Sunday January 27th 2019

12.00 Open Maiden –9 entries


A modest entry of nine runners and yet again it is a former National Hunt maiden that is the highest rated in the field. Former hurdler Ballintara did not exactly set the world alight but this Getaway gelding is nicely bred and might prove more at home in the pointing world although a 4th fence fall in his first ever race before he went off on a hurdling career, namely a 2m 4f maiden at Charing, hardly inspires support.  Josh the Plod looked the likely winner when unseating Charles Buckle two from home in a short maiden at Cottenham earlier this season. He had run well last season at Higham when 2nd in an Open maiden and would seem to be the one to beat.  Long Mile Road has had plenty of chances without getting his head in front although he does have the benefit of a previous run at Larkhill when a remote fourth in a race littered with casualties. Rather like Long Mile Road – Winola has had plenty of chances but seems to find winning a race outside her capabilities whilst Flaggen has been off the course too long to warrant confident support.  Former Irish pointer Spring Cover took a little while to find her feet last season but did end her racing with a promising second place in an Open Maiden at Brafield. From the successful Gerald Bailey yard this one is bound to be fit and should be on the short list.  The one who could cause an upset is the 6 year old Bullsempire. Just one run between the flags in Ireland this one could be anything and with the magic dust which Pennock seems to sprinkle on these modest Irish imports it might well be worth a small investment.

Overall we feel that with the benefit of a run under his belt Josh the Plod should come out on top with Bullsempire as our second string.


12.35 PPORA Club Members (Novice Riders) – 10 entries


Only 10 entered for this novice riders contest and four of these are entered in other races on the card. William Humphrey looks a jockey with a bright future and it would be no surprise to see him join the professional ranks in the not too distant future. He is jocked up on two here, Legend To Be for his mother Sarah, and Kingston College for Caroline Fryer. Legend To Be won his maiden here in April 2017 so acts on this track. He is a three-time winner and will appreciate the ground conditions predicted. Kingston College won his final two races last season in the hands of Kate Gowing. He is another who will appreciate the conditions underfoot. On his final start last season, he beat Oliver James at Northaw by 10L in a novice riders race.  Weather Warning finished 3rd on his seasonal debut at Cottenham last month when he was beaten 12L by Hawkhurst with Legend To Be well behind in 9th place. Ballybough Gorta won here last season when he beat Midnight Cowboy by 6L in April. Ballybough Gorta finished 6th on his seasonal reappearance at Cottenham last month behind ZeroeshadesofgreyOne Fine Morning is now in to the veteran stage but he won here last season when accounting for Nightscape by 7L. If tuned up for his seasonal debut, we expect him to run well. Another well in to the veteran stage is Abbey Lane but he is a two time winner at this venue so can’t be ignored. Abbey Lane pulled up on his seasonal debut in the ladies race at Cottenham early last month. Killabraher Cross is a two time winner under rules but has failed to complete on his last four outings including in points. His last win coming at Plumpton in April 2016 when he beat Nouailhas by 1 ¼ L in a 2 mile chase. GI Jayne is a winner of a 2 ½ mile mares hurdle when trained by Dan Skelton at Southwell in April 2018 when she beat Visage Blanc by a head. Weather Warning ran well on his seasonal debut at Cottenham and he’s our selection here just ahead of seasonal debutant One Fine Morning.


Selection: Weather Warning                              Alternative: One Fine Morning


1.10 Restricted – 7 entries


Only 7 entries and what will be a firm track. 101 rated and will surely be odds on 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 at Cottenham in early Dec in the short Maiden but rather disappointing in the late Dec Cottenham Restricted when unable to quicken and beaten 1L by Tricky Silence – will Jack Andrews be up this time? In the same race Ka Maresco was 37L back and t.o. and with no form in previous Restricteds is unlikely to trouble the judge. 5yr old Black Frost won his Maiden on firm ground with 21lb advantage in May and will still have 7lb this time – watch the market. A year out for Keen Eye but place twice in 2017 Restricted will need the run so one to just watch. Somme Boy from the Pennock yard – unimpressive Restricted form with 1 place in 5 runs. The promising 7yr old Steel The China won the short Maiden by 7L on the Sedgefield track in May and should make the frame. Stingthebookies PU in the Restricted at Cottenham in late Dec on firmish ground and then 25l back in 4th at Ampton so may struggle here.


Selection: Captiva Island                  Alternative; Black Frost


1.45 Mens Open – 9 entries


With only 9 being entered and several of them holding alternative engagements, a small field is guaranteed, let’s hope not as small as the corresponding race last season, when Broken Eagle had one opponent at the start, but was soon reduced to having a solo school for 1 ½ circuits.  On a track that suits his style of running a prominent showing is expected.  After finishing 3rd on his seasonal reappearance at Cottenham at the end of December, Broken Eagle turned out in the Mixed Open at Ampton, and duly left his three rivals for dead on the final circuit, beating Lord Topper by eased down 5 lengths.  Black Jack Rover, a £1500 purchase at the Tattersalls Ascot Sales out of the Donald McCain yard last June has already done his connections proud with two point victories, the first of which was at Howick in November beating Kings Cross by 1 ½ lengths and then a conditions race at Clifton-on-Dunsmore by 2 ½ lengths from DistimePetrou has run three times this season, being placed in all three, the latest of which was at Chaddesley Corbett, when chasing home the recent impressive hunter chase winner Hazel Hill.   In A Blue Dust was off the course for three years, but came back with a bang last season, winning a conditions race at Cottenham from Mr Syntax. He then won a similar race at Garthorpe in February, beating Merrydown Black.  At the time it appeared that the short trip of 2 ½ miles could have accounted for what appeared to be a lacklustre run at High Easter, but the subsequent victory of the winner, Caryto des Brosses at Stratford suggests otherwise.  His final outing was in a hunter chase at Fontwell where he finished 4th to Bally River BoySteeles Terrace finished his season last year in the race won by Caryto des Brosses at Stratford, finishing 2nd, 6 lengths adrift.  Prior to that he had won a 2m 5f hunter chase at Fontwell by 16 lengths from Hinxworth. Having started out a maiden at the beginning of the season, Steeles Terrace progressed through the levels, including a victory in the restricted race at this corresponding meeting.


Selection: Broken Eagle                     Alternative: Petrou


2.20 Ladies Open – 3 entries


The best statement here is “ you have to be in it to win it “ and a big thank you to those connections who have made an entry. Sand Blast is 0/7 in points and unseated Antonia Peck two out, in the Ladies Open, at Cottenham’s second meeting. This was after running 5th at Clifton-on Dunsmore a fortnight earlier but beaten 17+ lengths.  Sa Kaldoun has been a loyal servant to the Turners and Rosie Turner in particular and three of the gelding’s career wins have been recorded at Higham. Will probably need this race as a pipe-opener. Which leaves the prolific winner Start Royal, now a 15-y-o and has been the regular mount of Izzie Marshall for the last two seasons. They finished second in a Ladies Open at Wadebridge in early December, in softer conditions but will be more suited to Higham’s current surface. Another statement comes to mind “back the outsider of three”……possibly not in this case !


Selection: Start Royal                   Alternative: Sa Kaldoun


2.55 Conditions – 14 entries


As many as six of the entries in this race have been entered in the previous races so we shall make no further comment on them here, we can only hazard a guess in which race they may compete. Kingston College, Legend to Be, One Fine Morning and Weather Warning are entered in the Novice Riders Race and will have been mentioned in that race previously. In a Blue Dust and Never Complain are entered in the Men’s Open and no doubt if Broken Eagle runs in that race it’s possible that In a Blue Dust will run here.  Bertredgipandgump hasn’t won since April 2006 but has been placed four times since, did appear twice last season but could do no better than 4th. Changeofluck from the Alan Hill yard was 3rd last time out in a Hunter chase at Stratford to Garde Ville, he has won five out of six appearances in Points, twice last season late on at Hackwood Park and Kingston Blount. Had one outing under rules at Southall in June but pulled up. Hawkhurst is entered elsewhere this weekend, has won eight out of ten races in Points and if appears here is certain to be the favourite. Licety Split won a Maiden in 2016 and a Restricted the following year. In December came 3rd to Road to Rome at Clifton-on -Dunsmore, has only had five races in three seasons.  Mr Syntex won the Conditions race at this course last season in April, (horses for courses) although the competition is much harder here. Moved up in class to race at a higher standard for next two outings but achieved little. With so many dual entries and jockeys booked to ride more than one horse it is very difficult to offer a precise opinion. However we will make a quess and therefore:-


Selection: In a Blue Dust                             Alternative:  Changeofluck