PUB TEAM PREVIEW
THE WEST NORFOLK and NORTH NORFOLK – FAKENHAM
Sunday April 23rd 2023
2.00 Conditions (Veteran and Novice Riders) – 12 entries
It’s hard to fathom that this is the last meeting of the East Anglian season and this Veteran and Novice Rider’s contest has got a mixed bag amongst the dozen entries. Tom Ellis has two entries, both due to be ridden by the capable Ellie Holder. Al Shahir PU on his latest start at Garthorpe in February when sent off a warm favourite. Previously he had been 3rd behind the Cheltenham Foxhunters winner Premier Magic beaten 20L also at Garthorpe earlier that month. Bawnmore won on his latest start at Garthorpe under Jack Andrews he beat Sugar Baron by 8L over a trip of 3 miles 6 furlongs. He had won at Horseheath in late December when ridden by Ellie Holder when beating Twilight Girl by a nk with Soldier At War a further 6L behind in 3rd. Soldier At War was placed on his first three starts this season but has failed to complete on his last three starts and others make more appeal. Also double handed is trainer Jenny Gordon and both her charges are due to be ridden by Molly Landau, one of the leading lady novice riders this season. Commanche Red was 2nd at Higham on Good Friday 6L behind Peacocks Secret in the Mixed Open. Knight Bachelor PU in that race. Highway One O One is the other Jenny Gordon entry. He’s been in the first two on all his starts this season, latterly at Charing in February when going down by a hd to Latenightfumble in a Ladies Open. Prairie Town won at Higham on Good Friday when landing the Novice Riders race from Muckamore who won last weekend at Edgcote. The winning margin at Higham was 1L with both Take To Heart and Soldier At War PU in this race. Another trainer double handed is Tony Humphrey but it’s hard to see either veterans Dancing Shadow and More Bucks troubling the judge unless the race cuts up badly. This is quite a trappy race to call with some trainers being double handed but although he has to give his rivals at least 5lbs we will take Highway One O One as our selection ahead of recent Higham scorer Prairie Town.
Selection: Highway One O One Alternative: Prairie Town
2.35 Conditions (Level 3) – 9 entries
This could produce an intriguing match up between two progressive pointers. Captain Biggles has plenty of placed form under rules, and having run into a useful sort when beaten at Chaddesley on his pointing debut he’s landed his next two starts at Garthorpe and Brafield-on-the-Green in comfortable fashion. Mountain Assault is lightly raced for a 9yo, but he’s landed his last 3 outings, spread over two seasons and beat a decent sort when winning last time at Dingley. On a form line through Champagne Glory it gives an advantage to Captain Biggles. Tekap is consistent and was only beaten just over 2 lengths in a Level 3 contest for older horse at Kimble over Easter. Dickie Diver has run well at two Cheltenham festivals in the past. He’s been far from easy to train, but ran well for a long way on his penultimate start, and this is a drop in grade from the Hunter Chase he contested here on Easter Monday. Craigmor has won 3 chases. He’s been bumping into some useful types when performing mainly consistently for a trio of novice riders since going pointing on this side of the Irish sea. The other entries need to show much more than they have been so far this season to get involved with the principals.
Selection: Captain Biggles Alternative: Mountain Assault
3.10 Restricted – 5 entries
The last Restricted in E.A. area and following a walkover in last weekends High Easter Restricted only a very disappointing 5 entries here! It will be the 5th run of the season for Doctor Tom who won the Feb. Higham Maiden unchallenged on fast ground but 2 subsequent runs saw him struggle on softish ground in the higher grade so the ground and company may go against him. Flashy Kate from the Pennock yard won a match race Maiden at Horseheath in Feb. but was t.o. and p.u. in his March High Easter short Restricted run so trip and this company may be an issue. Mossy Be Lucky with Jack Andrews up will need to up his game following a win in the Jan. Ampton Maiden Div. 2 as subsequent Restricted runs showed him rather one paced in the higher grade but softer ground will be in his favour. 6yr Mount Pleasant from the Wright yard took the Parham Maiden in March comfortably by 8l but then p.u. when weakening in the April Kimble Restricted so the up in grade may be too much. First run of the season for the Hill yard’s Tres Francais who showed promise last season with a comfortable Maiden win at Barbury and a Restricted 2nd at Charing but a p.u. in the Kingston Blount Restricted was his final run of last season – will he get back to his early form of last season?
Selection: Mossy Be Lucky Alternative: Tres Francais
3.45 Mixed Open – 15 entries
Clara Sorrento has an entry in both the Mixed Open and the ROR & Jockey Club Veteran Horse race and connections will be looking to the grey to add to the record the horse, already, holds for this season, namely unbeaten in his last two races. The Ellis’ entry, General Arrow, lost out to Peacocks Secret at Higham but his overall record is praiseworthy, 10 wins from 22 whilst Ellis’ other entry Al Shahir, if side-stepping the opening contest, has obvious claims after not being disgraced behind the subsequent Cheltenham Foxhunters winner, Premier Magic at Garthorpe in early February. Just Cause never got into the race at Higham and was pulled up. Oval Street came out second best to the useful Ballinagore at Higham on Good Friday whilst Santon has performed well in two hunter ‘chases at Leicester, winning one in February but fell, when held, on his latest outing at Shelfield Park last month. Myth Buster and Southfield Theatre hold entries in this race and the Veteran Horse event, for the Bradstocks with the latter showing no sign of racing lethargy at the age of 15. Myth Buster’s jumping can be chancy whilst Southfield Theatre’s exemplary winning record stands at 17 points and one hunter ‘chase with 2 victories in points accumulated this season.
Selection: Al Shahir / General Arrow Alternative: Oval Street
4.20 Veteran Horse Conditions – 14 entries
The series of veteran horse races are becoming increasingly popular, with this edition attracting fourteen entries. With a total of 17 victories to his name and at the age of 15, Southfield Theatre epitomises the reason this type of race has become a success. A 10lb penalty would have to be defied should he participate but Southfield Theatre is in good form having won a Level 3 Conditions race over Easter at Cothelstone. Prior to this Southfield Theatre was the easy winner of a Mixed Open at Larkhill, having been runner up on his first two outings this season. Stable companion Myth Buster was also in action at Cothelstone, but was beaten ¾ length into second place by Macklin in the Mixed Open race. A winner this season in a 4 miles Mixed Open race at Kingston Blount, Myth Buster participated in the Cheltenham Foxhunter but unseated his rider at the last fence someway down the field. Clara Sorrento gave High Easter a miss due to the overnight rainfall, but now holds an entry in this race and the Mixed Open race. Following a pipe-opener at Garthorpe in early February when finishing 5th to One For Rosie, Clara Sorrento has won his next two races, back at Garthorpe to win a Level 2 Veteran Horse Conditions race and then at High Easter when accounting for Diplomate Sivola in a similar race by an easy 15 lengths where the ex Gary Moore and Gordon Elliot trained A Toi Phil finished 3rd. Commanche Red has finished runner-up in it’s last three outings, most recently in the Mixed Open race at Higham, six lengths behind Peacocks Secret, in which Knight Bachelor was pulled up and In Arrears showed improved form when finishing 3rd behind Master Templar at High Easter last weekend.
Selection: Clara Sorrento Alternative: Myth Buster
4.55 Maiden – 8 entries
Not the most competitive of races to end the Point to Point season in East Anglia. We imagine that seven out of eight will still be Maidens this time next year. With little form of any note to go on it makes it very tricky to form a solid opinion. We will start with Maskadam. After running a solid race at the first Horseheath meeting his form looks to be getting worse. He has been placed on his last two starts but admittedly well beaten. Lord Pethers is another who ran a solid race first time out but on his next outing he never jumped with any fluency making several mistakes before finally unseating the rider. He will have to jump better round this sharp track, or he could end up with another letter next to his name. Vango Vick ran nine times in Irish point to points running his best race on better ground. He had his first start in England for Nigel Padfield at Higham and raced prominently but then weakened in the straight and finished fourth. If it stays dry we think he holds a strong chance.
Selection: Vango Vick Alternative: Maskadam
Race 1: Highway One O One / Prairie Town
Race 2: Captain Biggles / Mountain Assault
Race 3: Mossy Be Lucky / Tres Francais
Race 4: Al Shahir or General Arrow / Oval Street
Race 5: Clara Sorrento / Myth Buster
Race 6: Vango Vick / Maskadam