Sunday 29th December 2019

11.00 Club Members Conditions– 18 entries

This race has the possibility of starting the fixture with a bang if major players run. Undisputed has the advantage of the mares allowance and a run this season after winning the 2m4f Conditions at the November meeting.  She beat a few of her possible rivals and is sure to be thereabouts.  The Nick Wright yard rarely comes away from this meeting without a winner and has Burtredgipandgump entered here; he has been a consistent performer and hardly runs a bad race.  Accord beat the high class, Alan Hill trained, The Gunner Brady on his last start last season but has a 10lb penalty here which maybe too much on his seasonal debut.  Ben Bromley showed his riding prowess when defeating Now Ben on Vivaldi Collognes at the 1st meeting here.  A new addition to his string this year is Ballykan, previously a high class NH performer for Nigel Twiston-Davies and reached a rating of 141 over fences.  He was 2nd in the Novice Riders at Barbury to Call Me Vic in a time 10 seconds faster than the other division and only 2 seconds slower than the Mens Open, whether he would prefer a stiffer test is the one thing to bear in mind but he must be respected if running here but maybe an outing in the Novice Riders might be more probable.  Laser Beam is an improving 6yo and won 3 from 4 for Andrew Pennock last season but this is a lot stronger race.  The admirable 11yo Generous Ransom ran many good races last season without getting his head in front and deserves respect.  Stablemate of Ballykan is Champagne Lilly who is unbeaten in point to points.  She did not run last season but could be a dark horse here and the Rowley yard will surely have her well primed.  The last one to get a mention is Captiva Island, trained by Alan Hill he will need to put a disappointing reappearance at Larkhill behind him.  Last year he ran twice at Cottenham yielding a win and 2nd so clearly he likes the track and could run better than at Larkhill.


Selection: Undisputed                         Alternative: Champagne Lilly


11.35 Restricted – 17 entries


A fantastic 17 entries. Looking for good/soft ground horses in what should prove a competitive race. Bonamargy had little form until the end of last season when he won the short Maiden at Mollington going on to a 2nd in the Dingley Restricted both in May with Dale Peters up and should make the frame here. Another 5yr. old with claims is Caliente from the well known Rowley yard, placed but well beaten on his only 2 Restricted runs last season. Crazy Penguin off all last season and well beaten by 40L here in Nov by Fox Valley with Maximus Maridius 8L. back in 3rd in the 3 horse Restricted but will have come on for the run. Family Man moved from the Twiston-Davies yard following no great success Hurdling and has progressed this season from a Maiden 3rd at Dunsmore in Nov to a (14 runner) Maiden win at Barbury on dead ground earlier this month and could score again here. Another with claims and having his 3rd run this season is Frank and Honest an all out Maiden win here in Nov. followed by a one pace 3rd to Neetside in the Dec. Wadebridge Restricted. Fumet D’Oudairies from the Ellis yard was the easy winner of the 4 runner short Maiden here in Nov. but the longer distance and a stronger race may find him out – a 7lb. allowance will help. Manu Cornuto, Short Maiden winner here last season but pu on 2 subsequent Restricted runs – just watch. Occupied slipped up when prominent in the April Kimble Restricted and was placed in both his Maiden runs before winning at Edgecote. Another with a 7lb. allowance – Pass Rusher a win in the Short Lark Hill Maiden in Dec. will stand him in good stead and a frame finish is possible. Phoenix Park took the soft ground Open Maiden at Wadebridge in Dec. with a 2nd here in Nov. behind Frank and Honest.


Selection: Family Man                       Alternative: Frank and Honest


12.10 Mens Open – 16 entries

A number of the entries have previously been plying their trade under rules, with the ex Paul Nicholls trained Art Mauresque heading their current BHA ratings.  Art Mauresque, with a rating of 150 was last seen in February running at Ascot in a Limited Handicap, but took a heavy fall at the 12th whilst still travelling well.  Amongst his outings earlier in that season Art Mauresque finished a close 2nd to Traffic Fluide at Ascot in the Sodexho Gold Cup Handicap (grade 3) as well as running in the Peterborough Chase behind Charbel.  However victory has eluded him since October 2016.  Ballynagour, who once was rated in the 160’s, was running in races at the very highest level, but has failed to win since 2015 when victorious in the Prix La Barka (hurdle) at Auteuil and his recent rules form has been disappointing.  He had a spin around Larkhill earlier this month, quickly building up a lead at the 12th, before falling at the third last whilst still holding a 5 length lead.  In this same race Djin Conti, a two time winner for Harry Whittington in handicap chases in the spring of this year, raced prominently, until fading in the last half mile in the race won by Earth Leader. Fixe Le Kap ran at the recent Barbury meeting, running respectably in 6th, 15 lengths behind The Dellercheckout, having previously been running over hurdles in France in early 2019. Statistical ran three times for Emma Lavelle in the spring, but the form figures do not read well, the victory amongst the “P’s” was against a sole rival that got rid of her rider at the first fence. Cottenham course specialist Now Ben possibly needed the run when just being touched off by stable companion Vivaldi Collonges back in November, and whilst he has won four times around this course, he may have his work cut-out to fend off the “rules” challengers.


Selection: Art Mauresque                  Alternative: Djin Conti


12.45 CA Club Members Conditions (Novice Riders) – 22 entries


Workbench was 2nd at the previous meeting here when going down by ½ L to Undisputed with Flugzeug, Legend to Be and Urban Storm well adrift of him on that day. That trip was 2 ½ miles but he should see out this easy 3 mile distance. The Last But One was 2nd on his previous start when going down by 2 ¼ L to Thomas Campbell in the ladies open at Wadebridge earlier this month. He has not been out of the first 2 in 9 pointing starts and merits serious consideration if turning out here. Call Me Vic won on his latest start at Barbury Castle a fortnight ago when beating two possible rivals today, Ballykan was 2nd, 2 ½ L behind with Donjon a further 17 ½ L adrift in 6th and last place that day. Ballykan was a 6 time scorer under rules when with Nigel Twiston Davies and now hails from Philip Rowley’s stable. Bletchley Castle’s final two runs last season came in hunter chases but he did win on his final pointing start when winning a 3 runner affair at Eyton On Severn in April by 40 L from Fair Exchange. Little Windmill was 2nd on his pointing debut at Barbury Castle two weeks ago when going down by 3 ½ L to Trojan Star in a division of the novice riders race.  Now well into the veteran stage, One Fine Morning has been a great servant to the Clover family, he has won 4 times for them, 3 of those wins coming at Higham. On his only start here in December 2017 he was 4 ¾ L 3rd to In A Blue Dust. Generous Ransom was very consistent last season until his final start at Garthorpe where he pulled up in the mixed open. He makes his seasonal debut today and is probably best watched. Minerfortyniner is another who could make his seasonal debut today. He ran under rules last season but didn’t achieve much and will appreciate this return to pointing. Emerald Chieftan was 5th at Larkhill early this month. 29 L behind Earth Leader in the men’s open. On his final rules start in May 2019 he won a 2 ¾ mile handicap hurdle at Kelso by 2 ½ L from Farlam King when trained by Rebecca Menzies. A trappy contest to call but The Last But One has a promising jockey booking in Fergus Gillard and he is our selection just ahead of Workbench who ran very well here at the previous meeting.


Selection: The Last But One                             Alternative: Workbench


1.20 Ladies Open – 11 entries

One can expect a fast and furious pace with a few possible contenders vying to land the prize. Nantwich trainer Joseph O’ Shea likes to make his visits to Cottenham pay (literally!) and has entered two from his yard. Ravished won decisively here in November but just failed to repeat a winning performance at Larkhill, beaten a length. Irish Anthem ran creditably, after a year’s absence, at Alnwick beaten five lengths.  Harriet Tucker has been named, on both, for the ride, so expect only one stable representative to compete. The grey Celtic Silver, twice a winner at Cottenham and has been partnered by Gina Andrews on all his seven point wins. They completed three of those successes last season after surprisingly falling in their first outing and partnership will be ready to add to their Cottenham record. Stage One finished 3rd in Ravished ‘s race at Larkhill but you discount any Alan Hill entry at Cottenham, at your peril. Top Smart is certainly in the veteran stage but has an incredible consistency when running. Has never had an outing at the Cottenham course, so others might have the advantage in this respect.


Selection:   Joe O’Shea’s chosen representative         Alternative : Celtic Silver

1.55 Open Maiden – 24 entries

At first glance an entry of 24 for the Open Maiden looks exciting but look deeper into the numbers and we see there is a massive warning as no less than 14 of the runners are also entered in the final race.  There is also the possibility that if many of the horses stay their ground we will have a split race as the safety factor may come into play. Sticking out is the Don Cantillon owned and trained Huntsmans Jog. Having raced prominently on 5 occasions under rules, all at stayers courses the short Cottenham track might just bring out the best.  After an encouraging first start between the flags when 2nd in a 2m4f Maiden Breaking the Ice pulled up in another Short Maiden at Eyton and connections seemed to pull up stumps on this interesting 4 year old by Frozen Power. The Nimmo/Poste combination is a good one and if choosing to run in this race must be considered.  Happy Larry has already had a run under his belt this season when a strong finishing 3rd in a 3 mile Open Maiden at Larkhill. The short Cottenham course might not suit this dour stayer but he will be fitter than many and may spring a surprise.  Another with a run under her belt is Mrs Davies destined to be ridden by Champion Will Biddick. Seemed to come to the end of her run a couple of furlongs from home in a race run under atrocious conditions – this was a hard slog over the full distance and the shorter Cottenham track may suit so again another for the short list. Ringa Ding Ding also has a race under his belt when finishing a close up fourth in the 3 mile Maiden at the last Cottenham meeting. It remains to be seen if he has come on for the race but punters should watch the market. We’ve kept away from young Irish pointers that have run well in May and June – whilst this is only a personal judgement they usually seem less well equipped than those that have run well during the Winter months. The final pick is Quinta do Mar from the Philip Rowley yard – slightly unusual as this one is already a winner having picked up a Point-to-Point flat race in April at Bitterly. Seemed to win with plenty in hand but this was only 2 miles and a subsequent appearance in an Aintree bumper saw the 4yo finish well down the field. Bound to have been well schooled this Califet gelding could be something special in the long term. Readers are strongly advised to visit the paddock to look at the runners and also to watch the market for any strong activity.


Selection: Happy Larry                      Alternative: Mrs Davies


2.30 Open Maiden (2m4f) – 22 entries


As mentioned in the previous race 14 of the entries here are also in the previous race and hence those mentioned will not be considered here. Until the day and declaration are announced we have no idea in which owners will decide upon. Benefaktor was placed 2nd twice in Ireland, missed 2018, last time out 2nd of four. Now with Ellis/Andrews team so will be interesting to watch this one. Bold Gesture has seven outings under rules in Ireland, best was 2nd in 2018 at Naas, showed very little in other races. I Will Follow Her is from the Phillip Rowley yard and on only outing was 2nd at Barbury last Feb to Equus Gold, expect further improvement, will not be far away. Josh the Plod is perhaps ably named, was pulled up at this meeting last year and had four outings at Higham being 2nd on two occasions in small fields, let’s hope can go one better soon but probably not today. Morning Smiles from the Pennock yard is an interesting one, fell at the last meeting here in November and previously to that was 3rd of 4 at Garthorpe. We are sure that Andrew will have improved the performances so keep an eye on the betting. The Golden Rebel, following two disappointing outings at Hereford Ptp course and Barbury last spring, improved to finish 2nd at Garthorpe to Way Past Midnight. Two Florins was introduced last spring and ran on 3 occasions, so far seems one paced but at least completes and may improve. As mentioned, it is very difficult to know which horses will run in which race so it’s a total guess, but we will take I Will Follow Her and Benefaktor. This should be the end of a fabulous days racing so le’ts hope it is as good as it looks from the entries.


Selection: I Will Follow Her     Alternative:  Benefaktor