THE WAVENEY HARRIERS – HIGHAM
Sunday February 12th 2023
12.00 Owner-Trainer Conditions (Level 3) – 11 entries
This familial conditions contest has garnered 11 entries to start proceedings. Azzuri is a previous course winner, that win came in January 2022 when he beat Net d’Ecosse by 25L with Chapelier a further 3L away in 4th that day. He’s been pulled up in his two starts this season but they were both in Open races. This is a drop in grade. On his final start last season he was 2nd in a Stratford 2 mile Hunter Chase, beaten a neck by Across The Line. The very capable Heidi Palin is booked to ride. Chapelier was 3rd on his seasonal reappearance at Ampton last month when going down by 11L to last week’s Ladies Open winner Twilight Girl. Cheque En Blanc was a further 14L behind in 6th place this day with Sending Love pulling up in this race. Cheque En Blanc was sent off favourite on his pointing debut at Horseheath on New Year’s Eve but finished a distant 4th this day in a Novice Rider’s race. Sending Love is a two time rules scorer but has failed to complete on his previous three starts. Oval Street was a two time course winner last season, on his final pointing start he beat Ego Des Mottes here in April by 12L. He fell on his final outing in a Stratford Hunter Chase last season when weakening. Graasten was 2nd in a Kelso Hunter Chase on his final start last season when beaten 9L by Steely Addition. He pulled up in July in a Worcester Handicap Chase for the current connections. Janika is a four time winner in his native France and boasts one win in the UK for Nicky Henderson. That win came at Exeter in a Grade 2, 2 mile Chase when ridden by Daryl Jacob in November 2019. Runners from the Turner yard usually need a run or 2 to hit peak fitness. Orion D’Aubrelle is a two time winner. One win in France and one in Ireland when trained by Willie Mullins. However he failed to trouble the judge when trained by Shark Hanlon and is probably best watched here today. We will side with Azzuri as our selection today as he’s dropping down in grade and will make two time course winner Oval Street our alternative.
Selection: Azzuri Alternative: Oval Street
12.35 Conditions (Level 2) – 12 entries
Champagne Noir was sent off favourite at Revesby Park at the end of last month, but got rid of his talented owner-rider after an early blunder. This winning chaser is likely to be better suited to this flatter track. Soldier Of War finished third in that Revesby event. That was a little disappointing after a good seasonal debut when third at Horseheath on New Year’s eve (Debece was well behind). Debece took a couple of runs too reach his form this season, but won by a wide margin at Cocklebarrow at the end of last month, and will be well fancied here, even though lumbered with a 10lb penalty. Conrad Hastings was rated 143 was contesting a race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018. He’s managed just one run since, when pulled up in a Wincanton Hunter Chase. In a good yard, it would be a fantastic training performance to have him spot on this afternoon. Frisco Bay (ex J J O’Neil) is a winning hurdler and chaser who could make the long journey from Wales for trainer Luke Price, whose winners played a big part in James King winning last seasons men’s riders championship. More Buck’s won 3 points in 2021, and has also landed 6 wins under rules. He’s under new ownership now. Josh The Plod has won 3 points, and doesn’t live up, or maybe down to his name. He may find this company a little too hot though. Knight Bachelor and General Custard filled 3rd and 4th behind Vango de Vaige at Revesby last month. A five time winning pointer Knight Bcahelor is better than he showed on that occasion. Morning Vicar won 2 chases when trained by Nicky Henderson, he rather lost his form latterly, but was rated as high as 133 at his peak. He seems to produce his best when front running, and would be a danger to all if getting back near his best. Rock On Rocco ran an excellent race when 4th at Ampton in the Mens’ Open last month. A 3 time winning chaser, he’s expected to be better suited by this less demanding course, and gets in here unpenalised.
Selection: Rock On Rocco Alternative: Debece
1.10 Mixed Open – 10 entries
Only ten entries have been made and although some have entered elsewhere, we could still have an intriguing contest if half of them declare. Wagner and Rock on Rocco met in the Men’s Open at Ampton, their first runs of the season. Wagner came out on top finishing second to Midnight Cowboy, whilst Rock On Rocco finished just over four lengths behind in fourth. On the same card Twilight Girl won the Veteran Horse Conditions race, and then supplemented that win with an easy victory last Saturday in a match against Hawkhurst in the Ladies Open at Horseheath. Pont Aven, a stable companion of Twilight Girl, won around this course last season, before turning out in three Hunter Chases, winning the first of these at Ludlow beating Ludlow regular Bletchley Castle, before being outclassed in the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters. His return to action at Revesby Park was disappointing and may need another run to regain his zest. Captain Buck’s was winning races for Freddie Gordon last season. This season whilst still in the care of Jenny Gordon, Captain Buck’s is providing Molly Landau with opportunities and they enjoyed a good start with a promising fourth place at Larkhill behind I K Brunel. General Arrow beat Myth Buster around Higham on his seasonal reappearance last season, and followed up with two further wins, both being achieved when the going was quick at Fakenham and Lockinge.
Selection: General Arrow Alternative: Wagner
1.45 Intermediate – 7 entries
An interesting affair which could come down to race-fitness as only two of the entrants have faced a starter, this season. Slievegar, trained by Phil Rowley ran a very respectable 2nd, beaten 2l, behind Koyote, at Horseheath, on New Year’s Eve. The winner won again last weekend and Slievegar will have the competent skills of Toby McCain-Mitchell steering his mother’s 7yo gelding. Whiskey For Jack, the other who has had two runs has been disappointing in his outings, so far, this season. Josh The Plod and Oval Street have alternative entries, earlier on the card with the latter winning on two occasions at Higham, last season, including a success first time out for trainer Nick Wright’s entrant. There is a possible fitness doubt over Josh The Plod which leaves an opportunity for Bonmargy to be considered on his success at Kingston Blount last March and his preference for easy trips. Santon goes well for Meisha Micklewright, the partnership having won twice last season whilst Phil York’s Happy Larry’s pointing form does not match up to the others’ standards.
Selection: Oval Street Alternative: Slievegar
2.20 Open Maiden – 9 entries
A small select field for the Maiden race. Jay Bee Whiskey is very lightly raced for an 8 year old, he was a beaten favourite on his British pointing debut which wasn’t the most competitive of races. He needs to improve to hold a chance and prove that he can handle the quicker conditions. Lord Pether’s has his first start for Tom Ellis. He was tailed off in two National Hunt Hurdle races and pulled up on his final start under rules. However he must be respected coming from these connections and could find the improvement to win at his first attempt over fences. One to watch could be Taita Sunrise, her trainer Andrew Pennock has his team in great order and has won with similar types in recent weeks. Our only concern is that she has disappointed on quicker ground three times now. Dash Full Of Cash has been placed in his last four Point to Points and has strong enough form to win this, he ran his best race on quicker ground and the return to a flat track can only
be seen as a positive, he is a very big framed horse so he might not be risked if the ground is very quick.
Selection: Lord Pether’s Alternative: Dash Full Of Cash/Taita Sunrise
2.55 Restricted – 7 entries
Yet another EA Restricted with disappointing entries numbers, but a few are evenly rated so hopefully a competitive race on what will be firmish ground. The veteran 10yr Courtly Love on her last run was ridden out well to win her short Maiden at Garthorpe in June but will little previous form so one to watch here. Da Boy Charlie from the Hill yard won the April Kimble Maiden comfortably by 8l giving a stone to Ellis’s Thunder N Lightnin but the ran a distant 4th in the January Larkhill Restricted so there is form there and he will have come on for the run and could be placed in this company. Le Pogues Storm weakened and pu in the Dec. Chaddesley Corbett Restricted and should have come on for the run but form shows a 10l 2nd here in Nov. 2021 on firm ground so a possibility. Another Hill entry is Mythical Prince who comfortably beat Da Boy Charlie in the short April Kingston Blount Maiden but no Restricted form and pu in the Nov. Larkhill Restricted so possibly a grade and distance issue. 11yr veteran Touch Tight from the York yard has his first PtP run but comes with little rules form and should come on for the run but is best watched here. Another PtP debutante Vermilion Cliffs with Irish NH and flat experience but no form so one to watch. Whiskey for Jack with 5 placed runs in Restricteds last season has run twice this season but with a pu and 7th in the Dec. Chaddesley Corbett Restricted has yet to find his form of last season.
Selection: Mythical Prince Alternative: Le Pogues Storm
Race 1: Azzuri / Oval Street
Race 2: Rock On Rocco / Debece
Race 3: General Arrow / Wagner
Race 4: Oval Street / Slievegar
Race 5: Lord Pether’s / Dash Full Of Cash / Taita Sunrise
Race 6: Mythical Prince / Le Pogues Storm