THE SUFFOLK HUNT – AMPTON, supported by The PPORA
Saturday March 7th 2020
1.00 Club Members Conditions – 21 entries
There is a prize if the same horse wins the Conditions race at both Ampton meetings but as the January winner, Just Cause, is not entered that prize will not be won. This could be a great race to start the day with plenty of entrants showing similar levels of form, although many are entered in more than 1 race. After Aspen won the Novice Riders race at the first meeting here by a short head from Knight Bachelor, who was subsequently disqualified. He will have to put a disappointing run in 3-runner race last time behind him. After Hours is very consistent and was only just beaten by Just Cause in January; the winner has won his 3 subsequent starts too, so he must have a great chance. Generous Ransom was beaten by After Hours here in January but stepped up to win at Charing. Kashmir Peak could have a great chance here too, his last 2 starts have been in Hunter Chases and in January he got to within 8l of Minella Rocco who is well fancied for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham next week. Gunmoney showed he still has a zest for racing at the age of 15 when 3rd on seasonal debut at Horseheath at the start of February; he was in front until the 3rd last. It would not be a surprise to see him run well again but he could be susceptible to younger legs coming up the hill for the last time. Quick Oats seems to run best in the latter part of the season so the soft ground might not suit on his first run of the season. Hawkhurst completed for the first time in 4 runs this season when 2nd at Ampton to Net d’Eccose, before that he has won on both previous visits to Ampton (back in 2018) so cannot be discounted.
Selection: Kashmir Peak Alternative: Hawkhurst
1.35 Intermediate – 17 entrieS
This race is very similar to last weeks Intermediate at Horseheath in that there are several horses that are similarly rated. Benefaktor from G & T Racing started the season at Cottenham when finishing 3rd to Fiddler of Dooney. Since then he has won two races, the more recent a Restricted at Brocklesbury. Both wins were obtained after hard finishes. Alan Hill has two entered Captiva Island and Normofthenorth. Captiva Island has been placed several times but mainly in small fields. Did win a Restricted at Higham last season comfortably under Jack Andrews. Normofthenorth has run in two Points and won both. Hard Ground has raced three times this season progressing from unseating at this course followed by being 2nd at Larkhill the following week. From there won the Restricted at Higham two weeks ago. Huntsman’s Tag cruised to an easy victory here at the last meeting when starting as favourite. It will be interesting to see if the progress will continue here, suggest an eye is kept on the bookmaker’s boards. Harmony Row put up a great fight with Fumet d’ Oudairies at Horseheath at the Thurlow meeting and was just beaten by two lengths having jumped the last together. Shamat, an inconsistent type, did win a three-runner race at High Easter last season but would need to progress considerably to win this. Voie Dans Voie was 2nd to Fumet d’ Oudairies at a Cottenham Maiden in November and then travelled twice to Wadebridge to win a Maiden and follow with a narrowly defeat in a Restricted on heavy ground.
Selection: Harmony Row Alternative: Huntsman’s Tag
2.05 Ladies Open – 16 entries
Haymount is top-rated and was understandably outclassed by Shantou Flyer in a Fakenham Hunter Chase last month. Pass the Glass could be the alternative Ellis/Andrews choice but appears to prefer a sounder surface, than Ampton will offer. Changeofluck wasn’t disgraced behind Latenightpass at Horseheath. Chosen Rose has Ampton form but needs to redeem herself after two recent non-finishers. Darius Des Bois won a Ladies Open at Charing but might take the alternative Novice Rider’s engagement. Knockedoutloaded won a Ladies Open at Higham and was 2nd at Cottenham and will front run as usual to give Alex Knight another exciting opportunity. Mercers Court will be suited to Ampton, more than Higham and Steeles Terrace will improve on his Higham debut run for James Owen.
Selection: Haymount/ Pass the Glass Alternative: Knockedoutloaded
2.35 Mens Open – 8 entries
Two seven-year-olds head the entries for this renewal of the men’s open race this year. The first of these is Tullys Touch, the winner of the mixed open here at the Dunston Harriers fixture in January, where he showed a good turn of foot up the hill to defeat Chosen Rose and Full Irish. This was followed with a second place behind Law Of Gold in a men’s open at Horseheath. Tullys Touch then finished third to Shantou Flyer in a hunter chase held at Fakenham. In that same race Llancillo Lord was pulled up. Since winning his first and only point to point race at Maisemore Park last season, Llancillo Lord has only run in hunter chases. A victory in a 2m 5f hunter chase at Fakenham last April, was followed by placed efforts in sub 3 mile races. So far this season Llancillo Lord has failed to finish and has a big task to reverse the form with Tullys Touch. The second seven-year-old is Laser Beam, who started the season with a victory around Cottenham in late December, defeating Burtredgipandgump by 5 lengths. His next start at Higham resulted in him being pulled up and it has been reported since that he was suffering from a “whiplash” injury. Laser Beam returned to Higham two weeks ago, running in the hunt race. Appearing to struggle to go the early pace Laser Beam looked to have no chance leaving the back straight, but with the pacesetters tiring, Laser Beam surged to the front between the last two fences, and stayed on strongly, some five lengths ahead of Steeles Terrace who finished 3rd. Midnight Cowboy, the winner of this race two years ago missed last season, returned to action in the men’s open at Horseheath, eventually being pulled up in the race Tullys Touch finished 2nd. A trip to Charing for his next outing saw him outpaced, a mile out, before staying on between the last two fences to finish 4th.
Selection: Tullys Touch Alternative: Midnight Cowboy
3.05 Club Members Conditions (Novice Riders) – 12 entries
A rather disappointing entry of just 12 for this novice rider’s contest but it does contain some very good horses for this grade. After Aspen won the novice rider’s race here in January when he beat Knight Bachelor by a short head but his form is very in and out and he had pulled up on his two previous appearances and has pulled up again on his latest start at Thorpe in late January. Knight Bachelor and the 4th placed Amigo were subsequently disqualified after going the wrong way around a dolled of fence. Amigo finished 3rd at Horseheath on his next outing, beaten 7 ½ L behind Summer Sounds with another possible rival Groundunderrepair 4th, a further 5 L behind that day and Fox Valley behind in 6th. Groundunderrepair won comfortably last weekend at Horseheath by 30L from Way Back Then to give Charlotte Butler her first winner on only her second ride. Given that he only ran last weekend he may not turn out here. Knight Bachelor finished 2nd at Higham on his next outing beaten 3 L by Laser Beam last month. Darius des Bois won the ladies open at Charing last month when he beat Don’t Do Mondays so must be on the short list here if running in this race but he also holds an entry in the ladies. Knockedoutloaded has been plying his trade in ladies opens this season so far and has notched one win and two second placings in that grade. He won at Higham and was 2nd at Cottenham last month beaten by Lord Scoundrel. He’s another that also holds an entry in the ladies. Double Whammy finished 2nd last season in a Perth hunter chase, beaten by Mr Mercurial in April. He changed hands after that and unseated at Charing last month when behind on his seasonal debut. Darius des Bois must go close if running in this and he is our selection. Knight Bachelor is our alternative just ahead of Knockedoutloaded who has been very consistent running in a higher grade.
Selection: Darius des Bois Alternative: Knight Bachelor
3.35 Open Maiden – 22 entries
A decent number of entries for the Maiden of 22 but with several unraced horses and not a lot of form to go it looks a race lacking in strength and depth. One interesting newcomer on pedigree is Direct Flight who is a son of Dubai Destination and his mother was a winner of a Point to Point in Ireland. From the same stable of Nigel Padfield is Howitsdone he was quite exposed under rules with a rating of just 80 but made a bright start to his English pointing career when coming 2nd at Charing. He gave the winner 21lbs that day but was well clear of the 3rd by some 25 lengths. Advance to Go has ran once in Ireland and a few winners have come from the same race. He is by Flemensfirth so he should be improving, with more racing he is very interesting sort. Annie Flower, if she doesn’t win the race wins the best name award. She didn’t disgrace herself when 3rd in a PtP Bumper and gets a weight allowance and is interesting on her first Chase start. Man Of Means has had one start in an Irish PtP and was a well beaten 28 lengths 4th on his debut in quite a hot race. Much more will be expected in a race that will not take much winning and is our selection for the all-conquering Tom Ellis /Gina partnership.
Selection: Man of Means Alternative: Advance to Go
4.05 Hunt Members – 8 entries
This could be a race worth staying for as The Suffolk’s members race is often a competitive affair with top stables being represented and this year is no different. Namako is very consistent but was a fortunate winner on his last start last season when the leader fell at the last. On his seasonal debut he was 3rd at Charing but was beaten a long way and more will be needed here. Midnight Cowboy missed last season and improved on his debut at Horseheath to be 4th at Charing after a desperate mistake mid race. If Rupert Stearn decides to ride him take note. Rupert is also jocked up on both entrants from the Turner yard. Haut Bages looks to be the stonger candidate and will have come on for his seasonal debut. Groundunderrepair gave Charlotte Butler her first winner at Horseheath last weekend. It was the slowest time of the day and with a double penalty to carry and effects of the gruelling ground at Horseheath he might be best-watched if turning out again. Any Ampton runner from the Pennock yard needs consideration; Somme Boy was 2nd in this race last season but his 2 runs this season have not set the world alight.
Selection: Midnight Cowboy Alternative: Namako
Race 1: Kashmir Peak / Hawkhurst
Race 2: Harmony Row / Huntsman’s Tag
Race 3: Haymount/ Pass the Glass / Knockedoutloaded
Race 4: Tullys Touch / Midnight Cowboy
Race 5: Darius des Bois / Knight Bachelor
Race 6: Man of Means / Advance to Go
Race 7: Midnight Cowboy / Namako