THE SUFFOLK HUNT – AMPTON                                                                Sunday March 3rd 2024

1.00 Club Members Conditions

Rebel Dawn Rising has won five of his eight points, and also has a Hunter Chase win on his cv. He landed a Garthorpe Open last season and had the Queen’s Cup Hunter Chase at his mercy when decanting his rider at the last on Easter Monday at Fakenham last season. He ended the season with a runner-up placing behind Cheltenham festival winner Premier Magic at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase meeting. He is the one to beat under his 5lb penalty. Coolagh Park has bumped into strong opposition in his runs this year. Lightly raced for his age, he gets in with no penalty. The Unmentionable is an eight time winner in points, and this consistent performer should make the frame.  Trojan Star (3rd), Myplaceatmidnight (4th),Chapeler (7th) and Koyote (fell 3 out), all competed in the same race at the Dunston Harriers meeting here in January Koyote would probably have finished 3rd had she completed, she wasn’t suited by the sharp track at Higham when PU next time, so a return here will suit. However, she has an 8lb penalty to contend with.

Selection: Rebel Dawn Rising                          Alternative: Coolagh Park

1.35 Restricted

The combination of King and Comley give Burtown a positive vibe but following his Maiden win at Alnwick on heavy ground the step up in grade only yielded a 3rd in the Feb. Friars Haugh Restricted but he may struggle in this company. Frontieres Lad has his 3rd run and a 4th in the Milbourne St. Andrew Restricted does not impress following a pu at Larkhill in Dec. but he stayed on well to win his Maiden on his last run in 2023. Highland Glory from the Hill yard pu on her only run this season the run and a 7lb allowance will help but maybe one to watch. An impressive Maiden win in the Jan. Horseheath Maiden gives Main Stage from the Ellis yard place prospects helped by an 11lb. allowance. First run of the season for the Turner’s Mister Splash with a 3rd in the Dingley Restricted last May following a finishing alone Maiden win in the 7 runner High Easter Maiden on soft to heavy ground so track and ground in his favour. Mount Pleasant from the Wright yard catches the eye following an easy 12l Restricted win at Higham over Ocojohn but negatives could be his 5th behind Paper Mill in the Jan. Restricted on this track and the 5lb. penalty. Another with 5lb. extra is Occupied from the Comley yard who won the Restricted on this track in 2020 but was an outpaced 3rd in the Jan. Larkhill Restricted. Padjoes Legacy from the Padfield yard pu in the Restricted on this track in Jan. behind Paper Mill but a positive is the 12l Restricted win over Serenisa at Aldington in May on soft/heavy ground but a 5lb. penalty doesn’t help. First run of the season for Hill’s Serenisa who will be helped by a 7lb allowance and placed on 4 of his 5 runs last season. 10yr. The New Kid from the Peter’s yard struggled with the ground and a 5lb. penalty on his Restricted run at Sherriff Hutton in Jan. but will have come on for the run and last season’s form indicates a place finish.

Selection: Main Stage                         Alternative: Mount Pleasant

2.15 Ladies Open

We have another potential exciting, blanket finish to this race, as witnessed here in January. Tullys Touch and Precious Bounty finished 2nd and 3rd respectively with Buachaill Dana back in 5th place. The winner, Captain Biggles, who had been unbeaten at the time in his five previous races, had 3 lengths to spare over Tullys Touch with Precious Bounty a further ½ length adrift. Twice an Ampton course winner, Precious Bounty has not run since that January race whilst Tullys Touch, who can boast five course successes, has had a second outing this season when 6th  in a strong Mixed Open at Horseheath. Neither will be far away if renewing their acquaintances in this race. No Hassle Hoff won what became a match when beating Bawnmore at Horseheath, two weeks ago. The Tom Ellis-trained entry, Champagne Noir is Ellie Holder’s ride and they were victorious, together, on four occasions last season. The partnership has been placed on both their starts this campaign, beaten 2 lengths when runner-up at Larkhill in December and 5 ¾ lengths when placed 3rd at Garthorpe , a month ago. No Hassle Hoff pulled up in the Garthorpe race on his seasonal debut.

Selection: Precious Bounty               Alternative: Champagne Noir

2.45 Mens Open

Red Maple and Raleagh Flora are the only two horses that have won a race so far this season.  Red Maple won the “Novice” Rider’s race around this course in January defeating Jonjoela by six lengths and then went to Charing for his next outing in the Men’s Open race where he encountered Raleagh Flora who was making his seasonal reappearance.  In the front rank throughout, Raleagh Flora stayed on strongly to win eased down by four lengths.  This continued his fine form from last season which culminated with defeat by a head at the hands of Captain Biggles in the “Restricted Final” Hunter Chase at Stratford.  Chief Black Robe unseated in a Maiden around this course last year and failed to win a point but was transformed during the summer whilst in the care of Fergal O’Brien, winning four races under rules as well as a couple of placings.  Reverting back to points, this will be his first run back this season. In the spring of 2022 Francesco du Clos won three races and was runner-up in a further two.  Last season he reappeared on New Year’s Eve in a Conditions race at Horseheath, finishing a close fourth to Koyote, but that was the last time he has been seen on a racecourse. The Turner Family have a choice of running either Janika or Take To Heart both of whom will appreciate the better ground conditions, course specialist Tullys Touch holds an engagement in both this race and the Ladies Open.

Selection: Raleagh Flora                    Alternative: Red Maple

3.20 Open Maiden

Ask Carla needs to put a disappointing performance behind him when a beaten favourite last time out, weakened quickly and was pulled up. On his previous performance he was second and if he runs to that level he will be hard to beat. Ilitch is having his first start in a Point to Point. He has raced in three NH bumpers running twice in Ireland and once in England where he has shown potential, finished third in his last race when looking the winner. He ran keen enough in heavy ground and tired in the final furlong, needs to settle better and prove he can jump. May be best watched on this occasion. Miami Magic has his first start for Dale Peters after running in two Point to Points in Ireland, showed a satisfactory level of form on his second start when finishing ten lengths fourth. He has another entry over the weekend over a shorter trip so it will be interesting to see where he turns up. Top Man Tom has improved with each start this season. He was in the process of running his best race and in contention when unseating at the last staying on well and looking like the winner. Needs to improve his jumping as he lost lengths and eventually unseating. It shows he has ability to get back into contention and with a clear round he holds a strong chance.

Selection: Ask Carla                           Alternative: Top Man Tom

3.55 Club Members Conditions (Novice Riders)

Three of the 8 entries of these are previous course winners: Buachaill Dana, Knight Bachelor and Monkey Puzzle. Monkey Puzzle won here in March 2022 when he beat Perpignan. On his run here earlier in the season he was 3rd to Red Maple beaten 9L but was 12L ahead of Knight Bachelor who finished 6th. Monkey Puzzle disappointed next time out at Horseheath last month when he could only finish a well beaten 6th behind Muckamore and seemingly acts better at this venue. Buachaill Dana won here in January ‘23 when he beat Sum It Up with Monkey Puzzle behind in 4th. Buachaill Dana has most recently been running in Ladies Opens but will find this race much calmer waters and Seb Mead who rode him to victory here last year is back on. Knight Bachelor’s win here was in March 2020 and he’s not won since May 2022 and he’s been beaten a minimum of 17L on his 3 starts this season. Ryan’s Fancy represents Max Comley’s stable who boast a very good strike rate this season. He was a winner at Larkhill in late January when ridden by James King and he beat Montanna. This would appear to be rider Rebekah Bell’s first ride. However Ryan’s Fancy pu on his latest start at Horseheath last month. Shoal Bay finished 4th on first outing this season when going down by 18¾L to The Composeur at Cocklebarrow in January. One of the horses to finish behind him that day was Muckamore who won the Novice Rider’s race at Horseheath last month and we would expect Shoal Bay to come on for the run. Creadon Grae was 3rd on his first start this season at Horseheath when going down by 22L to Jonjoella in January on his rider Alice Richmond-Watson’s first ride. Knight Bachelor was 4L behind in 5th. Experience counts for a lot in these races and we will side with Monkey Puzzle to bounce back from a poor run at Horseheath and his rider Mary Ashby is one of the most experienced rider’s here. Buachaill Dana is our alternative ahead of Ryan’s Fancy who although top rated has to bounce back from a poor run last time and has an inexperienced jockey aboard.

Selection: Monkey Puzzle                 Alternative: Buachaill Dana

 4.30 Hunt Members

 Five entries but a pair apiece from both the Stearn family and the Turner family so a field of more than three is improbable and Trojan du Berlais, the one entry from outside the Stearn/Turner axis, is head and shoulders the most likely winner. This five-year-old Irish import, who showed little in two pointing starts in his native land last year, has produced two fine winning efforts at Horseheath since joining the Andrew Pennock yard, with a number of his victims subsequently franking the form, so it would be no surprise if the phrase ‘can you believe this horse once ran in an Ampton hunt race’ gets uttered a couple of years down the line when Trojan du Berlais is running to a decent level under rules. Cereal Killer is his most likely opponent, as the other three entries all have alternative engagements on the card, but this 12-year-old has singularly failed to live up to the promise he displayed when landing two West Country points in 2017 and has pulled up in his last five outings. Mister Splash did at least manage a minor win between the flags last term and is preferred to the other Turner representative, Atlantic Fleet, who will be having his first run for the yard having twice finished fourth in maiden hurdles for Evan Williams. September Fields, who won two fast ground points in 2019 but has pulled up in all of his appearances since then, rounds off the quintet.

Selection: Trojan du Berlais                              Alternative: Mister Splash


Race 1: Rebel Dawn Rising / Coolagh Park

Race 2: Main Stage / Mount Pleasant

Race 3: Precious Bounty / Champagne Noir

Race 4: Raleagh Flora / Red Maple

Race 5: Ask Carla / Top Man Tom

Race 6: Monkey Puzzle / Buachaill Dana

Race 7: Trojan du Berlais / Mister Splash