THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY UNITED HUNTS CLUB – COTTENHAM
Sunday 17th November 2019 (Going currently Good to Soft)
12.00 PPORA Club Members Conditions (2m 4f)– 16 entries
A creditable entry for the opening race of the East Anglian season of 16, bang on the safety factor. Trainer Alan Hill has a tremendous strike rate at this venue and any horse he sends here is worthy of full respect. Hawkhurst is one of his possible representative’s here. He is a dual course winner but all his wins have been over the 3m trip and this abridged trip may not suit. He won here last December when beating Gallox Bridge by 7l with a possible rival Weather Warning 5l further adrift in 3rd. Weather Warning is now well into the veteran stage and although consistent, other younger rivals make more appeal. Captiva Island also hails from the Alan Hill yard. He won the 2½ mile maiden at the early December meeting here last year and also won at Higham in February when beating Stingthebookies by 3l. All Tangoed wins have been around 2½ miles so he will have to be on the short list. His final win last season was at Edgcote in May when he beat Midnight Monkey by 4l. Undisputed was placed 2nd on all his completed starts last season and represents the powerful combo of trainer Philip Rowley and jockey Alex Edwards. He was beaten 4 lby Princely Player at Hereford Point to point course in April on his penultimate start. Numbercruncher is now 13 but did win his members race last season when scoring by a neck from Global Power at Eyton On Severn in May. Bertimont missed last season but was previously in the yard of Dan Skelton. He won 5 times under rules and now represents the powerful Tom Ellis stable so check the betting as a guide to his chances. Captain Kissinger won a 2 mile Ludlow hurdle in October 2018 when beating Carouse by ¾ of a length but has been well beaten on his most recent outings. Pearls Legend is a 7-time winner under rules but hasn’t run since June 2018. Tasty Ginger is a 2-time rules scorer when trained by John Jenkins. Allbarnone is a 2-time rules scorer and represents the yard of Caroline Robinson and will be ridden by her daughter Immy. He last ran in August and his last win came at Cartmel in May 2018 when he beat The Tourard Man by 2 ¼ lengths. Hawkhurst would look to be the premier runner from Alan Hill’s stable and given their great record here is our choice for this despite all his wins being over a longer trip. Tangoed specialises over this trip so we will side with him as our alternative.
Selection: Hawkhurst Alternative: Tangoed
12.35 Mens Open – 10 entries
Cottenham stalwart Now Ben appears amongst the entries for this years renewal, hoping to retain the trophy for connections following last season’s victory over Just Cause, his fourth win around this track. Now Ben followed this with two further point victories and three second places, two of which were in Hunter Chases around Ludlow at the hands of Arthur’s Secret (entered in the ladies open) and Virak although well beaten in both. Cloudy Joker returned to the track in May following a 3 year absence, finishing 2nd to Chu Chu Percy at Cold Harbour and then went one better in a conditions race at Tabley beating Fair Exchange. A final outing in the ladies final at Stratford saw him blunder away his chances at the last whilst in contention. It is possible that Cloudy Joker could take up the option of the ladies open. Zeroeshadesofgrey won a competitive novice riders race around this track last season, just holding off Vivaldi Collonges by ¾ length. Zeroeshadesofgrey went on to finish 2nd in a hunter chase at Fakenham before winning a match race at Horseheath, whilst Vivaldi Collonges won novice riders’ races at Didmarton and Parham. Blackwood Rover stepped up last season winning a 2 ½ mile restricted at High Easter and then a conditions race at Garthorpe. Horizontal Speed has been off the track since winning a 2 mile 5 furlong men’s open back in 2017.
Selection: Now Ben Alternative: Cloudy Joker
1.10 Ladies Open – 10 entries
As always, we can expect a fast and furious race to settle this Ladies contest. Arthur’s Secret holds top-rating, understandably, with 8 wins from 11 in points and 4 from 6 in Hunter ‘Chases. Any Gina Andrew’s possible mount, in a Ladies Open, has to be respected and entered here are two trained by Gina’s husband, Tom Ellis. The chosen representative, on the day, from Al Shahir and Bertimont could be the one to give Arthur’s Secret a proper race. Ravished is consistent but might find Cottenham too sharp and the same applies to Mercers Court, who has joined Caroline Fryer’s stable from Neil King’s. His race record would indicate that the gelding is more at home over an extended distance. Cloudy Joker, who after a three-year break joined the current stable of Max Comley, from Donald McCain but does appear to take chances with his jumping. Alan Hill’s entry Great Link missed all of last season having won on his pointing debut at High Easter in March 2018, in his only appearance that season. Can’t look any further than Arthur’s Secret.
Selection: Arthur’s Secret Alternative: Tom Ellis’ chosen representative
1.45 Restricted – 4 entries
A rather sad 4 entries which is the same as 2018. Early Restricted races seem not to encourage entries. Crazy Penguin off all last season so no real form to assess – watch the market for pointers. 6yr old Fox Valley from well known E. Anglian connections will probably go off favourite with a 7lb. advantage – over from Ireland and a 6L Mares Maiden winner at Kinsale in June 2018 on good ground then 2nd in this race last season with a pu at the next Cottenham and off for the remainder of the season so possibly now back from injury. Maximus Maridious an unchallenged Maiden win as a 4yr old in 2015 then 2 Hurdle placings but nothing spectacular – off all last season so another to watch the market for pointers. Mr Snuffles 25l winner in the Nov. 2018 short Maiden at Eaton Hall but no further runs in 2019 and should make the frame.
Selection: Fox Valley Alternative: Mr Snuffles
2.20 Open Maiden – 10 entries
Well here we go again the 2019- 2020 point-to-point season gets under way and sadly that’s the most positive aspect of this race review. Normally the Open Maiden consists of numerous former NH horses who’ve failed to get their heads in front over a number of years and a motley collection of dour triers from the point-to-point field who are going to have another bash at winning a Maiden race before drifting into retirement. But what is on offer today? Ten horses entered of which 6 have been entered for the young horse Open Maiden – this includes one unraced 4 year old and a number of youngsters who’ve had a few outings in Ireland, either pointing or under Rules – still we have to get on with what we’ve got! Top trainer Philip Rowley brings an interesting 8 year old to Cottenham, No More Santies, to be ridden by relative Novice Miss M Mallett. She had 17 rides last season so will be able to handle herself amongst the likes of Jack Andrews and James King. From the same yard as Now Ben this one, which has had a lot of experience between the flags in Ireland will be well prepared and may well feature in the finish. The Ellis yard is represented by Fumet d’Oudaires. As with the Rowley yard this horse will be well prepared, gets weight allowances for only being a 4 year old and has Jack Andrews as the driver. Down the field in an Irish Bumper as recently as May – will be interesting to see what magic the Ellis/ Andrews wizardry can produce. Another quasi-professional handler is Alan Hill, the king of Cottenham. He brings ex National Hunt runner Ringa Ding Dong. Only 6 this one has already been racing for a couple of seasons although the magic expression “Ex Nicholls” does somewhat raise the eyebrows. Hasn’t run since 2018 but is sure to be properly wound up by this expert handler. The question is will Hill unearth the ability that Nicholls couldn’t find – tried by Nicholls up to 2m 5f on ground ranging from good to firm to heavy – a easy 3 mile maiden point to point might just be this one’s metier. One very interesting unraced newcomer is Steel Yard owned by trainer Oliver Greenall and trained by his assistant, former top jockey Josh Guerriero. This will be no mug entrant but I suspect it will run in the younger horse race. Bound to be well prepared with a likely NH future ahead of it. And of those I wish to highlight last, but not least, is the Andrew Pennock entrant Morning Smiles. A promising introductory run at Garthorpe toward the end last season –no doubt Pennock will have got her ready for today but the biggest question is who will get the ride. With Dickie Collinson now retired Pennock will have a new stable jockey but who will it be? Overall we feel Ringa Ding Dong will be the one to beat with Morning Smiles the likeliest runner up.
Selection: Ringa Ding Dong Alternative: Morning Smiles
2.55 Open Maiden (2m4f) – 8 entries
As mentioned in the previous race preview there are only two entered in this race that are entered in the previous Maiden. Laura Thomas has two entered in this race Frank and Honest and Voie Dans Voie, both are also entered at the Dunsmore meeting in Devon. Frank and Honest had four races in Points in Ireland earlier this year, falling on its first outing. Was 2nd in two following races only being beaten by Atlantic Blaze by a neck in late May. Voie Dan Voie had twelve races under rules and managed to achieve three 2nds and three 3rds.Best performance was at Taunton in February when 2nd. Started as favourite at Newbury in March but broke a blood vessel and finished last, was with Alan King. Allonok was with the Skelton’s where it competed in four races and did no show much, once ridden by Bridget Andrews. Much the same could be said about Emmpara whose best was finishing 3rd out of five in a Hurdle race at Taunton in January, doesn’t appear to stay. To finish the days racing this looks a moderate affair and if either of Laura Thomas’s runs in this race they would be expected to win.
Selection: Frank and Honest Alternative: Steel Yard
Race 1: Selection: Hawkhurst Alternative: Tangoed
Race 2: Selection: Now Ben Alternative: Cloudy Joker
Race 3: Selection: Arthur’s Secret Alternative: Tom Ellis’ chosen representative
Race 4: Selection: Fox Valley Alternative: Mr Snuffles
Race 5: Selection: Ringa Ding Dong Alternative: Morning Smiles
Race 6: Selection: Frank and Honest Alternative: Steel Yard