The PUCKERIDGE HUNT MEETING AT HORSEHEATH ON SATURDAY MARCH 30th —–PREVIEW
By MIKE ASHBY
It has been a difficult season for course officials with the severe lack of precipitation during the winter. This has meant considerably more hours involved in preparing courses to present the best possible going for runners. John Sharp, Clerk of the Course at Horseheath, has always dealt with theses situations based on his knowledge and experience and not many years ago John and his team had to employ military style tactics to transport water to the course from an outside source. This took many hours to achieve results. These days, thankfully, there is a more efficient watering system operated and the resultant ground conditions, when water is applied, are far more effective and less labour intensive.
Leading up to the Puckeridge Hunt fixture on Saturday, John has stated quite clearly after studying weather forecasts “that watering will commence if necessary to help avoid firm going”. We can be certain that John and his team will be fully prepared for whatever happens, weather-wise, during the week.
A total of 60 entries has been received for the six races, the first of which is at 1.30pm with the final race scheduled to start at 4.25pm. There are several horses entered who have proven, winning Horseheath form. Summer Sounds, in the concluding Novice Riders race was an impressive winner at the opening Horseheath meeting in February and has won again since that front-running performance. Possible dangers would come from Kashmir Peak, second at High Easter a fortnight ago and Vivaldi Collonges who has won his last two races under young Benjamin Bromley after an indifferent start to the campaign.
In the Intermediate race, Black Jewel and Gordon Hopkinson were winners here at the end of February and were unlucky last weekend at Larkhill when the pairing were disqualified after finishing first, having losing a weight cloth in the shadow of the winning post. Latenightpass, has been consistent in four races this season and Gina Andrews will be looking for another winner here to add to her already impressive tally. The 5-y-o grey Sommervieu comes into the reckoning having won his last two races following two second places.
Proximo holds entries in both the Mens and Ladies Open races and won with plenty in hand at the last Horseheath fixture and would face strong rivals in the Ladies event from both Laurium and Kalabaloo.
The Mens Open could see course winner Local Show and William Humphrey seeking their fifth win of the season. The pairing made the journey down to Kent last weekend and took the honours in the Mens Open race. It might be slightly quick for them to turn out again, so soon, but with that course win here already this season, the temptation might be there to go again. The horse is owned and trained by William’s mother Sarah. Just Cause and Neumond will have a say in proceedings, if facing the starter.
The Open Maiden is exactly what it says in the title of the race……..very ‘open’. No stand-out entry with any noteworthy form but Tom Ellis could have found a winnable opportunity for the mare Judge Judy, who had moderate form under rules with Lawney Hill. Quietly could improve on his Ampton run to give trainer Ed Turner his first winner of the season.
Tim Gredley is named for rides on his own horses he has with trainer James Owen, namely Silvergrove and Just Cause. Silvergrove finished 2nd in a Hunter ‘Chase at Fakenham two weeks ago which was his first run since May 2017 and will strip fitter in the opening Conditions race. Also entered here is Neumond, who was pulled up when weakening at Brafield, two weeks ago but won at all three meeting run at Horseheath in 2017. Jack Andrews has the ride and has been aboard all the 8-y-o gelding’s previous nine races.
So an interesting card, in prospect, on Saturday, for the final Horseheath meeting this season. Three pony races from 12.00pm will provide their normal enthusiasm and excitement prior to the steeplechasing that gets underway at 1.30pm.
Horseheath has superb spectator viewing, various tradestands and public bar. Admission Adults £12, Children under 16 free.The course is 4m W of Haverhill on A1307 (Exits 9 or 10, M11). CB21 4QF. Updates on www. pointingea.com.