THE DUNSTON HARRIERS – AMPTON
Sunday January 13th 2019
12.00 Club Members Conditions – 19 entries
Some real old ‘friends’ amongst the entry of 19 and should provide an excellent start to the meeting. Finnegan’s Hollow won the Novice Riders’ event at the corresponding fixture last year and is again partnered by Hector Barr. She’s Real can be considered on her performances last season, especially on the ground conditions she will experience at Ampton. Glint of Steel has always been a classy individual and with last season’s regular pilot, Charlie Marshall, aboard the 13-y-o gelding could easily add to his total of 10 wins from 14 starts, in points. Local Show and Vivaldi Collonges were both concerned in a blanket finish for the minor placings, in a Novice Riders’ race at Cottenham, a fortnight ago. Weather Warning ran a credible race, also at Cottenham, only surrendering the lead from 3 fences out but staying on behind the in-form Hawkhurst, to finish third. Velvet Cognac is lightly raced and having been off the course for nearly two years, won on his re-appearance in April last year. Alan Hill’s runners always have to be considered and Velvet Cognac will be no exception. Fitness is always the key to success, especially in this early part of the season and the selection of the William Humphrey ridden, Local Show who has had three starts and a win, already, this term might just be the deciding factor over the capable veteran Glint of Steel.
Selection: Local Show Alternative: Glint of Steel
12.35 Open Maiden – 17 entries
We are not too confident with the ratings relating to this race as two ex NH horses are rated head and shoulders above the rest of the runners but appear to have done nothing of real moment! We’ll look elsewhere for our recommendations.
Another bizarre comment is that Tour de Pub – “Often takes the eye” – seeing as it has only run once it must be quite a stunner! It was made favourite for its only run when finishing well down the field in a short maiden at Flete Park – has changed hands and will certainly be worth a look in the paddock. CourtandBould has had two runs this season – carried out early in his first race but next time out coming second to an Andrews/Ellis combination. Favourite on both occasions, only 5, so clearly well thought of and looks one of the more interesting in the race. Round Robin and Love Around have both had plenty of tries and have always been there or thereabouts without quite getting their heads in front. Round Robin does have the benefit of a race last month when a neck second to yet another Andrews/Ellis combination. If fully recovered could have a very good chance BUT remains a Maiden after 18 attempts so potential would seem very limited. Tecap is another of interest. Formerly trained by Henry Daly it had a couple of runs in bumpers finishing well down the field in both. Last season it ran 4 times between the flags with some promise so maybe Nicholas and son Archie Wright can work the oracle and find the missing link. There are others to consider including Andrew Pennock’s runner whose Irish point-to-point form is nothing special but we’ve all seen him turn sow’s ears into silk purses before – so who knows. This race definitely needs a trip to the parade ring, check to see which jockey is riding which horse, and does the horse look as though it may need the race, finally remember a novice rider in a maiden race is not often a winning combination! On balance we’ve selected CourtandBould with Round Robin as our reserve.
1.10 Mixed Open – 14 entries
The stable of Alan Hill hold three of the entries for this race in Broken Eagle, Man Of Steel and Namako. Broken Eagle made his seasonal debut at Cottenham at the end of December, finishing 3rd, just over 12 lengths behind the winner Just Cause. Man Of Steel returned to action at Clifton-on-Dunsmore, but ultimately refused after becoming detached from the main field. Man Of Steel appears to save his best until later in the season and last season was no exception, winning his last three races including a hunter chase at Cartmel for the third consecutive season. Namako, a newcomer to the stable will be having his first outing of the season. A consistent individual, he has won a couple of points in each of the last two seasons as well as numerous placed efforts, including a 2nd at Kingston Blount on his penultimate start last season behind the Alan Hill trained For ‘n’ Against, in which Generous Ransom was pulled up. Generous Ransom may have been feeling the effects of a long season. Having also pulled up on his seasonal debut at Cottenham, he was then in the first three on his next five starts, winning three including a victory over Conkies Lad at Charing. Beneficial Joe may have a “1” beside his name this season, but that was the result of a walkover at Howick. His first real outing came at Wadebridge where he finished 5th, 16 lengths behind the winner Navanman, having been in contention 3 out when jumping slowly and losing position. Net d’Ecosse has not progressed following a promising debut. He ran wide on the final turn whilst in a tussle with Sharp Suit at Cottenham’s first meeting, and was then no match for Irish Anthem at Clifton-on-Dunsmore. With an 8lb penalty it is likely that his stable companion Lord Topper will run in the last race, whilst Local Show who has run well in all three outings including a victory at Barbury Castle could conceivably run in the first race, but would be competitive if turning out for this.
Selection: Beneficial Joe Alternative: Local Show
1.45 Restricted – 9 entries
A rather poor 9 entries and given the going prediction, looking for form on quicker ground. Angelsea Lace from the local Pennock yard won the Dingley Maiden in May on good/good to soft and with a 7lb. advantage should make the frame. Don’t Budge Me has run twice this season but PU and UR when well behind on both occasions and was only placed last season when there was give in the ground. Rob The Getaway from the Sheila Crow yard won his Maiden at Tabley unchallenged in April on softish ground and went to win (staying on) the Aintree PtP Bumper in May on good ground and looks the pick of the runners, which on paper looks a weak race. The advantage of 7lb. will help Dontdillydally Maiden winner over Winola at Aldington in May. Stingthebookies PU in the Restricted at the recent Cottenham meeting on firmish ground and will have come on for the run. Tullys Touch has his first run in England and was 2nd in an Irish Maiden on soft ground but form in his other 7 runs very poor.
Selection: Rob the Getaway Alternative: Angelsea Lace
2.20 Intermediate – 7 entries
Only seven entered in this race but quite a few with similar form and three who raced together at Clifton-on-Dunsmore back in December. Mister Robbo finished 2nd on that occasion to Road to Rome with a battle for much of the race between the two. Previously did win a Restricted at Howick but was only a four runner race in late November. Although the highest rated in this race we would suspect that there are horses with a better chance. Mister Robbo is also entered at Wadebridge on Sunday and as its closer to home so may prefer to go there, a long way from Wales to Ampton. Alan Hill has Allie Beag entered in this race and Alan seldom leaves East Anglia without a winner, Whether this will be the one is not a certainty, did win the Restricted at this meeting last year but has had five outings since finishing 2nd on three occasions and 3rd twice. May not be quite good enough here but the trainer may have managed improvement. Chosen Rose won a Maiden, Restricted and a Conditions race in succession last season although the last race only had three runners. Like several horses in the past Andrew Pennock can improve a horse considerably and we would expect this one to off as favourite. Lickety Split and Florella are from the same yard and Lickety Split was a long way 3rd to Road to Rome earlier this season, same race as Mister Robbo’s 2nd place, It fell here last season when went 2nd and was in with an even chance but came down at the 16th fence. Although the Champion Lady jockey is booked to ride Dream Doc we would not expect that to be sufficient to earn it a place.
Selection: Chosen Rose Alternative: Allie Beag
2.55 Club Members Conditions (Novice Riders) – 12 entries
Only a modest entry of 12 for the closing novice riders race but we have a few interesting runners in this. Vivaldi Collonges is one of two runners from James Owen’s Newmarket yard and has already had two outings this season. On his latest start at Cottenham he finished 2nd to the proficient Zeroeshadesofgrey when going down by ¾L two weeks ago. He must be on the shortlist in this contest. Weather Warning finished 3rd at Cottenham two weeks ago when going down by 12L to the useful Hawkhurst. Susquehana River is a two time point winner when ridden by Patrick Bullard and trained by Nick Wright in this area. He is now in the yard of Francesca Nimmo and was 4th on his latest start at Chaddesley Corbett when going down by 9L to Risk A Fine in late December. Trojan Star was a further 7L adrift in 5th place in this race. Pantxoa was 5th in the men’s open at Cottenham in early December when going down by 32¾ L in the race won by Now Ben. He has most recently been contesting open races and may find this a bit easier so can’t be ruled out. Minella Friend won a heavy ground novice riders contest at Andoversford in April but was well beaten on his seasonal return at Hexham in early December having changed yards. Namako represents Alan Hill’s yard and is a six time pointing winner. He pulled up on his final start last season at Dingley in the mixed open but had previously won two races in the hands of champion jockey Alex Edwards, his most recent victory coming at Cold Harbour when scoring by 22L from Black Jack Jaxon. Lord Topper is the other entry from James Owen’s yard and will be ridden by Frankie Flinton. He is a four time scorer under rules and ran most recently for Jamie Snowden. On his last start he was 3rd at Bangor in a beginners chase but was well beaten. His last win was at Newton Abbott in a 3 mile 2 furlongs handicap hurdle in August 2018 when he beat Midnight Sapphire by 1½L. Vivaldi Collonges met a decent recruit to pointing at Cottenham last time out and he is our selection here to give Ben Bromley a first winner. We will just side with Namako for our alternative on his seasonal debut.
Selection: Vivaldi Collonges Alternative: Namako