By Mike Ashby

Higham racecourse looked splendid in the warm, February sunshine for the Waveney Harriers meeting where honours, on the day, were even with three winners apiece for East Anglian connections and those entrants from outside the region.

There was a minute’s silence, prior to racing, in memory of jockey Keagan Kirkby, who tragically lost his life in a racing accident, in Kent, the previous weekend. A moving tribute was given by Stephen Howlett, Chairman of the East Anglian Point-to-Point Association.

The locally based successes came courtesy of The Big Lense (Mixed Open), trained in Newmarket by Jenny Owen and Mount Pleasant (Restricted), owned and trained by Nick Wright at  Badlingham on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border. Anthony Humphrey who shares stables with his wife Sarah at West Wratting, near Haverhill, saddled Sum It Up (Novice Riders) to complete the trio of East Anglian winners.

Newmarket’s Alex Chadwick was the successful jockey on the first two named winners who were  both given classy rides. The Big Lense had three other rivals to contend with and it was Castle Trump and Charlie Buckle who were determined to employ front-running tactics, from the start and there were only three lengths covering all four runners as they went out on their final circuit. At the cross fence, four fences from home, I K Brunel and Izzie Marshall were asking all the questions with Chadwick and The Big Lense stalking them all the way until a perfectly timed run, was undertaken, by the winning partnership. This tactical victory was sealed, when jumping into the lead at the last and they prevailed by a length at the winning post. There was a positive move for the winner, in the betting ring, just before the ‘off’ and Jenny Owen’s The Big Lense was backed down to evens favourite, from 3/1.


Chadwick completed the double in the concluding Restricted contest when Mount Pleasant consolidated his seasonal, opening run at Ampton, when 5th, to give owner/trainer Nick Wright another success making it 3 wins from 5 runners, this season. Ocojohn and Edward Vaughan went off favourite but finished ten lengths behind the winner who was described by his partner as “impressive” with no doubt more improvement to follow. These two successes brought Chadwick’s total for the season to four and he has several weeks ahead, with some promising rides, to build on this total.


Sum It Up was partnered by Josh Parker, who was riding his 3rd winner of his career and he rides out at the Humphrey’s yard, twice a week. The West Wratting trainers have always pursued a policy of encouraging young riders who are associated with their yard and in this instance Parker was deputising for Sum It Up’s owner, Belinda Rose, who was unable to take the ride, owing to an on-going ailment. This was a tidy performance by 9yo, Sum It Up, who had been pulled up on his two previous outing this season.


The ‘visitors’ winners started in the opening Owner/ Trainer Conditions race when Silver Sheen landed the odds giving Lee Moulson his first -ever winner. The long day for connections started at 3.30am and then a long journey down from Drointon in Staffordshire, which resulted in joyous scenes in the winners’ enclosure when Silver Sheen returned with Huw Edwards, the successful jockey. Silver Sheen, known as ‘Sean’ around the yard, had some reasonable form under rules, was gifted to Lee, by the previous owner, back in September. He was entitled to go off favourite after his  performance at Larkhill in November when 4th, beaten only 4 lengths, in a Mens Open. The Higham venue is no stranger to Lee who had ‘led up’ many times in the past and when questioned if he would re-visit, in the future….a resounding affirmative !


Shentri and Ellie Callwood were dominant in the Conditions contest for Leicestershire-based trainer Kelly Morgan having taken a commanding lead four fences out, with their rivals toiling behind. The odds-on favourite, Koyote and Gina Andrews, her only ride of the day, were  outpaced on the final circuit and eventually pulled up, leaving KIlbrew Lad and Polydora to pick up the places, at best, some 20 lengths behind the winner. Winning jockey Miss Callwood post-race summary “ I looked round, in the straight and it was a pretty good sight. He jumped unreal, taking a length out of everyone at his fences and made no mistakes”


A close fought Maiden race went to Prohus Yank, trained in Shropshire by Heidi Brookshaw and ridden by Tommie O’Brien. The biggest field of the day, numbering nine, were all still standing when going out on their final circuit and at the final open ditch Shanes Passion, Midnight Mystery and Designer Destiny were vying for the lead. The latter then made significant progress to lead two out but coming with a well-timed challenge was the eventual winner who had ½ length advantage at the finish over his Welsh-based, Tim Vaughan trained, rival who led the betting market, at the off. This was only Tommie O’Brien’s third visit to Higham and his first success and his comments afterwards were “ I preferred to be further back in the field, switched off, and the application of the hood had relaxed his mount”

A really enjoyable day’s racing and full credit goes to Higham’s Clerk of the Course,  Bill Gilchrist and his team for having the course in superb condition. 


Photographs courtesy of Graham Bishop Photography