Preview: Essex with Farmers and Union meeting at High Easter on Saturday April 6th  

By Mike Ashby                                                                                                    

Point-to-Point enthusiasts will head to the delightful High Easter racecourse on Saturday (first race 1pm) with the prospect of seeing seven live races and in the knowledge that they will not miss a bit of the action of the Grand National. The big Aintree race will be screened live on a large screen, after the last point-to-point race, to ensure the whole afternoon will be action packed from start to finish. With a large display of various trade stands, catering outlets, beer tent and gigantic funfair the racecourse takes on the distinct feel of a country show and the organisers, in past years, have been rewarded with a large attendance.

The meeting will be the first one run under the new guise of Essex with Farmers and Union and the prestigious Warwick Vase will be presented to the winner of the Ladies Open. Dont Do Mondays connections will have the chance of retaining this coveted prize having won the race last season. A very praise-worthy performance in the Cheltenham Foxhunters, at the recent Festival will give the 12-y-o an outstanding chance to win again. The Turner family have entered two of their horses, namely In Fairness and Kriss William and they would be thrilled to win the Warwick Vase, again, having had seventeen successes in the past, the last being in 2016.

The Nick Wright/ Archie Wright, father and son/ trainer and jockey combination have over recent years enjoyed a fair share of success at High Easter and have Almost There and Burtredgipandgump entered with live chances. The latter will look to supplement his course win three weeks ago in the PPORA Club Members’ Conditions race which will be run over the shorter distance of 2 ½ miles. Summer Sounds is in cracking form and has notched a hat-trick of wins this season at Horseheath, Chaddesley Corbett and Brafield. With course winner Blackwood Rover and the unbeaten, this season, Chapelier also amongst the entries, it is difficult to name the winner from the sixteen named entrants. Almost There was a close second at the last High Easter meeting and the mare, in receipt of a 7lb allowance, could start the day in winning fashion for the Wright partnership in the opening Restricted race although Law of Gold could be the danger.

The extended 3 ¾ mile Club Members’ Conditions race will require a thorough stayer to run all the way to the winning line. Mahlers Spirit is in good heart whilst Back Bar could give Henrietta Cranfield her second career win after the pairing raced to victory here, three weeks ago. Zeroeshadesofgrey had an unfortunate F against his name after a mishap at Fakenham and his jockey Charlie Buckle, for one, will see the extended distance of the race, to its conclusion.

The Intermediate event sees another entry for Blackwood Rover who could come up against Laser Beam, already a winner at Higham and Ampton earlier in the season.

Platinum Ben failed to overhaul Laser Beam at Ampton but has gone on to win since at Penshurst, so another close finish is anticipated.

The Open Maiden boasts an entry of seventeen and whilst Broadwater and Icallherkaytee have been there or thereabouts in recent outings the biggest cheer of the day would ring out if Sandygate could go one better, on his second to Racing Eagle at the last meeting, and give the hard-working Marriage family a well deserved success on their home course.

The concluding Hunt Members’ race at 4.35pm has been dominated by owner/ trainer Nigel Padfield over a number of years and currently has won the event for the last eight seasons. Nigel has a choice of five entries on Saturday, on what is his local course, to keep this fine record going.

After the enthralling prospect of the above seven races, attention will switch to the large screen when the spectacle of the Grand National will unfold on what should be another excellent occasion, all taking place in deepest, rural Essex.

Watering has been taking place all week at the High Easter racecourse which is situated eight miles north west of Chelmsford and set in a picturesque location, to the south of the village of High Easter. ( Sat Nav CM1 4QL )

Admission: Adults £15 (Children under 16 Free )

Best bet of the day……….arrive early.