By Graham Bishop


The East Anglian racing action returns to Ampton racecourse, near Bury St. Edmunds, for the second and final meeting of their season, on Sunday March 3rd.

 A full day of entertainment commences with two pony races from 12 midday which are always exciting, competitive affairs and will be followed by seven point-to-point steeplechases, the first of which is at 1pm. During the afternoon, from 2pm, there will a Skinners-sponsored fun dog show, where you can enter your canine family member, for a variety classes, on the day. Always a great country show feel to this meeting, with good viewing for the racing and a range of trade stands including catering outlets and a public bar (cash only).


There are 66 entries for the point-to-point races and the opening contest is a popular Jockey Club and ROR sponsored Veteran Horse Condtion’s race for 10 year olds and over. This type of race will often attract the same horses time and again, and this renewal is no different with Trojan Star (3rd), Myplaceatmidnight (4th), Chapelier (7th) and Koyote (Fell) all having met in a similar renewal at the Dunston Harriers fixture in early January. All four have since pulled up on their most recent outings. Two that you would not have considered as Veterans are Coolagh Park and Rebel Dawn Rising.  Coolagh Park has been placed on all three runs in Restricted races this season, being sent off favourite on each occasion. Rebel Dawn Rising, who has yet to make an appearance this season, only winning a three runner Mixed Open last season and having failed to complete in two Fakenham Hunter Chases, but did finish 2nd to Premier Magic at Cheltenham’s evening fixture. It should be mentioned that The Unmentionable does not have to contend with Ragnar Lodbrok to whom he has finished third in three of his last four runs, both this and last season.

The Restricted race has attracted 11 entries, of which Main Stage, Mount Pleasant and Burtown have won races this season. Burtown, the winner of a Maiden race at Alnwick in December has since finished 3rd in a Restricted at Friars Haugh. Main Stage won her Maiden race at Horseheath in good style and so ventures into Restricted company for the first time, in receipt of an 11lb allowance. Unlike Burtown and Main Stage who both won Maiden races, Mount Pleasant’s victory was achieved in a Restricted contest at Higham by an ever-increasing distance.  Running in another Restricted race will mean Mount Pleasant will have to carry a 5lb penalty as will Burtown’s stable companion Occupied who won his first Restricted around this track in 2020.  Padjoes Legacy and The New Kid are also burdened with this penalty. Local interest will surround the Turner Family’s Mister Splash who ran well on all four starts last season and will be making his seasonal reappearance and the competitive nature of this race cannot rule out any of the remaining entries that have not been mentioned.

The Ladies Open race could see the runner-up and the third from the equivalent race at the Dunston fixture, won by Captain Biggles, renew their rivalry, namely Tullys Touch and Precious Bounty who were separated by only half a length, with Buachaill Dana further back in fifth. Champagne Noir has run well on both starts this season, most recently at Garthorpe finishing third behind Espoir de Teillee (an unlikely runner having ran at Leicester earlier in the week) whilst No Hassle Hoff pulled up in the Garthorpe race. Clearly benefiting from that run No Hassle Hoff led throughout to win an eventual match race at Horseheath, two weeks ago.

Following a successful campaign last season, Raleagh Flora’s return to the track continued in the same vein with a victory at Charing ahead of Red Maple. In addition to Red Maple the opposition in the Men’s Open race could include Chief Black Robe who unseated in a Maiden race around this course last year. Following a string of runner-up spots, in points, Chief Black Robe went summer jumping for Fergal O’Brien winning four in a row followed by a couple of placings.  Reverting back to Myles Osborne this will be his first run back in points. The Turner Family have a choice of running either Janika or Take To Heart and Tullys Touch does hold an engagement in this race too.

The Maiden Race has the largest entry with 14 being made and locally trained horses account for five of the entries headed by the Andrew Pennock-trained Ask Carla, who was just denied victory at Horseheath, in December. The Myles Osborne-trained Top Man Tom would also have gone close at Higham if not unseating his rider at the last.  Most of the remaining stables represented have produced winners this season, Max Comley (Arknell) Michael Kehoe (Capman and Ilitch) Rob Cundy (Driveondonn), Luke Price (Lavorante) Dale Peters (Miami Magic), therefore another fascinating Maiden race may ensue.

The PPORA Club Members Conditions race for Novice Riders on this occasion has three horses entered that have won similar races around Ampton.  We go back four years to find Knight Bachelor’s victory in the corresponding race, whilst Monkey Puzzle won the 2022 edition.  Buachaill Dana’s victory around this course was gained last year at the Dunston fixture. Some of those looking to join this illustrious company include Creadan Grae, Shoal Bay and Ryans Fancy.

The concluding Hunt Members race is likely to be a three horse race, one representing the Turner Family, one representing the Stearn Family and the Andrew Pennock-trained Trojan Du Berlais, who has won both his starts for the stable this season.

Admission: Adults £15 (cash only) with children under 16 Free. Dogs on short leads, please. Ampton racecourse is situated 4 miles North of Bury St. Edmunds on the A134 Thetford Road, through the village of Ingham. ( SatNav IP31 1NS )