PREVIEW      WAVENEY HARRIERS, HIGHAM, SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23rd 2020

By Mike Ashby

This Sunday’s Waveney Harriers fixture at Higham, on the Essex/Suffolk border, could be the beneficiary of the atrocious weather that has affected point-to-point course conditions, in other parts of the country. This is reflected in the entry of 108 horses which is a substantial uplift, on last year’s corresponding fixture.

The advance condition of the Higham course is “good with one ‘good to soft’ spot” with the running rails on all the bends having been moved, to provide fresh ground, since last month’s meeting.

There are several eye-catching entries across the card for the six scheduled races, the first of which is at 1pm. The Men’s Open could present another opportunity for January course winner, Just Cause, to continue his dominance in these races and complete four wins in a row, for this season.

Just Cause and Rupert Stearn easy winners at Higham’s last meeting

Southfield Theatre would be a warm order for the Ladies Open race with Lily Bradstock in the saddle although Top Smart was an unlucky loser, at the last Higham meeting, unseating his rider at the second last fence, when challenging. Changeofluck was the nearest to Latenightpass at Horseheath recently whilst Brackloon High made light of his fifteen years when just failing to catch Knockedoutloaded here, last month.

The Conditions race could see a real fight for honours between Lip Service and Early Retirement whilst Workbench and jockey Murray Dodd, would be out to supplement their win here at the January meeting.

Workbench and Murray Dodd winners at Higham in January

The Open Maiden could go to the Sophie and Tom Lacey, chosen representative, either San Agustin or Stunsail. If running, they would both be making their racecourse debuts but as 4yo’s would be in receipt of 21lbs weight allowance, from most of their rivals. Ballinagore would be an interesting, new Irish recruit for the David Kemp yard having run 2nd in a Kinsale 4yo Maiden last June. One with experience, however, is Go Go Geronimo who will undoubtedly improve from his recent run at Horseheath where he finished 2nd to a smart winner, the Tom Ellis trained, Bawnmore.

The opening Hunt race could be contested between triple course winner One Fine Morning and Laser Beam, who will surely improve on his display here at the last meeting, after showing winning form at Cottenham in December. Henrietta Cranfield has the choice between course winner The Gunner Brady and Knight Bachelor, who was disqualified at Ampton after taking the wrong course.

The concluding Restricted race could see the James Owen Newmarket–trained, Fiddler of Dooney get back to winning ways having won at Cottenham and then beaten by just 3 lengths at Horseheath, three weeks ago. Higham being similar to Cottenham, without any undulations, could be the key to his chances although Andrew Pennock’s Bold Gesture and latest Cottenham winner, Josh the Plod will have their supporters. Pennock’s stable jockey, Dicky Collinson, is hoping to be declared fit to ride at Higham, after suffering concussion in his fall from Bold Gesture at Cottenham.

There are two pony races from 12 noon and the first point-to-point steeplechase is at 1pm. Various tradestands, catering outlets, beer tent and local bookmakers in attendance.

Higham is just to the west of the A12 between Colchester and Ipswich using the B1068 turn-off towards Stoke-by-Nayland, post code CO7 6NG.

 Advance tickets for adults, priced at £13 per head, are available until midnight 22nd February from www.highamraces.com – a £2 saving compared with what you will pay on the gate on the day. Children 16 and under free.