THE SUFFOLK HUNT – AMPTON
Sunday March 10th 2019
1.30 Club Members Conditions – 6 entries
A rather paltry entry of just 6 for this opening conditions race and three of them, Aigle De La See, Dream Doc and Drumshambo hold entries in other races on the card. Knockedoutloaded could make his seasonal debut here. He won at Penshurst last season in the hands of Georgina Andrews when beating According to Trev by 4 L and was 2nd on his final appearance last season when going down by 20 L to Presenting Beara at Edgcote in May. This Breac represents the local yard of Andrew Pennock and has already had two outings this season, both at Horseheath including last weekend when he was 3rd to Tricky Silence, beaten just over 15L. Drumshambo ran last week at Godstone and finished 7th, beaten 50 L behind the winner Excitable Island and more would be required here land this contest. Dream Doc ran at the previous meeting here in January when she was beaten 12 L by Chosen Rose in the intermediate. Heath King is still a maiden but was 2nd in an Irish bumper in Listowel in September 2015, beaten 19L by Volvalien. He changed hands after that run but has had two lengthy absences and achieved very little in two hurdle starts in this country for Imogen Pickard. Aigle De La See represents the Turner stable here, he last ran in May 2016 when trained by Nicky Henderson. He’s a two time hurdle winner, that last win coming at Ffos Las in February 2015 when he beat Ballyrath by 10 L. Most runners from the yard need a run or two before being competitive. If fully fit on his seasonal debut then Knockedoutloaded should be the one to beat so he is our selection ahead of This Breac who could make a quick reappearance following his run at Horseheath last weekend.
Selection: Knockedoutloaded Alternative: This Breac
2.05 Intermediate – 5 entries
In the Intermediate race here at the last meeting Dream Doc finished 2nd and Allie Beag 3rd to Chosen Rose. In fairness Chosen Rose was very impressive and beat them both quite easily. Allie Beag always puts in a determined performance and has won two points and finished 2nd three times and 3rd five times, was a course winner here at the corrosponding meeting last season. Dream Doc was 2nd to Mahlers Spirit at Horseheath but there were only a three runners. Chapelier won the Maiden here at the last meeting and followed up by winning the Restricted at Horseheath next time out to the great delight of its owner, a stalwart of East Anglian racing, John Whyte. Haut Bages was 2nd to Summer Sounds in this race last season following a Restricted win at High Easter but the next two outings were somewhat disappointing. Lickety Split is the highest rated in this race having won twice at Penshurst once in 2016 and again in 2017. Last season was in with an even chance when 2nd and fell at the sixteen, the race was won by Hawkhurst. We think that John Whyte will again be on cloud nine after this race.
Selection: Chapeleir Alternative: Lickety Split
2.40 Ladies Open – 6 entries
Just the six to evaluate but still a head scratcher. Mr.Hill will only saddle one, presumably, and Laurium recovered his winning ways when scoring easily at Charing, on his pointing debut. He finished his NH career with Nicky Henderson with a dismal record of being pulled up five times out of his last six outings for the Lambourn trainer. If Laurium doesn’t compete then there could easily be a classic, small field, exciting finish between Changeofluck, Quick Oats and Sa Kaldoun. Changeof luck finished last of seven in a Leicester Hunter ‘Chase two weeks ago but had run well, prior to this, finishing 3rd at Higham. The second in this race, Poyle Thomas, has come out and won since. Best friends, the consistent Sa Kaldoun and Rosie Turner certainly gave Top Smart a fright at Higham, only going down by four lengths, so they won’t be far away. Quick Oats was well beaten in 3rd place in Laurium’s race at Charing so connections will know what they’re up against. Goodnight Vienna and Abbey Lane have a contrasting record regarding outings. The former hasn’t been seen since May last year and Abbey Lane has run four times already this season. The others make more appeal.
Selection: Laurium Alternative: Sa Kaldoun
3.15 Mens Open – 10 entries
There are 10 entered for the men’s open, with several established performers amongst their number. The prevailing dry conditions may entice the connections of Broken Eagle to venture to Ampton again this season and seek a fourth consecutive victory, following victories at Ampton and Higham (two), in which he beat Call Me Vic in the most recent race by an easy 3 lengths, but Broken Eagle would have to shoulder a 12lb penalty in this race. Locally trained Chosen Rose would be stepping up in grade should she take up this engagement, and she would be seeking a fifth consecutive victory (three last season and one this season). Her victory this season was around this course in the intermediate race where she beat easily beat Dream Doc and Allie Beag. Unlike last season when winning on debut, Quick Oats was well beaten by the useful Laurium in the ladies open at Charing on his seasonal reappearance. Conkies Lad stayed on past beaten rivals to finish second to Full Trottle in a 2 ½ mile hunter chase at Lingfield on soft ground on his first start of the year, whilst Dandan has been runner-up in his last two starts at Higham behind Poyle Thomas and behind Local Show at Ampton. Green Winter, the winner of the four miler at the Radnor and West Hereford point to point held at Cold Harbour for the last three seasons, clearly relishes a test of stamina. He ran four times last season, winning two and finishing second in the other two. His placed effort behind Pink Eyed Pedro at Bredwardine saw him finish ahead of possible rival Black Valentine.
Selection: Green Winter Alternative: Broken Eagle
3.50 Restricted – 6 entries
Only 6 this time!! Age of Heroes from the Kemp yard will have come on from his Charing run and will have every chance of a frame finish. Black Frost won his Maiden on firm ground with 21lb advantage in May and will still have 4lb. this time but weakened to a 36L 6th in the Larkhill Restricted in Feb and will need to improve here. Laser Beam from the in-form Pennock yard took the Higham Maiden comfortably from Josh The Plod in Feb on firm ground and should be the one to beat here. Placed 5 times from 14 runs under rules with the Powell Oakidoaki is now with the Stearns and could make the frame on his Pointing debut. One for the short list is Padfield’s Platinum Ben was 8L 2nd in the recent Charing Restricted to Latenightpass and will have come on from the run. Top Garry 16l back in the Chaddesley Corbett Dec Restricted and will need to improve to score here.
Selection: Laser Beam Alternative: Platinum Ben
4.25 Open Maiden – 7 entries
Could this be the first race of the season where there are no finishers? This may seem a strange way to start a Pub Team review of a race but the form of the 7 entered is pretty uninspiring and exacerbated by a number of the participants needing racing experience to improve fitness. Perhaps the one horse, which might surprise is The Turner Family’s Quietly. Formerly one of leading owner Trevor Hemming’s string and trained by Sue Smith it had a pretty average National Hunt career but seemingly always ran its best race first time out after a break. This one could be ready for Ampton. Oakidoaki performed better under rules and if fit might find pointing an easier option to get into the winner’s berth but we think he may need at least a couple of runs to gain race fitness. Farran Dancer has not exactly set the world on fire this season, parting company with Dickie Collinson at the second fence first time out at Cottenham and four weeks later pulling up when well beaten on the same course. This one might have come on for the experience but there are obvious doubts. The Kalanisi 6yr old Kingsley has performed under rules but a 55l 14th (albeit in a reasonable race) again does not inspire confidence and his one run between the flags last season ended at the 15th at Guilsborough when he was pulled up. As a member of the Pub Team it is our task to select a potential winner and reserve – we have a sneaking suspicion that Quietly might just take this race and at least Farran Dancer has had some experience this season so may last out if the going isn’t too sticky with the forecast heavy rain over the next couple of days.
Selection: Quietly Alternative: Farran Dancer
5.00 Hunt Members – 6 entries
The rain dances have yet to work and such a shame given all the work the officials put into this track. This hunt race traditionally draws a small field and it looks to be the same this year. Rupert Stearn is jocked up on no less than 4 for the 6 entrants so much will depend on which he rides. And it is conceivable we will get 3 runners. The Turner yard would surely be keen to win their ‘home’ Members race but if Stage One runs they may be up against it. None have had a run yet and that could be decisive. Aigle de la See used to be with Nicky Henderson and was a winning hurdler rated a highest of 127 but not having run since May 2016 it would be a great training performance to win 1st time. Haut Bages is still only 7 and has potential to improve. He wasn’t not disgraced in 3 runs last year although he failed to win. Andrew Pennock had a very good record at his local track and he has Somme Boy entered here. He won the Restricted at Higham in January on quick ground but the undulations of Ampton offer a different test. Stage One could be the one to beat from the powerful Alan Hill yard. He shouldn’t want for fitness on his seasonal debut. Interestingly, Stage One had Haut Bages in behind when 2nd at Garthorpe last season and he seems adaptable in terms of ground so should take all the beating.
Selection: Stage One Alternative: Somme Boy