THE CAMBRIDGE HARRIERS HUNTS CLUB – COTTENHAM
Sunday 30th December 2018
11.00 CH Club Members Conditions– 19 entries
A strong race to start the day and this should be a good race to watch. Trainer Alan Hill has a great record at Cottenham and he looks to start the day well with Hawkhurst, already a winner this season at Barbury (impressive 8l winner), his fitness advantage over many possible rivals must stand him in good stead. Cottenham takes rain very well so even a wet week should not allow ground to get worse than good to soft and that will suit this horse. Royalraise has his first start pointing after running successfully in Hunter Chases for Oliver Sherwood. Now in the hands of Lauren Braithwaite he faces a tough task to give 7lb (penalty for HC win over highly rated Port Melon at Towcester) to the likes of Hawkhurst on his first run of the season but he should be one to watch. A few of these ran in the Conditions race here at the first meeting, Karinga Dancer may be nearing his 13th birthday but he is still running with great gusto, as shown when winning that race, beating Torran Na Dtonn and Gallox Bridge over 2m 4f. Derksen was sent off favourite but ran/carried out early on in the race, he has since been 3rd in Novice Riders race at Barbury and on that form; more would be needed to get near Hawkhurst. Margot Fontaine gets a useful mares allowance and finished last season with a win at Aldington beating subsequent winner Knockedoutloaded. But she might be best watched, as this is a sharper track than she is used to. Zeroshadesofgrey was high class under Rules and we surely be a fun pointer but he hasn’t won since 2016 and maybe best watched. The last to get a mention is Summer Sounds; he will have come on for his seasonal debut at Larkhill and has the potential to go close.
Selection: Hawkhurst Alternative: Karinga Dancer
11.35 Restricted – 10 entries
A slightly more respectable 10-runner entry compared to 4 at the last meeting here. The eye catcher is Captiva Island under rules with Gordon Elliot and Olly Murphy (placed twice over hurdles but PU in only chase run) and now from the Hill yard with Jack Andrews up, an easy 10L winner here in early Dec in the short Maiden – can he repeat over the longer distance in the higher grade? Caliente from the Rowley yard with Alex Edwards up and 7lb advantage could challenge but again has only run over the short distance as has Drakes Well, an impressive 25L (13 runner) Maiden winner at Larkhill early this month. Fox Valley was 2nd in this race at the last meeting but outpaced – but will have come on from that run. Tricky Silence 2nd in the Maiden here 12mts. ago and won the Horseheath Maiden in Feb has not run since and may need the run but watch the market. Black Jewel a prolific but not very successful rules runner (25 with 9 runs in 2018) won the Open Maiden here at the last meeting so could make the frame.
Selection: Drakes Well Alternative: Captiva Island/Caliente
12.10 Mens Open – 15 entries
The men’s open could see the first four home from the meeting here in early December renew rivalries. Now Ben came out on top, in a close fought finish with Just Cause, whilst Mr Mix made a promising start in third, and Fever Pitch was further back in fourth. Broken Eagle was entered for that race but connections stated that he need a few more weeks before he was ready for a run. His victory at Fakenham was his best performance of last season, where he trounced the useful Master Workman in the men’s open. Another entry that missed that engagement was Brave Encounter, who has been off the track since winning a couple of handicaps chases for Jamie Snowden in 2016. Bear’s Affair, a stable companion of Now Ben easily accounted for Western Diva in a mixed open at Eaton Hall and like Now Ben has winning form around this course. Abricot de l’Oasis had three runs in points last season, finishing 2nd twice, before winning a 2 ¾ mile hunter chase at Stratford from Billy Merriott in April, but then unseated his rider in the Mixed Open Final at Cheltenham on his final start. Mr Snoozy has been running under rules over trips between 2 and 2 ½ miles, winning over 2 miles at Hexham in May. Yet to run over this trip, he may be found wanting even around this course, especially if the pace is fast.
Selection: Now Ben/Bear’s Affair Alternative: Broken Eagle
12.45 CA Club Members Conditions (Novice Riders) – 19 entries
A decent entry of 19 for this novice riders contest but several of these have entries in other races on the card. Local Show unseated William Humphrey at the first meeting here but made amends when giving him his first win at Barbury Castle two weeks ago when beating Flights by 4 lengths with a possible rival today, Derksen 10 lengths adrift in 3rd. Derksen was sent off favourite here at the first meeting for the 2 ½ mile conditions race but was carried out early on in this contest. He was a four-time winner last season however. Vivaldi Collonges was 5th at Clifton On Dunsmore two weeks ago beaten just under 4 lengths by Bayleys Dream. Popelys Gull was 39l behind. Vivaldi Collonges did win a Newbury hunter chase in March when owned and ridden by David Maxwell. U Name It was 2nd on his pointing debut at Hexham in a 2 ½ mile contest when going down by 2¼l to Ted Veale in early December but was well beaten on his next outing at Clifton On Dunsmore. Summer Sounds was a four-time winner last season but pulled up on his seasonal debut at Larkhill. Royalraise won a Towcester hunter chase in May when ridden by Gina Andrews and trained by Oliver Sherwood by a nose from Port Melon. Ballybough Gorta won a novice riders race at Higham in April when he beat Midnight Cowboy by 6 lengths. Urban Storm won the restricted here at the first meeting but pulled up at Clifton On Dunsmore on his next appearance. Fever Pitch was 4th here at the first meeting when beaten around 29 lengths behind Now Ben in the Men’s open. Moscow Me won on his final start last season when beating Take The Crown by ¾ of a length at Garthorpe in June. Mr Snoozy has been placed 3rd on his last 3 outings. On his final start under rules he was 3rd at Southwell in July, beaten 43 ¼ lengths behind Mister Fizz in a 2-½ mile hurdle. Zeroeshadesofgrey is a seven-time winner under rules. His last win came at Wetherby in October 2016 when he won a 3-mile novice chase by 11 lengths from Royal Vacation. On his final rules outing he was 4th at Ffos Las in April, beaten 23 lengths by Ballycross in a 3-mile chase. Owen Na View is a five-time rules winner but hasn’t got his head in front since scoring at Wetherby in October 2016 in a 2-mile chase. A trappy contest to call, Zeroeshadesofgrey was pretty decent under rules but we will side with two horses who have had an outing this season and we will take Local Show as our selection ahead of Vivaldi Collonges.
Selection: Local Show Alternative: Vivaldi Collonges
1.20 Ladies Open – 13 entries
Sharp Suit and Gina Andrews overturned the favourite at the opening Cottenham meeting to win the Ladies Open with a front-running display. Karinga Dancer was also successful at this December 2nd fixture. The consistent Western Diva was beaten ten lengths by the useful Bear’s Affair in a Mixed Open at the North Herefordshire meeting at the end of November. Tb Broke Her has run twice already in this her pointing debut season, being placed both times. Previously under rules the mare won two chases, this time last year, for Matt and Sam Sheppard at Ludlow and Hereford. Arthur’s Secret and regular jockey Abigail Bank’s record is there for all to see. 12 starts and 9 wins ( including two hunter ‘chases ) but is not normally seen out until February and others may have stronger fitness claims. Royalraise switches to pointing after being with trainer Oliver Sherwood for whom the gelding won a Towcester hunter ‘chase with Gina Andrews, in the saddle, in May of this year. What a treat could be in store in this Ladies Open with the pace certain to be fast and furious and both Sharp Suit and Western Diva, likely to be racing prominently. With a weight advantage of 11lbs in their favour, Western Diva and Claire Hardwick are just given the edge over the Cottenham specialist Sharp Suit.
Selection: Western Diva Alternative: Sharp Suit
1.55 Open Maiden – 18 entries
Based on the ratings provided by Weatherby’s the Open Maiden Race only has one winner, the 5-year-old Ringa Ding Ding. Certainly it ticks most of the boxes, ex-Paul Nicholls trained, good hurdle form and now in the yard of the Cottenham maestro Alan Hill. The only question mark revolves around his jumping skills. However dig deeper and there are a few others that might just spring a surprise. Rapaport won a modest 2 mile pointing bumper back in April this year and has subsequently performed well in a couple of Amateur Rider Pointing bumpers at Aintree and Stratford. The question is does he have the stamina for a three-mile race and can he jump? Celtic Symphony learnt his trade initially in the Irish pointing field but more recently racing between the flags in and around the Borders. He showed considerable promise on a couple of occasions interspersed with off-loading his rider – now with Martin Ward this one should give a good account of himself. Captain Cuckoo was bought out of the Irish pointing field having had one run when coming second in a Maiden at Cragmore. Lightly raced last season he does have the benefit of a recent run when a running on second to Dragon de la Tour in an Open Maiden at Wadebridge. Dublin Indemity has also benefitted from an outing this season but it was only in a short maiden and he was well beaten by the O’Shea hot-pot Mr Snuffles. Will have come on for the race but a few questions still to answer. Farran Dancer blotted his copybook when getting the second fence all-wrong at the first Cottenham meeting earlier this month. Will have been extensively schooled since then but probably needs a clear round to regain confidence. Worthapunt, like many others in the race, was bought out of the Irish pointing field. He had three runs up to May 18 when coming a running on 2nd in a 3m Maiden at Ballyndenisk. Has been out this season but slipped up at Clifton just after the third fence so that race was a bit of a non-event. However the outing might have put him just right for Cottenham. Whilst the Hill horse is probably going to win it will likely be odds-on and we prefer to look for better value, which may be found with a modest investment in Captain Cuckoo or an each way punt on the aptly named Worthapunt!
Selection: Captain Cuckoo Alternative: Worthapunt
2.30 Open Maiden (2m4f) – 18 entries
As many as ten of the entries in this race have been entered in the previous race so we shall make no further comment on them here, we can only hazard a guess in which race they may compete. A few here do have some encouraging form and probably none more so than Hot to Trot. Was 2nd here to Captive Island in early December but beaten by 10 lengths. A further seven lengths back in 3rd was Linkenholt who weakened quickly at the last. With quite a lot of rain in the past week we would anticipate that the going could be slower and therefore would not expect the positions at the finish be any different. Does it in Style is an ex Skelton entry who has not run in points previously. Showed a modicum of form over Hurdles when 4th at Doncaster in January this year, last time out was 8th at Newton Abbot, difficult to judge on this form. Signed and Sealed appeared at Larkhill in late November but finished a long way back in 6th and will have to improve greatly to clinch this one. Tiger’s Song is difficult to judge, was 2nd to Whiskey Moon at Kingston Blount in May but this was a very moderate race of six runners and at the end of the season. Josh the Plod is an interesting recruit to the pointing world. Came from the Andrew Balding yard where did finish 3rd on three occasions but all on the flat. Had its first outing in points last April when finishing 2nd in a race of twelve runners to Heated Debate at Higham. The winner has since gone on to win a Restricted and Intermediate in quick succession.
Selection: Josh the Plod Alternative: Hot to Trot