chance, but Christian Ward Thomas can’t ride this one and Village Copper. Royal Banker is a plodder but an out and out stayer and if it turns soft would be worth considering. It is difficult though to see anything beating The Rural Dean.

1.10pm Ladies Open – 18 entries

Father Andy is entered here and at Mollington and is highly rated. Most of his form has been in Ireland, was 2nd in the Novice Hunter Chase at Aintree, also taken on the top horses but has never really been in contention against them. Imperial Dawn won in the fog at Higham and will therefore be better for that race, but is also entered at Thorpe. Starpath won over 4 miles at Perth last year, also 2nd in a 4 mile Hunter Chase at Cheltenham, an out and out stayer. Yquem from the same yard needs an easy 3 miles. Spring Gale was a little disappointing last season but does well on most conditions, did win a Hunter Chase last year at Folkstone. Taking all factors into consideration we have to take Imperial Dawn to win here, this is his track.

1.45pm Mens Open -19 entries

Real Value is sure to be the odds on favourite having finished 2nd in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham in 2000. Rightsaidfred, another horse from the South East is getting on a bit but would still stand a chance. Storm of Gold finished 2nd last week at Ampton and is certain to come on for the race.Belvento, undefeated in its last 5 point to point completions, jumping is perhaps a bit suspect, but has improved. Local horses unfortunately do not appeal, Real Valuemust be the nap of the day.

2.20pm Restricted – 19 entries

Amber Life and Lovelock were easy winners at Higham in the Maidens, however, this race is somewhat different with some pretty decent opponents. Splash and Dash was 2nd in a Winner of One in Ireland, won his Maiden in heavy ground. Dalligan has the ability to win this but has failed in his last two starts. Imperial Mist has a chance here but would have an easier time in the Members. Splash and Dash is the selection.

2.55pm Confined Maiden – 26 entries

Baie des Singes and Pampered Gale were placed at Higham 2 weeks ago as were Glassbreaker and Give Him a Chance last season, but this course requires considerably more stamina. Josh’s Choice has gradually improved and was running his best race at Larkhill when falling two out, would have finished 2nd. This was pretty decent form as the winner looked a fair horse and therefore we take Josh’s Choice to win this race.