THE WAVENEY HARRIERS – HIGHAM
Sunday February 11th 2024
12.00 Owner-Trainer Conditions (Level 3) – 7 entries
An interesting opening race with the added conditions of an owner/trainer connection could be an ideal opportunity for Silver Sheen to open his GB pointing, success account. Formerly with Jessica Harrington and also Fergal O’Brien, under rules, the 10yo made a promising GB pointing debut when beaten just over 4 lengths when 4th, in a Mens Open, at Larkhill in late November. Mitchouka was runner-up in this race and franked the form when successful at Horseheath on New Year’s Eve. Josh Parker takes the ride. Chapelier will run in the colours of the Waveney Harriers secretary, John Whyte, and is a previous winner over the Higham course whilst the lightly pointed The Yellow Mini ran respectably when 4th at Edgcote. Ballymoy has been consistently placed without winning a point and will be partnered by Immy Robinson.
Selection: Silver Sheen Alternative: Ballymoy
12.35 Conditions (Level 2) – 11 entries
Trainer Max Comley and rider James King are enjoying a great early season. Recent Lord Ashton of Hyde Cup winner Oscar Montel could represent them. That race is run over 3m6f, but this ex Charlie Longsdon trained gelding has a Worcester victory at just under three miles on his CV, so should not be inconvenienced but this much sharper test. Slievegar won at this meeting last season, easily beating Josh the Plod. He went on to win a Hunter Chase at Kelso later in the season, and this is an easier contest than the two races he has run in so far this season (ran well in both). Koyoto beat Slievegar at Horseheath last season and being only 1lb worse off is weighted to come out just on top again. She was keeping, but not really looking like the winner when coming down at the third last on her seasonal debut at Ampton. Pont Aven won over C/D back in 2022, he went on to contest the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters (well beaten in both) later that season. He’s changed hands subsequently and was well beaten in his two placings last season. Polydora’s over victory in a Point was achieved over four miles at Kingston Blount. She has decent placed form over shorter, including 2m4f, so she will manage this sharper test. Shentri was a winner over hurdles and fences when trained by Dan Skelton. Now with Kelly Morgan he has no stamina issues, but last saw a racecourse in July 2022. Buzzard Trix isn’t easy to predict but was an easy winner at Tabley towards the end of last season. Captain Bucks was only just pipped under his novice rider in a Larkhill Members race last time. He’s been a grand servant but may find this a little hot. Kilbrew Boy won a two finisher event at Horseheath last year and will not appreciate the rain that is falling. Killinkere gave his Novice Rider no chance when stumbling on landing at the seventh fence at Horseheath. Gina may takeover, but he has been way below the level of form he had showed when first joining the Ellis Yard.
Selection: Oscar Montel Alternative: Koyoto
1.10 Mixed Open – 10 entries
A repeat win for Wagner in the Mixed Open race is a distinct possibility as he has been in fine form this season winning three of his four races. The winning spree commenced with a victory over Sine Nomine in a men’s open race at Alnwick, followed by a win in a mixed open race at Wadebridge ahead of Wind Tor, both races being run on heavy ground. Wagner’s third victory of the season was in a Hunt Members race at Cocklebarrow where he defeated Quickcharge. However he must carry a 5lb penalty for his two open wins this season. Castle Trump won a competitive men’s open race at Ampton but ran poorly last week at Charing and was pulled up. Both I K Brunel and Not That Fuisse had winning form in hunter chases last season. Not That Fuisse beat Moratorium at Wetherby but then found I K Brunel too good at Taunton. Both will have benefitted from their runs this season, Not That Fuisse having finished 4th at Milborne St Andrew and I K Brunel filling the same position at Ampton. The Big Lense, who won a handicap chase at Aintree in June last year, had his first run this season in a hunter chase at Taunton, but was well behind when pulled up. Slievegar, who also won at this meeting last year following two earlier outings, appears to be following a similar path running a much better race on his second run when finishing fourth to Tigerbythetail at Horseheath. An entry in the earlier conditions race may be more inviting.
Selection: I K Brunel Alternative: Not That Fuisse
1.45 Conditions (Level 2) for Novice Riders – 10 entries
A rather disappointing entry of only 10 for this novice rider’s contest and a few of these hold alternative entries on the card or at other meetings. Jockeyship is an important factor in this type of contest but the highest rated horse Oscar Montel has no rider booked thus making selection difficult. He won on his latest start at Cocklebarrow when finishing 22L ahead of the only other finisher Drop Him In last month when James King was aboard. He would have to give weight to all his rivals if taking up his engagement in this race. Poli Roi represents Tim Vaughan’s yard and must be given a strong chance if making the long journey from South Wales. He won at Ampton last month when beating Clondaw Westie by 3L. Rider Ed Vaughan has already ridden 6 winners from 38 rides in his debut season so will get every assistance from the saddle. Sum It Up has pulled up on his two outings so far for new connections this season including at Charing last weekend and is probably best watched today. Killinkere from the Ellis yard unseated his rider at Horseheath last month but could be given a chance granted a clear round. A Toi Phil finished 4th in this race, 25L behind the winner Jonjoella with Knight Bachelor a further 1L adrift in 5th. Captain Buck’s was 2nd on his latest start when going down by a Nk to Sake Of Secrecy at Larkhill late in January and is very consistent. Lords Park Star is well into the veteran stage but he’s a previous course winner. That win was in November 2021, beating The Cashel Man in a match. With no rider booked for Oscar Montel, selecting him presents a conundrum. We will go for Poli Roi and the promising jockey Ed Vaughan as our selection in this race. The consistent Captain Buck’s is our alternative after his narrow defeat on his previous outing.
Selection: Poli Roi Alternative: Captain Buck’s
2.20 Open Maiden – 12 entries
An incredibly open looking Maiden race. Tim Vaughan is responsible for three of the entries and out of them we think that Designer Destiny holds his strongest chance. She is a 10 year old Maiden and has looked a non- stayer over three miles but ran her best race last time and was over 2 1/2 miles at Larkhill when only going down by a length. As Higham is a sharper track her stamina might hold out over this easy three miles. Barry Scott has his first start for Alan Hill and returns from a year off the track. He has had one run in a Point To Point and finished second, the form has worked out well with the winner winning a Restricted and the third that day going on to win a Maiden race. Just Our Milly has ran to a decent level in two PtP Bumpers finishing second in both of them. If she can translate that form for her first start over fences she holds a chance, should be all the better for the experience. Top Man Tom held Our John on their last run by eight lengths and we do not think there is any reason for Our John to reverse that form line. We expect Top Man Tom to improve for the step up to three miles, he has steadily progressed in two shorter Maiden races and looked strong at the finishing line last time out. With normal improvement and the step up in trip he holds a strong chance.
Selection: Top Man Tom Alternative: Barry Scott
2.55 Restricted – 11 entries
A respectable 11 entries. 9yr old Above and Beyond from the local Pennock yard showed an 8l clean pair of heels to win his latest run in an Irish Maiden PtP in Oct. following a place earlier in the month but firmish ground on this fast track may find him out. Burtown from the Comley yard with 2 placed runs so far this season, his last a Maiden win at Alnwick in Dec. in heavy ground could run to a place. Highest rated (99) Caballo Diablo was ridden out well to win the 17 runner Cocklebarrow Maiden in Jan on good ground but it is 2 years since his Maiden win and has been unsuccessful in 7 subsequent Restricted races plus this time a 5lb penalty won’t help. 4th run of the season for Mini Fortune with an all out win in the Jan Cocklebarrow Maiden following 2 pu’s and with a 7lb allowance and coming on from the runs a place is possible. Mount Pleasant from the Wright yard will have come on from his 14l 5th to the progressive Paper Mill in the Jan. Ampton Restricted but may struggle in this company. 7yr old Ocojohn from the in form Vaughan yard has progressed with 2 places and an unchallenged 18l win in the Milborne St. Andrew 14 runner maiden so a place or better beckons. 6yr old Threeunderthree from the in form Hill yard was ridden out well to win the short Maiden at Cocklebarrow in Jan and was 2nd to Back It Up on this track in the April Maiden – a 7lb. allowance will help but 3m. could find her out.
Selection: Ocojohn Alternative: Threeunderthree
Race 1: Silver Sheen / Ballymoy
Race 2: Selection: Oscar Montel / Koyoto
Race 3: I K Brunel / Not That Fuisse
Race 4: Poli Roi / Captain Buck’s
Race 5: Top Man Tom / Barry Scott
Race 6: Ocojohn / Threeunderthree