THE ESSEX AND SUFFOLK – HIGHAM
FRIDAY APRIL 15th 2022
2.10 Hunt Members – 6 entries
With so many meetings over this very busy weekend and multiple entries, declarations will be a lottery but on paper a competitive race. Chapelier from owner/trainer John Whyte seems to have lost the winning ways of 2019 with 4 straight wins, unplaced to date this season but with the experienced Alex Chadwick up a frame finish is possible. Fox Valley from the Ellis yard was a t.o distant 2nd to Fiddler of Dooney in the High Easter 3m 6f Conditions race last weekend – will she run so soon after a stamina sapping race but a 7lb. allowance will help. Rob Cundy’s Josh The Plod was 8l 2nd to Bon Calvados here in Jan. on what was similar ground and is the form to note. Veteran Knight Batchelor from the Hill yard won the Kingston Blount Members Conditions race in March and could show this form again and warrant the highest rating in the race. Another Hill entry and veteran is The Brassmoulder 30l back in 2nd to Pont Aven here in Jan. and the ground and track should suit in this less competitive field but a p.u. on his last run at Badbury rings in Feb does not inspire confidence. The other Cundy entrant 9yr. Walk in Milan was 10L 2nd to Salute the King in the High Easter Maiden last weekend an improvement on his previous 3 p.u. and a refusal indicates a watching brief but may not run so soon.
Selection: Josh The Plod Alternative: Knight Batchelor
2.45 Owner-Trainer Conditions – 8 entries
In what promises to be an interesting race the unusual conditions have attracted entries from far afield not least of which is Blair’s Cove from the Cotswold Vale Hunt based in Gloucestershire. Probably in need of his first run this season the horse will have surely come on for the race and should give a good account of himself especially if in the hands of James King. By Presenting so, normally, fast ground would not be a problem – if running could be hard to catch. The Kendrick Family have a wealth of talent under their wing both in the form of horses and riders! Whilst Max pursues his career riding under rules, he also is turning his hand to training for his mother and First Drift, also from Gloucestershire, represents the family today. Last time out he had to play second fiddle to the Warner/ King combination Ahead of the Game so all players will know where they stand. Perhaps the probable fast going will not be so appreciated by First Drift so the state of going will play a very important role in the likely result. Nick Wright is double handed with Forever Field and Oval Street. The 12- year-old Forever Field was probably a tad disappointing last week at Fakenham but there is no doubt that the undulating course does not suit all horses. His neck defeat by Tully’s Touch at High Easter 12 months ago was on fast ground and it may just be that the likely fast ground is playing into his hands but he is 12 and perhaps the young pretender, Oval Street will turn out to be the star for the day. His comfortable win in the Restricted at Fakenham last week looks good form as he took a number of promising scalps. In the case of both horses the biggest question will be if the race has come too soon. At Fakenham Oval Street won comfortably and we suspect he’ll be back for more this weekend. The surprise package may be the Turner’s representative. Most of us who have followed pointing back to the wonderful days of the Turner family’s dominance in East Anglian racing will remember that it always used to take a couple of races before their horses ran to their best – in this case both horses have run three times and arguably have improved with each run. Aigle de La See has failed to complete on seven occasions during his eleven-race career between the flags but his most recent runs have given cause for optimism. This race may cut up in which case the Turner family could just find themselves in the winner’s enclosure. Finally, Always on the Run, owned, trained, and ridden by Connor Baker, has been seen on three occasions competing in East Anglia this season. Last time out he was a well beaten second to Perpignan at Fakenham – just as with Oval Street whilst not winning he had a few good scalps behind him so with the partnership having an increasingly good understanding of one another could be in there fighting. This is hard to call largely because of who is likely to turn up. We think, if running Blair’s Cove should take the spoils but Oval Street could just be in there fighting in a close finish.
Selection: Blair’s Cove Alternative: Oval Street
3.20 Mixed Open – 8 entries
In Foreign Secretary, we have one of the most regally bred horses in training, being a son of Galileo out of the British and Irish 1000 guineas heroine, Finsceal Beo. With little success prior to this season, Foreign Secretary has found his metier winning both his starts in British points, a men’s open at Howick, followed by a ladies open race at Penshurst last Sunday where he beat Monkey Puzzle. In opposition there is Southfield Theatre, who has won five races this season prior to being gifted a walkover at High Easter last Saturday, which brings his number of wins this season to six. Just Cause also added to his winning tally with a walkover last weekend, his being at Penshurst. Prior to this Just Cause had won a Veteran horse conditions race at Parham beating Cheltenham Mati by by 10 lengths on his first start in ten months. General Arrow made a successful return to action this season in January, around this track, beating Myth Buster by 2 lengths. An outing at a rain drenched meeting held at Horseheath was disappointing, but he returned to form on the better ground at Fakenham, leading throughout to beat No Hassle Hoff by 8 lengths. Both Back Bar and Desire de Joie ran in the Cheltenham Foxhunter, but both were pulled up. Prior to this Back Bar had won a hunter chase over 2 ¾ miles at Leicester beating Hotel du Nord, whilst Desire de Joie, who had also run in a hunter chase, finished 2nd to Dolphin Square at Doncaster.
Selection: Just Cause
3.55 Club Members Conditions (Level 1) – 8 entries
This race has two entrants who gave their respective riders the first success of their careers. Azzuri made it a memorable day for Heidi Palin in a novice riders contest at Higham in January and the pairing followed this with an unchallenged victory at Maisemore Park, in a 2mile 5 furlong owner/trainer Conditions race. Perpignan led throughout at Fakenham, a fortnight ago, to record a first-ever win for joint owner Emma Freeman and with that confidence behind them they could be up for a tussle for the lead. Fiddler Of Dooney was not over-stretched to win at High Easter last Saturday whilst Foreign Secretary is in good fettle with a Ladies Open win, last week, at Penshurst and holds an alternative option in this race, to the Mixed Open.
Selection: Azzuri Alternative: Perpignan
4.30 Conditions (Level 2) – 12 entries
The Brassmoulder pulled up on his previous appearance at Badbury Rings in February but hailing from the Alan Hill yard he can’t be dismissed in this contest. He was 2nd here in January when beaten 30L by Pont Aven. He also holds an entry in the hunt race earlier so may take his chance in that. Oval Street is a previous course winner this season when landing the maiden in January by 10L from Wireless Operator. He won on his latest start at Fakenham when beating Allo Allo by 5L in the restricted. Ego Des Mottes was 4th in this race 40L adrift of Oval Street. Forever Field like Oval Street is trained by Nick Wright. He was 4th on his latest start at Fakenham when going down by 26L to Mammoth in a conditions race. Longhouse Sale is due to be ridden by Gina Andrews for her father Simon. He’s been placed on his last two starts including a 3rd at Fakenham earlier this month when beaten 9L by Perpignan in a novice rider’s race. Take to Heart has finished 2nd on his last two appearances but one of those was a match against Tully’s Touch when going down by 30L at Ampton and then two weeks ago he finished 12L behind Early Retirement at Fakenham. Captain MC won a two runner restricted at Penshurst last Sunday when beating Robin Is Ready by 30L so may not appear so quickly afterwards. Josh The Plod was placed on his first two starts this season including a 2nd here in January when going down by 8L to Bon Calvados, however he pulled up on his latest start at High Easter last month. We will go with whatever Nick Wright runs as our selection ahead of The Brassmoulder in this race.
Selection: Nick Wright’s Runner Alternative: The Brassmoulder
5.05 Maiden – 9 entries
Nine entries for this competitive Maiden where nothing can be ruled out. An interesting newcomer from the James Owen yard in Ghostship ridden by Alex Chadwick who looks to hold every chance. Benny Flies High was a moderate Hurdler but has been placed twice in point to points. He was leading until the last fifty yards last time out at Penshurst, Higham looks likely to suit and the quicker ground looks ideal. Fubar is an exposed Maiden after nineteen attempts but does hold decent form to his name, he appears to struggle with his jumping as has unseated in two of his four point to point runs, nevertheless he has ability to win a race if his jumping holds up, only beaten a neck last time out. Some Boy Mccoy
is still a Maiden after seventeen outings but has shown ability in point to points finishing 2nd three times, he is another that finished 2nd last time out and looks to be suited to this quicker ground and easier track.
Selection: Benny Flies High Alternative: Ghostship
Race 1: Josh The Plod / Knight Batchelor
Race 2: Blair’s Cove / Oval Street
Race 3: Just Cause
Race 4: Azzuri / Perpignan
Race 5: Nick Wright’s Runner / The Brassmoulder
Race 6: Benny Flies High / Ghostship