By Graham Bishop

The Good Friday fixture at Higham appears to be beneficiary after several meetings have recently been lost to bad weather, around the country. With ground conditions described as “Good” on the lead up to the meeting and a decent entry of horses for the scheduled six races, will ensure another large attendance at the popular racecourse, situated on the Suffolk/ Essex border.

 For the meeting, the organisers have arranged a variety of attractions to appeal to all members of the family. An avenue of tradestands, including catering outlets, beer tent, and funfair for the children will all be available together with various classes for the dog show, starting at 2.30pm, taking place during the afternoon’s proceedings. Entries will be taken on the day. On the course, preceding the six point-to-point steeplechase races will be pony racing and parade of hounds. The two pony races start proceedings at 1pm and the first point-to-point steeplechase is at 2.10pm.

This Essex and Suffolk meeting has attracted a respectable entry of 62 individual horses and amongst this number are four of the winners from the Waveney Harriers fixture held around this course in February, namely Mount Pleasant, Shentri, Silver Sheen and Sum It Up, whilst Back Bar, Back It Up, How To Get Away and Peacocks Secret all won at the corresponding meeting last year. If we look further back we can also find wins around this course for Chapelier, General Arrow, Lords Park Star and Slievegar.

The Members, Farmers and Subscribers race that commences the proceedings includes three of the aforementioned horses, with Back Bar, off the back of a win a Charing, holding the best chance of these, whilst of the other entrants, recent Ampton Maiden winner Ask Carla, and Horseheath runner-up Good Source will provide stiff competition.

In the past we have witnessed a 2 ½ mile Conditions race around this track, but the second race breaks new ground at Higham as this level 3 Conditions contest is being run over 3 ½ miles. The entries include All Is True, who was runner up to Mitchouka at Horseheath in December, but then was pulled up in the soft ground at Garthorpe in February. At this same meeting Back It Up, who won his Maiden around Higham last year, failed to cope with the conditions and was also pulled up.  It seems that others have also been waiting for better underfoot conditions. Go Go Geronimo was a close 2nd to Castle Trump at Ampton in January but has not been seen on a racecourse since and several others are looking to run for the first time this year.


The Mixed Open race has last year’s winner Peacocks Secret amongst the entries, along with fellow Higham winners Slievegar and General Arrow, in what looks to be a very open race. Definite Dilemma, IK Brunel, Monkey Puzzle and Red Maple all finished runner-up on their most recent outings this season and Precious Bounty must be respected on this better ground.


The fourth race is another “Mixed Open” but this iteration is for “Grassroots Riders” which is for those that have not ridden more than 20 winners either under rules, in points or Arab horse races.  Precious Bounty holds an entry in this race as does stable companion Shentri, who gained a comfortable success around this track in February.  At that same fixture, Sum It Up won the Novice rider’s race.  Cobra De Mai will be making his seasonal reappearance but did win first time out last season in his first point-to-point following a successful career under rules. Another to have a similar profile is Romain De Senam who started out in France with Guillame Macaire before being transferred to Paul Nicholls for whom he ran for five seasons, during which time he finished 2nd in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. A season at Dan Skelton’s yard followed, and then a year with David Pipe during which time he gained one victory at both establishments. But it was an inauspicious start for his new stable in a Catterick hunter chase where he fell two out.

How To Get Away is seeking to repeat his victory in the Level 2 Conditions race, and will have benefited from a run at Horseheath in January. Silver Sheen and Mount Pleasant both won around Higham in February, since which Mount Pleasant has won another Restricted race.
Several of the remaining entries are also engaged in earlier races, but the Fergal O’Brien owned Ultimate Getaway is worth watching in his first point since switching from rules.

The concluding Maiden race has 17 entered amongst which there are some interesting contenders with many of them having placed form this season, showing promise for the future.

The one four-year-old is Kilaro who will benefit from an allowance of 14lbs, ran well to finish 3rd to highly promising Miami Magic.  There are three five-year-olds who each receive a 4lb allowance.  Taghadoe finished third at Larkhill but was subsequently disqualified.  Premier Fantasy finished runner-up at Garthorpe to the recent High Easter winner Designed To Win, and Machu Picchu finished second at Badbury Rings for Christopher Barber and has since moved to the yard of Alan Hill. The six-year-old Papiliondelumiere ran well in defeat at Garthorpe but it is the ten-year-old Gold Bandit who has been closest to victory when finishing second at Charing, one length adrift of Deep Purple.


With so much taking place the best bet of the day is to arrive early and the gates will open at 10am. Admission is £15 for adults ( cash only) and children 16 and under are free. Dogs on short leads please.

 ( Adult discounted tickets priced at £13 available till midnight on Thursday 28th March on )

Higham racecourse is situated midway between Ipswich and Colchester, fully signposted from the A12. ( Sat Nav  CO7 6NG )