Saturday February 19th 2022

12.00 Conditions – 22 entries
Conditions races seem to be attracting quality fields this season and today’s opening race is no exception. Anyone who watched How To Get Away demolish a quality field in the Intermediate race at the previous meeting here could not fail to have been mightily impressed and on that showing will surely be odds-on to repeat the success. The only question mark will be the ground which, with the amount of rain forecast, will probably be on the heavy side. With that in mind it might be sensible to look for alternatives and The Oak Partnership’s other runner, King of the Clothe certainly seems to have had no problems in the past coping with the wetter conditions. The only doubt is the lack of race fitness and whilst a good showing is expected in the hands of Gina Andrews, he might just come on for the race. Dragon D’Estruval never quite cut the mustard after moving from Gerard Macaire’s French yard where he had some success, to Nicky Henderson. He does however seem to have taken to pointing very well but he might also find the going just a tad too challenging. Lord Scoundrel, at 13, is a wise owl and being owned and trained by Graeme McPherson will certainly not be running to make up the numbers. If ridden by the most capable Lily Pinchin this combination will be a threat to the selection and a market check might be wise.
Finally, Alan Hill’s entry, Clondaw Westie. The race-record this season hardly inspires confidence in this field but heavy ground will not be an inconvenience to this Westerner 11 year old and this is a solid each way bet. On balance How To Get Away stands out as something special and providng he handles the ground should repeat his success of the 29th January – Clondaw Westie looks the best e/w bet and is a strong reserve.

Selection: How To Get Away                  Alternative: Clondaw Westie

12.35 Maiden – 26 entries
A high number of entries for the Maiden race and there is every chance that this will be divided on the day. Out of the unraced horses, on breeding, we like Mr Vango over Rustic Lad but would expect both to come on for the experience. Phillip Rowley’s pair, Forest Chimes and Francesco Du Clos, are both starting to look exposed and are vulnerable to an improver. All Shook Up is an interesting contender on his pointing debut but maybe just watched on this occasion. Don’t Ask Fitz ran a promising race on debut finishing 2nd over 2m 4f, he was keeping on well all the way to the line and the step up in trip looks sure to suit. Every Minute is making his debut for Tom Ellis, he has run three times in Ireland. Not beaten far on his pointing debut he then disappointed on softer ground next time out, he then ran an eye catching race finishing 4th in a Bumper, beaten less than a length and could easily be up to winning this. Flashy Kate, placed at both Horseheath meetings this year; can she make it third time lucky? She appears to go well in any conditions so any additional rain should not be a problem. She was very unlucky not to win last time out when running a bit green at the finish and is likely to improve for the experience of racing and is a solid contender. It would be a welcome winner for the Andrew Pennock yard.

Selection: Flashy Kate    Alternative: Every Minute

1.10 Ladies Open – 12 entries

Of the 12 entered, the main protagonists appear to be the Tom Ellis trained General Arrow up against the Alan Hill nominated runner out of his three entries Back Bar, Hawkhurst and Normofthenorth together with the chosen representative from trainer Sara Bradstock, either Myth Buster or Southfield Theatre. General Arrow beat Myth Buster by 2 lengths at Higham in January with the latter following up with a hunter chase success, at Musselburgh. The veteran Southfield Theatre is still very consistent having won three times already this season and stays forever. Of the Alan Hill entrants, Normofthenorth tried to lower Fumet D’Oudairies colours at the last Horseheath meeting, going down by 2 lengths, which was no disgrace. Back Bar and Hawkhurst will always be there or thereabouts with the latter being 10 ¾ lengths adrift of Fumet D’Oudairies, here, in December. General Arrow had plenty in hand when scoring at Higham and the only possible doubt could be the ground conditions having always performed best on good ground or better. If Tom and Gina declare him in Saturday’s conditions, that will be a good enough pointer.

Selection: General Arrow     Alternative: Southfield Theatre

1.45 Mens Open – 9 entries

At nine years of age, Tullys Touch and Dragon d’Estruval are the youngsters entered for the men’s open race on Saturday and if both take up the option are leading contenders to win. Tullys Touch is likely to be reunited with leading rider Will Biddick who has travelled from the West Country to partner him on each of his outings this season, winning at Ampton on his seasonal reappearance and then following up around Horseheath. Dragon d’Estruval, who also holds an entry in the opening conditions race, won at the first time of asking this season at Larkhill, easily beating Blackwater Bramble. A return to that track failed to yield a victory, but he did finish strongly to claim second place behind Sixteen Letters. Sir Mangan, now 14 years of age, has served Ben Sutton well over the last three seasons, either winning or finishing second in all their runs. Last time at Ampton, Sir Mangan won the Veteran horses race ahead of Wounded Warrior, who won next time out at Duncombe Park and his consistency could see him in the thick of the action.

Selection: Tullys Touch              Alternative: Dragon d’Estruval

2.20 Intermediate – 14 entries

The forecast is dictating that the track is going to favour soft ground specialists. Cave Queen won the Revesby Park Maiden back in Nov but the ground will be against her even with a 7lb allowance. Fiddler of Dooney from the Owen yard was 7l staying on 3rd on this track in Dec but with no substantive soft ground form and a 5lb penalty he may struggle here. For Rita 2nd on this track in the Jan Novice Riders has won on good to soft but will carry a 3lb penalty. Killinkere from the in form Ellis yard ran 8l 2nd to Fier Jaguen just beating Fiddler of Dooney but on firm ground in the Jan Higham Int so may struggle to make the frame. Lagonda won the Larkhill Restricted in Jan on good ground but has a soft ground Maiden 20l win in Jan. 2020 Veteran Lords Park Star carrying a 10lb penalty may find that is just too much for this track and ground. 5yr Outlaw Dream from the Rowley yard has run to a 25l Maiden win and a 30l back in 2nd Restricted run this season on softish ground and a 5lb advantage will help. Highest rated (111) Rebel Dawn Rising from the Kemp yard has experience at this level with an unchallenged 9l Int. win at Garthorpe in May but with a 7lb penalty the testing track and ground may tell. 4th run this season for The Big Sting from the Barber yard and possibly Will Biddick up – Maiden and Restricted wins and 2nd in the Chipley Park Int augers well for a strong run. Voie Dans Voie from the Hill yard ran 24l 4th at this track in the Jan. Int. but with again a 5lb penalty and soft ground may prove too much. A really hard but hopefully competitive race to call.

Selection: The Big Sting               Alternative: Rebel Dawn Rising

2.55 PPORA Club Members Conditions (Novice Riders) – 11 entries

An entry of 11 for this closing novice riders contest. Mr Love is owned and trained by Nick Pearce and was a decisive winner here on New Year’s Eve when beating Bawnmore by 25L with a possible rival today, Groundunderrepair a further 20L away in 3rd. Groundunderrepair is a previous course winner, that win came in February 2020 when he beat Way Back Then by 30L. Fox Valley from the Tom Ellis yard won the novice rider’s race at Ampton last month when defeating Earlshill by 4L. Minella Friend from the Phil Rowley yard has to give weight to all his rivals, on his previous run he was 4th at Ampton beaten 27L by Tully’s Touch in the mens open. Perpignan from the James Owen yard was 4th here at the previous meeting when beaten 13 ½L behind stablemate Clondaw Rigger. Cave Queen won the restricted at Revesby Park in November by 1L from Ballymac Boy to give her owner/trainer/jockey Luke Humphrey his first winner. She faces a difficult task today to follow up however. Captain Bucks is a previous hunter chase winner and is serving as a schoolmaster for Freddie Gordon. He has been placed a few times this season and could again run into a place. Monkey Puzzle could make his seasonal debut today, he’s a half brother to the useful chaser Presenting Percy and a two time winner under rules. It’s very hard to get away from Mr Love given his decisive win here previously so he is our selection ahead of Fox Valley who is our alternative.

Selection: Mr Love           Alternative: Fox Valley

Race 1: How To Get Away / Clondaw Westie
Race 2: Flashy Kate / Every Minute
Race 3: General Arrow / Southfield Theatre
Race 4: Tullys Touch / Dragon d’Estruval
Race 5: The Big Sting / Rebel Dawn Rising
Race 6: Mr Love / Fox Valley