THE ESSEX HUNT – HIGH EASTER
Saturday April 6th 2019 – please note entry is £15 per person
1.00 Restricted – 13 entries
An excellent 13-runner entry for the opening race. Almost There from the Wright yard was ridden out well to win the Cottenham Open Maiden in Dec and ran Blackwood Rover close here with Shamat in 3rd in the Restricted with a 7lb mares allowance – a frame finish is on the cards. Desert Retreat from the Hill yard won the Garthorpe Maiden in June and has been placed in Restricteds at Godstone and Charing but nothing impressive. 7yr old Harmoney Row from the Kemp yard was 8L 2nd to Classico Dias at Parham and will have come on for the run and a place finish is likely. 5yr old Hot To Trot comes off a Maiden win at Didmarton in March on firmish ground and should be in the shake up. 6yr Law of Gold from the Kemp yard was a close 2nd in 8 runner Restricteds at 2 Garthorpe meetings this season and will be the one to beat but ground may not suit. Matts Legacy might find this company too strong and has fallen twice. Orchard Hill was 4th and well behind Blackwood Rover here in the March short Restricted and may struggle again. Racing Eagle placed 2nd in 3 Maidens and followed by an 8L easy win on this track in March and has to be one for the short list but ground will be faster.
Selection: Law of Gold (if he runs) Alternative: Racing Eagle
1.40 CA Club Members (3m 6f) – 12 entries
An entry of 12 for this 3m 6f contest and it has attracted some decent horses. Zeroeshadesofgrey was very good under rules, better as a hurdler than a chaser however. He has won two points this season, at Cottenham in December and then a match at Horseheath in early March when he beat After Aspen by 3L. He was placed 2nd in a Fakenham hunter chase when going down by 2L to Risk A Fine in February before falling early on in another Fakenham hunter chase last month. This return over pointing fences may see him back in the shake up. Back Bar won at the previous meeting here in a race run over the regulation 3 miles when he beat Mahlers Spirit who could reoppose today by 6L. On his previous run, Mahlers Spirit beat Abbey Lane by 30L at Horseheath last month. Susquehana River hails from the Francesca Nimmo yard and won on his latest start when he beat the useful Minella Friend by a neck at Garthorpe two weeks ago. Follow The Paint is a previous course winner but she fell on her most recent outing at Kingston Blount last month. Willflywontsink is another previous course winner here and she’s been placed in all her subsequent starts since. On her latest appearance she was 4th beaten 2L by Indian Chance at Parham last month. The 7yo Back Bar comes from Alan Hill’s yard, seems to be improving and won at this venue on his last appearance so is our selection. Susuquehana River who beat a good horse on his run at Garthorpe is our alternative choice just ahead of Zeroeshadesofgrey.
Selection: Back Bar Alternative: Susquehana River
2.15 PPORA Club Members (2m 4f) – 16 entries
This 2 ½ mile contest has received 16 entries, 4 of whom have won this season. Both Chapelier and Summer Sounds could be seeking their fourth consecutive victory. Chapelier has progressed rapidly through the grades, winning a maiden at Ampton in January beating Racing Eagle by seven lengths, a restricted at Horseheath by 6l from Thomas Shelby and then an intermediate at Ampton by an easy eight lengths from Allie Beag, with Dream Doc a further three lengths back in 3rd. Summer Sounds progressed similarly last season, and has continued his winning ways this season, beating Gunmoney at Horseheath by twenty lengths, then winning by thirty lengths at Chaddesley Corbett and most recently at Brafield by twelve lengths. Both Blackwood Rover and Burtredgipandgump were successful around this course three weeks ago. Blackwood Rover won the 2 ½ mile restricted race ahead of Almost There, whilst Burtredgipandgump won the 9yo and over conditions race, beating Kashmir Peak by a neck. Quick Oats, the winner of a 2½ mile contest at Charing last season, returned there for an initial outing of this season, finishing a distant third to the useful Laurium in a ladies open. Hunter chase winner Curraigflemens has yet to strike form so far, finishing a distant third to Susquehanna River on his second and most recent start, but the stable have just started to hit their stride, with the winner of this race last season, Caryto des Brosses, winning at Garthorpe recently.
Selection: Chapelier Alternative: Summer Sounds
2.50 Ladies Open – 7 entries
Three of the entries Sand Blast, Start Royal and In Fairness contested the Ladies Open here at High Easter, three weeks ago. They all finished behind the winner Teeton Power but relatively close to the eventual victor. Sand Blast finished a short head down in 2nd place, Start Royal was another 5 lengths adrift in 3rd spot whilst In Fairness weakened on the flat, another 1 ½ lengths away. In Fairness would be the one to show possible improvement, as this was his first run since May 2017. Quick Oats’ only run this season was in 3rd place behind the rejuvenated Laurium at Charing but beaten a very long way though. Don’t Do Mondays won this corresponding race for the Warwick Vase last season and ran creditably at the Cheltenham Festival in the Foxhunters, so must hold an outstanding chance of a repeat victory.
Selection: Don’t Do Mondays Alternative: Sand Blast
3.25 Intermediate – 8 entries
Only 8 entered here and with five in with a possible chance of victory. Firstly, Blackwood Rover won here under an excellent ride by Alex Chadwick at the last meeting. As he said at the time confidence makes all the difference. However, that race was over the shorter distance and the owner commented that he thought it made the difference.. Haut Bages, a course winner here in April 2017 and 3rd of three at Ampton earlier this season but a much better performance at Horseheath last week when 2nd to Black Jewel. He led to the third last, headed at the next and one paced at the finish. If appearing again could go one better here. Laser Beam won a Maiden race at Higham in late February and a three runner Restricted at Ampton in March. This followed two placings in Irish Point to Points prior to Christmas. From the Andrew Pennock yard and they would be hoping to show further improvements here. Lickety Split ran a good race at Charing in February, kept on well to be beaten by two lengths to Indian Chance. Last time out was 3rd again to Indian Chance. Always runs a decent race but finds one whose better, Nigel Padfield will be looking to win a race at his home course and Platinum Ben could be the one. Won a Maiden at Charing in March and with two 2nds at Charing and at Ampton when beaten by Laser Beam. Last time out won a Restricted at Penshurst comfortably, but it was a moderate race with few finishers. Laser Beam likely to be the odds-on favourite and should win comfortably.
Selection: Laser Beam Alternative: Blackwood Rover
4.00 Open Maiden – 17 entries
With participants ages ranging from 4 to 11 this will be an interesting race and none catches the eye more so than the 5 year old Broadwater. He has run three times so far this season but so far has not lived up to the hype although he does seem to be going the right way as shown with a 4 length second in a Maiden at Parham earlier this month. The James Owen charge is getting the hang of things and if he puts it all-together on Saturday stands a good chance of success. The two unraced Nimmo runners, Switch Hitter and Whateva Next are both four year olds and running for the first time. A look in the paddock is definitely required if either runs as there is little chance the yard will be bringing a horse so far simply to make up the numbers and with the excellent Tommie O’Brien in the saddle these are certainly to be considered. Champagne Vintage last ran between the flags in Ireland in February 2018 when a running on 4th place in a Maiden at Cragmore. Andrew Pennock seems to know what to do to get the best out of these type of horses so we feel this one could well be in the mix. His other runner Un Huit Huit ran disappointingly last time out at Horseheath so may well give this meeting a miss. Sandygate knows his way round High Easter better than most but always seems to find one or two in each race that are better than he is. But no one deserves better than this one to come out on top and who knows perhaps today will be the day. Of the rest Icallherkaytee ran reasonably well at Horseheath first time out this season but will need to improve to feature in the finish. Oakidoaki has had a quiet introduction to racing between the flags and will have come on for his pipe opener at the previous High Easter meeting – it will be interesting to see if further improvement can be achieved. This is a wide-open Maiden and with some rain around this week whilst the going will be quick the showers might just do enough to take the sting out of the ground. Rupert Stearn is down to ride four – it will be interesting to see which mount he eventually chooses. We would love to see Sandygate take the prize but fear that our selection, Broadwater, will take all the beating followed home by Champagne Vintage.
4.35 Hunts Members – 11 entries
A strong entry for a Hunt race here and like last year this race is dominated by the Nigel Padfield yard with nearly half of the entries. The pick of his entries would be Excitable Island who won this race last year before going onto win at the Cheltenham HC evening. This season he has won 2 point to points after a 4th in a sub optimal 2m 4f Hunter Chase. As test of stamina suits so any welcome would be welcome. Quick Oats was a beaten favorite at Charing but Laurium has franked the form twice since. Zeroshadesofgrey has shown to be a classy recruit to pointing after strong performances under Rules. He unseated very early in his most recent run in a Fakenham HC and before that won a match race at Horseheath so this could be harder. Chosen Rose is a progressive mare and may not have reached her limit yet; she gets a useful mares allowance but was in receipt of well over a stone when beaten by the ill fated Broken Eagle at Ampton – surely one of his best efforts to beat this mare giving her the weight. It will be interesting to see how she copes against some more hardened open horses. Back Bar also deserves a mention; he gave Henrietta Cranfield her first winner at the previous meeting here beating Mahlers Spirit for the 2nd time this season. This could be a competitive renewal for a Hunt race if those mentioned above stand their ground.
Selection: Excitable Island Alternative: Chosen Rose